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Jonathan_
08-19-2016, 09:47 AM
How would you rank them if both were to retire today? Has Ma Long surpassed Zhang Jike in terms of achievements?

https://www.tabletennisdaily.co.uk/forum/images/malongzhangjikegreatest2016.jpg

World Championships:
Ma Long 1 - 2 Zhang Jike

Olympic Gold:
Ma Long 1 - 1 Zhang Jike

World Cups:
Ma Long 2 - 2 Zhang Jike

Asian Championships:
Ma Long 3 - 0 Zhang Jike

Asian Cup:
Ma Long 4 - 1 Zhang Jike

World Tour Grand Finals:
Ma Long 4 - 0 Zhang Jike

Other World Tour Events:
Ma Long 22 - 6 Zhang Jike

Head 2 Head wins:
Ma Long 12 - 5 Zhang Jike

Discuss below!

TTHopeful
08-19-2016, 12:09 PM
Because Zhang Jike has the extra World Championships this makes him edge it from a big trophies point of view. Although Ma Long has won so much more overall I would say its fairly equal. If Ma Long wins the Worlds next year, Ma Long will be greatest.

pingpongdingdong
08-19-2016, 12:41 PM
Zhang Jike was very close to a second grand slam, which no one has ever done before in the history of the sport. He was also back to back world champion, and a lot of times, the big events are what people focus on. People don't put value and prestige into who won a world tour event, but who won Olympic gold or the world championships. Ma Long does have a better track record just overall, though. However, you have to keep in mind that Zhang Jike was constantly injured, so it limits his ability to win any event. What a shame, there was a lot of potential wasted. Zhang Jike might have been a third time world champ and second time gold medalist if he was not always injured, along side winning far more tour events, tour grand finals, Asian championships and world cups.

Dan
08-20-2016, 10:23 AM
The only stat Zhang Jike wins on here is the World Championships. Which is a huge event but I think Ma Long will win the Worlds next year in 2017 like TTHopeful has mentioned. Will Ma Long go on to win Tokyo 2020 I'm not so sure. I personally think after Rio Ma Long has shredded all doubt to the table tennis community with his mental capacity for big events. After Rio I think Ma Long should now be atleast on the same level as Zhang Jike in terms of greatest. Both extraordinary players when both in their primes.

TTFrenzy
08-20-2016, 02:32 PM
Although im a huge ZJK fan I will try to be as objective as I can. First of all one cannot compare two different players with different setbacks, different playing styles/personalities etc etc

For me it would be more valid to compare (regarding only results) walnder against LGL/kong/persson/gatien. Becaused they meet each other numerous times (in world competitions grand slam titles and team events), both in their prime,free of injuries and stuff.

Unfortunately the chinese dont care so much about asian single events, for the past 10 years they send their developing youngsters to compete instead of the top guns. What's the point of winning the asian cup or chinese champs if u dont win gold in olympics or wttc. So their main focus was world competitions.

The 2010 was a turning point in zhang's career, he beated ma long (till then he was losing badly against ma) and wang hao in the trials, clinched the chinese champs but got his ass kicked in the world cup final. I think he also got very lucky that year because wang hao's mind/fighting spirit was exhausted after yokohama (also winning chinese games against ma long samy year), and ZJK replaced him in the WTTTC final (he even said that he thought LGL was joking when he said to him if he wants to play as no3 against germany).

Till 2013 ML was not complete mostly mentally and as it proved in 3 consecutive semifinals he fell to wang hao's jedi mind tricks especially in the short game. So till 2013 the clash was between zhang jike and wang hao. ML finally managed to beat wang hao in the chinese games, clinched the title, choking a bit against FZD, the luck was also on his side with 1-2 lucky balls in crucial points. But similar to ZJK sometimes you need a bit of luck to break through and become champ.

I find it really sad/dissappointing that their only world meeting (zjk and ma long being both at their prime) was the world cup 2014, ZJK was injected for his injury yes but this is not an excuse, it is a fact that proved not to be hindering ZJK from playing great when the stakes are high. If only ma long had improved both mentally and technically in his short game earlier, we would enjoy the greatest rivalry lasting 3-4 years similar to tennis (federer vs nadal 7-8 years ago).

So to wrap it up and trying to be objective till 2010-2013 it was zhang jike vs wang hao. After that it is ma long against no one, with the exception of the world cup final, because zhang in 2014 has played only 2 great matches (chinese trials and world cup). I dont think XX or FZD can beat ML right now when the stakes are high if we suppose all of them are at their prime (ma long for sure is)

anchorschmidt
08-21-2016, 12:25 AM
For me they would be equal if Ma Long gets another Gold at the WTTC.

Ma Long has definitely been more consistent overall but he has failed several times in big events which counts against him.

Even though ZJK's top 5 performances are arguably better than Ma Long's top 5, one must respect Ma Long's consistency and his current dominance. Also it couldn't have been easy to overcome those mental barriers.

ttmonster
08-21-2016, 01:43 AM
I truly believe its unfair to compare , but if you ask me , as a ZJK fan this is my answer ....

If Ma Long can win back to back world championships and reach the Tokyo Singles Final ... wait for it .... he will be in the same league as ZJK ...
;)

if he can win the gold in Tokyo , then not only will he beat ZJK but become the greatest , much like mr. Usain Bolt ...

Ma Long has dominated Pro Tour like Jimmy Connors did the ATP tour , but we don't talk about Jimmy Connors when we debate who is the greatest tennis player of all time , do we ?

That apart the other significant part that gets overlooked is how ZJK has been able to improve as a "team" player and a "Doubles" player ... I still remember the years where he was completely disinterested in doubles and even said in an interview that people should be left alone to play singles if they are not interested in doubles .

However, as the 2016 olympic cycle progressed, it became clear to LGL that there was no way he was letting Ma Long play one single and and one doubles and thats where you see ZJK's transformation ... which has gone largely unnoticed

atek2015
08-22-2016, 01:34 AM
from the statistic, clearly ma long is greater than ZJK

TTFrenzy
08-22-2016, 01:32 PM
I truly believe its unfair to compare , but if you ask me , as a ZJK fan this is my answer ....

If Ma Long can win back to back world championships and reach the Tokyo Singles Final ... wait for it .... he will be in the same league as ZJK ...
;)

if he can win the gold in Tokyo , then not only will he beat ZJK but become the greatest , much like mr. Usain Bolt ...

