(Chung's Notes: www.cn-tt.com is posting a series of interviews with top players after the Worlds. Kong was the first, and now Schlager is the second one to be interviewed, this time via telephone. Thanks to www.cn-tt.com for providing this excellent series.)
Our cn-tt.com reporters contacted Werner Schlager and arranged a telephone interview with him.
Reporter: Tell us what was your condition before the Worlds.
Schlager: I was in very good condition. We won the mixed doubles title at the European Championship, and I played very well in singles. I am so very happy that I have won the Worlds title.
R: At the start of the tournament did you think that you could win?
S: I think I am a very lucky player. When I first saw the draw, I knew that I had a chance to win it.
R: Tell us about your matches against Wang Liqin and Kong Linghui.
S: The top players in the world are close in playing level. No doubt those two matches were very exciting and close. We played some great matches for the fans. The reason why I finally won was that I was unusually strong-willed. I lost to Kong at the World Cup in Jinan, but I always believe that we have the same chance of winning every match we play. In Jinan I injured my right arm, and as an athlete maybe I should have defaulted. But I did not want to have one match affect the future, so the match was a very hard-fought one and I learned a lot from it. The semifinal match at the Worlds was not the best match I ever playerd, but I was more focused, more determined, more mentally strong, and more spirited than Kong.
R: What do you think of the Chinese team's performance at the Worlds?
S: China undoubted has the best team of players at the Worlds. They were well-prepared and played at a very high level. They lost the MS title not because of any mistake they made. We all played at a very high level, and as long as you play the game you are capable of playing, there is no shame in losing.
R: Are you used to the 11-point format? Which do you like more, the 11-point or the 21-point format?
S: Even though I won a world championship based on the 11-game format, I like the 21-point format more, because that was how the game used to be played. I have been playing for almost 20 years, and now everything is different. All the players have to adjust to the new rules. I am starting to like the 11-point games a little bit more because they appear more exciting to the fans, and there are more surprises in store.
R: A lot of Chinese media are wondering whether there is a real person called "Tian Wan" (Chung's note: Tian Wan was the woman Schlager was alleged, erroneously, to have married).
S: My former wife and I were divorced in June of 2002. Now I have a new German girlfriend, and she is half Asian. I am very angry at some of the Chinese media creating rumors, and I hope to clarify this through www.cn-tt.com. I think now is the time for those Chinese reporters to apologize to my good friend Tian Wan. (Chung's note: Tian apparently is a player-coach in Croatia.)
R: On the television broadcasts, we saw an older man cheering loudly for you. Was that your father?
S: In the finals, after I played the last point, an older man ran into the playing area. Perhaps people notice that he was always in the stands when I played, for example at the Eindhoven Worlds, and mistook him for my father. Actually he is the vice president of the Austrian TTA.
R: Tell us about your family.
S: I know that a lot of Chinese fans are interested in me, and want to know more about me. I have 3 older brothers. We are very close to our parents. Their support for me guarantees that I will get the best results. I do not have a child of my own yet.
R: Please say something to our fans.
S: Again, I thank all of you for your interest and support. I hope that I will come back to China soon, and I hope to play in CTTA tournaments.
Schlager is still basking in the glory of being a world champion. According to our reliable sources the 2003 Pro-Tour Finals will be held in China. We will once again see Schalger play in China.
Photo Link: The Chinese arriving at the Beijing Airport
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