6 questions before April 6th


From 2004 to 2010, Richard Prause was the coach of the German Men's National Table Tennis Team.  Under his leadership, the team attained an Olympic silver medal, two silvers in the World Championships, and eight European Championship golds.


During that time, always the focus of the team were Timo Boll, Christian Suss, and Patrick Baum.  On Wednesday, (20:15, in the Multiversum in Schwechat) sits on the bench Richard Prause, now the head coach of the Werner Schlager Academy in Schwechat, as head coach of the SVS Niederösterreich.  Opponets in the Champions League semi-final blockbuster: Borussia Dusseldorf with the German superstar Timo Boll, Christian Suss and Patrick Baum.


In this interview, the successful coach talks about his time with the exceptional player Timo Boll and the chances for the  SVS Niederösterreich team.


Richard, what will it feel like to coach against Timo Boll and the other players that you coached previously?

Richard Prause: “It is a strange feeling coaching against Timo, Christian, and Patty.  We have worked together over a long and very intense and successful time.  I have a great connection with these guys from Germany; Timo is the godfather of my son.  In this respect, there is also still frequent personal contact in Germany with many, including Christian, Patty, Bastian, Dimitrij, and my successor Jörg Rosskopf.  All this will not be visible during our match with them as we try our best with minimal chances. “

When you and your WSA-head coach colleague Dirk Wagner were coaching Timo Boll in Dusseldorf, he became World number one.  Now, Timo Boll is again number one.  What is so extraordinary about him?

Richard Prause: „Timo, like Jan Ove Waldner, Vladimir Samsonov, and Werner Schlager, has an exceptional ability to read the game and control it.  He is able to play with incredible rotation on his topspins and has significantly improved the drive in his shot, increasing the penetration of his shots.   It is through these impressive qualities that he is on top of the world.“


An honest question: has SVS Niederösterreich even a spark of a chance against the star cast from Dusseldorf?

Richard Prause: “Of course, Dusseldorf is the overwhelming favorite, but there is always a chance and if opportunities arise, we must be alert and know how to use them.”


The SVS youngsters Stefan Fegerl and Daniel Habesohn have improved greatly since the WSA opening, under your leadership.  What is the key to their continued improvement?

Richard Prause: „Stefan and Danny are, like some others, such as  Stefan Leitgeb, Simon Pfeffer and Nicole Galitschitsch, are on the right track.  It is important to always train hard and be focused over a long period of time. I do think it is true we have made a good start, and even when we have some weaker games, we must not lose sight of the long term goals.  I see there is still room for much improvement.  To reach high goals, one must be patient.“

For more than a decade, SVS has been a big player in European Men's table tennis.  What is the future for this team?

Richard Prause: „Our aim this year was to give Stefan and Danny more responsibility and they have responded with good performances.  The new SVS will be built in the years ahead.  With these players and the classics—Werner Schlager and Chen Weixing, we made it to the semifinals of the Champions League.“


Your (optimistic) Tip for the match on Wednesday?

Richard Prause: „When I am asked this question, I think of Charles Roesch, former head coach of DTTB.  He always responded to this question this way: I know the result but I'll tell you after the game.  I do know the big winners will be the spectators in the hall.  For on this Wednesday in the Multiversum in Schwechat, a truly great event will occur.“

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