Hugo Calderano is a professional table tennis player from Brazil. He is born on June 22, 1996, in Rio de Janeiro. He competes for Brazil at the 2016 Summer Olympics. At 20 years old, he is one of the youngest competitors at this level (World Ranking 15). He has also won the Men’s Singles competition for the 2017 ITTF Pan America Championships. Recently, Hugo Calderano has made a huge show off at the ITTF Qatar Open 2018.
Hugo Calderano the “new generation” in table tennis
In this Qatar 2018, so far he has beaten:
- BOLL Timo (seed #2 / WR 1) – 4/1
- HARIMOTO Tomokazu (seed #8 / WR 12) – 4/0
- Lin Gaoyuan (seed #3 / WR 4) – 4/0
Hugo has won Lin Gaoyuan (Chinese superstar and number three seed) 4-0 (11-9, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6).
“I am very happy that I could beat such a high-level player 4-0, I would never have thought that this would have happened. It is a great feeling to be from Brazil, non-traditional table tennis country and to be surprising top Chinese players at the highest level. I am very proud!”, Hugo said
Hugo also defeated world ranking number one Timo BOLL 4-1 in the round of 16 and then Tomozako HARIMOTO 4-0 in the quarterfinals. It’s not the first time that Hugo won Timo Boll. He has already won Timo Boll in German League.
“It was really important to make a good start; the fact I went three-nil ahead was vital. I was aggressive from the start but I knew he would adapt and increase his level of play. He became more positive. At the end of the fifth game I tried to focus on each point and not on the score but of course, I knew they were important points.” Hugo Calderano
Hugo Calderano playing style
Hugo’s playing style is very aggressive. He stays rather close to the table, and initially attack with his “special backhand”.
His playing style is rather similar to Dimitri Ovtcharov. He uses a lot of backhand flick, and backhand topspin counter-attack. His standing position is parallel, which is used by a backhand favorite player.
- Hugo served very well. He used a very high toss serve. His serve is rather tricky (with the same motion, he can produce “no spin serve”, and heavy underspin serve”. At Qatar Open 2018, Lin Gaoyuan can’t read well his serve to the forehand side. It’s not easy to flick the high toss serve of Hugo.
- And Lin Gaoyuan has fallen into the “trap” of Hugo. Fast backhand attack and counter attack! Once in the rally, Hugo has a huge advantage with his “gifted” backhand.
- Hugo can attack “down-to-the-line” with his backhand. This type of attack is not easy. And he has surprised many players (Lin Gaoyuan, Harimoto Tomokazu).
- To counter this quick backhand style, you need to change the placement. If Lin Gaoyuan has varied the spin, and the placement, it will be different. Playing against the powerful, high-risk shots player like Hugo, you need to be patient, use more soft-balls, and short ball to the middle. This can help you slow down the game.
Hugo Calderano is the youngest ever Pan American Games Men’s Singles winner.
- In the final match between Hugo and Fan Zhendong, he almost wins the first 2 sets. Hugo’s counter-attack is so powerful, at the same level of top Chinese players. Lin Gaoyuan has failed into the trap of Hugo, but this time, Fan Zhendong has to beware of that.
- Hugo lacks a little bit of experience at the crucial moments. Fan Zhendong plays a lot of soft-balls, and heavy underspin ball to the middle in the 3rd and 4th set. Each time Fan Zhendong attacks, he aimed at the elbow (near the middle) of Hugo. This cost him the match 0-4.
- If Hugo variates his style at the end of set 1, and 2. One short push, and one backhand flick. “Be more patient”, he could win the first 2 sets.
- Fan Zhendong has adapted very well, in the last set, Hugo can do nothing versus Fan Zhendong. Hugo has such a crazy fast backhand counter attack. But Chinese Team has learned a lot after the game of Hugo vs Lin Gaoyuan.
Hugo Calderano personal equipment
Based on the discussion in “Table Tennis Connect” group and with the confirmation from team Cornilleau, Hugo Calderano is using:
OSP Palatinus Ultimate blade (with Cornilleau handle)
- custom blade with an extra stiff plywood in the middle of his Hugo Calderano FOCO OFF+ for more rigidity to fit closer to his special game. Notice that this custom blade wouldn’t fit to any player instead of the regular Hugo Calderano FOCO OFF+.
Joola Rhyzm/or Target pro GT-H47 or Cornilleau TargetUltim 50rubbers on Forehand
Butterfly Tenergy 05Target pro GT X51 on Backhand
- Cornilleau confirmed “Hugo adopted Target Pro GT rubbers for a long time now”
On some pro’s equipment website, they cited as “Hugo is using:”
- Cornilleau Gatien Conquest Off Blade,
- Forehand rubber: Cornilleau Target Pro GT-H47
- Backhand rubber: Cornilleau Target Pro GT X51
But be careful about this information, because it’s provided by the sponsor. In fact, Hugo is sponsored by Cornilleau (France). He is on the same team with Simon Gauzy. On mytabletennis forum, some players have confirmed that Hugo didn’t play with Cornilleau Target rubber.
It’s well-known that many top players used a custom blade with a different handle. They use the “handle” provided by the Sponsor Manufacturer as they signed the contract with the company. For example, Fan Zhendong is using “Viscaria blade” with Stiga handle (because he is sponsored by Stiga).
Let’s look at the center ply of the personal blade of Hugo:
You can clearly see that, the center ply is like the “Brown-Dark wenge wood”. It’s not the Cornilleau Gatien Conquest, because the center ply is not the same.
Meanwhile, the center ply of Gatien Absolum is rather “light red”.
The current setup of Hugo Calderano
The Cornilleau blade has much brighter color center wood. Look at this Gatien Origin.
Here is another photo, which shows the wood composition of Hugo’s blade. The blade doesn’t have the “light red” color like Cornilleau Absolum Off+. The color is darker, black color). Hugo Carderano Player’s racket the center material is black, which seems to be different from the most similar is Gatien Absolum.
It seems that the blade of Hugo has the same composition of the custom handmade OSP Palatinus Ultimate blade. Cornilleau Team has confirmed that “the Darker Inner Ply” is the custom Cornilleau blade, with harder, and faster wood ply.
You can also observe that the professional player would change the handle. There is on the market, a blade called as “HUGO CALDERANO FOCO OFF+” with the blue handle. So Hugo will use the blue handle of Hugo Foco, but the blade inside is not the same.
HUGO CALDERANO FOCO OFF+ is not the blade used by Hugo! Hugo is using the custom blade provided by Cornilleau.
For the rubber, some players say that Hugo is using the Tenergy 05 instead of Target Pro GT. But with the white sponge, it seems that Hugo is using
Target Pro GT rubber (or Joola Rhyzm similar rubber).
Note: Professional can try and change often their equipment. For amateur player, it’s much more important to focus on “how to develop your technique”, than “what is the equipment that pro plays”.