Ma Long has dominated Pro Tour like Jimmy Connors did the ATP tour , but we don't talk about Jimmy Connors when we debate who is the greatest tennis player of all time , do we ?

That apart the other significant part that gets overlooked is how ZJK has been able to improve as a "team" player and a "Doubles" player ... I still remember the years where he was completely disinterested in doubles and even said in an interview that people should be left alone to play singles if they are not interested in doubles .

However, as the 2016 olympic cycle progressed, it became clear to LGL that there was no way he was letting Ma Long play one single and and one doubles and thats where you see ZJK's transformation ... which has gone largely unnoticed

People also forget that ZJK clinched the WTTC in his first attempt. I dont know any other player which have done that since the 1980's where modern TT started to evolve and become today's game as we know it. If the CNT gave him a break maybe wttc 2015 would be different, Im quite sure that he wouldnt lose to fang bo if his physique was better, and in the final against ma long, who knows

p.s. well said about jimmy connors, no one will remember 10-15-20 years from now who won the grand finals or the korea open. Its 19 years since waldner got his 97 clean sweep title, no one remembers who won the china open that year, unless he google search.

UpSideDownCarl
08-22-2016, 02:47 PM
Here is how I look at things. These two guys are both great players. But they both have obstacles: stuff in their way.

For ZJK one of his obstacles is that he is a bit crazy. He got his titles fast and early and then had trouble keeping his head in the game. The injuries didn't help. But it isn't that simple.

ML had a lot of trouble with the reputation of not winning the big games for quite a long time. Things like losing in the 2009 World Cup finals to Samsonov was big. And then the repeat performance in 2009, 2011 and 2013 losing to Wang Hao in the semi-finals of the WTTC put a big question mark next to ML's name until the 2015 WTTC. But this also gave him an extraordinary drive to come through in the end. As a result of his early failures he has continued to work extraordinarily hard to be where he is today.

However, I think when FZD breaks through and learns how break down ML's game and his confidence, he will be better than either of them. His game is more well rounded, more complete, than either. His two main weaknesses at this point are:

1) His serves could be tighter. They are good. But not yet great.

2) He needs to get over his fear of ML. When he flips and ML rips his opening, he has to be ready to counterloop and not get scared of the heat.

Those two things will happen. And when they do, he will dominate the pro division for a long, long time.


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NextLevel
08-22-2016, 02:51 PM
People also forget that ZJK clinched the WTTC in his first attempt. I dont know any other player which have done that since the 1980's where modern TT started to evolve and become today's game as we know it. If the CNT gave him a break maybe wttc 2015 would be different, Im quite sure that he wouldnt lose to fang bo if his physique was better, and in the final against ma long, who knows

p.s. well said about jimmy connors, no one will remember 10-15-20 years from now who won the grand finals or the korea open. Its 19 years since waldner got his 97 clean sweep title, no one remembers who won the china open that year, unless he google search.


I will remember as will any serious TT fan. It is casual fans or just the larger public that do not remember.

The comparison to Connors is a good try but is highly flawed for many reasons. Most importantly, Jimmy Connors is remembered for many things, and is considered one of the greatest Tennis players of all time. The problem is that the criteria for evaluating TT greatness has changed over the years, and there is now a focus on Grand slams that didn't exist when he played. For example, the Australian Open was skipped by many of the best players when Connors played, and there were times when Connors even skipped tournaments he could have played in.

Connors also won many tournaments that didn't always include the best players. The modern era has used the ATP tour to make sure that you see the best players come together and play against each other more frequently and this has helped enhance the greatness of the very best players as you can see their consistency come alive. The tools for ranking and seeding and travel in the modern era have also all improved. So now, you can see the top players travelling around and playing each other all the time and get a better idea of how great they are.

Because of all this, I have always felt that Ma Long was the greatest player of his generation and that his inability to win the big title was highly overrated. Thankfully, he has those titles now so that they won't be held over his head forever. But it is fairly silly that someone should be beating everyone so handily day in day out and because he loses to one specific probleme opponent in three consecutive events in a period of time, he is a loser.

Everyone was losing to Ma Long when they played him except Wang Hao, including Zhang Jike in most of his prime. Even if people want to say that the matches didn't matter or other such nonsense, I will remember. I mean, the matches didn't matter to the point that after one loss, ZJK was so unhappy that that he didn't shake Ma Long's hand.

TurboZ
08-23-2016, 09:52 AM
It is hard not to be impressed by ML's OG performance. To say who is the BETTER player today, the answer is easy and straight forward. But to decide who is GREATER depends on many different things and what criteria you are looking at.


I can say ZJK is greater because 1) he kept beating WH, the best RPB penholder of all time and ML can't. 2) he clinched Grand Slam in the shortest time. 3) he still has one more WC title under his name. 4) he made Viscaria hot and his innovative BH flick becomes the trend that the world follows. 5) he care less about his sponsor Butterfly and not touching any of his signature blade, not even faking the handle to promote sale. Don't think any other player has the guts to do that. 6) he celebrate victory by tearing his jersey and breaking barriers, a daredevil move that catch the attention of www.

I can also say that ML is greater because 1) he has the best Win/Loss ratio against any player including champions past and present. 2) he had won countless matches by score of four zero. 3) he is feared by all and reach a state of invincibility no one can match. 4) he has a much longer WR1 standing in comparison. 5) his form is perfect as art with no short coming what so ever. 6) he has already won all major International and Asian competitions out there. He is the only player to reach ALL SLAM. A club of his own.

So who is greater? Pick you own reasons and be your judge.

NDH
08-23-2016, 10:17 AM
Maybe I'm on my own here (and from looking at the comments, I seem to be), but how is this even a conversation??

Just look at the stats! Ok, sometimes stats don't tell the whole truth, but in this case, I just can't see how anyone can put ZJK above Ma Long.

You can talk about Ma Long's issues when he was younger - But Federer also had problems as a youngster, no one seems to focus on the fact he lost some really stupid matches that he should have won. They just look at the immense achievements over a period of time.

If ZJK was even remotely close in the other win categories, you might have a conversation on your hand. But he's just so far away, it's not even close!

Ultimately, we are trying to compare them now - With ZJK at the end of his career, and Ma Long still going, which is unfair and biased towards ZJK - Even though the stats which SHOULD support ZJK (as he's had a longer playing career), actually back up the argument for ML.

