CHENGDU, China, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Belarus veteran paddler Vladimir Samsonov lost both his Group A matches here on Friday and failed to qualify for the men's singles main draw at the ITTF World Cup.
The three-time Cup winner, 43, was playing his 18th World Cup and was stopped at the preliminary stage, beaten by world No. 9 Dimitrij Ovtcharov 11-8, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-6 before a surprising loss to Austrian Daniel Habesohn 11-8, 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 5-11, 7-11, 11-5.
"I'm not coming here to just finish the competition like this," Samsonov, a six-time Olympian whose best result was a 4th place in the 2016 Rio Games, admitted it a pity to stop in the group stage. "Everybody wants to win, you know."
Asked if his age being part of the reason he lost both the group matches, he said: "Of course it matters."
"(Age) It's not always a negative thing, 'cause you learn all the things along the way," added the former world No. 2, however. "But with age, you lose your speed, strength, and yes, a lot of things. After playing so many years, your body gets more injuries."
But he kept in a positive attitude towards the trends of table tennis' development, though European players have been years away from the top podium of top-class competitions like Olympic Games, world championships and World Cup.
"Asia's dominating table tennis, we all know that. But things change," Samsonov said. "For example, in 2019, there were many, of course, strong Chinese players as usual, but also many, many Europeans who have the potential to win a big title.
"Today we still have some of the players, like Timo Boll and Ovtcharov (playing). And it's good to have a strong younger generation, also, like Hugo Calderano from Brazil and Kanak Jha from the United States."
Samsonov said he still doesn't know when he will quit table tennis as a player. "Maybe not long," he joked with a bitter smile, adding that he had not yet seen a coach in himself.