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Peter Ceulemans: with new ambitions to Lommel

Posted by on August 23, 2012

Peter Ceulemans: with new ambitions to Lommel

© Harry van Nijlen
Peter Ceulemans: ,,I think there's still a margin to grow in my level.''

MECHELEN - What can we remember if we go back to Peter Ceulemans' previous season? The start was sensational with a final against Frédéric Caudron in the Superprestige, thereafter a victory in a BTS Masters in Sint Truiden, Belgian champion with his team, promotion to the highest level and certainly again a progression in his level.

Peter Ceulemans is still growing in the discipline in which he wants to be a great player. The Malinois, who's gonna be father for the first time (girl friend Bettina is 35 weeks on her way), starts his new season next week. With new goals and high expectations. Peter Ceulemans, in questions and answers.

Frits Bakker: We're almost a year later now, for you it was a great tournament last year in the Superprestige. Can you tell us again the path to the finals?

Peter Ceulemans: ,,Last year it was indeed a wonderful tournament. However I lost my first match in the group against Frédéric Caudron with a heavy score: 40-16 in 21 innings. But then I beat Ronnie Brants and Jef Philipoom and qualified as second of the group for the quarter finals. There I won against Roland Forthomme in a very defensive game. That was not that easy, because Roland was the winner of the previous two editions. Then I reached the final with a clear victory against Eddy Leppens in just 15 innings.''

FB: And then, the final against Frédéric Caudron...

PC: ,,The final match started dramatically. After a few innings I was 19-3 behind and the scenario of the first game seemed be repeated. But now I played confidently and came back into the match with two runs of 11 and 6. We went parallel to 35-35, but Frédéric decided the match with a final run of 5. I ran two in the equalizer and lost 40-37 in 21 innings. But looking back, it was a memorable day with a wonderful atmosphere in the room, only the finishing touch was missing.''

FB: You entered a promising new season with a place in the final. And after the Superprestige, has it become what you expected in that year?

PC: ,,The expectations were higher after such a performance, but I always try to keep my feet on the ground, as we say that. The final match has given me a lot of confidence and I could immediately continue with a victory in the first ranking tournament of the season. In Sint-Truiden, I won my first BTS Masters tournament in the final against Roland Forthomme, whom I beat with penalties. The goal was to enter the top four of the rankings and stay there. And I succeeded with a good third place after Merckx and Caudron.''

FB: How do you see your own development in three cushions in, let's say, the last two or three years?

PC: ,,I have the feeling that I had made good progress, especially the last three years. Not only with my average, also in match mentality. Obviously I play lots of matches at home and abroad against top players, that makes me a lot stronger. I do everything to keep myself fit and to practice in combination with my job at Telenet.''

FB: What do you think, is it possible that you make another big step in the upcoming season? How do you see that, how are the chances to do that as a player in the subtop?

PC: ,,That's something you can never predict. I know that I'm doing everything to be even better. And that the hard work should pay during the matches. But it is important to be patient, to honest and sober analyze your own matches in order to grow to a higher level. I am quite convinced that there is margin for growth.''

FB: Champion with your team in Belgium, in the Netherlands not the year what was expected, in France a good start, then a bit colorless year. Can I summarize it like that concerning your team playing?

PC: ,,That's completely right. In Belgium everything was as we expected. In the Netherlands we didn't. We missed the cup final in our own house and also missed the playoffs. In France we have not the team to win prices, we must be honest. There it is especially important for me to gain experience against world class players.''

FB: What did you do in the summer leading up to the first matches and especially the Superprestige? Holiday, training?

PC: ,,I didn't practice for five weeks and had no competition, that's what I needed after a long season. Since the last week of July I am back in full practice, except for a week's holiday at the Belgian coast. Now the batteries are recharged for the new season.''

FB: How does it look like, your new season? Will you play something internationally, the World Cups for instance? I mean, players like Jef Philipoom, Jean van Erp and perhaps some other subtoppers retire from playing World Cups, because it's too expensive. How do you see that?

PC: ,,I keep playing interclub in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany. I also hope that there will be enough national ranking tournaments. Concerning the World Cups: I'm always selective, because I also have a permanent job in addition to billiards. I don't play Suwon, but will be definitely in Hurghada and Antalya. Although I also think that there is an urgent need for change in the organization of World Cups. They have to make it more professional and the prize money must be raised. I fear that otherwise there will be more players who will stay away if there is no improvement.''

FB: Suppose: you make a new step in your progress this year, would you be willing to change choose for a professional carreer instead of working all days?

PC: ,,No, not until pigs fly, I would not even consider it. What I said, there's nothing to earn in World Cups. Fortunately, there are team competitions, but even there it's more and more difficult to make some money.''

FB: Actually it's a good thing that billiard players have a much longer carreer than for instance footballers and cyclists. Because after the generation Caudron/Merckx/Leppens in Belgium, we can say Peter Ceulemans, Davy van Havere are the main talents. But that's all so far.

PC: ,,Yes, that's so nice in playing billiards, look at my grandfather, 75 years, and still playing between 1.2 and 1.3 average. Unbelievable isn't it? I am quite convinced that our present generation will endure for a long time at a high level. But indeed, we can't say there are lots of talents. I think that has anything to do with the image of our sport and the lack of financial resources. Hopefully the Flemish Billiards League will be able to change this in the future.''

FB: With which chances - and what feeling - are you going to the Superprestige? Which group are you playing? And what day in the preliminaries?

PC: ,,I play on Thursday, August 30th and I'm seeded in a group with Eddy Leppens, my uncle Kurt Ceulemans and Steven van Acker. A difficult group where anything is possible.''

FB: When is the Superprestige for you successful?

PC: ,,My first goal is to reach the quarter-finals, which will be difficult enough.''

FB: And finally: when is the new season for you successful?

PC: ,,I mainly want to continue to make progress and achieve good results. And who knows a title with my team in Belgium or the Netherlands?? That would be nice.''

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