Many of the players and coaches we have interviewed mention Jan Ove Waldner as their inspiration to take up Table Tennis, so, TTFit feel its only right we do an article on the great man .
Jan Ove Waldner was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1965 and is widely regarded as the best Table Tennis player of all time. Here are 10 TTFit interesting facts about him after some research:
He was known as ‘The King Of Feeling’ and ‘The Mozart Of Table Tennis’
Everyone knows China rules the male Table Tennis world and every decade they had a major star, 60s: Zhuang Zedong, 70s: Guo Yuehea, 80s: Jiang Jialiang, and 2000: Wang Liqin, however the 90s belonged to SWEDEN’S Jan Ove Waldner!
Waldner won 2 World Championships Gold medals, the 2nd in 1997 without dropping a single set, so 21-0 against the very best in the world.
Sweden won the Team World Championships 4 times when he played, Mikael Applegren, Jorgen Persson, Erik Lindh, Peter Karlsson and Fredrik Hakansson were his teammates at various times during this Swedish golden era!
His game was based on constantly changing spin, speed and placement and he enjoyed nothing more than tricking his opponents with his legendary variations of play.
Yes, he was also a showman, had unbelievable confidence and loved nothing more than winning a point with the ‘Perfect Shot’
Waldner loves and had a passion for Table Tennis which is one of the reasons he is respected and revered so much, he seemed to have this curiosity to seek out new ways to play the game and to introduce different new shots in order to keep improving his level.
Don’t be fooled though, Jan Ove Waldner also had a will to win like no other, a refuse to lose mentality if you like. He puts some of this down to his younger playing days…’I always felt a basic security. At a young age I could be very unhappy and angry when I lost, but for my family it did not matter. To them, I was who I was, Janne, whether I won or lost. This is how it was from the beginning, how it was throughout my career and how it is now! Always supportive, always seeing the positive side. Never being brought down and creating negative energy’. All parents should read this as he was one of the fortunate ones!
Waldner studied his opponents to seek out any weakness…’You can detect nervousness in movement patterns. If your opponent is moving well you know he is in shape. Stiff movements means he is either nervous or out of shape. It is important to spot this at the beginning of each game. An opponent who moves well is always dangerous’. He thought of everything in order to win!
Waldner said in his autobiography ‘When The Feeling Decides’ written by Jens Fellke that his career highlight was winning the Olympic Gold in 1992 against the great French player Gatien.
Please. Please, please check out this ‘Mozart Of Table Tennis’ on YouTube!