TTBL fans had the opportunity to vote for their "TTBL Player of the Month November" in a social media survey. This month's candidates were Steffen Mengel, Ovidiu Ionescu (both Post SV Mühlhausen), Hugo Calderano (TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen) and Eduard Ionescu (1. FC Saarbrücken TT). For his first international title wins, the TTBL fans deservedly voted the 1.95 m tall Steffen Mengel "Player of the Month".
The older the better: at the ripe old age of 35, Steffen Mengel has once again reached unimagined heights in his table tennis career. Almost in the manner of the serial winners from China, the 2013 German champion celebrated back-to-back WTT feeder tournament victories in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, and in Düsseldorf. For his first international title wins, the TTBL fans deservedly voted the 1.95 m tall lanky player from Post SV Mühlhausen "Player of the Month" in a social media poll.
An accolade that was certainly not unexpected for Mengel. The native of Siegerland, who landed a surprise win against the Chinese multi-world champion Wang Hao at the 2014 German Open almost ten years ago, was well aware of the rare constellation of back-to-back successes in WTT competitions after his success in Düsseldorf. "I still find it difficult to put my feelings into words. I just left everything that was in me at the table. Heart, passion, emotion, greed - and was rewarded with the title again, amazing," the right-hander wrote to his fans on social media and thanked them for their congratulations: "I've read every single one."
The veteran had already had a lot to do after his success in Portugal. No wonder, as his march to the title was the fulfillment of a long-cherished dream, as Mengel himself revealed: "I turned professional at the age of 17. Ever since I played my first international tournament, it was always my goal to win one. I've now achieved that."
Once he had acquired a taste for it, the former resident of the German Table Tennis Boarding School in Düsseldorf immediately followed it up with his second coup at the site of his school and sports training. "I would never have dreamed of winning two feeders in a row. But if you keep fighting for your goals in life, you also achieve outstanding results," the former national player commented spontaneously on his repeated success in Düsseldorf while still in the box.
These outstanding results are also reflected in the world rankings: thanks to his 15 successive singles victories in Portugal and on the Rhine, between which Mengel also managed a win against Kirill Gerassimenko in the German table tennis league when his Mühlhausen team beat Werder Bremen 3:1 less than 24 hours after his first title, the Westphalian stormed back into the top 100 in the rankings within two weeks from beyond 300th place via 122nd to 71st - a very remarkable comeback more than eight years after his top ranking at 25th place.
Mengel, on the other hand, has long been a fixture in the German Table Tennis League (TTBL). Before moving to Mühlhausen to join last season's play-off and Champions League semi-finalists, the amateur billiards player had also played for TTV Gönnern, TG Hanau, TTC Frickenhausen and TTC Schwalbe Bergneustadt in the German elite class since 2006. After a clearly positive record last season, Mengel has an even score (4:4) ahead of his team's final spurt in the first half of the season.