11 Questions with Sean O'Neill
1) Why do you play?
- For exercise, for competition, and to help others improve.
2) Which is your favorite tournament?
- As a player, I really loved participating in the US Olympic Festival. As a coach, I enjoyed any Para or NCTTA Championships from the team perspective. As a volunteer and staffer, the US Open or Nationals are tough to beat to see old friends and commentate on great competition.
3) Who is your primary nemesis?
4) What is your favorite game tactic to score?
- 3rd ball forehand attack off short backhand serve to opponent's forehand.
5) Thoughts on the Poly Ball
- I love the Nittaku Premium 40+. It allows for great shot making and has a true bounce. The other balls don't compare to date. It is the official ball of our Friday Night League.
6) Toughest Loss?
- Losing to practice partner and best friend Chartchai Teekaveerkit in the finals of 1986 US Nationals Men's Singles Final. It was probably my most valuable loss also as it showed me the importance of staying focused on each and every point. Along the same lines my worst loss (matches where I had no chance) was Tibor Klampar (HUN) in the 1988 Olympics and Wang Tao at the 1992 Japan Open. I literally had no way to score a point!
7) Greatest Win?
- Qualifying for the 1988 & 1992 Olympics were my biggest accomplishments. Beating Eric Boggan in the Men's Singles Finals of the 1988 US Nationals was my most memorable match as I had lost in all of our prior meetings. On top of it we were playing for $5000 in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace.
8) How you prepare for a tournament?
- A good night's sleep, good breakfast and good warm-up (stretching and stroke work). Prior to the the tournament I would do video analysis of my competition, off the table physical training, serve and serve return exercises and tons of games.
9) When you see a new player at the club, what do you do?
- I welcome them to the club and ask them how they found out about the club. I try to get a feel of their expectations for the sport and then as if they would like to hit some.
10) Player you would most like to play in a tournament?
11) If you had to face Jimmy Butler what would your game plan be?
- I would get ready for a mental battle. It was always a treat to play Jimmy in a championship match as he is a true competitor in every sense of the word. Tactically I know that he is going to pound my weaknesses, so I would have to choose my shots wisely. My biggest challenge is to make quality serve returns to get into the point on my terms. I guess if we ever went expedite (like we did in the US Men's Singles Finals in 1991 US Nationals) again I would hope to have Suguro Araki keeping track of the ball count! ;-)