Tom Davis Blog

05 November 2014

Tom Davis Blog

I’ve wanted to do something like this ever since I saw Gavin Maguire’s blog about his life in Germany. It’s not that I love writing or anything. I just think it’s a good idea, for me reading Gav’s blog was really interesting because it is an ambition of mine to live and play table tennis abroad. His blog gave me an insight as to what it is like to be a professional table tennis player. I hope that my blog can help young Irish table tennis players realise what it takes to become an international player.

It has been a busy few weeks for me table tennis wise. I had three successive weeks of table tennis, with the competitions getting fittingly bigger. First there was the Connacht senior open, then the Junior British league followed by the Côte d'Azur Para Tournament. With a lot of school and training in the meantime. My schedule at the moment is school from 8:30 to 16:00 and then I stay in school to study for another two hours, getting home around 18:00 and then training from 19:00 to 21:00. With competitions or training camps usually taking place on the weekend. Looking at my calendar I have very few free weekends and even these will probably be taken up with extra training. Physically and mentally this is very tough.

This season didn’t get off to a great start for me, I had a very bad senior classification, finishing 17th and then I was injured for the junior classification, I was over doing it in training and not looking after my body properly, resulting in a bad injury to my right foot, I could barely walk. So now because of the way the junior ranking system works, I don’t even have a junior rank, which is annoying because I was seeded 1st at the start of the season. Feeling very frustrated and angry I decided to just let it go and move on, focusing on my next few competitions.

First up was the Connacht senior open in Castlebar, Mayo. I progressed to the quarter finals where I faced Gavin Maguire, who has been (and still is) playing professionally in Germany for the last three years. It was always going to be a tough game but I was relishing in the fact that I had beaten him when we played last summer, where the stakes were set high as we played for a bottle of ice tea. Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan and I lost 3-1. I thought I actually played well though and perhaps I softened him up a little before his next game, where he surprisingly lost to an in-form Sam Logue.

The next week I was off again, this time to RAF Cosford which is near Birmingham in England. Representing the Irish boys’ team in junior British league. I’ve played this competition for three consecutive years now and I have to say it is a bit of a marathon. You play 10 singles matches over two days with no easy opponents. First up was a grudge match against Wales, it was an absolute thriller of a game lasting almost 4 hours, the crucial game coming at 1-1 in matches, when my team mate Alan Walsh was 10-3 up in the fifth set against Jac Jenkins and lost 12-10. We were very disappointed to lose that match 4-2. After that, we were drained and disheartened, making the rest of the day very tough. We lost our next two games 5-1. But Sunday was a new day and we ended up drawing our first game 3-3 and winning our last 4-2. I had a disappointing day though, only winning 1 of 4 matches. Zak had a very good weekend winning 6 from 10 of his matches. It was a tough weekend which left us in 6th place from 8 teams. Not what we were hoping for but I think we were a little unlucky. When I look back at the seven games I lost, three were in the fifth set and easily could’ve gone the other way. As Alan Walsh once said “It’s not about what happened, it’s about what is going to happen”. I have to thank the coaches with me on the trip who were Con Higgins and John Murphy.

I then had to very quickly turn my attention to France. I was back in Ireland on Sunday then out to Hyeres on Tuesday. It was a bit of stress to getting my Irish gear ready on time, but I just about managed to scrape everything together with one or two wet t-shirts in the mix.

I’m still new to the para circuit and my ranking is still low, meaning I was drawn into a tough group, with top ranked players in the world. The number 7, Kim Daybell from England and the number 14, Vladimir Glazov from Russia. I lost 2 of my games and won 1 meaning I didn’t get through my group.  I had a chance against Glazov, but I struggled with his style. In the team event I paired up with Swedish class 9 Linus Karlsson, who is ranked 10th in class 9. I got a group which seemed very familiar to me, as again I would be faced with Russian and British opponents, as well as a Brazilian team. We lost two of our matches 3-1 against the Russian and British teams but beat the Brazilians 3-1. I won 4 from 6 matches in the team event, most notably against the number 3 in the world in class 9 Iurii Nozdrunov. I’m a little bit disappointed that I didn’t progress through my group in either event however there are a lot of positives to take from this tournament. But to reach my goal of qualifying for Rio, it must get better.

I can’t forget to mention superman. The guy I shared my room with A.K.A Colin Judge. Colin had an unbelievable tournament beating the world no.1, 6 and 22. It is even more impressive when you realize that before this tournament he was ranked 53rd in class 2. I’d also like to thank my coach Tibor and Des Ryan for all the support given on the trip.

At the moment I’m on my mid-term break, preparing for the upcoming competitions that are the Leinster grand prix and the Ulster open. My local amenities centre has been kind enough to allow me to use their table tennis room for training, so I’m doing a lot of practice in there now.

That pretty much sums up my past few weeks in table tennis, if you have any questions or anything you want me to talk about in my next blog be sure to let me know, I’m always looking for a bit of inspiration. Until next time!!!

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