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    #1

    At the moment, who do you consider greater: Ma Long or Zhang Jike?

    How would you rank them if both were to retire today? Has Ma Long surpassed Zhang Jike in terms of achievements?



    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!

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    #2
    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.

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    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.

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    #4
    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.

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    #5
    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)
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    #6
    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.

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    #7
    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

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    #8
    from the statistic, clearly ma long is greater than ZJK

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ttmonster
    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.

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    #10
    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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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by TTFrenzy
    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.

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    #12
    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.

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    #13
    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.

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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by NDH
    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

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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by TTFrenzy
    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.

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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by NDH
    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
    Last edited by TTFrenzy; 08-23-2016 at 12:08 PM.
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by TTFrenzy

    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?

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    #18
    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.

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    #19
    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.

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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel
    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.
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