Once ML has hung up his bat, there will be no question what so ever. To perform at the highest level for so long is a testament to greatness. To be so good, so consistent, and win so many tournaments is what will make ML the greatest (when he retires).

No doubt it won't be long before someone else is considered even greater. But for now. ML has it.

TTFrenzy
08-23-2016, 10:26 AM
Maybe I'm on my own here (and from looking at the comments, I seem to be), but how is this even a conversation??

Just look at the stats! Ok, sometimes stats don't tell the whole truth, but in this case, I just can't see how anyone can put ZJK above Ma Long.

You can talk about Ma Long's issues when he was younger - But Federer also had problems as a youngster, no one seems to focus on the fact he lost some really stupid matches that he should have won. They just look at the immense achievements over a period of time.

If ZJK was even remotely close in the other win categories, you might have a conversation on your hand. But he's just so far away, it's not even close!

Ultimately, we are trying to compare them now - With ZJK at the end of his career, and Ma Long still going, which is unfair and biased towards ZJK - Even though the stats which SHOULD support ZJK (as he's had a longer playing career), actually back up the argument for ML.

Once ML has hung up his bat, there will be no question what so ever. To perform at the highest level for so long is a testament to greatness. To be so good, so consistent, and win so many tournaments is what will make ML the greatest (when he retires).

No doubt it won't be long before someone else is considered even greater. But for now. ML has it.

zhang jike had a longer carreer?dude, ma long is considered top dog/rising star since 2007 wttc (something like FZD right now), zjk was not even trusted in that wttc to play and in 2009 he was punished by participating only in mixed doubles.

Turboz answer was the best, everyone judges with different criteria, you just cant compare them when they only met twice in world competitions since 2009 where they started to become the top CNT players

NDH
08-23-2016, 10:33 AM
zhang jike had a longer carreer?dude, ma long is considered top dog/rising star since 2007 wttc (something like FZD right now), zjk was not even trusted in that wttc to play and in 2009 he was punished by participating only in mixed doubles.

Turboz answer was the best, everyone judges with different criteria, you just cant compare them when they only met twice in world competitions since 2009 where they started to become the top CNT players

It has absolutely nothing to do with "head to head" - If ZJK beat ML every time, but didn't win any other matches, would that make ZJK better than ML? No. Would he be considered "greater" than ML - No.

I have nothing against ZJK, he'll be remember as ONE of the greatest for sure.

Nadal has a MUCH higher win percentage against Federer (23-11 I think), and he'll be considered one of the greatest.

But Federer will be seen as THE greatest when he retires (for now anyway).

A huge amount of success in a little time frame (which according to you would be 6/7 years tops) for ZJK does not equate to the greatest ever.

TTFrenzy
08-23-2016, 01:04 PM
Maybe I'm on my own here (and from looking at the comments, I seem to be), but how is this even a conversation??

Just look at the stats! Ok, sometimes stats don't tell the whole truth, but in this case, I just can't see how anyone can put ZJK above Ma Long.

You can talk about Ma Long's issues when he was younger - But Federer also had problems as a youngster, no one seems to focus on the fact he lost some really stupid matches that he should have won. They just look at the immense achievements over a period of time.

If ZJK was even remotely close in the other win categories, you might have a conversation on your hand. But he's just so far away, it's not even close!

Ultimately, we are trying to compare them now - With ZJK at the end of his career, and Ma Long still going, which is unfair and biased towards ZJK - Even though the stats which SHOULD support ZJK (as he's had a longer playing career), actually back up the argument for ML.

Once ML has hung up his bat, there will be no question what so ever. To perform at the highest level for so long is a testament to greatness. To be so good, so consistent, and win so many tournaments is what will make ML the greatest (when he retires).

No doubt it won't be long before someone else is considered even greater. But for now. ML has it.



well what you say applies to both of them. ml has better head to head, he had more chances than zjk but still has less world titles. for me there can be no valid comparison for the reasons I explained in my first post.

they only met 2 times in world competitions in the 2014 world cup ZJK was on good form but not on peak and ML appeared to be afraid on certain serve/receive occasions. He overcame those difficulties against FZD semifinal 2015 and his peak performance was in the final of wttc 2015 gainst fang bo. In the olympics final there was only one player at the table especially after 1-0

So since their international clash started approximately @ 2009 and they only met twice and not both being on peak performance, its very difficult and unfair to say ZJK is better or ML is better overall. Right now ML is definitely the top dog, no question about that, as for who is the GOAT in terms of world titles they both have some serious catching up to do against waldner. But same as before you just cant compare waldner with ml or zjk different eras/players

In terms of titles/carreer longevity they will never surpass him because they will retire earlier than JO. 2 gold 2 silver and 2 bronze in wttc, from 1987 till 1999 he wasnt in the medals only in 1995. 1 gold 1 silver and 4th place (age 39) in olympics. So because they played different games, its fair to say waldner was the goat before the rules change, and now from my POV the best 3 since 2003 are wang hao ma long and zhang jike. Not necessarily in that order, the picture will be clear when we see what happens inside the CNT competition between the 4 top guns in world competitions. So far zjk has 2 medals more than ma long, and also I think XX and FZD are more hungry than ever so maybe the clash will change

NextLevel
08-23-2016, 01:27 PM
So since their international clash started approximately @ 2009 and they only met twice and not both being on peak performance, its very difficult and unfair to say ZJK is better or ML is better overall. Right now ML is definitely the top dog, no question about that, as for who is the GOAT in terms of world titles they both have some serious catching up to do against waldner. But same as before you just cant compare waldner with ml or zjk different eras/players



Come again?

UpSideDownCarl
08-23-2016, 01:48 PM
Okay, this conversation is becoming more and more silly. I think the goon squad has caught wind of the content and is on the way. They have been given inside information that the posters on this thread may have access to the dreaded and banned National Haifu Oil and that it is more than likely that they have been sniffing it while boosting their rubbers and writing their posts.

NextLevel
08-23-2016, 01:51 PM
I get why people think ZJK is the best player of all time or why he is the best player of this era. Some people make the same arguments for Nadal or Djokovic in different ways. The thing is that there is no way you can make it by looking at the numbers. You have to make it by the eye test. Even the overlapping periods arguments - ZJK just never had Ma Long's consistency and for most of the period when he did, he lost to Ma Long when they met.

