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Ferenc Karsai Full 1 Hour Interview - Plastic Balls, Boosters, How to Improve Your Game, and Much More

11 September 2017  | Posted in: Fun & Inspiration, Table Tennis Tips

Here's the full 1 hour version of our interview with Ferenc Karsai, one of Europe's most famous table tennis coaches.

Who is Ferenc Karsai?

Karsai is one of Europe's most famous table tennis coaches. He was the head coach of Austrian Men’s National Team from 1995 to 2013 working with Karl Jindrak, Robert Gardos, Chen Weixing, Werner Schlager, Daniel Habesohn, and others. Coach of World Team against China in 2004, and was elected to be the best trainer of all sports in Austria in 2003.

Although officially retired after leaving the Austrian National Team, he remains active and has been seen coaching Canadian and Belgium players at World Championships and other important international competitions.

If you're interested in taking your game to the next level, Ferenc's training camp is the perfect opportunity to do that. Click here for more information.

Got any questions or comments? Let us know in the discussion section below! Did you find this interview helpful? Why not share it with your friends!

YOU CAN ALSO WATCH THE INTERVIEW BY TOPIC HERE:
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 1: How Plastic Balls Have Changed Table Tennis
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 2: How Could the Best European Players Beat the Best Asian Players?
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 3: Is the Sport of Table Tennis Expanding or Shrinking?
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 4: Advice to Recreational Table Tennis Players for Improving Their Game
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 5: Are Boosters Good for Table Tennis?
Ferenc Karsai Video Interview Part 6: Are the Many Recent Changes in Table Tennis Rules Good?

Save 20-25% on Table Tennis Equipment >>

 

Transcript of the Interview:

The Interviewer: Today, our guest is top table tennis coach from Hungary, Mr. Ferenc Karsai. Is that correct?

Ferenc Karsai: That's correct, yes.

The Interviewer: It's correct. We are happy to meet him in Estonia. Ferenc, welcome to Estonia. Very nice to see you. Thank you for coming, and thank you also for this great opportunity to ask some questions.

Ferenc Karsai: Thank you for the invitation. This invitation came from ETTU, because European Table Tennis Union asked me, that Estonia want to make one coach seminar and I am first time here, and I am very happy that I take this opportunity to be here, and from tomorrow, we make coach seminar. 

The Interviewer: Okay. Then, I have to thank also European Table Tennis Union for this wonderful opportunity. As you know, I am working for Tabletennis11 company. We are shipping table tennis equipment all over the world. As a top coach, you are coaching national teams. Also not weakest countries, you are coaching big table tennis nations. You don't need to buy quite often this equipment, because you are supplied by national federations, I guess.  Still, I guess you heard something about Tabletennis11.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes, I heard it. Yes. Not so much, and I know you long time, and I know what are you working. 

The Interviewer: Okay. That's great. Everybody now is talking about plastic ball. Plastic ball changed our life, our table tennis life recently. What is your opinion about plastic ball, how it happened that the plastic ball came, and what do you think about future of table tennis in connection with this new ball?

Ferenc Karsai: Some reasons why it came, we talk before about it that in the business, faster working the business, were so transport better with the plastic balls. They had some really reasons why they change it. But, in the table tennis, it's for my side like coach, also is a little bit changing, not a little bit, very much changing. If you think about it, maybe you must thinking about the table tennis style, to change a little bit, to play faster, not so much rotation, to play faster table tennis, maybe closer from the table, or if you are in the background, you can also play with this, but little changing the movement. It's still now is not really 100% what you must change and how, but in the future, maybe we can say exact answer for this question. 

The Interviewer: You're saying that the game will change a lot.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. Because for example, the chopper, you've heard ... Obliged the chopper to play very good topspin. If you see nowadays, some chopper player who play very hard for a topspin, like Gionis, is still okay. It didn't go down so much. But, another chopper, if only chop, only defense, I think very difficult for them, very difficult for them, because they cannot make so much chop, so much rotation, backspin not so much. After the speed spin, you can kill the ball.

The Interviewer: Nowadays, it's even more important for choppers, their attacking abilities.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Than before.

Ferenc Karsai: Possible, yes. I think also.

The Interviewer: What do you think in terms of material, which players are using? Rubbers and blades, were they continue to use the same equipment, or they also have to change a little bit?

