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  1. NextLevel is offline
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    #21
    The biggest thing in favor of Waldner for me is Europe was much more competitive during his era. The sad thing is that Europe's top players remained top players for too long. Even now, many of Europe's top players belong to a previous era (Samsonov, Boll). So we can debate how strong Europe is now and how meaningful it is vs Waldner's time.

    Also, the 38mm ball was a different animal to play with. Some short serves were almost impossible to drop short with that ball. People who think that modern TT is *all* about improved technique should go and play a couple of matches with the 38mm ball, it will make you humble how quick and fast it is.

    All that said, Ma Long is the dragon. His consistency and the eye test speak for themselves. I find it hard to believe he wouldn't have been great in any era.

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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel
    The biggest thing in favor of Waldner for me is Europe was much more competitive during his era. The sad thing is that Europe's top players remained top players for too long. Even now, many of Europe's top players belong to a previous era (Samsonov, Boll). So we can debate how strong Europe is now and how meaningful it is vs Waldner's time.

    Also, the 38mm ball was a different animal to play with. Some short serves were almost impossible to drop short with that ball. People who think that modern TT is *all* about improved technique should go and play a couple of matches with the 38mm ball, it will make you humble how quick and fast it is.

    All that said, Ma Long is the dragon. His consistency and the eye test speak for themselves. I find it hard to believe he wouldn't have been great in any era.

    I agree with NextLevel on this.
    The game was meaningfully different with the 38mm ball of that era.
    In terms of winning statistics it's undeniable that ML is top of the pile. But statistics are not all that count in assessing 'greatness'.
    Personally I can go no further than to say that ML is (so far) the greatest of the modern era, and JOW was the greatest of his time. They cannot really be compared head-to-head. They simply both stand as the greatest of their respective eras.

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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Manto76

    I agree with NextLevel on this. The game was meaningfully different with the 38mm ball of that era. In terms of winning statistics it's undeniable that ML is top of the pile. But statistics are not all that count in assessing 'greatness'. Personally I can go no further than to say that ML is (so far) the greatest of the modern era, and JOW was the greatest of his time. They cannot really be compared head-to-head. They simply both stand as the greatest of their respective eras.

    Ma Long also had to go through a ball change and has acclaimed a lot more titles while doing so than Waldner. The number of titles speak for themselves and Waldner missed way too many opportunities in crucial matches to do the same to come anywhere near the amount of wins of ML.

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    Last edited by bzing; 07-30-2021 at 04:42 PM.

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    #24

    Something that really impressed me about ML in both the semi-final and the final was his ability to 'stay in the game' during patches when either he wasn't at his best, or when his opponent was playing particularly well.
    It's so easy, in those moments, to just fall out of a game completely. But he knows how to keep taking a point here and another there and stay in it through those difficult patches.
    You could see, at times, how he took points by frustrating DO's game (in the semi) or by breaking FZD's rhythm (in the final) when they seemed to be gaining the upper-hand.
    He really does know how to win when it matters. I don't think there's any one else currently playing that matches ML in that respect.

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    Last edited by Manto76; 07-30-2021 at 04:55 PM.

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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by bzing

    Ma Long ... has acclaimed a lot more titles while doing so than Waldner. The number of titles speak for themselves ....

    No argument whatsoever as to the numbers Bzing!

    My point was simply that in the assessment of a concept like 'greatness' there are other factors in addition to the numbers. It is, therefore, perfectly legitimate for knowledgeable folks, with full awareness of the numbers, to come to different (yet equally well-founded) conclusions.

    It's also worth noting that no one (as far as I can tell) is arguing that JOW is the greater player. Instead, it seems to me that some (like myself) are simply saying that the eras in which JOW and ML respectively were at their best are so different as to make a direct, head-to-head 'ranking' between JOW and ML meaningless. It seems better (in my/our) opinion to say that they are both the greatest 'of their times'.

