Mosconi Cup – Ruijsink: “We are on a mission…”

Johan Ruijsink

EURO CAPTAIN Johan Ruijsink believes his team are on a mission to retain the 2011 Mosconi Cup when the might of the American and European pool worlds collide at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas from the 8th to 11th December.
Ruijsink will be making his fourth appearance at the helm of Team Europe and following on from a tied match in 2006 and wins in 2007 and last year, his belief is unshakeable.
"It is going to be tough but the team are all great players, they all know how to prepare for events, they have the same goal and mission and because they see each other all year long they respect each other greatly," he said.
"And believe me on one thing; every player is glad that the other European players are on their team and not on the American side. We would definitely rather play with, than against each other."
Ruijsink, 45, is credited with helping turn around European fortunes in the event following five barren years without a win. However, for him, that is history.
"Every Mosconi Cup is different; every season is different, so we will be taking a different approach. Unfortunately, results from the past don't guarantee results in the future.
"The bottom line, however, is that my players feel confident, at ease and they have energy enough to stay sharp for a week. I will try to create the right circumstances, but to be honest my squad consists of the world's finest players."
Ruijsink is at pains to point out that despite his outstanding reputation as a coach, the Mosconi job is something entirely different.
"Motivating, facilitating and organising are the fundamentals of this job. I will definitely not work on technique, tactics or choice of materials. We will have to grow as a team, and I need to make sure we all feel comfortable and know what to do. So there will be practice sessions and some quality time with the guys and there will be time to relax; everything to make sure that we will be at our best."
Despite being unbeaten to date in the Mosconi Cup, the big Dutchman is fully aware of the task ahead of his team and rates the American team highly.
"As usual the Americans bring five top players to the table and as usual they will be in a fighting mode. I think it is great to see two relatively new faces; America needs that and it will be interesting to see how they hold up.
"They haven't qualified for the team by presenting gifts, so they are tough match players and we will not be so stupid to underestimate them. I do think it is a shame that Dennis didn't qualify, because he has shown that he is able to lift the spirit and motivation for the USA team tremendously.
"But Mike Dechaine has been very consistent this year and the same goes for Shawn, so the quality of the team has probably gone up. With Johnny as the binding factor, Rodney with his big heart and Shane playing great as always, the new kids will soon feel comfortable and there is no doubt in my mind that they will give us a handful."
"I was thrilled to see Charlie appointed as USA captain and I think it is a step forward for the American team. Although I respect Kim (Davenport) and Nick (Varner) highly, they are forces from the past and in a fast moving and changing sport like pool you need new vision.
"Although Charlie and I don't always agree, I do understand his way of looking at things and we have always found a way to end up in the middle. He understands this sport is not only about how much money you win at gambling, but also about how you prepare for big tournaments or events.
"He is a coach for individual players and does well, so he has experience and that makes the American team potentially better. And I think that's what the Mosconi Cup is about; putting up the best possible teams on each side. It makes the competition tougher and when you come out on top, the victory is even sweeter!"
When pushed for the secret of Mosconi Cup success, Ruijsink gave nothing away.
"Everyone wants to know that! In fact there are no big secrets in pool, are there? It is just that we all approach the event a little bit differently, but in the end we all try to do the same thing: play our own game in the best possible way. And if there were any secret weapons they will not be revealed until the time is right!
"I am looking forward to yet another great Mosconi Cup and I wish the American team all the best in a fierce fight and a lot of sportsmanship. I hope the spectators and viewers will have a great time and I hope they will not be too disappointed if they see the Cup in our hands again on Sunday," he concluded.
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