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Poll: Who is Greatest?

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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by PlasmaLight
    i had ma long on the phone. he asked me "who is waldner?" :P
    Lol.... Ma Long and Waldner at there Absolute best in an Olympic final would be the best match ever!

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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by PlasmaLight
    i had ma long on the phone. he asked me "who is waldner?" :P
    I think they call Waldner "Lao Wa" in China. Ma Long definitely knows him. It's just impossible not to know such a great player like waldner.

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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan
    Lol.... Ma Long and Waldner at there Absolute best in an Olympic final would be the best match ever!
    Lol ok someone call Waldner and get him to win the Europe Olympic Games Qualification tournament, gimme a piece of this please! haha
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    #24
    ma long also told me, that he is lef handed. he just plays with the right arm for fun

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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan
    Haha true, but we could talk about players before Waldner setting a standard for the sport...

    Its similar to the best football player ever debate.. Is the best player in football, Pele, George Best for example (Oldschool)... or are Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo better players..
    This already says alot about the subjectiveness When we in Netherlands would make a short list like that for football players, we would include Cruijff instead of Best.

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    #26
    Guys guys guys. STOP!!!! Waldner has beaten all of them, jiang jialiang, teng yi, wang liqin, liu guoliang, ma long, ma lin, you name it! Waldner has won the olympics, world championships (without loosing a set 1997), European champion. No one is close to what Waldner has done! And remember, he is old old old and still plays in bundesliga.. Ma long is good now but have only been that for a couple of months, not for 10 years!

    Sweden <3

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    #27
    Quote Originally Posted by WiWa
    This already says alot about the subjectiveness When we in Netherlands would make a short list like that for football players, we would include Cruijff instead of Best.
    Hehe true! .. I should of included Cruijff .. There are just so many players in football its difficult ha.. Maybe Zidane was the best ha.

    But yeah Waldner changed the sport and held an incredible record such as not dropping a set in the Worlds

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    #28
    Quote Originally Posted by WiWa
    Zhang jike!!
    I actually think Wiwa has a point and Jike could end up going down as that. Ma Long will have a period of being dominant but his game is too much about power. Zhang Jike has more skills that are unique and intangible.

    But I do not think you can judge whether someone will become the best ever from a place where they have not won major titles like the Olympics and the World Championships yet. So until Ma Long has a few of those, debating whether he will become the best is questionable. One of the up and coming Chinese kids might blow everyone out of the water, or injuries. Anything can happen. One of the things that we can say about Waldner is that he was innovative, pretty consistent and had a few different places in his career where he sort of peaked. His career went from 1983-2004 where he was good enough to be close to the top. That is a long period. By 1989 he had won World Championship and he won again in 1997. He was in the finals in 1987 and 1991 but did not win (silver not gold). In 2004, sort of out of shape and over weight, he still was able to make it to the semi-finals. Pretty impressive stuff in my opinion. He also was part of a team that helped to temporarily end Chinese dominance in the sport. Also pretty impressive. Many more reasons why he goes down as one of the all time greats.

    But I don't think it is worth talking about greatest ever because each era will have different greats and it is not worth comparing from one era to another because the skills that Ma Long and Zhang Jike have, could not have been developed without the innovations of Ma Lin and Wang Liqin which could not have happened without the innovations to the sport developed by Kong Linghui and Lui Gouliang which could not have come about without the innovations of Mikael Appelgren, Jörgen Persson and Jan Ove WALDNER, which were a response to the dominance of the Chinese teams and style of play that existed as they were developing their games.

    Babe Ruth was the best home run hitter of his time. How would he fare today? How would he compare to the athletes of today. All we do know is that he was better than everyone then. What would have happened if he had the steroids (I know it is illegal but they all use it anyway) and training of todays baseball players? We do not know. Be we do know that he was better than everyone in his time. And a lot better. He stood out.

    Same goes for players today. I would not compare Michael Jordan with Oscar Robertson aside from saying they were both the best of their time. So I would not compare the best of today with the best of the 90's in table tennis in that way.

