Pune: Maharashtra United’s Elizabeta Samara, who made her debut in Ultimate Table Tennis this season, believes Indian paddlers have upped their game.
The Romanian said, “I have seen Indian players play international games and now in UTT, They are really competitive to face and their understanding about the game has developed too.”
The world number 19, who beat a higher-ranked opponent in world number 11 Doo Hoi Kem (Hongkong) of RPSG Mavericks 3-0 in the last tie in Pune, feels the league is a great opportunity for all players to compete against some of the best in the business.
“The organisation of the league, rules and regulations and most importantly the format of the league is good. I believe all the players in the league are really enjoying it,” said Samara.
During the player draft, Maharashtra United picked Romania’s number one Samara as their first foreign female player in round two.
Samara, a three-time European champion, also has been playing mixed doubles in the league along with India’s number one Amalraj Anthony. She has relished the new challenge alongside Anthony.
“Anthony’s urge to learn something new never fades off. He uses his focus in a right direction and his study of the opposition during the game is very impressive,” pointed Samara.
At 29, Samara has already represented Romania in three Olympics (’08, ’12, ’16), and there seems to be no stopping for her. Samara picked up the sport after watching her brother play.
“I used to go with my mother to pick my brother from his training and soon I fell in love with the game and then I started playing and never looked back,” remembered Samara.
For now, she is relishing her experience in India and wants to make the most of it.
“The experience with the league has been fantastic until now and I’m impressed with the passion shown by my teammates. There is always scope of improvement in every sport so I would say India is on the right track,” concluded Samara.