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Poll: Who is Greatest?

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  1. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #121
    Different point: When you look at things stroke by stroke, there are a lot of guys who have better technique than Waldner. When you look at the intangibles like how he handled pressure situations, how he did in the big tournaments, it is hard to compare them. Waldner's career is complete. He won all the major tournaments of his time. Ma Long may end up winning all the big events. He is certainly good enough. But losing to Koki in the trials does not look great in terms of whether things have changed about him handling pressure because that has been something he has been criticized from: that he chokes in the big tournaments. Like what happened in the 2011 World Championships when he was up 2-1 on Wang Hao and lost.

    Until Ma Long has won an Olympic Gold or 2 and a couple of World Championships, it is not worth comparing them. I hope he does win the majors. I hope he is able to have a long career and keep a good level into his late thirties. He is a fun player to watch. But you cannot compare him to a guy who won 2 World Singles Championships, a Singles Gold at the Olympics, countless team wins, who was central in the Swedes' success in taking down the, until then, unbeatable Chinese team and, for a period of time ending the Chinese dominance in the sport. Waldner and the Swedes were underdogs and won. Ma Long and China are the favorites. In a sense, they should win.

    I will be happy to root for Ma Long breaking all records. But until he does, it is not worth talking about it.

    Mike Tyson was on his way to being considered the greatest boxer ever. And look what happened to him. By the end he was part of the bum of the month club, or at best, a circus sideshow biting ears because he could not win. I am not suggesting anything by this, I am just showing that you cannot tell what will happen in sports. I will root for Ma Long to break all records. But first he has to win a few of those major titles.
    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 04-22-2012 at 05:03 AM.
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  2. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #122
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybelafonte
    He s through, ma and ryu,,, but not sure how the seeding works in the olympics,, are all chinese in one half?
    qualifiers are a minefield to follow... no brits through ,,,!!! shame..
    I could be wrong. I know I have heard people say other things. But, I believe that Liu Gouliang can use the three Chinese players who have qualified--Wang Hao, Zhang Jike and Ma Long--however he wants. They qualified and can go to the Olympics and play. Gouliang is the coach and should be able to decide who plays what.
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    #123
    Waldner +1

    He had that unique quality and the grace in table tennis. Some shots he made is in art form. IMO Z.Jike came close with few games like that, with some distinct quality unlike other chinese players whom just brutally survived among other thousand competitions. THAT speaks for quantity, but not quality. Some would argue how do one define BEST, in player skills, experiences, styles and hard work all those rest qualities out there, true. But to be a legend it takes more, way more. Devote one's work and Transcend an ordinary subject into an art form, Michaelangelo did, Bruce Lee did, and yes I see Waldner up there too
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    #124
    greatest charisma..greatest impact(on and off the court)..

    waldner

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    #125
    Please forgive me for reviving this old thread but wanted to add my thoughts.

    First of all, its impossible not to like, admire or be awed by Waldner. He is almost more than a man, he's a myth, a legend. So his place in TT history is secure. And lets not forget the game was harder and faster with the speed glue and smaller ball.

    But its not fair to talk about Ma Long as just having power. To be able to hit that hard, that consistently, requires more than just athleticism and technique. It requires feel too. Ma Long may not improvise as much as Waldner, but then again who does. I can only think of Xu Xin as a top level player who will deliberately play the flashier/riskier shot. Trust me, if someone had the power and consistency of ML, they would always always choose to hit an ultra reliable near unreturnable loop rather than a more adventurous shot. That's why his game doesn't seem to be so tactically diverse - it doesn't need to be. But I don't think he's any less of a shotmaker, there are plenty of videos where you can see he will pull off amazing shots when needed.

    Where Waldner was truly unique IMO was in figuring out the opponent and devising a gameplan. He did this against generations of Chinese.

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    #126
    Ma Long all the way.
    Waldner was a legend BUT only back in the day
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    #127
    It's hard to compare two different generations because what you have to realize is that each great player a generation learns from the past generations. Waldner being as amazing as he was essentially created the types of players that China has today. Without Waldner's genius you wouldn't have Ma Lin, Wang Hao, Wang LiQin being who they were because they learned from his style and his tactics. Ma Lin's touch greatly improved after Waldner retired as he would practice many of Waldner's techniques as well as other players from the beginning of his career. The same goes for Ma Long, today's game requires speed and brute force, but you can't deny that Ma Long has some of the greatest improvisation and touch among this generation due to evolution of play started by Waldner.