There are people who believe that you cannot call Wang Hao the greatest player because he lacks an Olympic Gold. Or Ma Lin because he lacks a WTTC gold. Or Wang Liqin because he has no Olympic Gold or World Cup. To me, all these things are just hogwash. You can take a good look at how consistent the performer was over a sustained period of excellence. And for me, Ma Long checks all the boxes magnificently. Numbers, eye test, and now big titles.

But I understand why people can disagree.

TTFrenzy
08-23-2016, 03:25 PM
Come again?

what part is not clear? world titles= grand slam titles/medals. sorry for not being specific. I dont consider world tours as world titles, world tours=pro tours. ITTF foolishly changed the name like it would make any difference in the prestige.

suds79
08-23-2016, 03:29 PM
When you comparing two players to say who is better, it's hard for me to ignore a 12-5 head to head match record.

NextLevel
08-23-2016, 03:31 PM
what part is not clear? world titles= grand slam titles/medals. sorry for not being specific. I dont consider world tours as world titles, world tours=pro tours. ITTF foolishly changed the name like it would make any difference in the prestige.

So Ma Long has 1 gold and 3 bronze. Zhang Jike has 2 gold and 1 bronze. Waldner has 2 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze. Where is this huge gap you are talking about? 3 or 4 medals vs 6? Out of how many events played?

And since we know that the main reason why the Chinese lose out is intrasquad competition and not their quality of play per se, what is your point? That we should just take the numbers plain vanilla because Sweden had no great next generation of players to challenge Waldner?

Ma Long is also going to be an interesting test case as his game is more versatile than the stereotype of the Chinese player. It will be interesting to see how it ages.

I also find being the #1 ranked player as a measure of consistency to be important. You can't get that by skipping events. And the grand tour finals is often harder to win than the World Cup.

NextLevel
08-23-2016, 03:40 PM
Question for everyone - how many people felt that it was 100% clear, with no doubt in their minds whatsoever, that when ZJ won all those majors in 2011, 2012, and 2013, that ZJK was the BEST player in the world, no controversy whatsoever?

Again question for everyone - how many people felt that it was 100% clear, with no doubt in their minds whatsoever, that when ML won all those majors in 2015 and 2016, that ML was the BEST player in the world, no controversy whatsoever?

TTFrenzy
08-23-2016, 03:52 PM
So Ma Long has 1 gold and 3 bronze. Zhang Jike has 2 gold and 1 bronze. Waldner has 2 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze. Where is this0 huge gap you are talking about? 3 or 4 medals vs 6? Out of how many events played?

And since we know that the main reason why the Chinese lose out is intrasquad competition and not their quality of play per se, what is your point? That we should just take the numbers plain vanilla because Sweden had no great next generation of players to challenge Waldner?

Ma Long is also going to be an interesting test case as his game is more versatile than the stereotype of the Chinese player. It will be interesting to see how it ages.

I also find being the #1 ranked player as a measure of consistency to be important. You can't get that by skipping events. And the grand tour finals is often harder to win than the World Cup.

since you like nitpicking so much, i think you can tell the difference between huge gap and serious catching up.

u probably forgot 4th place olympics @ 39 YO . My point is simply what I said , and i didnt remember saying anything about numbers plain vanilla. I said "in terms of ... blablabla"

Your criteria are different and mine are different. I ve said it in almost all of my posts (not only in this thread) whenever someone brings the GOAT issue, that it is unfair/hard to say who is GOAT because of different era's/rules and other factors. But you focus on nitpicking specific phrases and making conclusions out of them, neglecting all the other stuff i mentioned

Yes intrasquad competition gives less opportuties to high caliber CNT players but this does not take anything away from waldner being in the medals for 10 years facing 2 CNT generations

I agree about the grand finals, they should definitely have more value but that's ITTF's fault, it should be its most expected tournament since the best pro tour players over the year compete. But I cannot take it seriously enough when the CNT didnt even compete 2 times in the past 10 years. Grand finals with 300-500 spectators are a joke to me . And there are various great players with great results that dont even qualify because of the strict rules (1-2 continents and stuff plus the point allocation. at least they seem strict to me)

UpSideDownCarl
08-23-2016, 07:16 PM
Come on guys, this conversation is not worth wasting time over.

It is okay to agree to disagree.

They are both great. Some people are going to want to say ZJK is better overall. Others will say ML is better overall. That is how it is. No need to keep going on about it.

I say Der_Echte is better than all of them when you are out at 4am on a Saturday night and have to wake up in 3 hours to go to work.


Sent from Inside The Chamber of Secrets by Patronus

Shuki
08-23-2016, 11:17 PM
When asking the question of "at the moment" who is better, I can only look at their most recent match and health situations.

If I have a bad back and play worse, losing to a person I've never lost to, that person is better "at the moment". No exception, the player who outperforms the other right now is better at the moment.

So my answer is ma long is better at the moment.

But shuki zjk has a lot more wins against ma long and more achievements! But shuki zjk threw the match! But shuki zjk wasn't in the mind set to play as good as he can right now!

So? Then zjk has a better record and couldn't win now.
So? If I throw a match then my opponent is obviously playing better than me
So? Maybe if he gets in a better mindset, then he will be better at the moment. Until then he's not better atm.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

TurboZ
08-24-2016, 02:55 AM
Although ML and ZJK are of the same age, I would rather see them as players of different era because of all the rule changes. Simply say I will put Waldner as the greatest of 38mm, ZJK the greatest of 40mm and ML the greatest of 40+.

If you look back in history you can clearly see that every rule change shortened the career of many champions. ZJK may already have long term shoulder and back problem, the 40+ is definitely not helping but made it worst.

I would say both LXX and ZJK belongs to one camp while DN and ML represent the other in play style. There are 2 approaches to play with 40+. One is to hit harder to compensate for the loss of speed and spin. The other is to perfect their rally skill and hope to out play their opponent by one more shot. The slower and less spinny 40+ does favour the rally camp. LXX and ZJK suffer injuries by exerting more power into their killer shots which also lower their accuracy into more hit or miss. DN and ML always aim at consistancy and prolong rally which is matching perfectly with the new 40+.

Waldner took all his glory with 38mm. ZJK was doing the same with 40mm. Now ML start his domination after the ball change. I would treat them as such.