    Ma Long has a chance to become the best player of today. So does Zhang Jike. Right now they are the only players who are realistically in each other's way. But you never know what will happen in sports.

    I am still looking forward to them letting Fang Bo play in more major tournaments because I think he has potential to take out Ma Long and Zhang Jike if he starts playing with a little more control. But, it may never happen. When Ma Long was Fang Bo's age they were sending him to a lot of tournaments.
    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 02-07-2012 at 04:36 PM.
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    #29
    Too bad Waldner never won an ITTF Pro Tour Finals
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    #30
    Quote Originally Posted by PingPongPom
    This is a topic which could be either very one sided or quite interesting, who do you think at the peak of their career is the greatest player. Perhaps Ma Long has not peaked yet? You will have to use your imagination. I made a small video to help with the debate!

    One thing I notice with this video though is that, most of the footage of Waldner is from when he is already older and past his prime. But you can see how great he is tactically and how much his game was about finesse rather than power. But, in almost all the footage he is about 20 pounds over weight. Still playing great but not what he was in 1989, 1992 or 1997. It makes sense that it is harder to get footage from when he was younger that is good though.
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    #31
    I pick Waldner.
    He's really good tactically and plays with finesse, touch and cleverness.
    You don't need to be a monster and use power to win matches. When the opportunity is there, he makes the point with a good topspin.

    Ma Long is also a great player but by only playing by force, I don't know how long it will last as soon as the other players got used to it...

    Waldner!!

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    #32
    Matt , you did it mate!! This is gonna be one of those threads that will be read, digested, commented, buried, dug up again and the whole thing will be repeated. hahaha

    Like most said, they're from different eras, but we do like to do these sort of comparisons all the time, don't we?? Pele vs Maradona (Messi is way behind these 2), Jimi Hendrix vs Joe Satriani, Laver vs Sampras, etc etc....It's fun!!

    Ma Long is no doubt a very good player. We all love his power game and that tremendous FH. He has won quite a number of pro tour, rather big ones too..but none is bigger than the Olympics and the Worlds. He has to win those in order for his name to be said in the same breath as Waldner.

    Games are a lot faster now, trust me I know..but back then it was trickier. Balls spun harder (coz they're smaller), the 21 games requires you to have very good service and returns (otherwise, before you know it, you'll be 5 points adrift). In terms of raw power, I have to say Ma Long..but when it comes to guile and style, it has to be Waldner. Somehow, the guy reminds me of the tennis great Stefan Edberg. Serve and volley, the deftest of touches, and soft hands. No one plays like that any more, and the same goes to Waldner, he is the last of his kind.
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    #33
    You can't compare the potential of one player against the life history of another,
    anyhows
    Zhang Jike just has to win an Olympic Gold and he can retire, he's ticked all the other boxes

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    #34
    Quote Originally Posted by pingpongemil
    Guys guys guys. STOP!!!! Waldner has beaten all of them, jiang jialiang, teng yi, wang liqin, liu guoliang, ma long, ma lin, you name it! Waldner has won the olympics, world championships (without loosing a set 1997), European champion. No one is close to what Waldner has done! And remember, he is old old old and still plays in bundesliga.. Ma long is good now but have only been that for a couple of months, not for 10 years!

    Sweden <3
    Ma Long has been around for a long time, I saw him in 2003 at his first Junior Circuit event in New Zealand.
    Also, let's not forget Ma Long beat Timo Boll at the age of 16, at the 2005 China Open. Boll was then ranked no.3 in the world.
    Players like Yan An and Fang Bo were not good enough at 16 to emulate this.
    Liu Gaoyuan has potential, as long as he shuts his trap.

    Personally I believe Ma Long will achieve greater heights than Waldner because Zhang Jike's the only player around who can beat him, and only occasionally at that!
    However, Waldner's reign and fame was partially due to the fact that Sweden didn't have any rising stars to take his & Persson's place.
    Even now Jorgen Persson's still leading the Swedish team and he's getting close to 50! The same process is happening with Samsonov and Belarus right now.