Ferenc Karsai: I think they have to change also, maybe not big change, but some change. I don't know exact now, but I think the rubbers now is really more better quality, like before. Before, some years ago, the Tenergy was high, the best quality. Now, all rubbers from all companies, more more better and not so big difference between the quality. Now, whole change the quality, whole change the rubbers, now, with the plastic balls, I didn't think about it so much still. Now maybe in the future, must thinking about it. Because, the biggest problem, the plastic balls, was so much different, still now is so much different, if you play world championship and you play Europe championship with Nittaku balls, totally, and other balls like DHS or Stiga balls, or ... It's different, different and very special preparation needed to go to the world championship or to Europe championship.

The Interviewer: Before, there was also difference between quality of different brands of the balls.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Now, the difference is much bigger.

Ferenc Karsai: Much bigger. Exact, this Nittaku is ... This is almost the first time we play with these balls without preparation. Maybe you cannot make a point... The ball doesn't jump, and you don't catch the ball. It's unbelievable.

The Interviewer: The bounce was not exactly the same as before. 

Ferenc Karsai: No. 

The Interviewer: Okay.

Ferenc Karsai: Total difference.

The Interviewer: Now we have the situations, the same as in lawn tennis. You have to play different style and you need to have special preparation for clay, for hard. Now, you have ... In table tennis, now you to prepare for the ball.

Ferenc Karsai: With the balls, just not with the tables.

The Interviewer: Yeah, not with the tables, but ...

Ferenc Karsai: We don't have clay tables still now, but in the balls, I think in the future, I think they make nearly same quality. They must do it.

The Interviewer: They must do it.

Ferenc Karsai: Because it's just not possible that all big events, special preparation. 

The Interviewer: What about the quality of the ball?

Ferenc Karsai: In the beginning, was unbelievable. Sometimes in the practice, a two and half hour practice, 28, 30 balls broken. I don't want to say which company, but 30 balls was broken.

The Interviewer: But why you don't want to say which company?

Ferenc Karsai: Because I don't want to say nothing. But it was true. Now, is a little bit, or not little bit, more better quality, if the time goes, after the ball quality always better and better. But, different.

The Interviewer: Different, yes. Different.

Ferenc Karsai: This new world tour balls from DHS, is I think start to be good.

The Interviewer: Start to be good. You mean the second generation of the balls?

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Okay. It's your opinion or also players accept this quality of the balls?

Ferenc Karsai: Both. I think that my players now and I have same opinion.

The Interviewer: No complaints about the quality?

Ferenc Karsai: Complain? 

The Interviewer: Still ...

Ferenc Karsai: Still complain, but we have same opinion about the balls, the players and I.

The Interviewer: What do you think, is it possible that there will be a players of a new generation that play different style, meant for this plastic ball?

Ferenc Karsai: Now if you see, the little bit the table tennis now, you can see one way from Japan. If you compare with China, if the best three, four Chinese players, they are completely full ... 

The Interviewer: Without competition...

Ferenc Karsai: Completely full professional players. The new generation, from Japan now, very dangerous. You don't know how fast they, they are unbelievably  fast, unbelievable special table tennis, a table with backhand. This is, I think, maybe the new generation style of the table tennis, closer from table and to play very fast table, very fast table tennis, with backhand more, and also forehand, like Harimoto play. This is maybe a new style of table tennis, very good flick from table, and also very good short.  If you can do this, after maybe a new style of table tennis or a new generation coming, but not from China now, from Japan.

The Interviewer: From Japan.

Ferenc Karsai: What looks like.

The Interviewer: You see in the future, there could be a competition between Chinese players and Japanese players?

Ferenc Karsai: I can say now, I think that most dangerous for China, Japan, little bit Korea also because they are also very fast players.

The Interviewer: Also very ...

Ferenc Karsai: The fast players is more important now, like the slower with big rotation and so. This is most ...

The Interviewer: This is because of the balls?

Ferenc Karsai: Also because of the balls. Style change and the balls change. 

The Interviewer: As far I know, you worked a lot in Europe. Do you think that there is any chance or any opportunity for European countries and for European players to compete with best Chinese and best Japanese players now? 

Ferenc Karsai: When I was a national coach in Austria, I practice three times with Chinese national team, because we practice together, preparation to the world championships three times. The table tennis was not so fast like now [inaudible] from table. They are more professional than in Europe. I cannot compare all organization, practice, coach, how many players working with the coach, the analyzer, everything is more professional. I don't see that European has so professional organization, even one country. Or, European work together, I don't see that European work together, because the big countries like German and French, they work separate. After very difficult to organize in Europe, central camp or central long project, against China. This is, I don't think so, that China or Asia, we can say now Asia, we are not so good like the Asia.

The Interviewer: You think that this distance, this gap from China to Europe, it will be bigger?

Ferenc Karsai: Asia to Europe is bigger.