On a side note, I remember pretty much at the moment WH announce his retirement, ZJK's performance start to fall and ML began his rise to sky high. There was a saying years ago when WH was king that anyone wants to be the champion has to surpass him first. So WH was set as their number 1 target and rival among CNT. ZJK had done that but ML failed. That was exactly why ML was questioned by many for so long. I bet the retirement of WH alone has play a big part in boosting the mentality of ML to new height.

NextLevel
08-24-2016, 04:34 AM
Although ML and ZJK are of the same age, I would rather see them as players of different era because of all the rule changes. Simply say I will put Waldner as the greatest of 38mm, ZJK the greatest of 40mm and ML the greatest of 40+.

If you look back in history you can clearly see that every rule change shortened the career of many champions. ZJK may already have long term shoulder and back problem, the 40+ is definitely not helping but made it worst.

I would say both LXX and ZJK belongs to one camp while DN and ML represent the other in play style. There are 2 approaches to play with 40+. One is to hit harder to compensate for the loss of speed and spin. The other is to perfect their rally skill and hope to out play their opponent by one more shot. The slower and less spinny 40+ does favour the rally camp. LXX and ZJK suffer injuries by exerting more power into their killer shots which also lower their accuracy into more hit or miss. DN and ML always aim at consistancy and prolong rally which is matching perfectly with the new 40+.

Waldner took all his glory with 38mm. ZJK was doing the same with 40mm. Now ML start his domination after the ball change. I would treat them as such.

On a side note, I remember pretty much at the moment WH announce his retirement, ZJK's performance start to fall and ML began his rise to sky high. There was a saying years ago when WH was king that anyone wants to be the champion has to surpass him first. So WH was set as their number 1 target and rival among CNT. ZJK had done that but ML failed. That was exactly why ML was questioned by many for so long. I bet the retirement of WH alone has play a big part in boosting the mentality of ML to new height.


Let's keep it in perspective - ML still has a superior head to head over his career vs. WH.

TurboZ
08-24-2016, 06:42 AM
Let's keep it in perspective - ML still has a superior head to head over his career vs. WH.

May be some games are missing but I really won't say ML had a superior record over WH. Head to Head from ittf indicate WH won 12 while ML 11 from 2005 to 2013. I believe WH is the only one on earth having a winning record against ML. I believe WH was overshadowed and view as loser because of his triple Silver in OG, which should still be some serious achievement on its own.

ttmonster
08-24-2016, 07:45 AM
This debate proves is how difficult an exercise it is to compare the achievement of two players even when they played in the same era , even though peaking at different times ... so I think we should stop comparing greats from different generations !! I do agree with TurboZ that if not completely the change from 40 to 40+ did increase the injuries with ZJK ... and there is no doubt who is the greater player at the moment , but the question that really intrigues me is whether Ma Long lost to ZJK intentionally in the olympic trials and set this whole thing up ... a new conspiracy theory :D

NextLevel
08-24-2016, 12:28 PM
May be some games are missing but I really won't say ML had a superior record over WH. Head to Head from ittf indicate WH won 12 while ML 11 from 2005 to 2013. I believe WH is the only one on earth having a winning record against ML. I believe WH was overshadowed and view as loser because of his triple Silver in OG, which should still be some serious achievement on its own.

Someone else put the match record at 20-17 ML. So there are matches missing from the record. The other thing is when many of those matches took place. Counting matches that took place before 2009 is putting a baby up against a giant. Good for sadists but not really a measure of what is going on.

I am a big believer that Wang Hao is one of the top 3 players of all time. It is one of the reasons I hate the whole major title approach to ranking players.

atek2015
08-24-2016, 01:27 PM
Great player has ability to adapt to any circumstance including the Ball size. ML is the one

TurboZ
08-24-2016, 03:08 PM
Someone else put the match record at 20-17 ML. So there are matches missing from the record. The other thing is when many of those matches took place. Counting matches that took place before 2009 is putting a baby up against a giant. Good for sadists but not really a measure of what is going on.

I am a big believer that Wang Hao is one of the top 3 players of all time. It is one of the reasons I hate the whole major title approach to ranking players.

Must be some CTTSL matches not counting by ittf. Yet we have no knowledge of any matches between them after lunch or before sleep so a record by ittf is still a record worth referring to. Even if 21-17 is true, it is still far from superior by all means. One can pick a period that favor ML but one can also pick a period that favor WH because of the age difference. If we just focus on records from 2009 till they last met in 2013, the ratio is ML 6-4. Out of the 4 wins by WH, 3 of them are WTTC. It was 6 Tour Open under ML's name by that period. With WH closer to his retirement, can't say that record is superior either.

But then the whole career of WH was ruined by his failure when he was still young in 2004. LGL had to spend a year to bring him back to his feet. Yet he met another failure in 2008. Again a year to recover but only to be crushed one last time by the uprising ZJK. LGL knew that if WH was aggressive enough and not the kind of player who need a long recovery period after each failure, he should have achieved much more than what he had before he retired.

LGL learned his lesson and did not want the same mistake happened to WH repeating on ML. That is why he only let ML play when he was 100% certain and ready. Finally ML peak one year before OG. Everyone called 2015 the Year of Ma Long. The timing was perfect. A new champion was born. That was his destiny with years of wisdoms of CNT combined.

NextLevel
08-24-2016, 04:07 PM
Must be some CTTSL matches not counting by ittf. Yet we have no knowledge of any matches between them after lunch or before sleep so a record by ittf is still a record worth referring to. Even if 21-17 is true, it is still far from superior by any means. One can pick a period that favor ML but one can also pick a period that favor WH because of the age difference. If we just focus on records from 2009 till they last met in 2013, the ratio is only ML 6-4. Can't say that is superior either. And out of the 4 wins by WH, 3 of them are WTTC. 6 Tour Open won by ML really can't compare I am afraid.

But then the whole career of WH was ruined by his failure in 2004. LGL had to spend a year to bring him back to his feet. Yet he met another failure in 2008. Again a year to recover but only to be crushed one last time by the uprising ZJK. LGL knew that if WH was aggressive enough and not the kind of player who need a long recovery period after each failure, he should have achieved much more than what he had before he retired.

LGL learned his lesson and did not want the same mistake happened to WH repeating on ML. That is the reason he only let ML play when he was 100% certain that ML was ready. Finally ML peak one year before OG. Everyone called 2015 the Year of Ma Long. The timing was perfect. A new champion was born. That was his destiny with years of wisdoms of CNT combined.

