Jean-Michel Saive is one of the best Belgian table-tennis players. Here's what Wang Wei, the 1990 U.S. champion and well-known coach, recently wrote about him :
"He refuses to give up a ball. If at all reachable, he will get his racket on it, even if it means that he has to dive like a young Boris Becker at Wimbledon. This physical style and his extroverted presence make him extremely entertaining. He talks to himself, to the spectators, he motions when he's unhappy....and he fights!".
"His all-out attack style is supported by an excellent defense, on the forehand as well as the backhand. Many players seem to feel more control when blocking with the backhand. This may be because the ball's trajectory is more directly aimed at the player, and adjustments can be made more accurately. Nevertheless, the forehand block is critical and one of the players who is best at this is Jean-Michel Saive".
Jean-Michel beat Vasile Florea from Romania 21-19, 21-18 on 26 July 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics. Perhaps the strangest table-tennis match in Atlanta was between Jean-Michel and Zoran Primorac from Croatia. Both play for the same club, La Villette, in Charleroi, Belgium. It was not the intention of either player to eliminate the other so far from home. They could have played at Charleroi and called in the result by phone.