Petrissa Solja ready to learn and teach in the Ultimate Table Tennis League | other sports | Hindustan Times
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Petrissa Solja ready to learn and teach in the Ultimate Table Tennis League

Germany’s Rio Olympics medallist Petrissa Solja will be among the international players who will figure in India’s new Ultimate Table Tennis League, which starts on July 13.

other sports Updated: Jun 29, 2017 20:03 IST
Shayne Dias
Petrissa Solja is excited about being a part of the Ultimate Table Tennis League.
Petrissa Solja is excited about being a part of the Ultimate Table Tennis League. (Getty Images)

The Ultimate Table Tennis League is India’s newest franchise competition, which is due to start on July 13. The league will see 48 players – 24 Indian and 24 foreign – represent six franchises. Each team will have some of the world’s best male and female table tennis players.

One player to look out for is Petrissa Solja. The 23-year-old German played at the 2016 Rio Olympics, winning the silver medal in the women’s team competition.

For Solja, table tennis is pretty much family business, having taken to the game at a young age.

“My entire family plays table tennis. My two elder sisters played, as did my mother. I always saw them playing and being the youngest, I wanted to play as well. My father was our coach. He taught us how to play,” she told HT.

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Whilst her father Pavel was never easy on her as a coach, Solja believes that helped her game. “He is a hard coach but a fair one. He can also be very loud sometimes and is very strict. But I think that strictness is important for your overall education.”

Solja has had success at domestic and international level, but had a hard time when asked to pick her favourite title. “I can remember the first time I won the junior German championships very well. This was very special as I didn’t lose one set in the entire tournament. Also, when I won the senior German championships for two years; it was a title I wanted to win so much, and I won it at 21. And of course, the (silver) medal at the (Rio) Olympics was the best moment I had, after winning against Japan”.

She looks forward to the challenge of playing for iProspect Challengers in the Ultimate Table Tennis League. “I already had contact with my club, and also with my managers and my teammates. I am excited to come to India. It will be my second visit. I had a good experience last time.

“It will be something special, something new. I hope I can show my best and win with the Challengers. I am also looking forward to helping my teammates improve, and maybe give them tips.”

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She is also looking forward to playing against the best players India has to offer. “I would like to play against Indians because I played against some of them many times in youth tournaments. They have a special style of playing.”

Solja believes tournaments like the UTTL are important for the game. “It is something special; men and women are playing for the same club. I have never experienced something like this before in my career. And I think it will be more interesting for the fans.”