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    #128
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. RicharD
    Without Waldner's genius you wouldn't have Ma Lin, Wang Hao, Wang LiQin being who they were because they learned from his style and his tactics. Ma Lin's touch greatly improved after Waldner retired as he would practice many of Waldner's techniques as well as other players from the beginning of his career.
    Could you please elaborate exactly on what kind of tactics playes like Ma Lin etc. learnt from Waldner? I'm not knocking just really curious because seeing young Ma Lin at the beginning of his career in one of the videos when he plays with Waldner he already seems pretty skilled player.

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    #129
    IMHO the answer is Wang Liqin. He was ranked #1 in the world for 49 out of 50 straight months in his prime and won the most difficult tournament of all (WTTC) three times. Ma Long is a physical beast with a propensity to lose important matches. He still has a lot to prove (and in time maybe he will prove it because he certainly has won a bunch of important ITTF Pro Tour events). If your argument is that current players must be greater than those of the previous generation, then why wouldn't you pick ZJK or even Wang Hao, who have both accomplished much more than Ma Long (at least in the really big tournaments)? And in the end, that is what matters, what you accomplish, not how awesome you look--something I think the CNT coaches believe too. But even if it is how awesome you look, I would still pick WLQ in his prime. Look closely, the guy had no weaknesses.

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    Last edited by Baal; 10-26-2012 at 12:06 PM.

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    #130
    For me: Waldner, his style is so smooth, every single stroke is amazing, Ma Long might win more trophies, but in MY opinion sometimes trophies aren't the only way to judge a player quality

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    #131
    The point about WLQ is well made. He really did have no weaknesses. You can say his bh was not as strong as the monster fh (but then again no stroke in TT was as good) but it took the next evolution in TT, namely the ML/ZJK/WH consistent over the table loop on bh side, combined with WLQ's slowing and aging, to really expose it.

    Ma Long and Liqin are technical marvels - their games and strokes are technically textbook perfect, simple, and effectively brutal. Waldner was cut from a different cloth. Watching ML/WLQ I think 'I can never be that fast, consistent or powerful'. With Waldner its 'I would never ever think to hit that' or 'how the heck did he do that?!'. Both are amazing in their own way.

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    #132
    At the end of the day, sports is just not about technique. At the top level, the mental aspect of the game is more important than anything else. Thats why chinese coaches of three generations were left clutching their heads on how to solve the Waldner puzzle. And thats why even though he was statistically (winning ratio wise ) not that dominant, he came up with goods when it mattered and was relegated to realms of legend even by the chinese themselves.
    IMHO waldner , WLQ , liu guoliang , ZJK , Ma Lin will be the greatest and in that order. Ma Long , Wang Hao etc. will always be in the second batch. Ma Long has to prevail in tough situations against all the top contenders to match these greats. At least he has a chance, Wang Hao does not have it any more.

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    #133
    Quote Originally Posted by ttmonster
    IMHO waldner , WLQ , liu guoliang , ZJK , Ma Lin will be the greatest and in that order. Ma Long , Wang Hao etc. will always be in the second batch. Ma Long has to prevail in tough situations against all the top contenders to match these greats. At least he has a chance, Wang Hao does not have it any more.
    It's a good list, but KLH deserves to be somewhere in there (Olympic, WTTC and WorldCup) -- certainly greater than Ma Lin! Also there is no reason at all to include Ma Lin and exclude Wang Hao except perhaps for longevity. I would include Wang Hao because of his perfection of the RPB and two-teim WCCT, which is the toughest tournament of all. These lists are ultimately arbitrary. I would argue that Jorgen Persson has done as much as Ma Lin and a lot more than Ma Long (WTTC and a World Cup; also a finalist in WTTC plus European champion at a time when that meant more than now). Persson often was in Waldner's shadow, but was more consistent, especially in the great team battles against China. He doesn't get mentioned enough.

    My list is order: WLQ, LGL= Waldner = KLH, ZJK (but still young), Wang Hao = Persson = Ma Lin, Ma Long. I am including Ma Long because of his incredible beastly technique (as you say, a slightly closer to the table version of WLQ), and the huge number of ITTF Pro Tour events to go with his one World Cup. Also, he will win more big events and move up this list, I think. Ask me tomorrow and I will probably have a different order, but WLQ will remain #1 for me.