Not just super league but there were also national championships and national games matches. Some of those matches were pretty important too, but that is not my main point. I am not discounting the ITTF record but the record for the first 10 matches was Wang Hao 8, Ma Long 2, which makes the record for the last 10 matches Wang Hao 4, Ma Long 9. I am trying to point this out so people can see that there are two distinct periods in the matchup, which is why it is often felt that Ma Long choked, most glaring in 2013. In 2011 and 2009, one could argue he wasn't a clear favorite, but he had no real excuse in 2013. I agree though that Wang Hao would present a match up problem for Ma Long any time. I do think though that being exposed to Wang Hao before Ma Long was ready damaged him a bit.

As to whether WTTC wins are more important than regular tour wins, I have expressed my opinions elsewhere - they are not on the same level but they count or people would not play them. 9-4, with 3 of the wins coming at the WTTC and one coming just 3 months prior in 2011 - again, this highlights why people felt that ML was a choker. But there were also some backhand matchup inadequacies at play.

ZJK started playing Wang Hao when he was older - their first match was win 2008, unlike Ma Long, who first played Wang Hao in 2005. Wang Hao starts out 4-1, but then Jike ends with 8-0.

As to whether Ma Long's victory is about the wisdom of the CNT or just superior play, I don't know. I have always felt that the CNT top players are generally on the same level and the result depends on the weather, psychology, coaching, tactics and matchups. So I am not one of those who reads too much into the changes in results. I believe any of the top national players can beat and lose to each other on any given day depending on a variety of things.

TurboZ
08-24-2016, 06:16 PM
Kind of hard to find all records outside ittf but there was a big one in 2009, the National Game of PRC which play every 4 years. I believe WH and ML were WR 1st and 2nd by that time so it is worth a mention. Record shows that WH won Gold in both Men Single and Team while ML got Silver in Single and Bronze in Team. WH also won Gold in Mix Double in which ML may not have participated. That should put some weight on the side of WH when both are around their prime in one of the most important game of China.


ML did beat WH 4 years later in 2013 but then WH was already way past his prime. To ignore the records when ML was young then it is only fair to also ignore those when WH was old. When they both play in their top form a few years back I can't help but say WH did have an edge.

Some other important record I found is about National Championship. In 2010 ML entered as number 1 seed but lost to some unknown player 0:4. ZJK beat WH in semi and ZJK went on to clinch Gold and WH Bronze. In 2011, ML claimed Gold and WH Bronze. But they did not met. WH lost to Ma Lin while ML beat ZJK and then Ma Lin in final. WH and Ma Lin won Gold in Double while the pair of ML and ZJK lost early to Li Ping and Hao Shuai. In 2012, ML lost in the first round while WH the second. Yet they did not met either. It was Zhou Yu who claimed Gold beating ZJK and FB. There must be more encounters between them but so far I can find this much.


ML is the King of Tours no doubt. But Tours is more about boosting WR and hooning one's skill in the international stage. After all one should know what CNT and LGL weight the most when choosing who to play OG Single. I bet Tours result is about one of the last in the list.

NextLevel
08-24-2016, 06:45 PM
Kind of hard to find all records outside ittf but there was a big one in 2009, the National Game of PRC which play every 4 years. I believe WH and ML were WR 1st and 2nd by that time so it is worth a mention. Record shows that WH won Gold in both Men Single and Team while ML got Silver in Single and Bronze in Team. WH also won Gold in Mix Double in which ML may not have participated. That should put some weight on the side of WH when both are around their prime in one of the most important game of China.


ML did beat WH 4 years later in 2013 but then WH was already way past his prime. To ignore the records when ML was young then it is only fair to also ignore those when WH was old. When they both play in their top form a few years back I can't help but say WH did have an edge.

Some other important record I found is about National Championship. In 2010 ML entered as number 1 seed but lost to some unknown player 0:4. ZJK beat WH in semi and ZJK went on to clinch Gold and WH Bronze. In 2011, ML claimed Gold and WH Bronze. But they did not met. WH lost to Ma Lin while ML beat ZJK and then Ma Lin in final. WH and Ma Lin won Gold in Double while the pair of ML and ZJK lost early to Li Ping and Hao Shuai. In 2012, ML lost in the first round while WH the second. Yet they did not met either. It was Zhou Yu who claimed Gold beating ZJK and FB. There must be more encounters between them but so far I can find this much.


ML is the King of Tours no doubt. But Tours is more about boosting WR and hooning one's skill in the international stage. After all one should know what CNT and LGL weight the most when choosing who to play OG Single. I bet Tours result is about one of the last in the list.

WH was "way" past his prime in the same year he came second in the WTTC and represented his area in the National games? Wang Hao was not even 30 until the end of 2013- the only thing we can say about Wang Hao is that he was also someone who used to train hard for big events - the amount of weight he lost for the 2012 Olympics was a lot.

TurboZ, let's try to understand what I am saying here. Ma Long is 5 years younger than Wang Hao. If you have two world class players playing and one is over 20 and one is under 20 and the gap is 5 years, the one over 20, especially when they are between 25 and 30, has a serious advantage in experience and peaking. To both their credit, they were both talented enough to make the CNT top 3 at a young age and had outstanding results against older and better players. I am only saying that you cannot focus too hard on what happens when someone is just coming in and younger. Unless you know Wang Hao was injured, he was not WAY past his prime in 2013. The first clear rumblings about Wang Hao began in 2014 at the German Open. ZJK had a similar 4.5 years gap, but most of his matches began when he was already 20 and he began playing Wang Hao internationally when he was 22.

The thing about coaching is that when you know the players personally, you can weight different things based on your experience. You can have pretty interesting opinions about a variety of things. For example, we watching a match cannot tell if a player is playing with a problem on his mind, but LGL can know. So those things can influence how seriously a coach looks at a result. I am sure that LGL ranks pro tours pretty well, but everything is based upon how he knows what motivates the players. CNT also have internal ranking system.

ML, as did ZJK in some years, also had best performance in CTTSL and the best team with Yan An. These were the things people used to look at when they said that ML's biggest opponent was himself. He hated losing so much he was scared of it. That was ML's biggest problem.

