The current England number one Liam Pitchford won his first Nationals title last year with victory the Men’s Under-21 event.

While he is the strong favourite for that competition again this year his eyes will be set on the big prize of the Men’s singles. Can he win his first Senior Men’s Singles Championship in this Olympic year?

Name: Liam Pitchford

Age: 18

Home town/County: Chesterfield

What are you expecting from yourself for this year’s championships?

I am expecting to at least medal in the events I am competing in. I think I have a good chance of winning in some of them as well.

Is success the only option?

In my eyes I think it is, what with the Olympics being so close now and some important tournaments coming up it is important to put in a good performance early on.

How important are the next couple of months for you?

Very important towards selection for the Olympics!

Do you get nervous ahead of an event such as this?

Yeah I think everybody gets nervous before a big event but when you start to play I think the nerves sort of disappear.

It’s a great competition to play against your peers. Who are you most looking forward to facing and why?

I’m not really looking forward to playing anyone as such, I think every match will be difficult and look forward to play anyone who I have to!

What does it take to win a title at these championships?

I think it takes a lot of guts and self-belief to win a title here.

Finally, with all the English players improving over the last year, does that create increased pressure on yourself or do they spur you on?

Personally it spurs me on, I think there are going to be a lot of good matches and it is good for the spectators as well!