There is a new professional table tennis league in the USA. A young Swiss man was also recruited: Yoann Rebetz.
the Major League Table Tennis Play began on September 15. 8 teams started in the East Division, namely the Carolina Gold Rush, the Chicago Wind, the Princeton Revolution, and the Florida Crocs. The group in the West is the Bay Area Blasters, Portland Paddlers, Seattle Spinners and Texas Smash.
Thanks to the American League Championship Draft
Neuchâtel's Yoan Rebetz is also in the lineup from Houston. On the weekend of September 22nd-24th, the 26-year-old celebrated a good debut for his team (two wins, one defeat).
I think this format can captivate viewers.
The road to MLTT was certainly not a successful one. “You had to register for the draft. About 400 players registered for the tournament. You could choose East or West,” Rebetz recalled. Sixty-four players were then selected over three days, half of them from the USA. Rebetz was drawn with the number 45 .
The level of MLTT is higher than in Switzerland
“Things went well for me there. You have defeated two higher ranked opponents. “Luckily my current coach Jorg Pettiggio was there for one of these matches, otherwise it probably wouldn't have worked,” says Rebetz. As a national coach, he led Germany's Wu Jiadu to the European Championship title in 2009 and the German women's national team to World Cup bronze in 2010.
The necessary change is available, after all, it comes down to action.
You won't find big stars in MLTT. Rebetz describes the level of the new league as follows: “Definitely higher than in Switzerland, and perhaps the second German league.” The biggest names are Poland's Daniel Jurac (former European doubles vice champion) and Rebetz's teammate Amy Wang from the USA, currently ranked 31st in the world.
Rebetz says the new league definitely has potential for development. “The necessary change is available; at the end of the day, it's about business,” he says. He sees the fact that German great Dimitrij Ovcharov has joined Princeton and four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili has joined the Florida Crooks as a good sign.
“The Golden Game” turns table tennis into a show
As is usual in American sports, the fans get to see a show. So league officials created an innovative format: the Golden Game. In the final group of 21 players, all players (there must also be one woman on each team) compete against each other. A player scores only 4 points.
Depending on their draft position, players receive fees ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 each weekend. A maximum of $1,500 is added per match.
The previous duels are only preliminary skirmishes and determine the points lead for the leading team in the Gold Game. “The most important thing is to get at least one set in your singles matches, otherwise the gap will be too big,” explains Rebetz.
The golden game is all about sausages. “This requires a completely different mentality than in all other competitions. The first time I shook my hand during the service.” But he enjoys it: “I think this format can captivate viewers. Because the cards are being reshuffled. Of course it is tiring for us as players. Because within 10 seconds your performance can be over and you're asking yourself: 'What was that?'”
Flight, accommodation and a few thousand dollars
Ultimately, the pay also depends on the results. Rebetz: “Depending on their position in the draft, players receive a starting fee of between $1,000 and $2,000 per weekend. Per game (There are 3 at the end of the week, editor.) A maximum of $1,500 is added. Flight, accommodation and food are paid.
Rebetz, who works 50 percent of the time from home as a data analyst for a financial company in Zurich, also plays for ZZ Lancy, the Swiss champions for the 2020-2022 season, and (because of the money) for French club Istres. Rebetez completes up to 25 hours of training per week.
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