Henzell unsure on Rio Games tilt
22 July 2015
TABLE TENNIS: Half way through the final of this month’s Australian Championships William Henzell convinced himself he was going to lose, and that it wouldn’t matter.
At the other end of the table 26-year-old Chris Yan was leading the three-time Olympian on a merry dance, and Henzell was struggling to find the answers.
“Normally in those kinds of matches I can pull together my focus,” Henzell said.
“But in this match I just accepted defeat, accepted I was going to lose this match and that I’d be okay with that, before I started getting control of the match.”
His unorthodox approach did the trick. 33-year-old Henzell slowly gained control, grinding out a tough seven-set win.
Earlier Henzell had to survive another seven setter, this time against the vastly improved Wade Townsend, in the quarter finals.
Henzell emerged from the Croydon weekend with an Australian title, but uncertainty over his own future.
He’d love to make a fourth Olympic Games, but what he learned on the weekend is that to get to Rio he’ll need to reassess his priorities.
“I still haven’t made my mind up about Rio, because I wouldn’t feel comfortable about going into a qualification, or even going into Rio, with the preparation I’ve had now – one or two days a week,” he said.
“It will take a couple of months of hard work, it will mean deferring from Uni and putting my focus entirely on my training.
“That’s the decision I have to make. At this stage I think I will, but it will depend how I feel at the time.”
Henzell is setting no deadline on making a decision. To be honest, with work, study and table tennis filling his diary, he can’t clear his head enough at the moment.
“My head is so full of noise from everything I’m finding it really hard to do my best at table tennis,” he said.
“It’s not easy, to be honest. I’m certainly struggling under the load. It’s really hard to do three things really well. Two, okay. Three – really difficult.
“Before table tennis was the second important thing, after work. Now it’s well and truly third after work and study.”
The Henzell-Yan final was one of several gripping finals in Croydon, with Sally Zhang needing six sets to see off top seed Jian Fang Lay to claim the senior women’s Australian title.
Beijing Olympian, Stephanie Sang, on the comeback trail shared the bronze with 2014 Commonwealth Games debutant, Melissa Tapper, while in the men’s the bronze medals were shared by the promising junior, Ivan Sulfaro, and another of the 2014 Commonwealth Games team, David Powell.
Table Tennis Australia