Off to Odense 1: Lisa Gruber
09 Aug 2009 at 11:35 | Published by: Hans | Views: 7800 | News search
Lisa Gruber, Austria, after the winning shot in Canegrate 2007. (Photo by Erik Tiekstra 2007)
Today Minigolfnews starts a series of interviews called "Off to Odense". We will during the following days interview players and coaches that have one thing in common. They are off to Odense any day now, with high ambitions.
First out in the series is the reigning World Champion, Elisabeth Gruber of Austria.
HB: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself to those who donít know you. Who is Lisa Gruber?
Profession: Employed at the Dorotheum in Vienna, in the human resources department
Year of birth: 1980
Start of Minigolf career: 1992
Make of club: Nifo
Favourite ball: Cl. 4, D 84
Favourite course: In Austria, there are many beautiful minigolf places which are really nice to play.
Technical tip: To enjoy playing minigolf at a high level, regular training and challenges like different types of training or "fights" with competitors are essential. Furthermore a high grade of ambition and fighting spirit are also important elements to improve yourself steadily.
HB: Can you tell us how the feeling was when you won in Italy two years ago? Where you nervous during the last stages of the final versus Bianca?
LG: It's hard to describe the feeling in this special and unique moment. You are absolutely focused and do not realize anything else around you. With every lane played in the way you trained it before over and over, your self-confidence rises, the trust in yourself and your abilities is immense and you know that everything will work out well.
I wasn't nervous at all. It was great pleasure playing Bianca in front of this unbelievable crowd. With every ace my motivation grew and was incentive to enjoy the round even more.
Towards the end, I indeed got a little bit nervous watching Bianca's ball passing by the Passage knowing this would be my last stroke.
I remember it being very hot, the air was kind of burning, I held back my breath, focused on the only important thing at that moment. The audience was stunning, the silence was breathtaking! You could hear a pin dropping on the ground. Suddenly the tranquility was cut by cheering people Ė I made it! My last ball finished up disappearing in the final hole!
Unbelievable! You know you fulfilled something special but you cannot realize it at the very first moment. For sure my hands were up in the air but I cannot remember it anymore Ė the next moments were surreal and left meĖ in the middle of a crowded place Ė as the happiest person in the world.
HB: Have it been much attention on your title from media in Austria?
LG: We tried to get some attention because of it (my title in Austria) Ė e.g. there was a performance on Austrian TV, there were many articles in different newspapers, there was a day for families to play with the world champion and getting hints, we were at the day of sports at the Heldenplatz in Vienna etc. Willi Bauer was very dedicated and I believe we have done everything possible during that year to make minigolf a little bit more well-known.
HB: How has your 2009 season been so far?
LG: My season 2009 has been mixed so far - some really good competitions but not continuously at a level I expect from myself. I do have intensive and long-lasting training sessions, working hard becoming constant and better and I am confident being on the right way.
HB: You met the German national Team in Vienna in the beginning of June. Can you tell us little about this competition?
LG: We had a good training session with Germany and Switzerland. Unfortunately, the weather wasnít fine at all Ė we had to fight against heavy rainfall and strong wind. Nevertheless, there were some really good performances of individual players. It was an amicable training!
HB: You are soon to leave for Odense. What are your expectations of your and Austriaís performance in Odense? Are you aiming on defending your title?
LG: I think we do have a really good Austrian team! There are many good felt players and I do have a good feeling that we will play an important role in fighting for the medals! Sweden is the great favorite but we all will give our best to annoy the other players :)
Defending my title? Sure that Iíll try to defend it! Especially with the knockout-system everything is possible. It wonít be easy because there are many women who are very capable - especially on felt. But I really like the felt system, miniature golf anyway and therefore Iíll bear the challenge! I am looking forward to the competition!
HB: What are your favourites for medals in the Team Competition on the ladies side?