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    #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Manto76
    My point was simply...
    It may not be technically possible to somehow recreate as if in a computer simulation and put these two players together in the same era, say make a simulation of ML being born 10 or 20 years earlier and then have JOW and ML compete against each other in the same era or the other way round have JOW being born 10-20 years later somewhere near ML birthday.

    But still, it can be argued that ML due to his technical advancements in TT would have outperformed JOW in every regard, whether that would be with 38+ or 40+, ML would have probably been better at it no matter what.
    Last edited by bzing; 07-30-2021 at 05:09 PM.

  7. Baal is offline
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    #27
    Quote Originally Posted by anchorschmidt
    Exactly. I don't remember any Waldner fans insisting he's better. Ma long was probably the GOAT after the 2019 WTTC and today he sealed the deal.
    ​​​​​​I say this even though Waldner is my favourite Player and the second GOAT IMHO.
    ​​​​​

    Not even #2. IMHO. people forget about Wang Liqin.

    Last edited by Baal; 07-30-2021 at 05:43 PM.

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    #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Manto76
    No argument whatsoever as to the numbers Bzing!

    My point was simply that in the assessment of a concept like 'greatness' there are other factors in addition to the numbers. It is, therefore, perfectly legitimate for knowledgeable folks, with full awareness of the numbers, to come to different (yet equally well-founded) conclusions.

    It's also worth noting that no one (as far as I can tell) is arguing that JOW is the greater player. Instead, it seems to me that some (like myself) are simply saying that the eras in which JOW and ML respectively were at their best are so different as to make a direct, head-to-head 'ranking' between JOW and ML meaningless. It seems better (in my/our) opinion to say that they are both the greatest 'of their times'.

    Well in this case you completely negate the concept of a GOAT , lets just divide time in patches and choose one player for every patch. By definition as in OF ALL TIMES we don't agree with your proposition after a second gold medal

    Last edited by Musaab; 07-31-2021 at 06:15 AM.

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    #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Musaab

    Well in this case you completely negate the concept of a GOAT , lets just divide time in patches and choose one player for every match. By definition as in OF ALL TIMES we don't agree with your proposition after a second gold medal

    Incorrect; as your argument assumes the game itself was the same across all times taken into consideration. The counter is that the game itself has changed thus making comparisons across the differing eras less than straightforward.
    I suppose this is all part of what makes being a fan of the game so much fun - we get to disagree about things like this!
    Even so, I wouldn't want this to detract from the magnitude of ML has achieved today. That was an excellent win and he thoroughly deserves his reputation as (one of 😉!) the GOAT!

    Last edited by Manto76; 07-30-2021 at 08:48 PM.

  10. ttarc is offline
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    #30
    Quote Originally Posted by yoass
    Waldner (and company) broke the CNT dominance and more or less left it in the dust for a decade or so. In doing that, they pushed envelopes and accelerated developments already budding end 70s to fruition.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...hips_medalists

    First gold medal for China in 1959, than 1961, 63, 65, 73, 81, 83, 85, 87, 95, 99, 01, 05, 07, 09, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19...
    European gold medals: Bengtsson 71, Jónyer 75, Waldner 89, Persson 91, Gatien 93, Waldner 97, Schlager 03
    1993 was the last year after 1953 when only Europeans won medals.
    They paved the way, as rolemodels as well as opponents, sparring partners and later as mentors, for new generations. That spark is worth remembering and commands respect.
    That was definitely the case although I more or less stopped playing TT in 1990/1991 before returning in 2018 with nearly the same role models like Persson (the Persson Powerplay was my weapon of choice back in that days), Waldner, Samsonov, Karakašević and Kreanga (which are all around my age but afaik never played Chinese speed glued, tacky rubbers on their forehands in the 1980s/1990s) Todays role models for me are Ma Long and Fan Zhendong combined with Xu Xin. Not because of the (amount of) titles they won but because of their elegant technique, playing style, effectiveness, athleticism and willpower.