The Interviewer: Asia to Europe, yes. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Asia to Europe will be bigger and bigger.

Ferenc Karsai: Bigger and bigger.

The Interviewer: You see no chance for Europe for to make any steps?

Ferenc Karsai: Because don't work together, Europe. 

The Interviewer: The only possibility is to join together.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. Because, the system is different. If you see, Japan, also China and Korea, first priority, the national and international. National team, and the international world championship, Asia game, or Olympic championship. Here, first priority in Europe, to get the money from the club. The club money is most important, like high priority than international, world championship and Olympic games. And then federations doesn't work together with the club enough, they work something together. This is not enough. If you see it in China, you have the China team, professional team, in August, one and a half months, and finished. After they are free, for the national team. National practice and everything from October until world championship, everything, they do what the national federation say. After, they must make full preparation. In Europe, you start with the club, club, club, club. Club don't give permission to go to international, but the player cannot do nothing because they need their money. This is the problem. This is also one point why Asia more gap between ...

The Interviewer: More gap between other worlds. The only chance for Europe is to be unified. 

Ferenc Karsai: For Europe, I think is a chance. If the free times for the best players, 18, 20 years, the best players, together to work, I think one year - two months, different time, together, and professional preparation, technique correction, everything, what is the best in the future, to make ... But, it must organize the European Table Tennis Union for east countries, west countries, is the best. Without protection, really the best talents. After, maybe we can come step by step to ...

The Interviewer: Closer to Asian.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Players. 

Ferenc Karsai: This is my opinion. 

The Interviewer: What do you think, in terms of not politic, not money, but in terms of preparation, in terms of training process? Is there any opportunity to beat this Chinese system, which they have a lot of playing hours, a lot of practice, a lot of coaches. But before Sweden could compete with Chinese. Even Chinese team was very strong. They paid a lot attention to table tennis on different levels. On the club levels, on the government levels, but still Sweden was able to compete against China, because they have different style, different way of practicing. 

Ferenc Karsai: You speak ...

The Interviewer: I'm talking whether, should Europeans copy Chinese way of training, or they should create something their own?

Ferenc Karsai: If we speak about the Sweden generation, beat China about 20 years ago.

The Interviewer: Exactly.

Ferenc Karsai: Karlsson, Persson, Waldner. Before Hungary beat.

The Interviewer: Yes, before Hungary ...

Ferenc Karsai: My country beat China also. This is about '79, we beat China, Hungary. It was 40 years ago almost. What's happened in these 40 years? 40 years, why first Hungary can beat China? Because the Hungarian players made a revolution in table tennis. New style of table tennis. The rotation. The Chinese players played one of ... Half with pimples, some players played with penhold, rotation. But, the revolution made Hungary. Also, the Sweden generation made revolution in table tennis. They played both side very good, and at that time, the Chinese make focus only for the forehand topspin, serve, and after forehand topspin almost all the table. After Sweden beat them, this is 2000, I remember in Kuala Lumpur in the team, Jorgen win two matches against China. After 2003, my player, Schlager, beat the Olympic champion and world champion, and after, he was the world champion in table tennis. But, his table tennis was very much variable, mixed everything and unbelievable good feeling. I don't think so, that now with this ball, it's possible to play the table tennis what he played. This is also, it's very much changing, and more faster everything. I think we need time with these new balls, plastic balls, and to find good relation between the fast play, between the feeling, and between the plastic materials, I think.

The Interviewer: We have to adjust first to the material and then we have to decide which way to go?

Ferenc Karsai: What's happened, yeah.

The Interviewer: What's happened, yeah.

Ferenc Karsai: I think this is not, these balls is not for China is the best, for Japanese better, looks like now. 

The Interviewer: Yeah. When I talk to coaches from China, they told that this ball is not good for Chinese.

Ferenc Karsai: I think also. They didn't talk about it, but I feel this also. 

The Interviewer: Yeah. They said that this ball has less rotation and last year, they pay a lot for mastering this topspin game. Now, they have less spin, more speed. It's not really benefit for Chinese.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. Also, they lost in Asia games already. They lost now in the world championship, also Zhang Jike lost. It's not, looks like that not easy for them. 

The Interviewer: Not easy. What do you think about future of table tennis as a sport? Because now, in many big table tennis countries, such as Germany, France, they are by far biggest in Europe for table tennis. Also, last but not least in China, table tennis is reducing. Less players are playing, if we talk about Germany and France, less license players, less players on the club level. Also, young generations, they have a lot of other opportunities to go to other kind of sports, to play games, or to study. There are nowadays, I feel that there are a lot of competition from outside to table tennis. What is your opinion. Is table tennis developing, or could the sport develop, or it would be shrinking?