    One other interesting thing about Ma Lin, he spent an amazing amount of his career ranked #2 in the world. Without any doubt, the greatest #2 player of all time. That sounds like a slam but I don't mean it to be. So maybe upon more reflection, plus all his world cups, he deserves to be even ahead of Wang Hao and Persson. I could easily accept that argument.
    Last edited by Baal; 10-27-2012 at 12:43 AM.

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    #134
    Everybody says Waldner ended the Chinese domination for a period.. he most certainly did and he deserves huge credit for that. but know this, being such an overwhelming favourite as China is, is not easy either. people are always trying to get the better of you. and nowadays, with footages, and analysts for almost every aspect of the game, holding on to the top spot is harder than ever, maybe even harder than trying to topple the best. Ma Long is my favourite player ,and I believe he's peaking right now. The way he destroyed opponents at the Olympics Team Events and the World Cup after his loss to Chuang, is pretty incredible, because we know how good the quality of all players at the topmost level is.He will not be able to hold up this level for too long and it is then when he will be really tested. I believe he has already started using his brains a bit more than say the WTTC at Rotterdam. Still, the comparison is not done. no one is a better player than the other. they are just players having their own styles. Sport is highly non- linear and maybe at the end of Ma Long's career we should compare about their success. It would put them on an even keel. Otherwise it would be unfair to both of them, not just Ma Long.

    You can go on about Ma Long facing so stiff competition in his country itself, about him having to be on his toes all the time( which possibly will shorten his career than any European player), but the fact that Waldner sustained his level for so long coming from where he is, speaks of how incredibly technically gifted he was. so, there is absolutely no end to this.

    I'll just say this,as much as I like Ma Long , if there is a Hall of Fame in table tennis, Waldner is right up there among the elite members while Ma Long is slowly starting to prove his case. The argument of anyone deserving more credit or being a better player is stupid. Waldner is more successful which is obvious. Ma Long, lets hope, surpasses him. It would be good for Table Tennis as a whole.

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    #135
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    My list is order: WLQ, LGL= Waldner = KLH, ZJK (but still young), Wang Hao = Persson = Ma Lin, Ma Long. I am including Ma Long because of his incredible beastly technique (as you say, a slightly closer to the table version of WLQ), and the huge number of ITTF Pro Tour events to go with his one World Cup. Also, he will win more big events and move up this list, I think. Ask me tomorrow and I will probably have a different order, but WLQ will remain #1 for me.
    If it's of any interest, Waldner was asked to rank the players of his generation(s) (I guess internationally active players 1987-2004) and of the Chinese, his list went: KLH, Guo Yehua, WLQ, LGL, Jiang Jialiang, Wang Hao.

    He also thought WLQ had the best attitude, regardless of nationality.
    Last edited by Markvee; 10-27-2012 at 10:22 AM.

  16. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #136
    I think, after the World Championships, this is a great time to reawaken this old thread.

    Should Ma Long have received so many votes in this poll?

    Now that Zhang Jike has won 2 WTTC and one Olympic Gold, (the singles titles that Waldner won) should he be in that poll instead of Ma Long?
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    #137
    Yes.. I think that Zhang Jike definitely has overtaken Ma Long with his big titles. But I still do not think that neither of them can be as spectacular as Waldner.

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    #138
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    I think, after the World Championships, this is a great time to reawaken this old thread.

    Should Ma Long have received so many votes in this poll?

    Now that Zhang Jike has won 2 WTTC and one Olympic Gold, (the singles titles that Waldner won) should he be in that poll instead of Ma Long?
    definetely. ma long cannot compose himself in big moments, waldner could and zhang can :P
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    #139
    Waldner played in times when there were soooo many great players, basicly him Liu Guoliang, Kong Linghui, Person, Gatien, young Samsonov and so on. The competition back then was crazy. Now you have two AMAZING players, but only one of them is really shining when it comes to major titles. It was way much more harder to win something back then IMHO. Don't get me wrong all of chineese players are great but i haven't seen anyone who can reach the level of Ma Long during the whole year expect of Major Titles so sad and Zhang Jike when he is motivated and in good mood.
    Last edited by huri; 05-24-2013 at 08:09 PM.

  20. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #140
    By the way, for the record, I still think it is way too early to talk about Zhang Jike next to Waldner. However, if he wins another WTTC or another Olympic Gold, or both, I think we will have to.
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