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    #31

    Well, of course Ma Long is the GOAT. And my favorite player since the epic battles against ZJK and before. But the real deal for Chinese table tennis arrived when Liu Guoliang retired as a player, and started thinking how to re-invent the sport. Which he did, becoming the main reason why Chinese players are still so far from the rest of the world. And the best coach ever.


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    #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Ch3nM3ng
    hahaha where are "mUh wALdNur" boys at?

    This pointless "debate" is actually endless. Having a favorite player and him being the goat is two different things. But many forum users dont actually get it.

    I suck real bad so I train to suck less

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    #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Sungmin Lee
    i mean, the discussion was already over, but now those waldner biased boomers can really be quiet

    uhm. no.

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    #34
    Quote Originally Posted by bzing
    I always thought that Waldner was somehow overrated. His successes mostly being down to the era where the technique of the Chinese players having not been yet fully and properly developed as it is now. But it became more evident with Waldner's very "static", languid, passive and blocky technique that is nowhere near as lively and dynamic as it should be which Ma Long or FZD or any other Chinese players now are.

    It was especially clearly visible what a drastic difference there is when Waldner played a match against the young Ma Long and lost rather easily to him and there was no reason whatsoever why Waldner should've lost that match to him with the excuse that "oh because he was too old".
    sometimes it's best not to write anything!

  15. UpSideDownCarl is online now
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    #35
    Nah. I think Ma Long just got lucky a couple of times. Der_Echte is definitely the GOAT.

    And don’t let anyone tell you that GOAT is a meaningless concept developed by the media to get sports fans arguing about things that are subjective which means the argument can go on indefinitely.

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    #36
    What a shame the GOAT serves illegally. And the sport allows this.
    His first serve in the final went behind his head and thus was illegal.

    So like 99% of the rest of the professionals in the world, just for balance.

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    #37
    Quote Originally Posted by MOG
    What a shame the GOAT serves illegally. And the sport allows this.
    His first serve in the final went behind his head and thus was illegal.

    So like 99% of the rest of the professionals in the world, just for balance.
    And off we go to the next controversial topic.

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  18. UpSideDownCarl is online now
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    #38

    MA LONG - THE GOATEST of all GOATS






    UpSideDownCarl;319069
    Hmmmm. Was someone talking about illegal serves?











    Because of the bugs on the site, you cannot see the photos in the post. But if you hit reply, you can see them.
    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 08-01-2021 at 02:28 AM.
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  19. UpSideDownCarl is online now
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    #39


    Oh wait, I think you can see it here.





    BTW: if you look in the background, you can tell it is three different serves by the people in the background.
    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 08-01-2021 at 02:33 AM.
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    #40
    Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel
    The biggest thing in favor of Waldner for me is Europe was much more competitive during his era. The sad thing is that Europe's top players remained top players for too long. Even now, many of Europe's top players belong to a previous era (Samsonov, Boll). So we can debate how strong Europe is now and how meaningful it is vs Waldner's time.

    Also, the 38mm ball was a different animal to play with. Some short serves were almost impossible to drop short with that ball. People who think that modern TT is *all* about improved technique should go and play a couple of matches with the 38mm ball, it will make you humble how quick and fast it is.

    All that said, Ma Long is the dragon. His consistency and the eye test speak for themselves. I find it hard to believe he wouldn't have been great in any era.

    This is true but at the same time, Chinese players of Waldner's era were weaker. At the beginning of Waldner's career, the most significant of these would have been Gatien and Appelgren, later Persson, possibly guys like Primoracs, and Korbel. Great players, but Ma Long has had to contend with people like zjk, Wang Hao, FZD, Xu Xin, as well as the top European and Japanese players. The other thing is that I don't think it's been mentioned, is the number of grand slam gold medals that Ma Long has won in doubles.

    Last edited by Baal; 08-01-2021 at 02:29 PM.

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