Q&A with... Andrew Baggaley
ANDREW Baggaley has just become the English National champion for the third time and is back in the England fold in time for this year's Delhi Commonwealth Games to be held in October.
BACK IN THE FOLD: Andrew Baggaley will represent England for the first time in four years at the Team Championships in Moscow next month
And the 27-year-old is hoping he can continue his recent good form all the way through until his home Olympics at London 2012.
Here he is in conversation with Sportsbeat's Holly Hamilton.
Q - Congratulations on defeating Liam Pitchford to become National Champion for the third time last month. How does this time compare to the other titles?
A - It is such a thrill to be National Champion again. The first time in 2002 was special but to win it three times is even more so.
After winning in 2008 and then getting beaten in the final last year, it's great to come back and win it again.
It's something I've always wanted to do so it's pretty amazing that I've got three titles now.
Q - You are back playing for England again after four years, how does it feel to be back in the setup and what is next for the team?
A - I'm very pleased to be playing again for England and I'm looking forward competing again for my country next month.
Next up for England are the Team Championships in Moscow at the end of May where we will be looking to do better than we have in recent years.
Over the past few years England have dropped into a lower tier and hopefully I will be able to do my part and help us into a better position.
There have been changes in the national setup and that is why I am playing again after four years out.
Nothing has changed from my point of view and I've been available for selection over the past four years.
I believe I can add something to the team and I'm pleased to be back in.
Q - Are you looking forward to the Delhi Commonwealth Games in October?
A - The Commonwealths are probably the biggest tournament in the year and I am really looking to try and win an individual medal.
I've won team medals at the past two Commonwealth Games in Manchester, where I picked up two golds, and Melbourne, where I won a silver medal, so my priority is for a medal in the singles.
The experience of having already competed at two Games will hold me in good stead and I will be used to the competition this time around.
Q - And have you started preparations for London 2012 yet?
A - I'm definitely looking ahead to London 2012 and I genuinely think I can do well there.
I need to keep improving and stay injury free and keep positive and I know that on my day I can beat anyone.
I've been injury free for about three months now and have fully recovered from a knee injury that forced me out of the Polish Pro Tour in November.
Q - What is it like playing for a club in Spain and then having to commute back home for other tournaments?
A - I spend about 80 percent of my time training with my club Les Borges Blanques in Spain but I do come back to England every few weeks and juggle my national and international tournaments around my club commitments.
I like playing out there but it is nice now that there are cheap flights available to make it easier to go back and forth.
The club has been good to me and pay me what I think is a reasonable wage and I have other support from sponsors on the Pro Tour.
Q - UK Sport cut funding by more than half to £1.2 million in January 2009 and table tennis was the only sport not to have it reinstated last December. Has this affected you as a player?
A - In recent times I haven't been funded so when they cut their funding it didn't affect me.
As athletes we always could do with more money because it makes life easier with the travel and for your family as well.
I've been lucky with sponsorship and my club treating me well in Spain but I know it's hard for a lot of other players.
Q - Do you see up and coming British players as a threat or as healthy competition?
A - It's great there are so many young players coming through like Paul Drinkhall and Darius Knight and it is nice to compete with them.
The only time we are against each other is at the National Championships so the rest of the time we are supporting each other.
The more top players we have the better for England and we should encourage more people to play the sport.
You can find out more about Andrew on his website www.andrewbaggaley.com