‘IT’S A FEELING YOU CAN’T DESCRIBE’
One year on from capturing his first ever WPA World 9-ball Championship, Austria’s Albin Ouschan looks back on that momentous moment, and tells us what to expect as the 2017 World 9-ball Championship gets set to kick off Dec. 9 in Doha, Qatar.
Exclusive interview and story by WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner
By Ted Lerner/WPA Press Officer
Coming into the 2016 World 9-ball Championship in Doha, Qatar, Austria’s Albin Ouschan had been playing the type of pool that spoke of a champion in the making. Two years earlier Ouschan had finished runner up in the 2014 event, barely losing to Holland’s Niels Feijen. Then over the next two years he took his game to new heights, including winning the brutally tough China Open in 2015, a successful stint on the winning European Mosconi Cup team, and wins and high finishes in many European events.
While all of his opponents in the 2016 World 9-ball Championship were well aware they were up against a verified pool monster, no doubt few realized just how thoroughly Ouschan had it all together. One only has to listen to what the Austrian said immediately after advancing to the semi-finals in Doha last year. Cleary Ouschan was destined for greatness the following day.
“The difference now is all the tournaments I’ve played since 2014,” the then 25 year old Ouschan said on the penultimate day of the Championship. “Maybe I’m a better player now. I practice a lot. I won the China Open last year. I became a father about a year ago. I played in the Mosconi. There’s many big steps in my life. I’m happy with all the things in my life. My baby is perfect. My girlfriend is perfect. So probably I have a perfect life so that’s why I play almost perfect on the table.”
With everything in his personal and professional pool playing life in total sync, Ouschan came out on the final day and put in a dream performance. After first blowing out Canada’s Alex Pagulayan in the semi-final, Ouschan came back in the final to put an emphatic and somewhat shocking 13 – 6 drubbing on American Shane Van Boening to capture his first WPA World 9-ball championship at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha.
As the 2017 WPA World 9-ball Championship gets set to commence on December 9th at the Al Arabi Sports Club in Doha, we caught up with the current World 9-ball Champion to recap how it all went down last year, what he has been doing since then, and how he feels about his chances of doing it all again.
TL: Describe what it was like to finally win the World 9-ball Championship in 2016 after many years of hard work, and after having come in 2nd two years earlier.
AO: It’s a feeling you can’t describe. I remember when I was on the last 3 balls I felt like my heart will jump out of my chest. On the last nine I just thought “Finally, World Champion.”
TL: You mentioned last year that your personal life was going really well. How much do you think the situation in your personal life played in your great performance throughout the tournament last year?
AO: I think it changed a lot. I felt more happy in every part of my life and with a baby also comes a kind of pressure because you want to give them everything they deserve so that was maybe the thing I needed to be that successful.
TL: Everyone thought the final with Shane Van Boening would a really close match. Instead the match wasn’t even close. Why do you think the match ended up being so one sided?
AO: Yeah true but he made 2 mistakes in the beginning of the match which gave me the big lead. When I was up like 7:2 I think I just thought don’t give him the chance to come back and we know I didn’t. Well we often saw that Shane makes easy mistakes under pressure like at the Mosconi Cup but we also know how good he can play.
TL: How has the last year been professionally and personally since you won the World 9-ball Championship? Have you become well known in Austria? How about sponsors, did you do well with sponsors?
AO: It was a very good year. Everyone knows me now and I also won the award for best sport Athlete in my state which is great because the biggest sport in Austria is skiing so to win the award against our Pro Ski Team is an honor. I also have some new sponsors and some better contracts.
TL: How are you playing coming into this year’s championship? Is there a lot of pressure being the defending champion? Do you think you have a reasonable chance of repeating as champion?
AO: Of course there is some pressure because you know many people will watch your matches but I know that situation already. I will just try to stay calm and cool. We all know how many good players are at the World Championship so i can’t say now I want to win or I have to win. I just want to be happy with my performance and if it’s good I can be world champion again.
TL: Is there anything else you would like to say?
AO: Of course I want to thank everyone who supported me over the last couple of years. It wasn’t always easy but I finally made it to the top of the world but that wouldn’t be possible without the fans behind me.
2017 WPA 世界9號球錦標賽將於12月9日在杜哈的Al Arabi Sports Club展開。WPA新聞官Ted Lerner 特地於賽前對衛冕冠軍 奧地利名將 Albin Ouschan 進行了獨家專訪。請他回顧一下去年的情況、自那時以來他一直在做些什麼以及他如何看待今年的比賽。
Ouschan 首先對新聞官說道: “現在不同的是我從2014年以來所參加的比賽。我非常勤奮地在練習，也許現在的我表現得比以前更好。去年我贏得世界9球中國公開賽，也在一年前成為人父，並成為莫斯考尼盃的一員。在我的人生中發生了許多事，而也對於所有在我生命中所發生的事情感到快樂與滿意。我的小孩和女友都很完美，所以也許我擁有了完美的生活，因而讓我在球桌上的表現也近乎完美。
TL: 描述一下在經過多年的努力過後，終於在2016年贏得世錦賽的感覺? 以及二年前僅一步之遙居於第二名?
AO: 那是一種你無法形容的感覺。我記得當剩下最後三個球時，我感覺我的心臟就快跳出來了。而到了最後的9號球，我只心想 “終於成為世界冠軍”。
TL: 所有人都認為與Shane Van Boening的決賽將會是場比分相近的比賽，但結果卻是相反的。你認為為什麼比賽最終呈現一面倒?
AO: 確實! 但他在比賽剛開始時發生了2次失誤，給了我拉開領先差距的機會。當我取得7:2領先時，我只想著不要讓他有機會反追上來，而我做到了。我們都知道Shane在有壓力之下容易出現簡單的失誤，就如同莫斯考尼盃，但我們也都知道他能夠表現得多麼完美。
TL: 自從你去年拿下世錦賽後，在職業選手及個人領域有什麼不同? 你在奧地利更加知名? 贊助商的部分，是否因而有所助力?
AO: 去年是非常美好的一年。現在大家都認識我，並且獲得我所處州 ( Carinthia 克恩頓州) 的最佳運動員獎。那是非常棒的一件事，因為在奧地利最大的運動是滑雪，所以能擊敗我們專業的滑雪團隊是一種榮譽。而我也得到了一些新的贊助商及更好的合同。
TL: 你對今年比賽的期許為何? 身為衛冕冠軍是否有很大的壓力? 你覺得你有可能再次捧冠?
Chinese/ Alison C.