Photo: Badmintonphoto
Robin Tabeling: Neutralise the opponents
Date: 5/20/2020 11:30 AM
Published by : BEC staff

European mixed doubles is in a good place at the moment in time, with five pairs in the world’s top 20. Robin Tabeling discusses what can be done to take this to the next level. 

Tabeling, the partner of Selena Piek, is currently ranked at 16. Together with the other top Europeans, they have shown they can mix it up with the very best. Tabeling speaks about what can be done now to rival the Asian pairs more consistently. 

- I think currently there are two pairs worth mentioning, as they both proved they were able to beat world-class players recently. The French (Gicquel/ Delrue) did it in Indonesia and Spain, and Ellis/ Smith proved once again at the All England they are a top pair. Do not get me wrong, I think all competitive European pairs are doing good, as you can also see on the world ranking. Mixed doubles is a discipline nowadays where us Europeans have many pairs at the higher end of the world ranking, showing we can challenge the world-class pairs from Asia.

Tabeling and Piek of course have also played their part in closing the gap when defeating the world number ones and world champions Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong at the All England. Gauging where the Dutch pair themselves sit in this European group striving to reach the top, Tabeling states. 

- That is a tricky question. I will just use the world ranking to answer, making us number 3 or 4. That does not mean we can’t defeat the English or French pairs, or get beaten by the Germans, Russians and Danes just behind.

Read: Performing at the top level is missing

I will just go for a yes!

Making a positive out of a negative situation, players are now finding time to reflect on their game more thoughtfully. Thinking about what Tabeling has highlighted as an aspect of his game he is needing to improve.

- There is always a lot to improve, but for me personally, I would focus on tactical attacking decisions and controlling the rally more from under the tape. Being able to neutralize the opponent’s stroke/set up so they can’t attack us even more.

Being viewed as in the top four coming into a continental championship, it is natural to begin talking about the battle for medals. Looking towards the next European Championships and the frozen snapshot of form, how does Tabeling view his chances for the podium. 

- One thing is for sure and that is that Selena and I felt like we missed out on a medal in Minsk, and we will definitely aim for at least a medal at the next European Championships. Whoever is with us on the stage, will depend also a lot on the draw as I have said before that the level of the mixed doubles is actually pretty close to each other within Europe. 

Lastly, would a European mixed doubles Olympic medal be possible? This is something we have witnessed in half of all the Olympic Games to date, the last coming in London 2012 with the bronze for Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen. Commenting on this, Tabeling states.

- Medalling in Tokyo means you need to beat a better-seeded pair at least two times. I think most of us Europeans showed we can do it once but two times in one tournament is very hard. Crazier things have happened in an Olympic Games, so I will just go for a yes!

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