Chesterfield table tennis ace Liam Pitchford is looking to cap off a memorable year by winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The 20-year-old double national champion, a number four seed, is in training ahead of his second stab in the Commonwealth arena later this month.
Pitchford didn’t walk away from Delhi in 2010 empty handed, scooping a doubles bronze and a team silver, and believes the experience will stand him in good stead.
He said: “I’m feeling quite confident. I’ve been playing well for my club and think I’m playing the best table tennis of my career.
“Now it’s getting closer and closer people are starting to feel it (the buzz), you can see it in practice. Everyone just wants to be out there and playing at their best.
“I know what to expect when it comes to the big matches, I’ve been there before. You always get a little nervous but as soon as you start striking the ball you settle down.”
The 2012 Olympian for Team GB reached a career high of 54 in the world table tennis rankings this year, weeks after he reaffirmed his spot as England’s number one.
“I feel like I’m playing the best table tennis of my life,” he said. “I’m proud of what I’ve achieved on the national stage and it has helped to instil confidence.
“I’m not going to put pressure on myself but I’ve beaten the top players before. You always have to go for gold, but any medal would be fantastic.”
Pitchford plies his trade in Germany with TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen and has built a reputation as a giant-killer in his young career to date.
The Bundesliga league attracts the world’s best and Pitchford, a member of the Colin Deaton Table Tennis Academy Hall of Fame, said the same could be done in England.
He added: “If someone had the investment I think there is the potential to do it in England.”
The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow get under way on July 24.