Baggaley confident he can crack world's top 100
ANDREW Baggaley admits his elevation to British table tennis number one came as a surprise - but the world number 142 believes it’s only just the beginning.
BEST BRIT: Andrew Baggaley is ranked number one in Britain but 142nd in the world, in the latest world rankings (Getty Images)
Baggaley dropped three places overall in the International Table Tennis Federation’s list but overhauled Brtish team-mate and long-time national number one Paul Drinkhall, who dropped from 137 to 144.
“It was a bit strange to become the number one whilst dropping down a couple of places,” he told national press agency Sportsbeat.
“I did ok in a tournament in Stockholm recently but other guys around me must have done really well and shot up. Paul dropped seven places so there I was; the number one.
“I’m playing regularly on the ITTF Pro Tour for the first time in my career and improving a lot so I think I can go on from here and break into the world top 100. I really believe that’s possible.”
In the past Baggaley, 28, played Pro Tour matches just to stay on the ITTF’s rankings and keep his funding.
But this year he has played in Pro Tour events in Slovenia, England, Germany, Spain, Austria and Sweden and after the Olympic test event, starting on November 24 at the ExCel, Baggaley will fly out to Bali for an invitational competition.
BRITISH TABLE TENNIS TOP FIVE, NOV 2011
World no. 142 - Andrew Baggaley (-3)
“In football terms last year was the Europa League and this year it’s internationals. Playing on the tour hasn’t meant more games for me though, just matches of a higher standard. I had a lighter summer in terms of training – just two weeks, but it was intensive. As a result I’m feeling good and, importantly, injury free,” he said.
“My club in France (CPC Nice) have been really good to me. They’ve reduced the number of games I have to play which is really refreshing actually. In an Olympic year I’m particularly grateful.
“Unfortunately they are no ranking points up for grabs at the Olympic test event but it’s still important. There’ll be a good line-up of players and playing in front of your home fans is special.”
Flashing forward to the Olympics, Baggaley says he would not be fazed if he drew one the fearsome Chinese talents, who dominate the sport, in the early rounds of his home games.
“I actually wouldn’t mind that. You’ve probably got more chance of beating them early on. They’ll be under so much pressure and on the big stage they can freeze. They get a bit worried and you can see it in their eyes. You have to start well and if you do get a chance you must take it,” he added.
“But first I want to crack the top 100.”
© Sportsbeat 2011