Ferenc Karsai: This is a very good question. But I think also, a little bit positive in this time, that some people start to play table tennis, the older play people. Because for the sport, like only amateur sport, is very good sport, the table tennis. I think altogether, the people who play table tennis in the world, is not less, because many people like to winter, to go to the table tennis or to play table tennis, but not professional. This is, I think, is one, we keep the table tennis player all in the world, but not the professional. The professional is a question. If somebody decided that ... play table tennis, and after ... to have enough money from the table tennis is the first question. Better to study, or together, possible study and table tennis, and play high level. This is the second question. This is the reason why not so many table tennis, like maybe could be.  For example, I was one year and one and a half year in Canada, and there is the problem that the players, they finish the table tennis if they are 17, because so big countries, it's not possible practice and study. They know it from table tennis, is very difficult, has enough money for the life. This is a problem. If like in tennis, sure, if you are good tennis player, you don't have money problem in your life. But, in table tennis, is not so. This is also is a little bit problem, I think, that they don't have enough money, the professional players, only the best 30 or best 40 in the world can live good from table tennis, but 120 ... If you are for example teacher in the school, or you are 120 in table tennis in west country, I think that teacher has more money than the 120 in the world. 

The Interviewer: This is not about money, this is about table tennis. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Table tennis nowadays is not enough to survive.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. 

The Interviewer: As a sport ...

Ferenc Karsai: I am a little bit pessimist, but I think we must find a new solution that we have enough maybe change the system in the league, or something like this. After they have more fun to play table tennis, will professional also.

The Interviewer: On a professional level. 

Ferenc Karsai: But all total, I think we didn't lose so many people in table tennis, because many amateur people play table tennis. 

The Interviewer: It's not a secret that we know each other quite a long time. Once I came to your training camp. You're doing your training camp each year in Hungary on the Balaton Lake, and this is also opportunity to make a good advertisement for you, so you can ... I was visiting this camp together with my son. He was playing table tennis at that time, he's still playing.

Ferenc Karsai: I remember still, he was small, eight years old or something. 

The Interviewer: 10 years old. He's still playing. We went to different countries at that time. One time, we were in Croatia, one time in Hungary, and one time in China. But your table tennis camp was really outstanding. Much better than all other camps. 

Ferenc Karsai: Thank you very much.

The Interviewer: Not at all, it's your job, and you do it very well. I remember that there were altogether maybe 30 players. You and your coaches, they paid attention to each player and each player has opportunity to master his skills. Even amateur player could play this one week or two weeks, and he can improve.  What is the secret? 

Ferenc Karsai: This is not secret. We have different coaches, specialists for amateur players, and very important, the multi balls. With multi balls, you can make a good correction movement and everything. We make this camp since 2003, and we have a good group, a good working group, good coach group, good staff together to work. Last year was 160 players, three weeks, and also everybody was satisfied, I hope. They told me they are satisfied. Because we try to do the best for them.

The Interviewer: Each year ...

Ferenc Karsai: Also, we have special. We know it in the beginning, how strong the players, which group they come, and we make all practice who plays against who, about same level, and also the multi ... Every time you go to multi, practice and multi ball practice. I try to do it with the ETTU in Hungary, I make for the 25, 26, that's 11, 12 years old, six years, ETTU camp, and last year, I had about 60 players, and three groups, I make it that every player ... Every day, one and half hour, correction and multi balls practice, every day, because I had 10 coaches. And 10 coach can do very much. 

The Interviewer: If for somebody ...

Ferenc Karsai: It is little bit same system like in China. China national team, only two players has, two or three players, one coach. He make every day with his player individual practice. It's not possible in Europe, because when I was coaching in Austria I had 10 players alone. Sometimes came the assistant coach, work together. I try to do with all 10 players every day, to play individual, but it was not possible. With half, and the next day, with another half. Watch the practice, correction, and multi balls, is not possible for one man. If I have more coaches in the camp, I have 10 coach, I can make more. 

The Interviewer: If the player wants to come to your camp, how can he find this information? You have website?

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. Tabletennis.hu.

The Interviewer: H-U, like for Hungary. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. 

The Interviewer: Tabletennis.hu. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Okay. The number of players are increasing each year, or it's stable?

Ferenc Karsai: Changing, always the people. We have also things since 13 years, every year came also some players. We have different level, and we have different coach level also, different sparring partners. After, we organize like so.

The Interviewer: The number of the players is the same. You have over 150, or it's increasing here by year?

Ferenc Karsai: No, 150 in three weeks.

