Picturesque Antibes, right on the shores of the mediterranean sea is host city to this year’s Europe Top16 tournament – sponsored by Butterfly. Meeting there from February 03 – 05 will be the best players of Europe, since the price – besides winning the Top 16 – will be a direct ticket to the prestigious World Cup later this year. A preview of this important date during the year of the World Championships, 2017..

A “Miniature European Championships”

The best players Europe has to offer will be meeting at the Europe Top16. All the more impressive that 10 out of 16 Men and 9 out of 16 Women are Butterfly-sponsored players.

03. BOLL Timo (GER 2)
04. FREITAS Marcos (POR 1)
06. FEGERL Stefan (AUT 1)
07. APOLONIA Tiago (POR 2)
08. KARLSSON Kristian (SWE 1)
09. GACINA Andrej (CRO 1)
13. MONTEIRO Joao (POR 3)
14. SHIBAEV Alexander (RUS 1)
15. GROTH Jonathan (DEN 1)
16. GIONIS Panagiotis (GRE 1)

01. HU Melek (TUR 1)
03. SAMARA Elizabeta (ROU 1)
04. LIU Jia (AUT 1)
08. EKHOLM Matilda (SWE 1)
10. MIKHAILOVA Polina (RUS 1)
12. POLCANOVA Sofia (AUT 2)
13. PAVLOVICH Viktoria (BLR 1)
14. BILENKO Tetyana (UKR 1)

Victory at the TOP16 will mean not only prestige for the winner, but will also mean direct qualification for the World Cup, the third most important tournament in the schedule of any professional player – right after the World Champs and the Olympics.

Gaining experience for the WTTC

Timo Boll (GER)

Talking about WTTC. Players are itching to gain match practise for the jumbo-event in May which underlines the importance of the competition in Antibes even more. Also to experts and coaches the TOP16 will be closely watching the performance of the professional athletes and no doubt be taking notes. As the tournament features a group and knockout stage, there surely will be a lot of high-class games to see.

Timo Boll, superstar in the german national team, did have to sit out the last TOP16 tournament due to injury and thusly failed to qualify for the World Cup. In Antibe, he will want to fight for the title to secure the qualification early on, although even the runner-up and ranked 3 players will have a small chance to attend.

And what about the others?

Some players will be under close watch, especially those not among the very favorites to win, but who have raised attention by good results recently.

Butterfly Coach Richard Prause names among them:

Richard Prause, DTTB

Surely, we will watch out for the freshly-crowned European Champion Emanuel Lebesson, or his countryman Simon Gauzy. In the Women’s competition, I would like to see Eliza Samara and her currently level of play. Can she beat the European Champion Hu Melek, who is seeded No.1 in Antibes?




 Butterfly G40+: Official Competition Ball in Antibes

Not only the athletes attending, but also the equipment of the Europe TOP16 will be of the finest selection. Playing on high-level competition tables Butterfly CENTREFOLD 25+, the tournament will also features Butterfly’s THREE STAR G40+ Ball made in Germany.

Richard Prause adds:

The Butterfly G40+ Ball ist durable with a very even bounce. While it is well-liked by the players, they will have to specially practise with it since it seems every other event uses a ball of a different manufacturer. While the high-class competition balls are good themselves, they are just a little different from manufacturer to manufacturer. And on the high level of the professional players, being prepared with the right competition ball can mean the difference between losing and winning.

About The Author


Seb has succeeded in living his passion for table tennis. A long-time player, he connected to professional table tennis as commentator for the ITTF, travelling to top events such as World Championships and reporting live from the action. In 2014, Seb became part of the Butterfly Team, working in international Sales and Marketing at Butterfly Europe in Germany.

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