Mark Smythe Table Tennis

Australia's no. 1 coach

Heming's 3rd update from Sweden

A lot has happened since Heming's last update at end of August. Here is his update on training & competition in Sweden.


Training has continued to be amazing here combined with a lot of League matches and also playing Swedish Open last week. 

I have continued to train week and this has showed in my results defeating some good players in Swedish League and coming close to some good wins in Danish League. My record in Danish Top League is poor with 3-7 win loss ratio whereas in Swedish second league is fantastic as 6-1. The level in Sweden's second league is only slightly lower than that of Danish top league, in fact there are many of the same players playing in these two leagues at the same time.

Last week David Powell and I played Swedish Open, which is always extremely tough with many of the worlds best players. It is knockout from the very start of the pre rounds and there is no groups which makes it an extreme dog fight. Fortunately this is my last year as a under21 player so I had an extra event. I was extremely nervous as It was my first ever time playing a major series pro tour. I was due to play against Andreas levenko of Austria the first day at 9:30am which is a big battle as it is, playing in the morning. I was faulted for my reverse serve 9 times and lost confidence to serve it even though it was a big match winner for me. I was in control the whole match but when it got close I made too many costly mistakes, where he made far less and won because of it. A very disappointing start to the tournament as I had watched a lot of levenko the night before and expected to make it through to the next round of the u21 singles.

In the afternoon, I was up against Jakub Kosowski (World Ranked 145) from Poland and having watched old matches of him on YouTube the night before, I prepared as well as I could but didn't expect to win from how good his past results are. I was extremely relaxed, in fact more than I can ever remember for a match, I didn't expect to win. When I jumped out there, things were extremely different than I anticipated, Kosowski's game suited mine, he was nervous as it was his first match (this is the hardest part of having straight knockout in pre rounds), and I played solidly and made sure I kept it up for the whole match. I took the win 4-2 and this is the best win of my career so far.

I was extremely happy but had to check  who I played the next round as I didn't prepare to get through the first round of men's singles. Funny how I expected to get through first round of u21 and not men's singles but the exact opposite was the reality. Sport is very strange sometimes. The next day I played a good Swedish friend, Mattias Karlsson who is Ranked 53 in the world and has beaten top players like Kenta Matsudaira, Yan An and many more. I know him and his game well and had a lot of prior knowledge of tactics before playing him as I had also seen our Eslov players (Xu Hui and Robert Svensson) play against him. I go to the matches of our top team in Eslov as the No. 4 and hitting up partner and observed a lot of these players games and my coach in Eslov and I discussed how I would have to play against Mattias Karlsson. 

The last time Eslov played Halmstad (Mattias Karlsson's team), Mattias beat Xu Hui comfortably but had lost to Robert Svensson, so I knew roughly what not to do and what to do. I went out with absolutely no pressure where he had a world of pressure in front of his home crowd and playing an underdog ranked much lower in an important match for a spot in the main draw of the singles. I went 2-2 with him then he took control of the game and I went with his patterns too much, his experience was superior to mine as he plays many more pro tours/matches than me. I was 1-0 down but  10-7 up in the 2nd set but lost it! If I was 3-1 up I would have had real chance but if I want to win these kind of matches, I can't afford to lose chances/leads like this. I went down 4-2 in this match and then in Men's Doubles later that day, David and I lost 3-1 to a French pair who were Runners up at their National Championships. 

A satisfying tournament for me with so much to learn and so much to go home and improve on. I played on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday had some practice and watched some class matches. I had warmed up with childhood idol Kenya Matsudaira before playing Karlsson and practiced with World No. 2 Fan Zhendong so that was also really nice!

However, going home to Eslov and playing Danish league was the hardest and most depressing thing I have done in a while. My form on the weekend was shocking and i wasn't in the right mind frame. I had no experience in this area and had struggled big time, coming home from a fantastic performance at the Swedish Open where the environment was the best any player could ask for with lots of screaming spectators and coming back to a small dark hall in Denmark with zero spectators, atmostphere and energy. It was another learning experience and something I have to learn to adapt to.

Back to training for me and always good to be have good friend and regular training partner David Powell here with me plus Dillon Chambers coming tomorrow!

We have more League matches coming up on the 28/29th and then Finland Open with David from December 3-6. After that will be a break, Christmas which the club will stop its official training. However, as someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas that much, I will stay here in Eslov and practice with whoever I can. Dillon chambers will also stay here in Christmas which is good for me. I will also go with good friend Wu Jiaji to a training camp in Denmark where there will be some world class Chinese players to practice with including Li Ahmet, Vang Bora, Wang Zengyi, Zhai Yujia, etc.