USATT Insider poses 11 questions to Stefano Ratti (right) along with Larry Hodges and friend!
11 Questions with Stefano Ratti
1) Why do you play?
Table-tennis is such a fun sport – I like the exercise, I enjoy the challenge of competitive matches, and I have also made great friends. I played as a junior in Italy, then didn’t play for over 10 years, then played again for another year or so, then stopped again for another 10+ years, and then started again 2.5 years ago. I like that the injury rate is lower than soccer! Now my kids (12, 10, and 8-years old) are getting into it as well, so I play with them too.
2) Which is your favorite tournament?
The Joola Teams, for sure. It’s packed with lots of competitive matches and it’s close to my Maryland home.
3) Who is your primary nemesis?
I would say Raghu Nadmichettu. I practice with him regularly at MDTTC and we know each other well – we are always very close in matches, but somehow he beat me four times in a row in rated tournaments! I must be “mentally weak”, as they say!
4) What is your favorite game tactic to score?
I love to score on long counter-looping rallies, but I don’t get too many of those in a match! Occasionally, I also like to throw in an unexpected chop that usually surprises the opponent. More pragmatically, though, a typical combination for me is: serve short, bait the opponent to flip on my backhand, and then attack aggressively with my backhand loop.
5) Thoughts on the Poly Ball.
It slowed down the game a little bit, so I am all for it, since I can’t compete with the speed of the upcoming juniors. Not all poly balls are created equal, though – the better ones are great, but the lower-quality ones can be annoyingly unpredictable.
6) Toughest Loss?
Final match of the Italian Cadet National Championship in 1990. I was up against a stronger opponent, but it still hurt!
7) Greatest Win?
Since you are asking the question, Sean, I should say that, technically speaking, my best win, i.e. the win with the highest rating points differential, was my win against you at the Potomac Fall Open in 2002! As I had almost no match history in the U.S. at that time, I had a low rating and I think I caught you by surprise! More recently, I had a great win against 2600-rated Sun Jianhao last year at the Spring MDTTC Open.
8) How do you prepare for a tournament?
I just try to get a good night sleep and not over-exert myself the day before. And spend time with my wife and boys!
9) When you see a new player at the club, what do you do?
MDTTC is a very busy club, so usually there will be somebody he/she can talk to. But certainly, if I have a chance, I will say hello and try to help in any way.
10) Player you would most like to play in a tournament?
Anybody who beat me in the past, so I can get some revenge!
11) If you had to face Kanak Jha what would your game plan be?
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst! What do you mean that’s not a game plan? I would also stretch my back and get ready to bend down and pick up the ball many times after he shoots powerful forehands past me!