TurboZ
08-24-2016, 08:02 PM
WH is pretty weak dealing with big loss and he needs long recovery before getting back up again (almost a year in many cases and lots of help from LGL). He was not considered old in 2013, the word "old" is there only to contrast ML's "young", not really about his age. 2013 was after his 3rd lost of OG and everyone called him "Second in a Thousand Years" (Second forever in meaning). That hurts a lot even winning Silver 3 times in OG is an achievement no one can repeat. It is hard to get back up but he did, yet never the same fighting spirit like before because he knew his chance of Grand Slam is nil. Then again no one believe WH by that time can beat ML in his peak but he did the impossible. WH peak after WLQ and that was around 2007. I really won't say he was still keeping it till 2013. Many said he should not be pick to play London in 2012 is the proof.

It is fine if you insist 2013 should be included. But I don't get the part you said "the record for the last 10 matches Wang Hao 4, Ma Long 9". That adds up to 13? You are playing your magic to make the number look in ML's favor and putting extra weight on Tours. Looks like you are playing games with your own rules that makes you unbeatable. :o

I can't find records of them met in National Champ but they share one win each in National Game of 2009 and 2013 Single, and WH also won Team Gold in both years. Adding 3 WTTC wins on WH's side from those years, I still find it hard to say ML has a "superior" record against WH. Sorry. :cool:


As WH had already dropped to WR 3 and 4 in 2013, in order to include that year and play fair, one should also start counting when ML reached the same level of WR 3 and 4. Record shows that ML reached WR 4 at the end of 2007 and WR 3 in all of 2008. He was playing active and highly competitive much earlier than 2009. If so then they have met 14 times and equal wins of 7 each. I see WH still have an edge with 3 WTTC wins in his pocket. :rolleyes:

anchorschmidt
08-25-2016, 01:57 PM
In general what you are saying does make a lot of sense but Wang Hao was definitely past his prime level of "consistency" in 2013. His prime was 2007-2011, where he dominated the rankings, but according to the statistics, he never won a pro tour after becoming World Champion in 2009.

He was still good enough to give it his all before big events and create a game-plan to defeat Ma Long and battle ZJK convincingly in 2011 and 2013 but he was nowhere near consistent enough to be considered to be in his prime.

Didn't have much to do with age, more to do with making his family a priority (http://tabletennista.com/2015/12/wang-hao-won-the-world/). He had a child in 2009 and obviously couldn't devote as much to his training as his other compatriots

Baal
08-25-2016, 02:09 PM
Right now Ma Long is obviously playing a lot better. Over their careers they have both accomplished amazing things. Would ZJK playing the best he has ever played beat Ma Long right now? Sometimes.

Next Level (I think he was the one, or maybe it was wturber) not too long ago did an interesting simulation of showing how a table tennis match would look if every point was a flip of the coin. One player would probably win in 7 games and in some matches it would sometimes look like the winning player had made a dramatic comeback. That is often how random stochastic processes work. Those two have played a lot of matches that amount to that.

But the 4-0 crushing at Rio seems to reflect the level of their games right now. Ma Long has long ago quashed doubts about his ability to win big matches. And at a technical level his game has no weakness. None.

Baal
08-25-2016, 02:14 PM
Someone else put the match record at 20-17 ML. So there are matches missing from the record. The other thing is when many of those matches took place. Counting matches that took place before 2009 is putting a baby up against a giant. Good for sadists but not really a measure of what is going on.

I am a big believer that Wang Hao is one of the top 3 players of all time. It is one of the reasons I hate the whole major title approach to ranking players. I agree with this, mostly, but not sure I would put WH above WLQ, who was ranked number 1 in the world for 48 straight months.

NextLevel
08-25-2016, 02:55 PM
Right now Ma Long is obviously playing a lot better. Over their careers they have both accomplished amazing things. Would ZJK playing the best he has ever played beat Ma Long right now? Sometimes.

Next Level (I think he was the one, or maybe it was wturber) not too long ago did an interesting simulation of showing how a table tennis match would look if every point was a flip of the coin. One player would probably win in 7 games and in some matches it would sometimes look like the winning player had made a dramatic comeback. That is often how random stochastic processes work. Those two have played a lot of matches that amount to that.

But the 4-0 crushing at Rio seems to reflect the level of their games right now. Ma Long has long ago quashed doubts about his ability to win big matches. And at a technical level his game has no weakness. None.

It was Wturber but I have similarly embraced the role of luck in TT for a while now.

Was it really about winning big matches or was it a Wang Hao problem? Yes, Ma Long was a bit of a wreck about losing but I think that Wang Hao was the more the issue than the size of the occasion.

Baal
08-28-2016, 04:31 PM
It was Wturber but I have similarly embraced the role of luck in TT for a while now.

Was it really about winning big matches or was it a Wang Hao problem? Yes, Ma Long was a bit of a wreck about losing but I think that Wang Hao was the more the issue than the size of the occasion.

Definitely possible. WH was incredible for a couple of years and some people represent a huge problem for some others.

Another possibility I just thought of is that ML may actually benefit from plastic balls because of the way he plays and the power he has always had.

JoshGSY
08-28-2016, 04:37 PM
I feel like Ma Long as an overall player, both technically and achievement wise, is stronger. He has achieved he same as ZJK in terms of big titles (apart from one worlds which I reckon he will win next year!) - but he also has a major advantage in terms of the rest of his career stats. His status as world number one (for the second longest period in history behind WLQ), and the fact he has a winning head to head against any player he has played more then once, shows that he is simply the stronger of the two players. If Zhang Jike can somehow come back and win worlds next year (which I struggle to see happening) then perhaps he would regain the the status of being one of the best ever - but as I see it he has dropped in form through injuries since 2013/14 and it would be hard for him to regain a big title.

Shuki
08-28-2016, 04:37 PM
I definitely agree about the plastic balls being better for ml. It's like he's never rushed and is always able to get into place for the perfect stroke. That's one thing I noticed in my game for the plastic ball. I play much better.

Whether it's having more time to read the ball, more time to get in place or whatever, I feel like the plastic balls have been better for me than for most other players at our club.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

ade14212
08-29-2016, 02:45 PM
Definitely possible. WH was incredible for a couple of years and some people represent a huge problem for some others.

Another possibility I just thought of is that ML may actually benefit from plastic balls because of the way he plays and the power he has always had.

I have to say I disagree with this. Do you people forget already that the quality of ZJK's actually increased because of plastic ball while ML suffers from it? LGL said this back after German WC 2014. Not to mention, the comment from the CNT coach that stated ML's power is so so even compared to FZD. While ZJK actually has incredible and a very physical player.

