Liam Pitchford feels confident he can build on his good individual World Championships form when he competes at the WTT Champions Macao event starting on Wednesday.
In terms of the quality of opposition, it will be a little like jumping from the frying pan into the fire for the England No 1.
Of the 32 players involved in Macao, the lowest ranked is No 52 in the world, while Pitchford’s ranking of 22 is not enough to put him in the top 16 in the field – in fact, the top 16 in the world will all be competing.
Nevertheless, Pitchford feels he can acquit himself well, having won all but one of his matches at the Worlds – the exception a defeat to world No 6 Truls Moregard of Sweden.
Speaking before the draw was made, Pitchford said: “I’m feeling confident. The World Championships went quite well personally – I felt good and I played well.
“It was good for me to play a lot of matches at the Worlds and I was happy overall. It was the best I’ve felt for a while and I was enjoying it. Results team-wise didn’t go our way, but I couldn’t really have played much better or felt much better.
“This is another big tournament and hopefully more matches to play but as soon as you step on court, you’ve got a really tough match and it’s difficult.
“But if I play as well as I did at the Worlds then I know I can beat anyone on my day. Hopefully I can keep playing at that level and get some wins.”
Pitchford remained in Chengdu, China, after the Worlds and has been practising under quarantine conditions alongside other top players including world No 5 Hugo Calderano of Brazil, world No 8 Darko Jorgic of Slovenia and France’s Alexis Lebrun, currently ranked 30.
Pitchford said: “Quarantining’s not ideal, but it’s my job and I just need to get on with it, and it’s good for me to practise against those guys every day.”