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11 Questions with Kevin Korb

By USATT | Nov. 16, 2015, 12 a.m. (ET)

 Kevin Korb

USATT Insider poses 11 questions to Kevin Korb

11 Questions with Kevin Korb

1) Why do you play?

Table tennis has become my passion. I play because I enjoy table tennis more than anything else. When I was ten, I expressed interest in ping pong lessons, but the nearest club was more than an hour from my house. Instead, I played other sports competitively as I grew up. Unfortunately, a back injury before college brought the end of my volleyball career. I arrived at the University of Southern California in need of a hobby, and found myself at home with the members of the USC table tennis team, the Ping Pong Posse. 

2) Which is your favorite tournament?

My favorite tournament is whichever one I’m currently playing in! Of the recent tournaments I have participated in, I had a great time this past August in the Butterfly LA Open. 

3) Who is your primary nemesis?

There’s a player at my club named Tom Tsao. He’s a Japenese Penhold style player with no rubber on his backhand side. The last three matches we played all went to five, and there is always an element of friendly banter involved in our matches. I always have a great time playing with him. 

4) What is your favorite game tactic to score?

I enjoy lobbing when the style matchup favors this tactic against an opponent, but nothing gives me more satisfaction than a well-placed drop shot to win a point.

5) Thoughts on the Poly Ball.

I don’t have a strong preference. Since I had only been playing competitively with the celluloid balls for a relatively short period of time, I don’t think the transition affected me as much as it did some others. I’ve grown to like them.

6) Toughest Loss?

I was upset in the LA Open by a very underrated lefty penhold player who played only with his forehand and used antispin rubber. The toughest part was that I did not realize he had antispin rubber until we began to warm up. I saw him play two other matches in our group against lower rated players and I did not pay attention to these matches enough to notice he used antispin. I spent the first two games of the match frustrated with myself for not paying better attention to his previous matches. By the time I worked out a strategy the match was over.

7) Greatest Win?

I beat Zaman Molla on two separate occasions in the Dirty Dozen at SPiN LA. In order to get this win, I played some of the best table tennis I have ever played (including an around the net roller shot to go up 10-9 and then an ace serve on a perfect serve to win 11-9 in the third) and he was just playing around having fun. Both wins were in the round robin group stage, and he both times went on to advance and then still win the event.

8) How you prepare for a tournament?

Tournaments are long, tiring events. I make sure I get enough sleep the night before and often prep an ice chest full of food to keep my energy up throughout the day.

9) When you see a new player at the club?

Table tennis clubs can come across as pretty intimidating to new players. I’m working to change this. We make sure to welcome any new players to the club, answer any questions they might have, and help pair them up with a playing partner if they have trouble finding someone. I’m always happy to see new faces at my club.

10) Player you would most like to play in a tournament?

I would love a shot for revenge at the lefty penhold player I lost to in the LA open. I have a feeling the result would be very different the second time around.

11) If you had to face Jimmy Butler, Lily Zhang or Kanak Jha what would your game plan be?

Sweep the leg! Just kidding. All three of them are such incredible players that it would take a miracle to give any of them a serious challenge. I would consider the match a success as long as I had a good time. You would likely see me try to confuse them with trick shots, lobs, hits between my legs, and funky serves. 

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