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Jorge Alberto Miño Puga - Interview

By Rahul Acharya | June 07, 2015, 12 a.m. (ET)

Jorge Alberto Miño Puga (Ecuador)

I spoke to Jorge shortly after a tough loss to Jin Ueda (Japan) in the Quarter Finals of the Men's Singles at the US Open.

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Table Tennis Star Jorge Alberto Mino Puga with Rahul Acharya
With Jorge Alberto Miño Puga (#1 player in Ecuador) and my brother

Below is a summary of the conversation:

1. For how long have you been playing table tennis?
A long time. I started playing when I was 8 years old.

2. I know in South America fútbol is big. How did you end up playing table tennis?
I started with fútbol, but after I played both fútbol and table tennis, at the end I picked table tennis. But I love fútbol too.

3. Physically, is it easier to play fútbol or table tennis?
They are totally different. For fútbol you need to have more power in the legs. In table tennis, you need to have very fast reaction. They use different muscles. After playing fútbol, if I go play table tennis, I don't play well because I don't have the required reaction time. But during holidays, I play fútbol.

4. What teams are you currently playing on?
Right now, I live in Germany. I've been playing in a club there for 2 years now.

5. Are there other members on the team from Ecuador?
No. There are people from all over - Czechs, Croatians, Japanese, ...

6. Do you miss food from home?
Yes, that is why I go back 2 - 3 times year to see my family, my friends, and for the food.

7. I've seen many players get nervous in close matches. At match point, they have the ball and yet, they miss their serve. How can a player learn to calm the nerves, take risk, not fear, and yet not play stupid?
It is good to focus on the tactics. For example, in this match that I just played, I knew a tactic that worked for me. So I focused on the type of serve that I was going to do.

8. What do you think is your best career match?
I have quite a few. I've beat better Japanese players, but that time I was playing very good. But it is not possible to play good all the time. Sometimes you play good, sometimes you don't.

9. How do get back when you are not playing good? How do you not doubt yourself?
I stay positive and remind myself that this is normal because your body will not play good every time. It is not possible. For example, if you run 10 kilometers, after that you will not run as well as in the beginning. It is normal to go down little bit, then up, and then down, and up again. I came here to play table tennis and prepare myself for the next tournament, so that's what I am doing.

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Jorge repeated Samson Dubina's advise to focus on tactics, rather than on winning or losing the match. You will win some, you will lose some ... but you must keep playing.