We are talking about none other than Harmeet Desai from Gujrat who is currently ranked 76 in ITTF world ranking.
He won gold in men’s team event with Sharath Kamal, Anthony Amalraj, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran & Sanil Shetty and bronze in Men’s doubles event with Sanil Shetty in 2018 commonwealth games held at gold coast,Australia. He also represented India in World team table tennis championship 2018.
Here is an exclusive interview with Harmeet Desai:
Sportsflu: Tell us your inspiration about picking up Table tennis as a sport? If not table tennis than what and why?
Harmeet Desai: My father bought a TT table to play with his friends when I was six years old. I never saw a TT table till then. It was really fascinating and exciting sport for me. And slowly and gradually I started to play with my father and it became a part of my life. And in no time I started to love the sport and it became my passion.
If not table tennis, I would have been in the army. It was my dream to serve the nation and was very passionate about the uniform.
Sportsflu: Who is your inspiration/ whom do you aspire to become like looking at the players in the past two decades?
Harmeet Desai: For me Sharath Kamal is an inspiration in table tennis. What he has achieved is amazing and has brought laurels for the country for years. Even at this age he is motivated to achieve more, that is truly inspirational.
I have always admired Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and I always wish that I can pick up few things from them. A fighter on the court like Nadal and a gentlemen like Federer.
Sportsflu: Describe us your biggest achievement so far which you are proud of yourself.
Harmeet Desai: For me the proudest moment was when I won two matches for India in the finals of the 2nd division of the World Championships in 2016 against Brazil and creating a record in the Indian table tennis history.
Sportsflu: Tell us for our viewers your daily routine on & off training days.
Harmeet Desai: I get up at 7 am and do some Gym workout, have breakfast and starts with table tennis practice from 10am – 1 pm, then Rest for 3 hours, then service practice and multi ball practice, then practice on table for 2-3 hours, then Gym. I take sugar free diet, high protein diet and small frequent meals.
Sportsflu: Who according to you is the toughest player ever to beat and why?
Harmeet Desai: Pitchford Liam, his all round game and strong backhand
Sportsflu: Do you think that UTT will change the perspective of Indian fans toward table tennis as a sport.
Harmeet Desai: Yes, last year it has given great boost to the game. Previously there were only 3 players in top 100, but now there are 6 men players in top 100 in world. The team ranking has gone up too it was 18 and now 10 in world.
Sportsflu: What are those few areas which TTFI must need to work upon to make Indian Table Tennis reach new heights?
Harmeet Desai: Encourage players by giving more importance to international ranking, as to compete internationally, and at large improve Indian Team’s ranking and scenario therein.
Sportsflu: How do you cope with a loss in a crucial match?
Harmeet Desai: I try to console myself by, thinking I tried my best and would work harder.
Sportsflu: You’ve been on many tours and series abroad with Indian Players. Do you recall any funny moment which happened within team and can’t stop laughing about it even now.
Harmeet Desai: When we are free on tours abroad, we play Pictionary where one of the players has to draw and the others have to guess. It is one of the most hilarious moments where we laugh all the time while playing, as most of us are really bad at drawing, which makes it really difficult for everyone to guess.
Sportsflu: Name a player with whom you wish to play against and as a doubles partner?
Harmeet Desai: To play against Zhang Jike and partner with Ma Long
Sportsflu: Your favorite table tennis player?
Harmeet Desai: zhang Jike
Sportsflu: Your favorite movie, Actor and actress?
Harmeet Desai: Three idiots, Shahrukh, Alia Bhatt
Sportsflu: Your favorite cuisine/food and place to travel?
Harmeet Desai: Punjabi, Paneer- cheese items, Switzerland
Sportsflu: Your first coach ?
Harmeet Desai: Rajul Desai
Sportsflu: your first international tour ?
Harmeet Desai: China 2006
Sportsflu: Biggest achievement ?
Harmeet Desai: Croatia open Men singles Bronze medal, commonwealth championship gold medal in doubles
Sportsflu: A piece of advice for the Sportsflu’s young audience who aspires to become a Table tennis player like you.
Harmeet Desai: I advise the youngster to follow their heart in order to achieve their goals in any field they choose to and work towards their dream with dedication, determination and hard work. It will definitely help them to achieve their goals.