Unedited and unabridged interview with Frederic the Great

fred great

1)      Since electronic records began (Bolton League) in 2011/12, Michael Moir (currently 85th in England) has got 100% in three of those four full seasons – his only loss to Louis Rosenthal in March 2014. That does make your recent victory against him special.
Would you say he’s seen as the biggest scalp in the league? And who comes after him in terms of scalps (say, 3 or 4 others)?

It is always a satisfaction to beat a player as strong as Michael. Due to his statistic he is indeed the biggest scalp in the league and I am sure it will take me other try to beat him again.
Before him, I had some great win against player like Barry Elliot, Andy Jackson, Mark Ramsbottom and others since I join the bolton league in sept 2010.

2)      The only times I’ve previously mentioned you in Bolton News articles, Fred were in June 2014 (“Barber plying his trade against relative unknowns including Frederic Turban” –https://thesportswriter1.com/2014/06/03/step-into-the-barbers-chair/) and earlier in October 2013 (“Riley edging past weaker opponents, Kaye and Turban” – https://thesportswriter1.com/2013/10/03/blimey-oriley/). Do you think NOW is finally your time?

I dont know if it is my time, but i am surely starting to put my name in the league.

3)      How is it possible to lose Andrew Jackson but beat Michael Moir? When you lost to Jackson 11-5 in game four was there any sense that it was still going to be a good evening?

Probably the French flair 🙂
That night I was in a good shape, full of energy and it was the second match of the season. Plus my back was not hurting (i have ankylosing spondylitis), so anything could happen that night.

4)      Your WIN %age over the years has been: 76% (2011/12 Div1); 26% (2012/13 Prem); 46% (2013/14 Prem); 51% (2014/15 Prem). Steady progression in anyone’s eyes. What are the key shots / things / tactics you’ve learnt over the years?

Throughout the year my game has improved both technically and physically. My game is mainly based on my serve and force myself to open the game by looping the ball and try not to make many mistake. The downsize is that I struggle against player that have pimple because I cannot use most of serve.

5)      Did you feel pumped up driving home after the Moir victory or were you chauffeured back home just in case the excitement proved to be too much for you? Was the feeling comparable to any other big victories in recent times?

I drove home by myself. It was a mitigate feeling. I was happy to beat Mick and Brian, bringing 2 points against ramsbottom A is a good result for the team. Sad that no one of my team was there to witness my game against Mick but that is life.  I know I achieve something that probably a few did. I arrived in premier in 2012 and three years later I beat Mick. But I still know I have to practise hard to beat him again but at least I am on the right path.

6)      You talked about the 3rd shot with Moir (when his serves didn’t come off). Were there any particular tactics before the match from you? You must have studied him to a degree? Some players keep notes on other players, some know weaknesses/strengths from memory. How do you work?

Mick has a very effective serve and his arm goes fast.
That night, he played against Billy and Keith. I had time to look at him play, he scores a lot of points after his serve. So my main focus was to return his serve and play my game. I remember I put a lot of effort and concentration reading his serve and that night he paid off. Next step would be to reduce my attention on his serve and go by instinct.
I don’t keep note against players. I remember most how I loose a game rather win the game. I just try to remind myself how I should play : stay close to the table, return the ball at all cost, dont rush on it, stay in balance, counter , varied serve and above all have fun.

7)      I see that you only played Moir once last season (a 10-12, 10-12, 5-11 loss in September) as he didn’t turn out in January for Ramsbottom. Was that match of sign of things to come? i.e. the close 10-12s. Did you learn anything for the big match one year later?

I learn a lot by playing against Mick. He makes things very simple and could change the pace in a flash. He can play “relax” for couple of points and when its matter he scores. He is technically still far ahead from me. After it is question of opportunity. I learn when playing against him is that I can score direct point with my serves, that I had to work on my footwork and consistency to have a chance to do some rally against him.

8)      Coaching with Billy Russell – how is that working out? Any others influences / help in your life on the table tennis front?
It is true I played a lot with Billy. Probably because we both like to practise and there is no doubt he help me a lot to reach this level of game.I improved technically a lot with him as he is not very easy to play against. In the league there are players that have help me to tweak my game like Phil Riley, Dennis Collier, Ronnie Durose and Charles Musa. There inputs are valuable, after I just have to find a way to apply them on game.  Of course indirectly all the opponents I played against have shape my game..

9)      Last season you beat certain players of note including Andrew Jackson, Edward Simon, Brian Clements, Phil Riley, Barry Elliott (& possibly Michnowiec – maybe not as he forfeited / story behind this?). Which match felt the best and why?
They were all great win. These players have different style and I had to play differently to beat them. I did not beat Michnowiec If i remember there was a technicality issue. Last season I think the best win was against Mark Ramsbottom. Mark has pimple on his backhand and I struggle against this type of rubber. He was leading 2-0 and I manage to come back and beat him on the 5th.
He won the first two set. The third set was very complicated, I won it but very close. Then the 5th was very tight, I remember winning the last point on my serve.

10)   In Jan 2015 you slaughtered Andrew Jackson 11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 11-4. What was different this time around?
Andy is a strong player and very consistent. I did not manage to take the upper hand on the short game. I probably played too much on his backhand, too much on the middle of table and I fail to take initiative. So I still have a lot of work to do to beat him.

11)   Colin Boardman (Burning Desire) – doesn’t have a younger brother called Stephen does he?
I am the wrong guy to ask this question. Is the rider Chris relates to Colin?

12)   When (month/year of birth) and where were you born?
January 1976, Semarang Indonesia

13)   How did you get into table tennis?
I start to play with my dad for fun. And then I take really interest in table tennis at 16years old in France when the was some school competition.

14)   Did you aspire to play in the Premier Division or higher?
I always try to do my best  and like challenges.

15)   Your team have finished…7/12 (2014/15), 9/12 (2013/14), 10/11 (2012/13) – in other words a steady improvement each season. Do you see a top 4 finish over the next two to three years? Any big signings planned or loyal to the current team?
For this year I hope our team will maintain on premier and it will be great if we can reach 100points at then end of season. To be on the top4, I think a team need at least 4/5 consistent players (average >60%).

16)   Do you think Flixton represent a challenge to Ramsbottom this season for the title? Yes/No and why?
These two teams have a strong squad and will be still in front. I hope we can play the role of party pooper to spice the league.

17)   Have you ever been headhunted for another team?
Not in the bolton league.

18)   What does table tennis mean to you? Is it your main sport and how many hours/week would you say you put in?
I played before several sport like football, volleyball , basketball, track n field, martial arts and finally table tennis. Table tennis is a very convivial sport and reflect your personnality. The way you play define who you are. Beside the technical, physical aspect of the game, the mental plays an important role during the game. I was fortunate to took part in several aspect of this sport and at different level. I coached the cadet/junior Brittany team, I was a referee in several national tournament and organise several regional tournament.
It is currently my main sport and I try to play twice a week.

19)   What is your daytime job? Is it fulfilling?
I am a Software Engineer. I am not complaining .

20)   Which players do you respect most in the league and why? Anyone’s style you seek to mimic?
I can say that I respect every players in the league. I think it is my personality. There are some stroke that I would like to do or have like Brett’s backhand or Barry’s or Ben’s forehand hit.

21)   Hardest venue you’ve played at? Where have you travelled to play the sport?
Due to my back there are venue that I cannot play freely because there is no space or the floor is tricky, like Heaton or Little Lever. In these venues I know I have to change my game style and concentrate on how I should move.


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