Semih Sayginer: I am back in business

Semih Sayginer: I am back in business

Posted by Frits BAKKER on July 13, 2013
Semih Sayginer: I am back in business© Kozoom photo
Semih Sayginer arrived in New York yesterday for the Verhoeven Open

NEW YORK – The magician Semih Sayginer is back in town. He will be present in the Verhoeven Open tournament in New York, in the famous Carom Café from 17 to 21 July. The famous Turkish player didn’t play official tournaments, because he came into conflict with the Tuirkish federation in 2007, particularly with its president, four years before he won the world title in 2003 in Valladolid, Spain, averaging 1.868.

Steve Andersen, from the American Federation of Billiards USBA, spoke for about twenty minutes with the Turkish prince before he was leaving for his performance in the Carom Café.
Kozoom registered the interview.

Steve Andersen: ,,Hello, Semih, I think you are in Istanbul right now, is that correct?”
Semih Sayginer ,,Hi Steve, yes I am in Istanbul right now.”

Steve: ,,Okay, I am delighted to speak with you, thank you for giving us a little of your time you are expected soon to Carom Cafe in New York and I want to ask you a few questions.’’
Semih: ,,Ok, I’m excited to be in New York again after five years.”.

Steve: We are too because we missed you. You know, people are under impression how you play and wonder if you still play and practice?
Semih: ,,Yes, of course, I play and I practice. I can say that I feel better than before. There are shots that I play better now. I do some exhibitions here and there since I came into conflict with my federation in 2007. But that does not mean that I completely stopped billiards. I’ve participated in some invitational tournaments including the United States and South Korea. In 2008, I won a tournament in Korea and in 2012 a tournament in Bogota, Colombia.’’
,,I’m competing and I love playing, I love the game and I miss all my friends, so I’m really looking forward and will try to give it my best. Most of all, it is important to have fun, win or lose is not the biggest point. I know I can win but what matters to me is to have fun.’’
,,The problems with my federation are personal problems, but I made a clean sweep and I want to enter the competition in New York. I’ve set up my mind in a complete different way.’’

Steve: That’s wonderful, Semih, sometimes we get wrapped up in the power trics of a federation and we forget how we love the game. I agree with you for hundred percent, we look forward to see you in New York. When were you here for the last time?
Semih: “I’ll be in New York on July 12, because I planned to arrive a little bit earlier, to practice and also to watch the female tournament. I want to be very good prepared and to get rid of the jetlag.’’
Steve: Maybe you did not understand my question, but I asked you when you were the last time in the Carom Café?”
Semih: “Oh, that was in 2008.”

Steve: That has been a while. Will you tell us, Semih, a little history. When did you start playing billiards?
Semih: ,,I was sixteen when I started playing free game, because three cushion even did not exist in Turkey at the time. It was just a café game and not recognized as a sport. But I started loving the game and I won the Istanbul championship in 1981 after one year of practicing. I still have the newspaper articles with the story.’’

Steve: ,,What are your strengths in billiards, Semih?”
Semih: ,,When I started playing internationally with all those players at the highest level, I was always available to make unexpected points. People said that I did it for the audience, but I liked to learn shots and control the game. I really try to make the point as simply as possible. But the way I practice is different from the other major players. I can control some shots when others even do not even try. That makes me unique, but I’m not trying to be, I want to control shots and positions and improve my weaknesses. They sometimes call me in America the shot maker, but I always try to make the shot, take care and consider about my opponent’s position.’’

Steve: What are your weaknesses, in which way you would like to improve?
Semih: “Before, I was a little bit more nervous, I had troubles to control my nerves. And then afterwards I got calmed down gradually in 2003 and 2004, my best years. But then came the problems with the federation in 2005 and everything changed. I tried to explain the situation to my friends, but later I realized that it was too much to understand the situation.’’
,,Things that made me sick and I missed the positive energy. That was my weak point. I had my highs and lows. But now I made my mind free to love the game even more than before.’’
,,Now, I’m like a young Semih again. I love the game, I practice every day. Today, I was with my girlfriend, she wanted to go shopping while I practiced a few hours. I finished everything in my mind and said, Semih, forget about all the rest. It’s a kind of mind setting.’’
,,Of course I like to make money… and of course I like to make more money, but most of all I want to enjoy the game. And I make money with other things.’’

Steve: It seems to me that your attitude is very healthy, how do you prepare physically for the tournament in New York?
Semih: ,,Well, when I come to Carom Café, you will see that I’m well prepared physically, because the sport is part of my daily life. I practice, I play, I’m 49 years and in an excellent shape. I can play 10 games per day without any problem.’’

Steve: We all are waiting for your arrival, to see you play, to talk to you. We are very pleased to meet you in this tournament.
Semih: ,,I cannot wait to see all my friends, Frédéric Caudron, Eddy Merckx, Roland Forthomme, Torbjörn Blomdahl… They are all very good players, I like to play with them in New York.
I think it will be very special and of course it’s great that Kozoom will broadcast all the matches worldwide. I’m looking forward, I’m back in business!”

Steve: Well, that’s what we want to hear from Semih. Thank you for the interview, have a nice trip and see you soon.”
Semih: ,,Yes I will be there from 12 to 26 of July, also to visit some friends, I’m looking forward to meet the people I like there after five years.’’