Today we focus on the wonderful Greek Defender Gionis ‘The Dentist’ Panagiotis!
Gionis Panagiotis has been one of the most consistent players on the main circuit for years and is one of the best ‘modern day’ choppers out there. This Greek player has incredible feeling and variation and in our opinion is a joy to watch when in full flow. Here are 10 TTFit interesting things about the great man after some research:
1. Gionis is known as ‘The Dentist’, basically because he studied to be one! He hasn’t had much time to practice dentistry though, due to his excellent Table Tennis career.
2. He took the game up at 9 years old and his talent was soon spotted by a Romanian Coach called George Kurou. Kurou was an old defender so he taught Gionis to play this style. The young Greek made the National Youth team in less than one year!
3. Amazingly, he actually only trained professionally from the age of 22 as he was determined to finish his studies in dentistry! He then played twice a day but has admitted that it took a long time before his game peaked. ‘I feel that defence is a totally different style of playing so you need to improve on many things in practice, and that means you need more time. Also, pimples need a lot of feeling and I think that during the years you understand better the philosophy of pimples’. Well said indeed!
4. Like so many other players, his inspiration was Jan-Ove Waldner. Gionis once said about the legendary Swede…’The smart way that he plays, the dedication and the excellent style are all things I admire. His career, his success, and everything about him are an inspiration and an influence for me’.
5. Panagiotis has played for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga for many years and has been a regular teammate of the great Timo Boll. Their team won the 2014/15 Bundesliga by a massive 8 points!
6. Amongst his achievements are: Highest World Ranking: #19 in March 2015, Singles Winner: Bulgarian Open 2003, Luxembourg Open 2006, Belgian Open 2006, Croatian Open 2017 and 2018. He also won a Singles Bronze Medal in the European Championships in 2013 as well as the Team Silver Medal. He is also a 4 x Olympic Games participant from 2004 – 2016. Some player!
7. Gionis plays with a Butterfly Petr Korbel Blade (with a little extra weight!) and uses Tenergy 05 on the F/H and Feint Long 11 on the B/H side. His B/H technique is so pure he rarely feels the need to twiddle when receiving or pushing close to the table, unlike most other ‘modern day’ defenders. He has rarely tinkered with his equipment!
8. He feels that his best performance on the Table was when he defeated Samsonov in the Semi Finals of the European Team Championships in 2013.
9. He has openly admitted that his most difficult opponents are the top Chinese players due to their speed and strength and the fact that they never give away any easy points which makes him take more risks.
10. When asked who he thinks is the best defender of all time he said the great Korean player Joo See Hyuk, we don’t think many would disagree!
Please check out some of Gionis Panagiotis’s videos on youtube, you won’t be disappointed!