(Look out for William's regular blog in our News section).
Who is William Henzell?
William Henzell started playing table tennis at the age of 6 as a winter alternative to tennis. His passion for the game grew quickly and at the tender age of 14, weeks after being crowned Australian Under 14 Champion, he moved to Sweden to further his table tennis.
“It was tough to leave my family at such a young age. But it was exciting, an adventure and such a big challenge!”
Young William took the move in his stride and excelled in the professional Swedish environment. He represented Australian junior and youth teams before making his national senior debut in 2001. A few months later William claimed his first Australian singles title at just 19 years of age and has gone on to win the title on 11 occasions as well as numerous Australian doubles titles. He added the Oceania singles title in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and has been ranked Number 1 in Australia 12 out of the past 13 years.
“It was a very proud moment when I won my first national singles title. I didn’t expect it and it took a while to sink in.”
Henzell made history at the 2004 Athens Olympics becoming the first Australian male to win matches in both the singles and doubles events. He made further history when he reached the third round of the singles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The 30-year-old South Australian noted his greatest achievement so far at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. After demolishing the highly ranked nr 1 seed in the quarter finals, William went on to claim the silver medal in the men’s singles.
“The Olympics was an amazing experience but I rate the medal in the Commonwealth Games higher personally. To play so well in front of a home crowd in such a major event was a dream come true.”
After 12 years in Europe, nine of which he spent as a full time professional player, William returned to live in Australia in mid 2008. He played arguably the best table tennis of his life at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with victory against European Champion Jens Lundqvist of Sweden and a close loss to triple World Singles Champion Wang Liqin of China. The move back home is by no means the end of the line. He trains 6 days per week and is looking forward upcoming Olympic and Commonwealth Games as well as keeping the #1 Australian spot.
“There have been many sacrifices over the years but looking back I’m happy that I persisted. I’ve been fortunate to see many parts of the world while achieving and enjoying myself at the same time. Aussie Table Tennis has sponsored me since I was 11 and their support over so many years has been crucial for my development in the sport.”
Together with Australian #4 Robert Frank, William has created an online table tennis coaching website at ttEDGE.com. The website feautures coaching videos, ultra-slow motion footage, training exercises, match analysis, blogs and much more.
"Setting up ttEDGE with Robbie and has been an exciting and challenging project. Our goal has been to build a complete educational experience for those wanting to take their table tennis to the next level."
At only age 31, we're sure the William Henzell story has a long way to go yet.
Australian #1 William Henzell in his memorable Olympic match against 3 time World Singles Champion Wang Liqin of China