    So, Ma Long's the most dominant player in history, while Waldner remains the most legendary.
    If Waldner hadn't been around, who would have been in his place? I think Gatien would have been remembered as Table Tennis's all time greatest.
    But... who wants a Frenchman with that prestige? hahaha
    Nevertheless, he's certainly the world's greatest lefty in my view.

    That's my two cents.

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    #35
    We will discuss this if Ma long can come back at the age of 35 ( in his case it will be 36 I guess ) to win a team gold in world championship and a silver in Olympics or even make the fourth place in singles at the age of 40 ....
    Lets go Spinny Looping !

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    #36
    sorry guys waldner won 2 worlds,four world finals,2 olympic finals 1 semi final, ma long...mmmmmm 2 semi finals,
    its all down to bottle, ma long was clearly the best player in rotterdam,I was there but he blew it again, he s won nowt......as for saying there were no good players about,, come on , check out the euro top 12 in waldners day never mind the rest of the world, applegren euro 3 times person world champ, gatien world champ, samosonv world silver, shlager world champ,lindh wrld cup winner, person world champ,grubba legend, saive world runner up, roskopf world doubles ....kreanga,legend, primorac 3 times euro silver,then asia, kong worldolympic champ, lui world olympic champ, ma lin world champ kim taek soo,ma wenge , jiang world champ, kim song hi, li gun sang, wang hao, chinese champ 5 times, wang tao, teng yi,chen loncan,,, come on your actually taking the p,,,, only boll can compete with the chinese now,ma lin is still in the chinese squad 5 years after his peak....waldner beat him 4-1 in ma s prime in the biggest event on earth,,, get a grip guys,,ma long won 5 pro tours ,, ha ha..iv e won 2 sunderland vets grand prix big deal man...I think ma is awesome but to say the players are stronger now is just wrong.

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    #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Horowitz
    One thing I notice with this video though is that, most of the footage of Waldner is from when he is already older and past his prime. But you can see how great he is tactically and how much his game was about finesse rather than power. But, in almost all the footage he is about 20 pounds over weight. Still playing great but not what he was in 1989, 1992 or 1997. It makes sense that it is harder to get footage from when he was younger that is good though.
    It was more to do with preserving the quality of the video really :P hah
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    #38
    Quote Originally Posted by azlan
    Matt , you did it mate!! This is gonna be one of those threads that will be read, digested, commented, buried, dug up again and the whole thing will be repeated. hahaha

    Like most said, they're from different eras, but we do like to do these sort of comparisons all the time, don't we?? Pele vs Maradona (Messi is way behind these 2), Jimi Hendrix vs Joe Satriani, Laver vs Sampras, etc etc....It's fun!!

    Ma Long is no doubt a very good player. We all love his power game and that tremendous FH. He has won quite a number of pro tour, rather big ones too..but none is bigger than the Olympics and the Worlds. He has to win those in order for his name to be said in the same breath as Waldner.

    Games are a lot faster now, trust me I know..but back then it was trickier. Balls spun harder (coz they're smaller), the 21 games requires you to have very good service and returns (otherwise, before you know it, you'll be 5 points adrift). In terms of raw power, I have to say Ma Long..but when it comes to guile and style, it has to be Waldner. Somehow, the guy reminds me of the tennis great Stefan Edberg. Serve and volley, the deftest of touches, and soft hands. No one plays like that any more, and the same goes to Waldner, he is the last of his kind.
    Yea I thought it would hit off well haha
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    #39
    Interesting question. To answer I think you've got to look at majors, classics, whatever the particular sport calls the great events won. Ben Hogan may have been the greatest ball striker in golf, but he has only 9 majors, Jack Nicklaus has 18. In TT, in my opinion, to be called the greatest or one of the very greatest in the game, you must have won a singles event in the World Championships. Without that on your resume, i think you're disqualified from the greatest-who-ever-lived club. Ma Long is young and only time will tell. So for now, waldner sits above him, way above him.

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    #40
    This thread just made me remember Rocky VI.... My respect to the greatest player that we have had Waldner.... Nevertheless, history might change because it´s still in the making and Ma is still writing it

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