ǡѺ Dr.Neubauer ҡ䫵 ITTF
   European Man a Dangerous Opponent and Medal Contender in Rio

By: Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Dr Herbert Neubauer using his blocking skills to good effect at the World Veteran Championships Photo By: Marcio Rodrigues


He is an economist by profession, a subject in which he has is highly qualified, he has a doctorate, a former member of the German Diplomatic service and quite simply dedicated to table tennis; that is Dr Herbert Nuebauer.

He is one of over thirteen hundred competitors in action at the 14th World Veteran Championships which saw play commence in Barra, near Rio de Janeiro on Sunday 25th May 2008.

It is for him a very necessary biennial pilgrimage having competed in every World Veteran Championships since 1994 when the event was held in Melbourne, Australia.

Early Success

In that event he won the Over 40 Mens Doubles title with the celebrated Chinese international, Liang Geliang and was a bronze medallist in the Over 40 Mens Singles.

Two years later when the tournament was held in Lillehammer, it was gold in the Over 50 Mens Singles, in a match to be remembered. Few gave him a sniff of a chance in the final against the Croatian Dragutin Surbek, the fabled Yugoslav international, who during his career, had thrilled the crowds with his athletic play.

Blocking Skills

However, calm, well prepared and using his blocking skills with long pimpled rubber on the backhand to great effect, Herbert Nuebauer mesmerised Dragutin Surbek; confidence drained from the Croatian faster than water gushing down the Niagra Falls.

The man from Switzerland was the somewhat unexpected champion and since then he has won four more gold medals at World Veteran Championships to make a grand total of six.


Now wait a minute, is he from Switzerland?

Herbert Nuebauer was born in Germany, lives in France, at the Annual General Meetings of the International Table Tennis Federation and the European Table Tennis Union he represents Liechstenstein, he has worked in England but he plays for Switzerland.

I was correct after all; all right then, European man!


It was the long pimpled rubber on his racket that caused Dragutin Surbek so many problems and has caused many other players headaches.

I hear people say that he wins because of his racket. They said the same about John Hiltons racket when he won the Mens Singles event at the European Championships in Berne in 1980; reversed rubber and anti-spin was his weapon but just try using that racket.

Its not that easy and to play at the level the Englishman played, you need a great deal of skill. It is the same with Herbert Neubauer.

Started to Use Long Pimples

It was in the early 1990s that I started to use long pimples, explained Herbert Neubauer. My footwork had always been poor and it was getting worse, so I decided to change my technique, I thought long pimples might make me a more dangerous player.

Well, Herbert Neubauer isnt quite as fast as Ryu Seung Min; thats true but the change to long pimples has certainly made him a dangerous opponent.


In 2000 I started to experiment with different blades, different plies; different weights and also with different racket coverings, explained Herbert Neubauer. The end result was that with my son we started our own company in 2002.

The company has been extremely successful. Now we just cannot keep up with the demand, smiled Herbert Neubauer. The telephone never stops ringing!

Now Herbert Neubauer you are highly qualified in Economics; dont you understand the laws of supply and demand?


A great demand for long pimpled rubber, it is used with great effect by Herbert Neubauer who is very realistic about the material.

I know some people are against the use of long pimples, he said. I must agree that often the player using long pimples is not attractive to watch.

Well, maybe that is true for the player who tries to stay close to table and block but for a defender like Joo Se Hyuk of Korea, then for me he can use long pimples as long as wants.


However, I dont agree that the rubber produces unpredictable spins, Herbert Neubauer continued. In fact it is the exact opposite; you play a heavy topspin, it comes back with heavy backspin, play a backhand push with backspin and it comes back with topspin, do nothing and you get nothing.

The rubber is passive; it reacts to the degrees of spin imparted by the adversary. Practise against the surface and you get used to it, continued Herbert Neubauer. Eventually, it becomes a disadvantage to use the rubber, play someone two or three times and each time it becomes harder; you must learn to twiddle the racket.

Poor Shape

Very true and Herbert Neubauer finds that is most definitely the situation; the more you play the same opponent, the harder life becomes and on the first day of play in Rio de Janeiro he did have some problems; he confessed he was not in good shape.

I had no feeling today, he said. No movement but then I never move much!


Nevertheless, playing badly he won and the man who uses long pimples with no sponge on the backhand and short pimples on the forehand is a very dangerous opponent in the 65-69 year age group events at the 14th World Veteran Championships.

Now that was his goal in using long pimples, to be a dangerous opponent; that he has achieved and much more!

: Pimple Lover [28 .. 51 9:40] ( IP A: X: )
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