One of the things that I like the most is the feeling of competing. I played ball games since I was a baby. When he started, just a little boy, on top of the table tennis. Playing with his father. Then he went to volleyball, played track. So my pride just got bigger. I’ve always had great focus, I learned things pretty fast, just by watching, looking. He started practicing volleyball and table tennis in Fluminense, right. And the granddad was the one that took him. To volleyball practice, table tennis practice. And I didn’t just take him back and forth, I took him and stayed there watching. So at the table tennis, that time, I was already rooting for him. With 10 years old, when he played ball with his Fluminense mates, I was there rooting. Rooting for him during practice. I was about thirteen years old when I decided that I was going to drop volleyball and stay with table tennis. And since I was little, I was in the table tennis national team, I’ve had traveled to some countries, knew a lot of people outside Rio, outside Brazil. As he was standing out he left the teenagers, the adults, left everything behind. With fourteen years old I moved to São Caetano, of course it’s hard to move out of home and live far away from my family. What now? He goes alone? He wouldn’t be able to. So who’s available? The retired grandpa, right? With the consent of the grandmother, of course, because we had to have it. Me moving to São Caetano was the moment I decided that I was really going to 100% follow this path in table tennis. He already played, competed in international tournaments, so when he traveled to compete I wanted to go with him, but I’d go back to Rio. And it was two years with… …to him, a lot of sacrifice, had to have a lot of willpower. With sixteen I moved to Paris, in France. I was going to live there, but after a month I got hurt, I had an injury, I had to go back to Brazil and get a surgery. And close to that time, when people asked what was my goal in table tennis, I used to say that I wanted to be realistic, but also ambitious,right, And said I was gonna reach the top 20. Now with twenty-two years old I reached top 20 and already got to top 10. We always have to be one step ahead, building new objectives, And making goals for table tennis. In 2016 I got to 50 something of the World. So of course that I, as a competitor and an athlete, I was looking for trying to get a medal, but everyone else and I knew that would be really hard. The first thing I did was to sign up as a volunteer. He always tried to not work when I played. Also not to disturb me,
but for him not to get too nervous around the play area too.
He always asked not to put him during my games. I even used to buy tickets, just after that I discovered that I didn’t need to buy them, But I had the tickets to get in, changed my shirt, put this one here, Got in there like any other fan and went straight to the corner. At the end I had big chances to fight for that medal, But I wasn’t able to. Which was normal, but it was a experience that will, surely, help me a lot, for the next olympics games. And now in Tokyo the objective is different, in Rio was: enjoy the olympics to the max,
learn plenty and of course, like always, In every competition, compete. But in Tokyo I am going
with a different mentality with the real goal of fighting to get the medal. He knows the way he has to look at. It cannot be rushing over the stages. If I didn’t win I will win further ahead. My dream, I don’t know if it’s a dream or an objective, is to be an olympic champion.