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  1. TheKhan123 is offline
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    #1

    the GOAT conversation

    So,a lot of the times,this GOAT conversation happens and people have different opinions.I think it's safe to say the 2 main guys in every GOAT conversation are Ma Long and J.O Waldner. Who do you consider the GOAT and why?

    Personally,i think this conversation is not fair to either player.because they came up in two fully different eras and generations,where technology was different,the dominant play styles were different,heck even the balls and rackets were different.

    Statistically, Waldner has done better in major tournaments like WTTC or the Olympics(excluding team events) but Ma Long has done better in pro tours.
    they're both grand slam champions(meaning they've won the olympics,WTTC and WC)
    And they're certainly the greatest players of their own era.
    Some may argue that Ma Long has a way more solid technique,but considering how much the game has evolved since the 90's,I wouldn't call that a valid point.It's like trying to Compare the 90's golden era hip hop to the modern day hip hop.

    Yet,I'd really like to know what you guys think about this conversation.

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    #2
    I appreciate your take on this topic....
    The comparison imo, although understandable does seem a bit weighted against the venerable Waldner in terms of the different eras, technics etc.
    I prefer to think of them both as "GOTT"'s - Greatest Of Their Times.
    If Time is illusory in a metaphysical sense then there can be no GOATs anyway as there is no "All Time"!, man....
    Perhaps, if someone could work out a fair handicap adjustment, they could be persuaded to play it out!.
    Thats one match I would both love and hate to see as I wouldnt want either to lose.
    Best Wishes and Good Health to All for 2021......

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  3. Music&Ping is offline
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    #3
    I've already answered that question in the comments section of Dan's Youtube's video. To me the major points to be considered are:
    - ITTF rules about booster and speed glue
    - China's protectionism on equipment
    - the ball

    In Waldner's era, the game was way faster, all pros and coaches (some coaches who were the 90's pros: Rosskopf, Persson, Chila to name the european ones) agree about that concern. Chila even mentioned in 2016 that some shoulders problems are happening way more frequently due to the switch to the 40mm cell then P ball: as the ball slows the game, players put more emphasis on athletics, brute force to generate speed
    he mentions that issue @ 4:02
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MffUku0BOok

    All also agree that the old cell ball + speed glue generated way more rotations than nowadays P ball.

    So to me the game today is way more slow, way more controllable, that's why you see so much rallies you could not see in the 90's... unless you were Waldner.

    So to me Waldner is the only GOAT cos' he had to struggle against way more powerfull, spinnier, and faster balls generated by monsters of the attack like Gatien, Saive, Primorac, Persson or Rosskopf.

    Just have a look at that classic Gatien vs Saive, the ball is ridiculously fast, it was in 1991:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hs3UaA1TxVI

    Regarding the ITTF rules, it was possible to do the famous "service camouflage", way more hard to read the services. Nowadays Ma Long can read services like in an open book and power loop or flick them.

    As the ball was lighter, there were many styles in the top 20, even defenders with surprising counters. Nowadays it's hard to see one of them in the last 16 of a WTTC or World Cup.

    Waldner had way more technique with way more tactics, effect and ball placement variations, block, chop block even with his FH ! around the net shots, defense, power loops both side, flat hits, all the repertoire sometimes in only one rally. That's why he was called the Mozart of TT. At that era you had to have eyes, brain, ridiculous reflexes and anticipation and perfect technique due to the speed and rotation of the ball.

    Just a simple comparison: I stopped TT in 2004 and came back in 2020. Had to change the rubbers but kept the same blade, slower after 15 years obviously so better for me to get more control. When I used to block against provincial (France Régionale 2) rated guys (I used to play top local league, Départementale 1), the sheer amount of spin and speed was a nightmare to me, today at 48 with less training I'm able to block those guys loops, I even have to put more "arm" to pass the net ! Looping is difficult: when strong pushers throw long balls, as the P ball is heavier it falls down quickly, and the P ball is harder to generate spin too.

    Totally different game for athletes only, in my club before the lockdown we had to struggle with defections due to... shoulders problem !

    So it's a game for less smarter but more powerfull athletes, a guy like Ma Long in the 90's would have been like Saive, a guy like Waldner is like Niwa nowadays.

    The ITTF rules are blessed bread for China today: no speed glue allowed, no booster allowed, but... sorry we cannot detect booster! sorry for you europeans the CNT players will crush you for decades...

    "The euro players should use the chinese rubbers and the chinese boosters then ! no complain !!" ... not that easy: we all know that "National Blue Sponge" quest right ? DHS makes custom rubbers for the CNT players, but do not let them be available on the market, this is protectionism and should not be allowed. The rubbers appears on the LARC of course, but will the ITTF control the sponge characteristics ? properties ? they don't even control the booster...

    The odds are stacked against the non chinese players today, how is it possible to consider Ma Long as a GOAT then ? it's technological doping, no less.
    Last edited by Music&Ping; 01-02-2021 at 03:25 PM.

  4. IB66 is offline
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    #4
    Arguably the GOAT may actually be female !! Deng Yaping won 3 World Champs and 6 Chinese National Champs !!

