Sam Walker in his stride ahead of World Championships

Sam Walker
Sam Walker

Sam Walker feels he is coming into form at the right time as he prepares to represent England at the World Championships next week.

The 22-year-old from Worksop returned from last year’s World Team Championships with a bronze medal alongside England colleagues Liam Pitchford and Paul Drinkhall.

This year’s Worlds features individual competitions rather than team and Walker will be performing in singles and doubles – the latter alongside David McBeath.

With Walker currently ranked 138 in the world, a medal this time around is unlikely. He will have to win a preliminary-round match against a qualifier to get into the main draw, where he could meet one of the top seeds in the last 128.

While he admits his performances this season have not hit the stellar heights of last year, when he also picked up the biggest win of his career over Simon Gauzy of France at the Olympics, Walker is still going to Germany with a confident mindset after a good training camp in Sweden with his team-mates and the Swedish national squad.

He said: “I’ve had some good performances recently compared to the rest of the season, and I’ve been training well for a while, so I’m feeling quite good and I’m looking forward to starting.

“As long as I’ve done everything I can do to prepare, then it’s about trying to play how I want to play.

“It’s going to be tough, I’ll have to play one of the top players in the first round.”

Walker was buoyed by a victory over team-mate Pitchford, ranked No 51 in the world, at the recent Croatia Open, where he was beaten in the last 16 by Germany’s world No 58 Benedikt Duda.

He said: “Any win helps with confidence and Liam is a top player, so of course I was happy to win, but I was just disappointed I couldn’t go on and do more in the tournament.”

The draw for the qualifying rounds is on Saturday and the competition starts on Monday.