The Interviewer: In three weeks, yes.

Ferenc Karsai: Three weeks. For example, next week I have in Hungary, but I don't have only now 27 players. It's not enough now, because too early, because in Hungary coming, after this camp, in this town in Balaton, everything is closed because swimming world championship. We don't have hotel anymore, and we must start now in the season, beginning of July, and it's too early. I don't have enough players now.

The Interviewer: I see. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Also, I remember that the place is very nice.

Ferenc Karsai: The place is very nice, yes.

The Interviewer: You can combine table tennis and swimming in the lake.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: The Balaton lake is very beautiful, the town is very beautiful. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. Very nice. The standard is very, very high level. 

The Interviewer: From what countries are players are coming?

Ferenc Karsai: Oh. Many countries. Austria, most of ... Because not far away, Germany, Austria, coming from Netherland, Belgium, England, America, Australian, so and so. Russian. Not only you, two or three players from Russia was there after also. 

The Interviewer: It's quite international. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yeah.

The Interviewer: Really international camp.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: As a coach, you have been worked for 20 years in Austria?

Ferenc Karsai: Yes, national coach.

The Interviewer: As a national coach, as a ...

Ferenc Karsai: Men

The Interviewer: For men team. You worked with Schlager when he became a world champion, and also with this best Austrian generation, like Chen Weixing and Gardos. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. 

The Interviewer: Then later, when you finish with Austria, you went to Canada. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. One and a half year, yes. But not all the time. I went six times a year to Canada, or international, I was in some international with the players. After I went to Belgium.

The Interviewer: To Belgium.

Ferenc Karsai: I was in Belgium with a Flemish part, Flemish part of Belgium. I need it, because I like the work also and the players is also, they have a good fight. I like them. I have two players, they're one and, first and second in Belgium. It's also sometimes come to me, the Olympic champion of para (paralympics), 16 years old. Very good group together, and the girls and boys in this center in Leuven, is very, very, very good. Working very good.

The Interviewer: Table tennis is not only work for you, it's kind of ...

Ferenc Karsai: It's my life. But the most work was for me in Austria, almost 20 years, with National team, I make five European champion, one world champion, third place in world championship, three, four times World cup third place, Olympic best four in Beijing, as well many, 180 or 200 pro tour medals and something. 25 European championship medals. Many, many things.

The Interviewer: Can you compare Austrian table tennis and Belgium table tennis? They're two European countries, which are quite close to each other. Is table tennis is the same there?

Ferenc Karsai: Little bit no. In the beginning when I went to Austria, Austria played in second division. They don't have good players. When I went after start, was two, three hungry players like Schlager. Hungry is meaning he wants to be good player, and also was luck, because '96 start, the Pro tour in table tennis. Adham Sharara, I think he made very professional work in table tennis, and he start with Pro tour. We were the first players who played in the Pro tour. After '96, start, Schlager was 1995, 100 in the world, but the end of '96, we came to the Pro tour final, I think was 25 in the world in '96, '97. After '99, he was in the world championship third in Eindhoven, or Rotterdamn in Netherland, I remember. It was '99, third place. After, for example, 2000, 2001, he win so many medals, it's unbelievable. Almost all Pro tour, second, third place. He beat many Chinese players, and was a really, very good, the Pro tour for him. Austria, after, came to high level, before it was Austria second level. But, after Austria, still 2014, I finished, 2014. This year was Europe champion, Austria also, but not with me, but it was my work, 34 years with this European team, that they won. Gardos, Habesohn. I made four generation in Austria. Two Chinese, before after Schlager, Jindrak, Europe champion with Lengerov, after I made Chen Weixing and Gardos third generation and the fourth generation Fegerl and Habesohn. Fourth generation, I did it in Austria.

The Interviewer: And now in Belgium?

Ferenc Karsai: Now, in Belgium, situation a little bit same, because two guys, this is Cedric Nuytinck and Robin Davos, they are hungry, also, to be good player. I like this challenge for me, very hard work, and maybe try a new system and new exercises. Sometimes I find a new exercises, I thinking very much about table tennis, and I like it. This my life.

The Interviewer: This plastic ball, if we come back to plastic ball, is it opportunity for you to try something new? Do you like, or you stay with the old ball better?

Ferenc Karsai: That is very difficult, if you learn the table tennis like, “wow” very good rotation and like this, and after coming the plastic, after you must find a solution, small changing for this plastic ball. I think is not finish, this plastic ball. Maybe in the future, they find better quality, not too hard, because I think that countries like China, also they say their opinion. They product almost the plastic balls 90%. After they can find a good balls for universal table tennis, not only the fast table tennis. I think it's not finished, this project, the balls. 

