William Henzell last night almost did what most people think would have been the impossible when he led the former nr.1 in the World Valimir Samsonov 4-1 & 5-3 in the final set of the third round of the London Olympic Games.
Unfortunately William was eventually defeated 4-3 (11-7 in the final set) however his effort in the lead up to these games were rewarded in his previous match defeating Joao Monterior of Portugal 4-2 who is ranked 39th in the world.
Home Sweet Home
I’m sure it was more than just another match for Samsonov, as this was the Olympic Games, however it should be noted that Samsonov would play 100 matches per year in environments similar to London whilst William would only play 2; which in my opinion would make all the difference.
Samsonov has made his home playing on the centre stage; in fact Samsonov spends most of his time away from his home country of Belarus as he needs to avoid the local mafia due to his career earnings from these matches whilst William will return back home to a 9-5 IT Business Intelligence job at Slater & Gordon later in the month.
A Long Road
It has been a long road for William, in fact I was lucky enough to have had dinner with William only a few weeks ago at the Australian Open where we discussed the road less travelled where William explained how 8 years of International travel and training was put in before he achieved a result that justified his sacrifice all those years ago by winning the Australian Open when he was 20 years of age.
Ten years on and this was William’s 3rd Olympic Games, and his second 3rd round exit in seven games at age 30. Will the road end here or is it just the beginning?
Finance & Life
A player like Vladimir Samsonov would earn up to $3 million dollars per year playing table tennis whilst the Australian nr.1 William Henzell who has proven that he is a top 50 player in the world would earn less than $50k per year.
Other contributing factors are the distance in which William would need to travel to compete, which would mean he would need to leave Australia for at least 9 months of the year in order to compete in a European club.
All this for $50k and no super?
Another contributing factor is William’s passport; he is a proud Australian however an Australian passport is the equivalent of a Chinese, Japanese or Korean passport in Europe, as clubs can only have 1 international player in their team. And considering the amount of Asian players on the market it makes negotiations even harder for the Australian player.
Each year in the junior ranks, the European Championships are held, where all the European countries can show off their talent; and it is here that the European Junior Champion will begin his rise up the financial ranks by securing a place in the higher ranked clubs. Unfortunately Australian players can not participate in the event which limits their exposure to many of the opportunities around.
With this Olympic Games, William has secured his place in Australian history. It was an event that will be talked about for ever; however in todays day an age where telecommunications have come so far it was surprising to see William’s match against the former world nr.1 was relayed from a large TV screen inside the stadium back to our homes where you could not see the score or ball and with-out commentary.
Good luck and well done
Last of all, I wish to congratulate William Henzell for his outstanding achievements over the last 10 years and for last nights effort versus Vladimir Samsonov. You almost achieved a miracle, you’ve worked hard and deserved much much more for your efforts.
Good luck for the remainder of the event and hopefully you’ll have one more shot at it over the next four years....