Vladimir Samsonov was born in Minsk, capital of Belarus on April 17, 1976. When he was born, Minsk was in the former Soviet Union. He started playing table tennis at the age of 6. When he was 10, he was included in the youth squad of the USSR. Next year, Vladi, as his German fans lovingly call him, he participated in Youth Championships and at the European Junior. Even though he was playing for the first time in European Junior Championships, he won the bronze medal. Two years later he became European Junior Singles champion at the event held in Luxembourg.
After Belarus separated from the USSR and became an independent nation, Vladi was sponsored by TIBHAR and he started practicing at the training center of German Table Tennis Union in Heidelberg. He uses Tibhar NIMBUS VIP rubbers sponsored by Tibhar. Vladimir Samsonov currently plays professional table tennis for Spanish side Cajagranada.
Then he shifted to the regional league of Bayern Munchen. In 1993, Vladi won his second singles championship at the European Junior event. He then went to Borrussia Dusseldorf. He felt that his earnings might be lesser there but training conditions were ideal for his future ambitions. He became the main player for his club and won lot of Men’s titles. At the European Championships, he won the silver in doubles in 1995 and next year he triumphed as the mixed gold medalist. In 1997, he won European Masters Cup.
Vladi is ranked 7th in the world and second in Europe. In his native country of Belarus, he is the number one player. In world rankings, he was in third place between December 2005 and February 2006, but slipped to fifth place after that. However, in the last 5 years, he had always been within the top ten ranks. In 1997 and 1998, Vladi was ranked number one in the world. Vladi now lives in Dusseldorf.
Vladi is an attacking player with a shakehand grip. In 2007 Liebherr European Table Tennis Championships held this month, Vladi lost in the finals to world number 3 Timo Boll 7-11, 7-11, 3-11, 11-8, and 6-11. Vladi had already won the Men’s singles title at the European Table Tennis Championships in 1998, 2003 and 2005 but finally lost his crown in the 2007 final to Germany’s Timo Boll. The only other player to have won the singles title 3 times was Sweden’s Mikael Appelgren. Applegren had taken the gold in 1982, 1988 and 1990.
He won The Euro Top 12 title in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2007, but was the losing finalist in 1997, 2002, 2005 and 2008. He won the men’s singles titles at Chinese Taipei Open in 2007, and Slovenian Open, Kuwait Open and Belarus Open in 2008. Despite all these achievements, Vladimir Samsonov have yet to achieve his ultimate dream … winning the World and the Olympic titles.
In November 2005 Liebherr German Open finals, Vladi’s opponent was Ma Long of China. It was experience against youth since Ma Long was only 17 at that time and Vladi was nearing 30. Table tennis fans had some doubts about the ability of Vladi in beating talented Chinese players, since he had lost against Wang Hao and Ma Lin the previous month. Ma Long won the first 2 games at 11-6 and 11-8. In the third game, Vladi roared to an 8-1 lead, to take the game at 11-3.
Playing with more control and attacking with his forehand in the fourth game, Vladi took a 6-3 lead but Ma Long fought back to win the game at 11-7. The Chinese needed just one game to win the title. However, Vladi was more determined and snatched the next 2 games at 11-5 and 11-4. Both the players were equal and the seventh game was the decider. After leveling at 8-all, Ma Long went ahead to 9-8 but Vladi equalized at 9-all. Using his full attacking force, Vladi managed to take the next 2 points and won the finals.