Who are your main inspirations and why?
From about 12 years old, I was inspired to watch all of Stephen Hendrys snooker competitions on TV. He was ruthless, a winner and one of Scotlands greatest sportsmen across all sports.I had parents who were extremely skillful and world-class badminton players. They would take me to tournaments from a very young age and I would watch them win numerous competitions. Between the ages of 6 and 9, I would wait until their tournament ended and I could jump onto the court for 20 minutes and try it. This then led to me trying Mini Tennis, Tennis, golf & finally table tennis.
What motivates you the most in your profession in Sport?
The competition is what it is all about. I don’t practice loads but when I practice, I make sure that I simulate match play situations. I never do regular footwork stuff. That is pointless. In a game you don’t know where the ball is going so why should you practice knowing the ball’s next location.
You come across as a very confident sportsman, is this something you have worked on or does this come naturally to you?
Again, I just compete. Some people think I’m arrogant but the closest people to me know that’s not the case. You need to get into your opponent’s head. You need to let them know that you are there to have any chance of winning big matches.
How important do you think attitude is in becoming a WINNER?
Attitude is important in focussed practice sessions but intelligence is more important if you want to win high profile tournaments.
Do you have any routines or processes that help you cope with pressure, and do you do anything differently in the 9-9 10-10 etc situations?
I just make sure that I am dominating the big points. You need to be proactive, not reactive in pressure situations. You also have to enjoy days that you are the No1 seed in tournaments. Never scared to lose.
Image from Gavins Instagram
What is it about Table Tennis that brings you the most joy?
Being able to win points in many ways. Serving, changing speed, blocking, lobbing, chopping, all-out attack and combinations of all of these.
Can you give some tips to any young players aspiring to be the next Gavin Rumgay or Ding Ning?
Train differently from everyone else. If you train the same you will probably end up like the rest. Turning into a reasonable player with good technique, but not a proven winner. Not standing out from the crowd.
If you had to choose one player to watch, who would it be and why?
Emmanuel Lebesson. Amazing serve and receive. Mentally strong. Punched above his weight. A European Champion against the odds. Spins the ball like Nadal on the tennis court!