Professional table tennis player Vladimir Samsonov originates from Belarus. Because of his excellent offensive and defensive techniques, he is referred to as the “Tai Chi Master” in China. Six successive Olympic appearances from 1996 to 2016 witnessed Samsonov finish in the top four in 2000 and 2016.
Vladimir Samsonov is retired
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Samsonov has announced his retirement.
Samsonov, a stalwart in the game of table tennis, was born in 1976 in Belarus and will be 45 this year. It is extremely unusual for table tennis players to retire at this point in their careers. With Waldner and Primorac, he became known as the “European Three Tigers.” In addition to being a world-class table tennis player, his strength is unmatched. In order to prove that he’s a formidable opponent, he’s fought against all five generations of the Chinese table tennis squad.
He has amazing ball control!
Vladimir Samsonov equipment
Samsonov is sponsored by Tihbar, one of the best brands in table tennis.
He is using the blade – Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition.
His forehand rubbers are Tibhar Evolution MX-S.
His backhand rubber is the Tibhar Evolution MX-P
Forehand rubber of Samsonov
Vladimir Samsonov playing style
Stability the key
The key to his consistency was stability in his game, based on perfect technique. In addition, there was his very fine wrist work, in which the viewer had the impression, even with hard-hit balls, that the ball was more likely to be “stroked”. He also had an exceptionally good ability to anticipate, it seemed like he knew where his opponent was going to put the ball, as if he had all the time in the world, even if the ball came at him at 80-120 km/h.
All that earned him 3 World Cup titles, 3 European championship titles, and a silver medal at the individual world championships. There were also 27 titles on the ITTF World Tour and 12 Champions League titles with 3 different teams (Düsseldorf, Charleroi, and Orenburg), to name just a few of his successes.
A true gentleman
At the table as well as away from the box he was and is a true gentleman. He won the fair play trophy 3 times at the world championships. Even if you try very long to find some negative little thing about Vladi in the table tennis world – you will probably be unsuccessful in this search. Perhaps that is precisely why Vladimir Samsonov, despite his extraordinary abilities and enormous talent, never became world champion or gold medalist at the Olympics.
Vladimir Samsonov profile
- Full name: Vladimir Viktorovich Samsonov; Uładzimir Viktaravich Samsonaŭ
- Nickname: Vladi
- Nationality: Belarus
- Born: April 17, 1976, Minsk, Belarus
- Playing-style: Right-handed, shakehand grip
- Highest Ranking: #1
- Height: 6 ft 3 in
- Weight: 183 lbs
Vladimir Samsonov achievements
Here are the main achievements of Samsonov:
6-time European champion in various categories
9X European Champions League Winner
4-time winner of Euro-Top12 (1998, 1999, 2001, 2007)
Three-time World Cup Winner (1999, 2001, 2009)
27th ITTF World Tour Singles Winner
1997 ITTF World Tour Grand Finals Winner
Participant of six Summer Olympics (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016)
Here is his match against the best player in the world, Ma Long:
Ma Long vs Vladimir Samsonov | 2019 World Championships Highlights (R32)
Vladimir Samsonov career
Vladimir Samsonov started playing table tennis when he was six. Vladimir witnessed a lot of casual play at the tables in his multi-story apartment complex. Then he found the Spartak club close to his apartment building.
When Vladimir saw more serious table tennis players for the first time, he was intrigued. When a coach recognized Vladimir’s talent, he told him he might be a pro.
Samsonov thinks 1997 was a great year. He won silver in the singles at the World Championships. In the final, he fell against Jan-Ove Waldner, a Swede and one of the greatest players ever. An ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals win followed by a world title.
Samsonov answered in an interview:
You first competed in an international competition in 1987. You earned your first gold medal with the Soviet Union squad in the European Championships as a cadet. You eventually won 13 gold medals. Most of them are from the USSR. What was the level in the USSR at the time? Did it lead to your major success?
And that was my first major contest. We did win with the USSR team. I have the medal but I didn’t play a single match as a backup player. I did get a bronze in singles. The USSR had a fairly high level at the time. We practiced often, three times a day. There were several coaches and great training partners during the training camps. Every month we spent two weeks at camps. From there I gained an excellent foundation because the training was quite professional. That was the key to my success.
“Vladi” Vladimir Samsonov made his breakthrough in 1995 in Stockholm. He swept all his opponents off the plate, including the Swedish world champion Waldner in the final. A star was born, a star who would shine on the international table tennis sky for a long time. After his victory in Stockholm, he rose to the top 10 in the world rankings, in which he would not lose his place for the next 16 years.
What did he say about the new ball?
He answered this question:
What are your feelings on how table tennis has evolved during your career – 40mm ball, the length of the set, no hidden serves, speed-glue ban? Were these changes necessary? Have these changes affected your play?
The most significant change was in 2000 when the size of the ball was changed but the weight stayed the same. I guess the idea was that it would be better to see the ball for the players and on TV. It was also hoped to reduce the speed of the ball. The biggest problem, however, was the quality of the ball, which, compared to the previous balls, is poor. Soon we will start playing with the plastic ball and we don’t know today, how important this change will turn out to be. For me, the most important is the quality of the balls, which I hope will be better. Current balls are not high-quality, and this is the reason why most of the top players make errors with the seemingly simple balls. Therefore, my opinion is that increasing the diameter of the ball to 40mm wasn’t a good change.
Due to a shoulder injury, Vladimir was forced to retire earlier than he had planned.
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