    The best the men can do is Zhuang Zedong 3 WC’s and 3 CNC’s which is matched by Ma Long ( but still competing).
    Waldner was a magnificent player, with unbelievable ability. So he is definitely up there and is my personal favourite player!!

    I checked a couple of sites for the stats, hopefully they are correct.

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    #5
    I agree with 'Music&Ping' at #3 in this thread.

    Waldner was the greatest of the 'old' era of table tennis, ML is the greatest (so far) of the 'new' era.

    However, that isn't the end of the conversation. I agree with Music&Ping that the game of the old era was more complex. The new era game seems to be more physically demanding, but the old era game was definitely more technically demanding.

    All things considered I'd still say Waldner is the greatest the game has yet seen.

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    #6
    I don't know who is GOAT, but if you'd ask me who is MBFHOAT, then I'd say Ma Long.

  7. Music&Ping is offline
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by latej
    I don't know who is GOAT, but if you'd ask me who is MBFHOAT, then I'd say Ma Long.
    MBFHOAT ? Gatien and Saive for sure
    Last edited by Music&Ping; 01-03-2021 at 04:32 PM.

  8. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by TheKhan123
    Yet,I'd really like to know what you guys think about this conversation.
    What I think about this conversation is that concepts like GOAT are useful for getting people to debate, argue, disagree, turn blue in the face trying to convince others of their opinion. So.....they are excellent click bait.

    Aside from that, they are completely a waste of time.

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  9. Music&Ping is offline
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    #9
    Yeah... but at least can we agree to disagree ?

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  10. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Music&Ping
    Yeah... but at least can we agree to disagree ?
    hahahaha. I like that.

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  11. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #11
    I will date myself with this:

    I think Marty Reisman was GOAT. hahahaha.

    No, for real, I think an interesting topic is certain great players like Primorac or Korbel who really were amazing and just never turned on the gas in the WTTC singles or Olympic singles and so, are not remembered for being quite as great as they were.

    Oh Seung Eun falls into this category as well. Wang Hao came very close to falling into that category as well. They called him Mr Silver for how many times he came in second in major tournaments. Also the Ma Long Killer since he knocked Ma Long out of the WTTC Singles tournament 3 consective times in the semi-finals (2009, 2011, 2013).

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  12. latej is offline
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Music&Ping
    MBFHOAT ? Gatien and Saive for sure
    Not even close :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Music&Ping
    Yeah... but at least can we agree to disagree ?
    See, I'm getting there... Thanks :-)

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  13. Music&Ping is offline
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    #13
    That's refreshing ! the How To "I disagree but we're only mere mortals wasting time tickling each others on the internets", something someone can be able to understand in another topic...

  14. Manto76 is offline
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by latej
    I don't know who is GOAT, but if you'd ask me who is MBFHOAT, then I'd say Ma Long.
    What does MBFHOAT mean?

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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Manto76
    What does MBFHOAT mean?
    Most Beautiful Fore Hand Of All Time

  16. IB66 is offline
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    #16
    Mens Best FH Of All Time ??

  17. Manto76 is offline
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by latej
    Most Beautiful Fore Hand Of All Time
    OK thanks. Then, in my opinion, when Gatien was on form his forehand was the best I've ever seen.

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  18. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #18
    So many most beautiful FHs. Too many to mention and each of them even more most beautiful than the last. Perhaps they are more most beautifulestest.
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    What I think about this conversation is that concepts like GOAT are useful for getting people to debate, argue, disagree, turn blue in the face trying to convince others of their opinion. So.....they are excellent click bait.

    Aside from that, they are completely a waste of time.
    But that's part of the fun of any sport!

    Just like soccer players/fans will debate who was the greatest goalkeeper/left-back/striker/etc of all time, and F1 fans will debate Schumacher/Senna/Fangio/etc, and cyclists will debate Merckx/Hinault/Coppi/Anquetil/Indurain/etc, and so on.

    If you love a sport then you enjoy talking about it with others who love it too - that's just part of the fun.

    And, one of the great things about table-tennis (compared to many other sports) is that it's accessible to so many of us and we can keep playing well into our senior years. So we get to keep playing the sport we enjoy (unlike, for example, F1 fans who can only be observers) and we get to keep talking about it with others who also enjoy it.

    That's just what fans do!

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  20. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Manto76
    But that's part of the fun of any sport!

    Just like soccer players/fans will debate who was the greatest goalkeeper/left-back/striker/etc of all time, and F1 fans will debate Schumacher/Senna/Fangio/etc, and cyclists will debate Merckx/Hinault/Coppi/Anquetil/Indurain/etc, and so on.

    If you love a sport then you enjoy talking about it with others who love it too - that's just part of the fun.

    And, one of the great things about table-tennis (compared to many other sports) is that it's accessible to so many of us and we can keep playing well into our senior years. So we get to keep playing the sport we enjoy (unlike, for example, F1 fans who can only be observers) and we get to keep talking about it with others who also enjoy it.

    That's just what fans do!
    And, note, I think you just elaborated on my point of what is useful on the subject.
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