This article marks the first in the Butterfly ask a pro series, this is where table tennis fans have the opportunity to ask one of our Butterfly Pro’s any question they would like. This week in the spotlight is Portuguese star and world number 40 (January 2018) Tiago Apolonia.

Last week we asked  Butterfly Instagram followers to send in their questions to Tiago. We have picked 20 of the best ones and these are his answers:


@Nickbaxter1983 asks: If there was a rule change you would reverse or add what would be and why?

“The Plastic Ball change…I would not reverse it because I guess there are some kind of health and environment benefits behind this change. But I would add some kind of rule in order to uniform the materials used to produce the balls. The difference between the balls from the different brands is in my opinion too big, which makes players job more difficult and on other hand, also increases the chances for unexpected injuries because the bounces are different, the impacts with the balls are different, which leads to constant technical adjustments all the time we play with different balls.


@emi_rgl asks: Does a Tenergy Pro version exist?


“It is a very common question and I know most of the people doesn’t believe me when I answer it but the truth is that the rubbers I use are exactly the same which everyone can buy in the shops. There is no Tenergy Pro Version.”


@igormunja asks: What is your opinion on the new ranking system?

“I still haven’t a clear opinion about it. I prefer to wait few months to see how it develops and then I can give a more clear feedback. Because right now, the January WR show us some kind of really really unexpected placements. Hopefully in a few months, we will not see this unreal placements anymore.”


@Francesco_contii asks: What is your best mental tip?

“Always believe you can do it!”



@jxshi_ asks: Did you finish school and did you study?

“I was studying business management at the university in Lisbon but I needed to stop it when I moved to Belgium and became Table Tennis professional.”


@delarosa710 asks: How do you avoid injuries?

“I try to avoid injuries by doing as much as possible physical training sessions and also by taking very seriously the regeneration process (rest and nutrition).”


@Aeis46271887 asks: How many hours do you train per day?

“Depending a bit of the season periods, I practice around 5/6 hours per day.”


@Omarbaig2001 asks: Best moment of your career and most memorable moment

“Fortunately I could point some moments. Choose one is really hard. I will pick two 😊 When I qualified for the first time for Olympic Games and to become European Team Champion in Lisbon, Portugal.”


@ioscan_ asks: What’s your favourite blade and rubbers?

“Apolonia ZLC and Tenergy 05.”


@Omar.abdulaal10 asks: How do you deal with stress in a match or if you are getting angry?

“Always try to take a deep breath and think positive”


@tommiruffing asks: What are your aims with Saarbrucken?

“Go as far as possible in Champions League and qualify for the Bundesliga Play Off.”


@gladwin_mc5 asks: If you were not a table tennis player, what would you be?

“If I didn’t start with Table Tennis at the early age of 5, I would most probably become a Football player.”


@alex_averin_tt asks: What are you goals for 2018?

“Help my team in the second part of the season in order to reach our club goals. For Portugal, try to get a dream medal at the next Team World Championships in Halmstad.”



@travisxriley asks: What is your favourite serve?

“I like do fast-long serves.”


@magnus_hartvigsen asks: how many siblings do you have?

“One older brother.”


@itsmesimoncopeland asks: what should a beginner do to beat players who just always play back spin and push?

“Difficult question, I would say you need to be patient and the more you practice against this kind of players, the bigger is the chance you can beat them.”


@Jack_cope98 asks: What is your best win?

“My biggest win was against Zhang Jike in the last German Open in 2017.”


@rensomarco asks: Who is the best player in the world in your opinion?

“In the last 4/5 years, Ma Long is the best player in my opinion.”


@ashutosh125 asks: Who is your inspiration?

“My family is my biggest inspiration. They are the ones who always support me and the ones who I want to be proud of me. In sport, I like names like Ronaldo and Federer.”


@Mina.h.omer asks: What’s it like being a new father and a professional table tennis player?

“It is very good. My son gives me a lot of energy to face difficult situations.”

Bonus question!
Fellow Butterfly player Omar Assar asks: How would you describe that moment when you saw your first child Santiago?

“I understand now when people say that they can’t describe that moment. It is really hard. It is such a big mix of very very intense emotions. It was by far the most intense and happy moment of my life!”



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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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