LG: As mentioned before, Sweden is the real favorite for the Team title! I think Germany, Austria and Switzerland will fight for the other medals. But at the world championships anything can happen and perhaps another dream becomes realityÖ
HB: And on the menís Team Competition side?
LG: Similar image on the male side: Sweden is the top favorite; Germany will fight for the second place with the teams of Austria, Switzerland and maybe another country?
HB: When going into a Championship like this, what do you personally think is most important doing well in the Team or individually?
LG: You have to use the spare time of training very well, you have to get good plans for each lane of the two courses and automate your strokes. Furthermore you have to support each other, stand behind your teammates, believe in your skills and donít lose sight of your aims and dreams. In spite of everything, you should have fun and enjoy the competition! The remain will stay my secret! :)
HB: Are there any nations or players that you think will have a breakthrough this year?
LG: I donít know because I have to focus on myself and my game as well as the performance of my teammates. According to experience, I donít think that there will be a breakthrough of a nation, particularly for this reason we are playing on a challenging felt and eternite course. We will see in about two weeks!
HB: Can you mention any favorites as you see it for the individual medals in Odense?
LG: As we are playing the knockout-system for the individual medals, it isnít that easy to say which players are in front. The following players do have good chances to earn the medals: Weaver, Wiklund, Wicki, Berger-Rella, Gruber (hopefully :) ), Ryner, Olsson, Erlbruch, Geist, Templin, Westenthaler, LindmayrÖ
HB: There has been much discussion on the Internet about the new KO modus played in the individual finals at international championships. What is your opinion about the KO-modus?
LG: I am of two minds about that. Personally I like the system - player versus player! It differs significantly from the traditional counting system. Strategy becomes more important sometimes. Itís a pity that there's nothing like a ďlucky-loser-ruleĒ which provides a so called safety net for the best players from the team competition. There are so many kinds of sports which have different disciplines e.g. swimming or athletics. Why shouldnít it be possible to honor two world champions at the minigolf Championships, too? I would prefer a regulation that there's a world champion within the counting system as well as another for the knockout-system. The systems are completely different and I think the best of each system is worthy receiving the gold medal, the title! Austria already changed it this way Ė maybe the WMF should have a thought about this too?
HB: What is your opinion on the limited training time allowed in Odense?
LG: Basically, I think the idea behind it is a good one, because the effort on training increased through the last 10 years. It is very interesting to see the strategy of each nation for structuring the limited time. But itíll be really hard due to the high amount of participants and the two challenging courses expecting us on which no one has any experiences about the exact lines and material.
HB: What is your opinion about the concept of playing championships indoors?
LG: I donít know if itís only for this year or the plan to organize international competitions indoor generally. I imagine that the conditions will be more constant and easier to handle e.g. wind, rain, shadows etc., but itís surely strange playing indoors when the weather is fine and sunny!
HB: There is much focus in some countries on MOS-courses and Adventure Golf courses with felt or artificial grass as surface. What is your opinion about these MOS courses as a competition arena?
LG: I have to admit not having much informations on that. I think it could be a new system, a new form of minigolf Ė successful and challenging in the future? Maybe, but as I have no experiences with this so far, I cannot say anything further about it.
HB: The youth world championships 2010 will be played at a MOS beton course in Socci, Russia after evaluation from you. What do you think of this development with MOS courses entering the Championships?
LG: Each development is questioned at the beginning and in my mind, itís a change for each player and coach. But itís also interesting how players will handle these strange and different courses. I canít judge whether these MOS courses are fair and exactly to play or not Ė this is one point which is a great favor for an international competition! If this point isnít fulfilled I would prefer concrete, eternite and felt courses anyway.
Championships and titles should not be given away to the luckiest player which seems to be the fact on such MOS courses as far as I heard about them. I believe every one is trying hard to get in shape for these special competitions where the lucky factor should be minimized as much as possible.
HB: Again thanks for participating a good luck in Odense.
LG: Thank you very much! Iím looking forward to the World Championships and Iím very excited about the next two weeks!