Worksop table tennis star Sam Walker is back on ‘home’ soil this week – but he’s not playing in the United Kingdom.
England’s number one junior player now resides full time in Germany, where he’s currently playing in the German Open.
The teenager, fresh from what he called an ‘average’ performance at the Polish Open last week, lost 4-3 on Thursday to a Japanese player ranked in the top 80 in the world.
In an honest assessment of where his game is at the moment, Walker told the Guardian: “The Polish Open was okay, overall it was an average tournament in terms of results.”
“But I feel I am improving and at this stage in my career its all valuable experience.”
“It’s good to be getting close to these (highly ranked) guys right now, but would be nicer of course to win.”
As the Guardian went to print Walker was awaiting his Under 21 matches in the German Open.
And he’s got half an eye on a big finish to his junior career.
He said: “In December I will be playing the World Junior Championships in Morocco, which is a big tournament for me.”
“It will be my last tournament as a junior so I’m hoping to make it a good one.”
“Ive got fairly good chances, I’m top 10 in Europe now for my age so I’m hoping to make it to the later rounds.”
The former Redlands and Valley student admits that he has pangs of homesickness, but he’s enjoying life in Germany.
“Our team is top of the league with three matches left this half of the season,” said the 18-year-old.
“Individually I’ve won 11 matches and lostone, so I’m playing well in the league.”
“I’m still missing some of the home luxuries of England, but all in all I’m still enjoying life out in Germany and I believe its still the best for me at the moment.”