USATT Insider poses 11 questions to Matthew Winkler of Table Tennis and More!
11 Questions with Matthew Winkler
1) Why do you play?
I play now for the competition and the exercise. I love the mental and physical exercise I get from playing. I also enjoy the battle to improve, which is extremely difficult at this point.
2) Which is your favorite tournament?
I only played in it once, but the team tournament over thanksgiving was my favorite tournament. It allowed me to play a ton of matches, and against all players around my level. I don't get that opportunity often as there aren't many higher level players in Arizona.
3) Who is your primary nemesis?
Right now my primary nemesis is Prasanna Sundarajan, as he has beaten me in the finals of the last two Arizona tournaments.
4) What is your favorite game tactic to score?
My favorite way to score is to serve heavy underspin and then try to loopdrive for a winner. However, these days the ball tends to come back more often...
5) Thoughts on the Poly Ball.
At first I hated the poly ball, probably like most people. But once I got a hold of the seamless ball, I started liking them. Especially the Xiom ball, as it plays great! But am not a huge fan of any seamed poly ball. I believe it has slowed the game down, taken away some of the spin, both were my strengths, so it's taking some time getting used to.
6) Toughest Loss?
My toughest loss had to be at an Arizona Open where I was in the quarters, one round away from the money, and beating a guy, Qingqing, who I had never lost to, 3 games to 0, in a best of 7. And something happened where I just lost my focus and he came back and won. That was not fun.
7) Greatest Win?
I don't know what I would consider my greatest win to be. I beat Earl Alto, once, and beat John Leach at a Nationals when he wasn't in training. At this past US Open, I got to play Ishanna Deb, who beat me at 0 at the Nationals last year. I ended up beating her in 5 this time around, so that felt great!
8) How you prepare for a tournament?
I don't prepare too much, as these days I coach close to 40 hours a week. So I try to play a few more games and focus more on my serve and serve return right before a tournament.
9) When you see a new player at the club, what do you do?
When a new player comes into my club, I welcome them, try to find them someone to play with, give them so tips if they want it. And of course try to get them to become a member!
10) Player you would most like to play in a tournament?
I would like to play Tahl Leibovitz in a tournament. He may destroy me, but I think it would a unique and interesting match.
11) If you had to face Jimmy Butler, Lily Zhang or Kanak Jha what would your game plan be?
If I had to play any of those great players, my strategy would probably be serve under, and swing hard and hope!