On topic, ML has proved that he bested ZJK in small and biggest tournament. Naturally, he is greater.

ZJK was once the greatest but many things happen in life. His setback and ML ability to deal with his own setbacks put him as the second greatest ever.

TTFrenzy
08-29-2016, 03:24 PM
I have to say I disagree with this. Do you people forget already that the quality of ZJK's actually increased because of plastic ball while ML suffers from it? LGL said this back after German WC 2014. Not to mention, the comment from the CNT coach that stated ML's power is so so even compared to FZD. While ZJK actually has incredible and a very physical player.

On topic, ML has proved that he bested ZJK in small and biggest tournament. Naturally, he is greater.

ZJK was once the greatest but many things happen in life. His setback and ML ability to deal with his own setbacks put him as the second greatest ever.


Yeap li xiaodong described ma long as a complete combination fighter and FZD ZJK as power players. ZJK has also stated that their playstyles are quite different, ML likes to borrow power (spin/speed) and use it against you ZJK likes to create his own power focused on spin mostly. Its not easy to understand that subtleties as an amateur player like we are, I was quite amazed when I saw those statements because as many, I also thought ML is pure power because of his flashy big move FH

If u watch ML FH in super slow mo you can actually see how relaxed and controlled his movement is adding some extra pace to the incoming topspin. If I remember correctly li xiao dong said that players like FZD ZJK produce their own power (spin speed) and ML uses that power with placement , focusing on speedy placements using the spin against you, something like that.

Baal
08-29-2016, 03:43 PM
I have to say I disagree with this. Do you people forget already that the quality of ZJK's actually increased because of plastic ball while ML suffers from it? LGL said this back after German WC 2014. Not to mention, the comment from the CNT coach that stated ML's power is so so even compared to FZD. While ZJK actually has incredible and a very physical player.

On topic, ML has proved that he bested ZJK in small and biggest tournament. Naturally, he is greater.

ZJK was once the greatest but many things happen in life. His setback and ML ability to deal with his own setbacks put him as the second greatest ever.

You certainly might be right (and I hadn't seen the LGL comment on that) and I don't claim to have all the answers, but 2014 was then and this is now, 2016, two years later.

It may not be quite that simple, as there are really two questions about plastic balls. Who adjusted sooner, and then, once everybody adjusted, who's game ended up best adapted for it? So for now I still go with my eye test and say that it seems to me at least that Ma Long is better suited for it.

Of course there are so many other things that go into possibly explaining why Ma Long is at the top now and why ZJK seems to be declining. Balls may not have anything to do with it, maybe there are injury issues, or motivation issues, or who knows what all. But I still think balls could play a small role.

In any case, I agree with the bottom line as to who is greater, largely because I think Ma Long's forehand and serve are stronger. Both have achieved everything possible in their sport. But Ma Long is not finished yet.

(By the way, I always felt like Ma Long often used other player's power and was one of the best counterattackers ever, but figured if I posted that I would be roasted alive. I am glad somebody else mentioned it).

anchorschmidt
08-30-2016, 04:18 PM
Fascinating discussion. One can make a convincing case for either player.

Right off the bat, I'm going to have to say that a few arguments here have convinced me to admit that Ma Long has been more consistent by far and his earlier performances in big tournaments shouldn't be held against him as much as they are. His consistent level of dominance makes a very strong case and tips the scales in his favour.

One thing that I want to add is that ZJK's performance in 2011 Rotterdam is probably greater than any other performance by any player in the last 5 years. I've never seen anyone move so fast over the table. Though he struggles with this nowadays, it was no problem for ZJK to cover the entire table after playing the backhand flick. Even Zhang Jike said that his match against Timo Boll was the best he has ever played. His matches against Ri Chol Guk, Wang Liqin and Wang Hao were fantastic performances.

However, playing like that is extremely hard on the body and it greatly reduced his "shelf-life" so to speak, even if he gave us some breathtaking performances.

Ma Long doesn't use the banana flick over the table a lot of the time (which cuts down his footwork close to the table) and his style of borrowing power is cleverer and puts less strain on his body. This post sums it up (http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=71926&PID=880841&title=uninjured-zhang-jike#880841) pretty well I don't think his domination is going to end until he is 30 and it is also dependent on Fan Zhendong's development.


Another thing that people forget to mention is how your month of birth (http://www.experttabletennis.com/relative-age-effect-chinese-table-tennis/), your age and your compatriots play a factor depending on how long you can dominate.

Wang Hao had to deal with growing as a player while Ma Lin and Wang Liqin were at their best and then he had to fight against ZJK and Ma Long shortly after he starting playing his best table tennis (2009). He had to fight against 2 different generations, so to speak, and still made so many finals, which speaks volumes of his greatness as a player.

Ma Long, on the other hand, belongs to the same generation as Zhang Jike and Xu Xin. However, unlike WLQ and Ma Lin ( H2H 23-24), he has been dominant against his compatriots. ZJK hasn't been consistent and Xu Xin took a really long time to bring his backhand to where it should be. This is no fault of Ma Long's but it makes him seem more unbeatable than he really is as his teammates were not able to improve as quickly as they should have and it gave him a slightly easier time on the World Tour.

I can see myself getting roasted for saying this but at least I can hide behind my keyboard on the internet. I'm not saying that Ma Long's achievements should be undermined. I just want to say that he faced less stiff competition compared to the earlier WLQ-Ma Lin generation, who were both crushing foreign players as badly as Ma Long is right now but were true competitors.

His titles reflect this as well. Ma Long faced Fang Bo in the finals of the WTTC, faced a ZJK who was nowhere near his best in the Olympics and faced his junior Fan Zhendong in the World Cup. For me personally (and I might get roasted for this again), his world's title would have been sweeter if he had actually beaten Wang Hao and ZJK when they were close to their best in 2011. He was world number 1 the entire year in 2010 and was capable of doing so but he didn't.

His game was definitely not perfect prior to 2015. Wang Hao has shown multiple times that Ma Long can be beaten using clever tactics. Zhang Jike has also made Ma Long look beatable in the 2014 World Cup, 2015 German open and the China trials for the Olympics in 2016. When Xu Xin started to trust his backhand more, he was able to beat Ma Long twice in a row in 2016 and looked every bit his equal.

However, these are just things that detract from making Ma Long the clear winner in this debate but overall, consistency-wise, I'm still going to have to go with Ma Long.