The Interviewer: So you hope that the plastic ball will ...

Ferenc Karsai: That is not finished. It will really improve.

The Interviewer: They will improve.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes, I think.

The Interviewer: We were talking about development of table tennis and about future of our sport. You told that it's impossible to earn enough money, being a player. But, you are professional coach. For professional coach, can you make living out of table tennis? In other words, do you have enough money?

Ferenc Karsai: I don't have enough money. I am not rich, I am very poor.

The Interviewer: They don't pay enough.

Ferenc Karsai: But for me is not so important, very much money, for me is important the money is enough for my life, with much work, or ... This is also a reason why I must working, because I need also a little bit money. Because, what I have, my retired is not enough for the life in Austria. In Hungary, may be enough. I have a family in Austria, my son. I must live in Austria. I must work a little bit more. Not a little bit, much more.

The Interviewer: Much more.

Ferenc Karsai: Okay. But, I like the ... Not the money is the first for me in this table tennis. First is table tennis. Like sport and I like very much.

The Interviewer: Let's say if we take top table tennis coaches, for instance, if one team or one national federation, they want to invite a really experienced and professional top table tennis coach. How much they need to pay?

Ferenc Karsai: I never ask how much they get. I don't know also because the coach. Like coach I have a contact but I never ask how much money they have. I don't know. 

The Interviewer: You don't know?

Ferenc Karsai: I don't know.

The Interviewer: This coach is from Bundesliga, or for ...

Ferenc Karsai: I don't know national.

The Interviewer: German national team.

Ferenc Karsai: Really, I don't know. I never ask it. 

The Interviewer: Do you think it's possible to make living out of table tennis as a coach?

Ferenc Karsai: I think they don't have so many coaches in Germany. In French, they have more coach. They get more money also. All they make, the organization, with the county federations or national or clubs, really, I don't know, because if I speak with coaches, I ask always from table tennis. Never with salary and with money. 

The Interviewer: Table tennis is more important for you?

Ferenc Karsai: More important for me. 

The Interviewer: Okay. For free, you cannot work?

Ferenc Karsai: This is also true. You are business man, you know better than I, but okay. You need money, but the first priority for me, the level, how can improve the players. 

The Interviewer: Back to Canada. You have worked for one and half year in Canada?

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Do you know about United States also? This North America table tennis, is it big? Is it a sport, or it's more hobby?

Ferenc Karsai: I can say about Canada, but I think in USA also, little bit similar. 

The Interviewer: I am asking because we have a lot of customers from North America.

Ferenc Karsai: Because why? Because they have many players that play table tennis, but which players. Most of players Chinese. In Canada, in Toronto, for example, they have one Chinese club, is always full. They make private lessons from private coach. The Chinese coaches, they have more salary like ... All your national coach in Europe, from private lessons. For example, the wife of Johnny Huang. Johnny Huang was player ...

The Interviewer: From Canada.

Ferenc Karsai: ... in Canada. I saw her, I think, in Mets, two months, three months ago. She staying always in this Chinese club. She make full always lessons and lessons, give lessons. Table tennis lessons. 10, 15 a day. 10 hours a day, with 50 euros a day. One day. 

The Interviewer: But it's ...

Ferenc Karsai: Very hard work.

The Interviewer: That's very hard work, but well paid.

Ferenc Karsai: Well paid, yes.

The Interviewer: Well paid. 

Ferenc Karsai: The Chinese paid. The Chinese people. Most of the players is Chinese in Canada, and in USA also. In Canada, lot of Chinese living in Vancouver. There's a second Chinese town in the world.

The Interviewer: After Beijing.

Ferenc Karsai: After ...

The Interviewer: Not counting ...

Ferenc Karsai: Not China.

The Interviewer: Not counting China.

Ferenc Karsai: China don't count.

The Interviewer: I guess that main, our main audience are amateur players, and players which are playing for fun, not for highest performance, not for international table tennis. Can you give two or three advices how to improve their table tennis, as being a top table tennis coach, but you also have a lot of experience in your Balaton camp. Can you give two or three hint for table tennis players? How to improve their game.

Ferenc Karsai: Some advice.

The Interviewer: Yes, some advice.

Ferenc Karsai: This depend. They want better results, or they want better table tennis movement, because some of them want results, better level results. After they take long pimple, and they play like this and this, and after, they can win faster, earlier. If you want really enjoy the table tennis, moving, sweating and everything, moving, go to table, topspin, moving, moving, moving, and after good time in the hall, after you are, for your health, moving enough, this need longer time. After you have to play with normal rubbers, the table tennis correct movement. But, if you want faster results, after coming with chop, with long pimple and everything. I know you are chopper, but you moving also enough... I remember of your play, you don't play at table and make this like, you make good...

