I had a chance to interview the vibrant Georgina (Gina) Pota who just got fourth place at the Women’s Table Tennis World Cup in Linz, Austria this Sunday. This is an amazing result! She is currently number 26th in the world and she is a multiple European Champion and participated in two Olympics. Here is PART 1 of the interview. I broke it into different parts to make it more enjoyable 🙂 Gina, besides playing table tennis likes to spend time with her boyfriend, friends and family and she prioritizes maintaining the right balance between her professional and personal life.
DK: I am sure that lots of your fans would like to know how you began to play table tennis. Could you share it?
GP: Absolutely. I started playing at age 5 when I couldn’t even reach the table. My mom took me to training since she was playing table tennis competitively. My mom was playing with me and she encouraged me to play at Statisztika PSC. She supported me, organized all the logistics for my practice and she was my biggest cheerleader. I am very thankful to her. I am coming from a very sporty family. My mom and my grandma played volleyball as well and they always follow and watch many other sports, including tennis. I would like to highlight that my grandpa was always my biggest fan, he is still following all my matches online at the Bundesleague. He was really happy to receive his tablet that allows him to watch my matches from anywhere!
DK: What are you most thankful that ping pong has given you?
GP: I am very thankful for the sport because it gave me so many things and basically everything that I am today comes from being a table tennis player. I had to give up many things but it gave me much more. I love table tennis, this is my work and I feel very lucky that I am able to do my passion for a living. Of course, sometimes it’s really difficult to keep practicing but I love playing matches and competing. I think not many people can say that they have been doing something that they are passionate about for a living since their childhood.
DK: Your coach Peter Teglas who is the Hungarian Women’s National coach highlighted when I interviewed him your ability to cope with stress extremely well at the highest pressure of competition. Could you tell me more about this? How do you manage your stress or what goes through your mind in these situations?
GP: I love stress. I love when the adrenalin goes up during high pressure of competitions and I enjoy it because low-pressure situations feel unexciting. I am a little bit introverted but I get most excited when I have to play the deciding match for example at 2-2 team event. You know when the stake is high and I am the one who is able to win my match and clinch the victory for the team. Even if I beat the world number 15th player in an easy match 3:0 or 4:0 I understand that I won but I don’t feel that satisfied. It has to be a close match.
DK: What’s your message for young players? What lesson did you learn during your career?
GP: Never give up. I had so many challenging times through my career but I never gave up. There are always slumps and when this happens we have to train more and take it more seriously until we can go through this period. It happens with everyone that you don’t play well for a certain time and can’t bring out your highest potential. When this happens it is very important to keep practicing and just keep going. European table tennis is improving continuously, for example French players are getting better and better. There are more and more table tennis centers in Europe and more and more players are going to China to train. It is very important to have a great coach and have a great attitude, and personality. For example, are you the person who gives up quickly or are you the one who is extremely resilient? There were so many great talented players in Statisztika PSC and they quit and were forgotten because they gave up. The hardest part of my career was when I had to switch from being a junior to an adult professional table tennis player. This was the most challenging part of my early career because there is a huge difference between being in the juniors and playing among the best adult professional players.
Get a Copy How to Get Your Game Face On Like The Pros! to learn how to be mentally tough when you need it the most. Stay tuned for the second part of the interview with Georgina Pota next week! 🙂