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09.07.2014, 11:01
Suton has sights on the very top
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: 18-year-old playmaker will lead Germany at the Men’s 20 EHF EURO in Austria, but he hopes this is only the beginning
 

Suton has sights on the very top

Reaching out for a medal is the clear goal of the German team at the Men’s U20 EHF EURO in Austria (24 July to 3 August).

One year ago the team of head coach Markus Baur (world champion with Germany in 2007, EHF EURO champion 2004, Olympic silver medallist 2004) took bronze at the Youth World Championship in Hungary.

The Germans play a test tournament in Switzerland before travelling to Austria for the preliminary round of the EHF EURO event, where the hosts as well as Slovakia and Belarus await.

One of the keys to their success in 2013 was the extra-ordinary performance of Tim Suton. The 18-year-old was awarded with a place on the All-star team and has just made the next step at club level, leaving second division team Saarlouis for 2013 EHF Cup winner and VELUX EHF Champions League participant Rhein Neckar Löwen.

Suton’s father Goran was a successful Yugoslavian international and was Tim’s coach in the past years.

His son became top scorer of the second German division with over 250 goals last season and now he hopes for his personal improvement and team success in Austria. Learn more about Tim Suton in this exclusive interview with eurohandball.com.

eurohandball.com: You just finished school - what is ahead now? Handball on its own or will you take on a job or university as well?

Tim Suton: The next three years are the most important ones for my development in the sport, so I only focus on handball for the first time in my life. I have to train more and harder.

eurohandball.com: You just transferred from the second division to the German powerhouse Rhein Neckar Löwen. Is this a huge step in your opinion?

Tim Suton: In the previous season I already had some training sessions with them, so I know what to expect. I am ready for this challenge.

eurohandball.com: When did you recognise that handball will be your profession?

Tim Suton: I started to play handball at a high level quite late, in former Yugoslavia they would have said “too late”. But thanks to my father I have been in handball halls all the time, for training, for matches, so I quit playing football and started with handball.

When I was 12 or 13 I already scored an average of 15 goals per match, even though I was always the youngest one in all teams.

eurohandball.com: Did your father put pressure on you to become a top player?

Tim Suton: No, never! When it became obvious that I can play better than the rest of my age category and that handball could become a major part of my life, we started having extra training sessions. He was my motivator and thanks to him I have my skills, he put me forward, but there was never pressure from his side.

eurohandball.com: What percentage of your performances is down to talent, and how much is training?

Tim Suton: Without talent you cannot reach your goals, but without training and ambition the biggest talent is worth nothing. Talent is important, but without hard daily work you don’t get that far. It is all a matter of attitude. To be a top player in the junior level, talent is enough, to make it in Bundesliga you have to combine it with hard work.

eurohandball.com: How did your ambitions rise?

Tim Suton: I never wanted to lose, no matter what it was. It is all about enthusiasm - if I did not have the enthusiasm for some things I quit them. And I always had the ambitions to be a better handball player than my brother.

eurohandball.com: Are you a ‘classic shooter’ or a ‘shooting playmaker’?

Tim Suton: To be a classic shooter I am exactly nine centimetres too short, as those shooters must be at least two metres tall. I rate myself as a playmaker, who has the ability to score, I like to play either centre back or left back, but I really like to bring my teammates into position to score, rather than doing it on my own.

eurohandball.com: Some experts already compare you with players like Domagoj Duvnjak or Nikola Karabatic in this age category. Is this an honour or added pressure?

Tim Suton: It is an honour to be compared with those players. But I do not have any role models except my brother and my father. Seeing the way Duvnjak plays is really impressive, though he is not my role model. I do not want to be a copy of any player, I want to be better than the original. I like to learn by watching watch world class players.

eurohandball.com: When will the time come for you to be part of the German men’s team?

Tim Suton: I don’t want to be a debutant when I am 25 years old, as then you are no longer a young player. I don’t want to have my debut at the 2019 World Championship on home ground, but much earlier.

In Croatia, where my family roots are, you are not a talent anymore when you are 20. Either you manage to go all the way or it is over. In Croatia 20-year-old players have to take responsibility, otherwise you cannot become a player like Duvnjak or Karabatic.

eurohandball.com: At the 2013 Youth World Championship you were part of the All-star team. How important was this nomination for your career?

Tim Suton: It meant a lot to me, as it was a reward for hard work.

eurohandball.com: What is your major personal goal in handball?

Tim Suton: I still have five years to become the youngest World Handball Player of the Year, younger than Hansen and younger than Balic. This is my personal dream.

Photo credits: Uros Hocevar (IHF) / DHB

Follow coverage of the Men's 20 EHF EURO in Austria from 24 July to 3 August on the event's official website and on the EHF EURO Facebook page.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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