The Interviewer: Classical defense.

Ferenc Karsai: Classical defense. This is okay. This is very good. Some amateur people took that from Neubauer, some rubbers ... I don't know.

The Interviewer: Made this chop block on the table.

Ferenc Karsai: Roulette or ... Many, many, many, many names. I don't know their names now. You have many. They played like this or anti or Gorilla, they play this anti topspin or Gorilla, they have a Buffalo or something like this, always disturb ...

The Interviewer: Disturb the game. They're disturbing.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. Now, this is another, like for your health, to play table tennis and enjoy the table tennis.

The Interviewer: You are voting for “honest” table tennis, without using special equipment.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. This is better for everybody, and after they enjoy the table tennis. But many players finish the table tennis, because came these people, push the ball, and after, before, with the TSP Curl, also with preparation, you push like this after, there's no chance to continue the ball, or this Neubauer, it was unbelievable. There was no chance to continue, one time, topspin, and he make like this after the ball go down like so. Now, with this new ... from Neubauer, need many practice. A lot of practice. The anti topspin, one or two players playing in the world, from Austria, this Amelie Solja, she plays like Buffalo, I think, or something like this. Buffalo. She practice a lot, and after the topspin coming, she need special technique to push the ball, but it's not enough. This is a little bit ... another. This is very good in table tennis, because you can have chopper with pimple, you can have short pimple, variation. You can have long pimple. You can stay with short pimple, attack to play. Everything. The table tennis is one of the most, I think, the most beautiful sport in the world, I think. So many variations, so many to be clever, to very fast, feeling, everything what you need. 

The Interviewer: Another question about the material. These two players which you are coaching now from Belgium, they were...

Ferenc Karsai: Nuytinck.

The Interviewer: Nuytinck. Which equipment do they use?

Ferenc Karsai: They play with Tibhar.

The Interviewer: With Tibhar equipment.

Ferenc Karsai: Tibhar Evolution MX-P.

The Interviewer: Both sides?

Ferenc Karsai: Both side. 

The Interviewer: And both of them?

Ferenc Karsai: Both of them.

The Interviewer: Another topic is booster. A lot of table tennis players in the national team, on junior level, on national team level, we wouldn't say who exactly, but they use special treatment of the rubber. They use boosters, which gives the rubber more power. What do you think, these boosters are good for table tennis? 

Ferenc Karsai: Of course, it's good. 

The Interviewer: So they improve?

Ferenc Karsai: Yeah, of course. Normally, they have the rules that under, I think, two PPM now, or three. Under three PPM is allowed to play with the rubber. 

The Interviewer: As far as ...

Ferenc Karsai: Three PPM is meaning the gas, what's coming from the rubber with this special machine, if it's under three PPM after, it's okay. If you make with booster, after, you never go to three PPM more, if you put your racket outside one hour or in the night, after your racket is always 0.8, or 0.6 booster, as a PPM.

The Interviewer: Normally, booster has zero PPM because it's absolutely clean.

Ferenc Karsai: PPM. He has. But, immediately ...

The Interviewer: Immediately disappeared.

Ferenc Karsai: After one night, it's out. They have in the factory also, the booster. They put the booster in the rules, only after the factory, if the rubber comes, you cannot do yourself. The booster inside. They don't speak about it anymore, because they have the rules that under three PPM, everything is okay.

The Interviewer: Everything is okay.

Ferenc Karsai: Nobody speak about booster, and the booster is allowed or not allowed, but everybody close their eyes, because they cannot see that it is fresh boosters.

The Interviewer: Boosters make rubber faster?

Ferenc Karsai: Also, the Chinese players, they play with these Haifu boosters, it's unbelievable. They're very hard rubbers, like Hurricane 3 is unbelievable hard, or Skyline, unbelievable hard rubbers, but with boosters, but they put unbelievable so much, after the rubbers, is very elastic and very fast, and very good feeling also. Before it's too hard, not so good feeling. The noise is also not so good. But after the boosters, it's unbelievable. I take the racket from Wang Hao, he was also in Austria played, and he played with boosters. It's unbelievable, this Hurricane. With boosters for very fast, very elastic and everything, the feeling is unbelievable. The best rubbers, after the special Chinese boosters.

The Interviewer: We can say that you don't recommend for amateur player, to use long pimples with this destructive effect, which really breaks the table tennis game. But booster, you think it’s improved the game. You think that ...

