As some of you might remember, Fabian agreed to an interview some time ago, and we collected all the questions here on the forum, which were passed onto him. I know it's taken quite a while for him to answer them, and he's not quite answered all of them, but I feel partially to blame for this, as I passed him so many questions, it probably overwhelmed him, and he may have felt I was taking advantage of his generocity... Sorry Fabian, if you read this!
Anyway, he has kindly given me the answers to our questions below. I'm grateful for the time and effort he's spend on this, as I'm sure he's a busy man, and he's an awesome player! Here we go:Fabian Akerstrom Interview
Born December 14th 1988
Style: Long pips / inverted modern defenderBackground:Most youngsters are trained to use inverted rubbers. What attracted you to long pips at a young age? Do you think more juniors should use long pips?
I started using long pimples at age 13. My coach at the time, Hans Thalin, wanted me to try it. I did and I liked it. I started out as a "normal" chopper but had problems with the forehand chop. That is why I moved closer to the table and started to develop my own style.How long did it take you to adjust after the frictionless ban? What adjustments did you make?
I used the summer after the ban to test new pimples and new ways to develop my style. It worked out great and I was very happy with the new pimples from Donic. I have changed the way I play a lot but I hope it is for the better.If the ban was rescinded, would you go back to frictionless?
I don´t think that will ever happen. I am happy with the pimples I use now.Have you found any advantages with the ban, some shots that are more effective now?
It is much easier to make "offensive" shots with friction pimplesYou had a rough season in the Bundesliga last year. What where the main things that caused you problems in matches.
We had a tough year as a team. We were under a lot of pressure all spring and weren´t able to handle it. Mental strength is a very big part of this sport.You currently have a great season in the Pingisliga, is this because the standard is lower, or your level has improved, or is it a combination?
After a disappointing last year in Germany I decided to move back to Sweden to work with Marcus Sjöberg who coached me as a junior. I wish I would have moved earlier. He is a great coach with a lot of ideas. Of course the standard is lower here but I also believe that I have improved many parts of my game. Right now I just need to work on putting them all together, that has always been the toughest part for me.Technique/Strategy:What are the main types of shots you play with your long pips now?
My main shot is probably defending 2-3 meters away from the table. I also like to use it when I receive an aggressive serve. It is easier to control the shot with the pimples. I am still trying to develop my game every day in practise trying new shots with the pimples.Your fh flip is awesome, any advice on how to practice that particular shot?
I mainly use my fh flip to scare my opponent because I don´t want him to play short in my forehand. My flip is very hard and that is why it looks so good but there are a lot of players with better flip-technique than I have.What kind of practice method would you suggest for people who wants to improve, playing your style?
For players who are serious about their table tennis it is very important to have a great footwork. Against some opponents you might need to cover most of the table with forehand to win. It takes a very long time to improve your footwork and it might be boring sometimes but it is a very important part of the game.You twiddle a lot. Is this because you can attack more easily with inverted from either wing, or because it confuses the opponent more?
Both I guess. I am not fast enough to always attack with my forehand and I do not have the skills to attack with my pimples.What determines which side of the bat you use? Ball spin? Shot type? Strategy?
Mostly instinct. The game is so fast that I don´t have much time to think. If I feel that my opponent is having trouble with some of my shots then of course I will try to use them as often as I can.You often twiddle to receive serves with the pimples on both FH and BH, why is that?
I find it easier to control the spin with the pimples.Do you ever feel that the pips is a weakness that your opponent exploit and that you would be better of with a double inverted against some players?
Not really, I believe that nobody wants to play against my pimples if I use them the right way. Some players may like to play against pimples more than others but even the best have trouble against pimples if they don´t have time to prepare their shots.Equipment:What equipment are you using now?
Blade: Donic Persson Power Play
FH: Donic Coppa X1
BH: I used Donic Akkadi L2 with 0,6 sponge until 3 weeks ago. I believe that is a great rubber with good control close to the table and from a distance. I have now found a new long pimple rubber that fits me a little bit better. I believe this will help me develop my game further and it will be my first choice going forward. Since this rubber isn´t produced by my sponsor I do not wish to name or promote it. I hope you can respect that.What have affected your game the most, the frictionless ban or the speed glue ban?
I have not been affected by the speedglue ban at all. I believe the new rubbers are great and I see the speedglue ban as a positive thing. I have been very affected by the frictionless ban but I understand why it was made.
I see both of these bans as a positive thing for the sport but I find it ridiculous that you ban something when you don´t have the proper equipment to control if players are cheating.Would you ever consider using inverted rubbers on both sides now?
I will use pimples as long as I play professionally.General:Which victory of yours do you rate the highest?
Tough question. I have won a lot of great matches. My personal favorite is the first time I got to play a match for the first team of my club, Lyckeby. It was during the season 02/03. We were leading 7-6 and I was able to win the final match after trailing 0-2 to make it 8-6. I was only 14 years old and it was a big moment for me.What is a realistic target for you on the world ranking, do you think that you (or any one with your style) could ever reach top 10 in the world?
My own target is top 50. I see no reason why a player with my style would not be able to reach the top of the world ranking.As a fellow Swede, do you think there is a way back to the top again for Sweden?
I see great potential for Sweden in the future. We have a lot of young talents. The biggest problem is that very few at the ages 12-14 understands how much time and effort is needed to reach the top. It is too late to start at 16. We have some great centers in Sweden now where talents can live and practise together.Have they ever done any type of friction test on your pimples, to check if they meet the minimum friction level?
I don´t know what the minimum friction level is. I don´t know if anybody does?