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Marco Janssen: highlight in my career

Posted by on August 25, 2015

Marco Janssen: highlight in my career

© Dirk Acx
Marco Janssen, the best on the first day at the Superprestige, is getting stronger every year

LOMMEL - Two seasoned players of reputation, one former Belgian Cup winner, and one complete outsider: Marco Janssen, who made his debut amongst the greats. That was the first group of the Superprestige in Lommel, starting on Monday evening. At the close of day, the 28-year old could hardly believe his eyes: he was the undefeated group winner, having gotten the better of Jef Philipoom (40-38 in 42 innings), Peter De Backer (40-37 in 35) and finally Davy van Havere (40-34 in 38). ,,This is more than I could ever have expected'', he said, showing his delight.

Marco Jansen will be the first to advance into the quarterfinals (six match points, 1.043), together with Jef. The latter ended second in the group with three match points and 1.168, after a draw with Peter de Backer in the last match that looked, to say the least, pre-arranged. Peter De Backer and Davy van Havere are out of the tournament.

We drop in on the winner, because, who actually is Marco Janssen?

He lives in Hove, ten kilometers from Antwerp, is single and works as an IT - consultant. He plays the Belgian and Dutch leagues, fro Mr. 100 in Lier and Burgmans Biljarts in Bergeijk. ,,I've played football from age six to thirteen, with KFC Zwarte Leeuw in Rijkevorsel. These days I stay in shape with regular jogs, or swimming.''
Marco Janssen is not a top player, he realizes that all too well, in spite of Monday's surprise result in the Superprestige. ,,This has to be a highlight in my career. I was glad to even be in the field, as it was the first time I qualified.''

,,My best victories so far were against Peter Ceulemans (40-29 in 20) and Jef Philipoom (40-23 in 24) in the BTS-circuit and against Ronny Daniels in the league (42-18 in 15). I have not yet beaten any world top players, but I was close on a number of occasions. I remember a 40-40 in 18 innings against Eddy Leppens, but I lost that match in the shootout.''

In his first match of the evening, against Philipoom, he needed to adjust to the conditions. ,,It is my first time on this podium, and the heat and the tables don't make it easy for you.'' Marco thought he was out of it, halfway through the match. ,,I was ten points behind, and I did not feel the table at all. But I kept plugging, and I was lucky that Jef collapsed.''

,,I had a good start in my second match, against Peter de backer, but as you can expect, Peter will then throw his tactics at you. You have to respond to that, and I did that well if I may say so. In the third match, against van Havere, I really wanted to win, to put the icing on the cake. I started well, had a 26-18 lead after 20 innings, but then I lost my focus. I think I had twelve open innings, but luckily I found my second wind and ran an eight and a four to finish it.''

Maybe, he says down to earth, I was helped a bit by the fact that Davy had nothing to play for, because normally he is a tough guy to beat.''
Marco Janssen is not just active as a player, he is also the new sports director of the BTS. I am working on a new website, it will be online in a few weeks. The current site was made by my predecessor, and the system for updating results is rather impractical.''

His ambitions may be modest, but he is not afraid to voice them. ,,I still get stronger every year. To be a top player, I would have to invest even more time, and that is not easy with the worl I do. My goal is, to be at a 1.3 level in about five years.''

,,I had lessons in the past from Johan Loncelle, who is sadly still suspended. We do practice from time to time, and he can still play at a high level. Johan is a mailman now, but we will see him back at the table, I am certain.''

Kurt and Raymond Ceulemans are also players who are important to his development, and who give him tips from time to time. ,,It has helped me a lot, especially mentally.''

The ranking after the first group matches:

1 Marco Janssen 6-1.043-83-1.114
2 Jef Philipoom 3-1.168-7
3 Peter De Backer 3-1.114-8
4 Davy van Havere 0-0.888-4.

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