Ferenc Karsai: The booster is ... Instead of gluing.

The Interviewer: Instead of gluing before.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: Instead of the speed gluing.

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. Because 2007, the ITTF want finish the gluing. They found one rules that now gas anymore, that came this eight PPM ... What they don't think about it, we want liquid like oil, they can make same fast rubbers like ...

The Interviewer: Like before.

Ferenc Karsai: ... before.

The Interviewer: What do you think? We have a lot of changes in table tennis rules, starting from the year 2000 when the score was changed. First, I think first, the diameter of the ball changed from 38 to 40 millimeters. Then one year later, the score was up to 11 instead of up to 21. Then new service rule, speed glue ban, and now plastic material. What do you think? Is it improving table tennis, or some of them improving, or what is the biggest change? What do you think?

Ferenc Karsai: The reason why they want to change, this is a first question. It was the idea from Adham Sharara, because he wants the table tennis slower and to sell the sport like sport is more easier, that table tennis is not so fast. This was the reason why he change the balls 38 to 40 millimeters. Also, he change the floor. The Taraflex came with the red color, and everything is good for the television to see. After he change from 21 to 11, because after always shorter game, always more situation, very, very, very close matches, and still now it is very close, to see is more better for the people. After he change the timeout, it was never timeout before. He change also the ...

The Interviewer: Service rule.

Ferenc Karsai: Service rule. Gluing, he changed because it was too fast, and he think in 2006, is enough, he change the gluing not anymore. Before, Ogimura want to change the gluing, but he died. Ogimura was also president a short time. Adham Sharara also want to change the gluing, but the chemical of the ITTF, they don't think about the booster, this liquid, also instead of gluing, it can gluing with booster. Also the plastic balls, now is not too clever to play slow table tennis, because he wants slower table tennis, but now with plastic balls, it's faster coming. I think in this plastic ball, was not in this package, why they want to change it slower the table tennis. Plastic balls is another.

The Interviewer: But all other changes was meant to make table tennis slower? 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. 

The Interviewer: To make it more attractive for TV coverage?

Ferenc Karsai: More attractive for the, yes.

The Interviewer: What you think, do they succeed it, International Table Tennis Federation?

Ferenc Karsai: I think more professional. In '96, they start with the professional table tennis, they reach very much. Adham Sharara, I think he was a unbelievable good president in this ...

The Interviewer: For table tennis.

Ferenc Karsai: Professional, yes. I think he was very good. For table tennis, was very good. Before, was really not professional, the table tennis. The different tournament events was not so professional like now. 

The Interviewer: Next year, the world championship will take place in Sweden, and one year after, in Budapest. It's in Hungary, at your country. What you think? Would there be enough spectators in Hungary?

Ferenc Karsai: Sure. I think for world championship, sure. Come for the semi final, final, sure. Many people knows the table tennis before Hungary was very big country in table tennis. I think many people remember, there was Chinese there, Japanese there, coming. Sure. Sweden also.

The Interviewer: This old generation of Hungarian players, are they famous in Hungary? Do the people still remember Klampar, still remember Jonyer?

Ferenc Karsai: Yes, many people remember. They have not so good life. They are not rich from table tennis. In that time, was not enough money in the table tennis. 

The Interviewer: They were icons, they are absolute top players in the world.

Ferenc Karsai: The system was a little bit, it was communist time in Hungary, the system was central system, not individual. They didn't have enough money from table tennis, the players.

The Interviewer: The players. It was also because of this time, when ...

Ferenc Karsai: It was ... Finished '95, '96 generation. 

The Interviewer: This was socialist time?

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: They don't have enough money because of the system?

Ferenc Karsai: Yes.

The Interviewer: If same ...

Ferenc Karsai: Also, the money was not enough international. 

The Interviewer: In table tennis?

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. For example, if you are so great player like Jonyer from Germany, you have surely enough money. But from Hungary, Klampar, surely, but in Hungary, he didn't have enough money.

The Interviewer: There was three great player, Klampar, Jonyer, and Gergely. 

Ferenc Karsai: Yes. 

The Interviewer: Are they still in table tennis now?

Ferenc Karsai: Klampar. Klampar, coach, and Gergely and Jonyer is not anymore, I think. Gergely, I think he working in some local television in Budapest. Jonyer, not special. Not so much in table tennis.

The Interviewer: Okay. Ferenc, thank you very much for coming. Thank you for answering questions. I hope our audience of Tabletennis11.com are satisfied and we are waiting that you come again to answer our question next time.

Ferenc Karsai: Thank you, also. Thank you very much. Bye.