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Daniel Rosenfeld Interview

By Rahul Acharya | Nov. 10, 2014, 12 a.m. (ET)

Daniel Rosenfeld Interview 

Courtesy of Rahul Acharya

It was nice to see old faces at the US Open. Amongst them was an old friend, Daniel Rosenfeld. Daniel and I share a common table tennis experience. Both of us played our first table tennis tournament at the same time and at the same club - back in September 2012 at the Westchester Table Tennis Center, Pleasantville, NY.

Quick facts about Daniel Rosenfeld:
2014 U.S. Para Junior National Team
#69 for Class 7 Men in the world
#4 for Class 7 Men in USA

Daniel Rosenfled and Rahul Acharya
Daniel Rosenfeld (2014 U.S. Para Junior National Team Member)
Table Tennis Star Daniel Rosenfeld with Rahul Acharya
With Daniel Rosenfeld at the 2014 US Open

When did you start playing table tennis?
I started playing table tennis when I was eight years old and played occasionally with my brothers and parents just for fun. Until I was 16, table tennis wasn’t really anything too serious to me; it was still more of a game than a sport. Table tennis became a main focus of my life when I competed in my first official tournament in September 2012.

What do you enjoy the most about table tennis?
Table tennis brings all kinds of people together. Nearly every club or tournament I go to is diverse and welcoming. Anybody can play table tennis regardless of his or her stature, physical ability, gender, or age. At tournaments, I’ve competed against opponents as young as eight and as old as 84.

Have you competed in any Paralympic tournaments?
I have competed in two international Paralympic tournaments. I competed in the 2013 Mike Dempsey Memorial International Table Tennis Championships in December 2013, and I competed in the 2014 Para Table Tennis Spanish Open in June 2014. I was a quarterfinalist in the Men’s Class 7 Singles in the Spanish Open.

What was your favorite part of competing in the Mike Dempsey tournament?
The most exciting part of the tournament was when I won my first-ever international match, defeating Belgium’s representative 3-0. I also really enjoyed watching my teammates compete.

What are your future plans or goals?
My ultimate goal is to compete in the Paralympic Games. In order to qualify, I need to be in the top 16 in the world for my disability class, so it will definitely take time and determination. I am so excited to attend Cornell University for the next four years. Cornell has a strong table tennis team, and I look forward to training and competing with the team.

What qualities do you admire in an athlete?
I admire athletes who are respectful and well mannered toward their opponents. Specifically in table tennis, it is considered polite to apologize to your opponent when you get a lucky shot that skims the edge of the table. I admire the honesty that many table-tennis players exhibit. With the exception of national and international tournaments, most table-tennis tournaments don’t have referees for each match; it’s up to the two players to keep score. It’s incredible to see a player be honest about their opponent’s shot skimming the edge of the table or correcting a score that accidently gave them an extra point. Also, it’s always nice to hear your opponent compliment a good shot of yours, even in the finals of a tournament.

I've never seen you get upset after losing a match. What's your secret?
I compete in tournaments because I enjoy playing table tennis. Winning is great, but having fun comes first. When I lose a match, I try not to let emotions overcome my behavior. I remind myself that I'll always have another tournament to play better in, and I reflect on my game - how I can improve to play more strongly next time.