Portugal's top table tennis player Marcos Freitas says doing well in big tournaments like the Olympics, World or European championship matters more than world ranking. The world number 14, here to represent Dabang Smashers TTC in the inaugural Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT), which begins tomorrow, said, "performances in the big events matter the most. "Numbers (ranking) don't bother me too much. My aim is to keep improving and work on technique and strategy. If I improve, I can win medals in most important tournaments like Olympics, World Championship, European Championship. Performances in them are more memorable." A silver medallist at the 2015 European Table Tennis Championships, the 29-year-old Freitas said improved performances in international tournaments had seen the sport grow in his country in recent years. "Some years ago, it (TT) was not really popular. Since we have had good results at the international level, the sport has grown and we are recognised for that. When we walk on the street, some people ask us for pictures and autographs. They recognise and respect us," the southpaw from Madeira, who was once ranked as high as No.7 in the world, told PTI. He is upbeat about UTT and said the format makes it interesting. Moreover, he said, the Indians stand to gain a lot. "It is going to benefit them (Indians) a lot. They will play more times against foreign players, in a short time, which would be intense and will stand them in good stead.
Playing against us and practising with us, they can learn a lot, how we practice, what we do to improve." On the domination of the Chinese, he said they were far ahead of the rest now and it would take time to catch up. "I think everybody knows that Chinese players are the leaders, the strongest." "I guess European players are also good. But I think it is the Chinese versus the rest of the world. Chinese are above the other nations. They have a lot of history in the sport. They always had World, Olympic champions. They have the best coaches, best facilities and will be hard to beat for some time to come," he said. On the team's preparation for the first game of UTT on July 14 against Shaze Challengers, Freitas said, "We are practising good. Everybody is practising every day. I hope we get a good start. Like I said before with the draft system, every team is really strong. If we don't have a good start, it could become difficult." The Portugal player will be part of the Smashers team that also includes Indians G Sathiyan, A Amalraj, Madhurika Pakar, Mousumi Paul, apart from Kim Song-I and Kou Lei.
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