Canadian National Team athlete Matthew Lehmann is now playing and training in Europe, the Czech Division 1 with his club DTJ Hradec Králové. Here is a little insight from his first experiences getting ready for an exciting 2020.
How is the training in the Czech Republic?
I am really enjoying it here! The training is great at TTC Ostrava 2016. I get a lot of one-on-one attention from the coach, and I am playing with stronger players than me every day, so it’s a really good opportunity for me to improve.
How do you find living in Ostrava?
I really like it! I live less than 10 minutes by tram to the hall, and it’s right in the centre of the city so everything is convenient. My favourite part is the lunch specials at the local cafes and restaurants. It’s about $6 for a really good meal, and my favourite places includes a cappuccino or coffee of your choice!
How do you find the Czech league?
I think it’s really good for me right now. Every second weekend I have two team matches. Each match I play 3-4 singles and one doubles, so it’s really good for me to get practice playing a lot of matches. The players are all very experienced and smart, so I can learn a lot from playing against them!
You recently competed in the Polish Open. How did that go?
In singles I finished 2nd in my group of three. I won against Radim Bako from the Czech Republic 3-1. My coaches in Ostrava were excited for my win, as he plays in the Extraliga, and I play Divison 1, one league below. I lost to Laurens Devos who went on to lose in the round of 32 to Jo Yokotani of Japan.
In doubles I played with Mladin Paul from Romania for the first time. Our styles worked well together and we were able to find success. In the first preliminary round we won 3-0 to against a team from Egypt. In the second preliminary round we won against Huang Yu-Jen and Tai Ming-Wei (u18 WR #10 and #19) from Taipei also 3-0. In the final preliminary round we faced Alexander Chen and David Serdaroglu from Austria. We lost a disappointing but close 3-0 (11, 9, 8). It was a good chance to make the main draw/top 16 and hopefully we will get the chance in the future.
What’s coming up next for you?
I am looking forward two an exciting two months of competition with the North American Open in Toronto, the US Open, and the 2020 World Championships Team qualifier!
Good luck Matthew and we wish you the best in Europe as well as your upcoming competitions in North America!