Liam Pitchford wants this week’s European Table Tennis Championships to be his best ever as he bids to edge ever closer to the world’s top 100.
The 20-year-old has claimed some notable scalps at previous European Championships, including three-time men’s singles gold medallist Vladimir Samsonov in 2011.
Individually Pitchford has reached the last 32 of the men’s singles draw at the last two Championships and will lead a four-strong English team in Austria.
As a team England will be bidding for promotion to the Championship Division with Andrew Baggaley, Daniel Reed and Sam Walker completing the quartet.
England will also have four women in action individually as well as a team also bidding to get out of the Challenge Division and into the Championship tier.
Joanna Drinkhall and Kelly Sibley, who represented Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics last summer, lead the team which also includes Hannah Hicks and Tin-Tin Ho.
And Pitchford, who has taken over from Paul Drinkhall as the British No.1 and is currently ranked 122nd in the world, wants this year’s Europeans to be one to remember.
“It’s just a number in my eyes but it is always nice to say you’re No.1, I hope now I can push on and break into the top 100,” said Pitchford.
“I guess I always prepare well for the European Championships and after the last few years I now have something to build on.
“It’s massively important to be fresh for every match, these past few months now I have been back at my club in Germany where I have been working hard to be in top shape physically and mentally for the Europeans.
“My aim is to go further than last year, the last two years I have lost close in the last 32 so I hope this year I can go one better.”
© Sportsbeat 2013