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  1. NoFootwork is offline
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    #41
    Consider this...

    Waldner won 1 of the 5 Olympic Singles he played in. Wouldn't a GOAT have a higher winning percentage?

    Ma Long has been in 2 Olympic Singles, won both with a combined game score in his Gold matches of 8-2 over ZJK and FZD.

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    #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal

    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.

    People speak of the incomparable. In China children are born with idol table tennis players, in Europe they are born with football players. In china it is an opportunity to be a table tennis player, in europe just for the taste of your parents or the influence of friends. Waldner was a genius at playing table tennis but he is not the best player ever in titulosl. We can't compare players from the 80s against players from the years 2010 to 2021. China dominated waldner's time in world and Olympic titles and will always dominate. China is ahead of Europe for about 20 years in table tennis! While the old stars of Europe like to have a few beers, the old stars of China are dedicated to training new talents. The only question I see is if Ma Long would have won 2 Gold medals with Xu Xin participating? I don't want to underestimate Ma long's achievement because he's an outstanding one, but he won the 2 medals against Xu Xin? It seems to me that Ma long is China's darling boy, not least because he represents the Chinese brand DHS. The only player who could stand up to them just didn't let them play!

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    #43
    ... The only question I see is if Ma Long would have won 2 Gold medals with Xu Xin participating? I don't want to underestimate Ma long's achievement because he's an outstanding one, but he won the 2 medals against Xu Xin? It seems to me that Ma long is China's darling boy, not least because he represents the Chinese brand DHS. The only player who could stand up to them just didn't let them play!

    According to the Ma Long Wiki page his leads Xu Xin 32 to 14 head to head. I think this includes league matches. ML beat XX 4-0 in 2017 WTTC semi-finals.


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    #44
    Quote Originally Posted by NoFootwork

    According to the Ma Long Wiki page his leads Xu Xin 32 to 14 head to head. I think this includes league matches. ML beat XX 4-0 in 2017 WTTC semi-finals.

    32 to 14? I don t think so 😉


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    #45


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    #46
    Quote Originally Posted by NoFootwork

    According to the Ma Long Wiki page his leads Xu Xin 32 to 14 head to head. I think this includes league matches. ML beat XX 4-0 in 2017 WTTC semi-finals.

    Note that I'm not saying or claiming that xu xin is better, I just think he's the player with the most chance of beating Ma Long. They are the 2 geniuses to play.

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    #47
    Not taking anything away from Xu Xin; he's an amazing player, but Ratingscentral (the site with the most comprehensive results data) has their record at Ma 45:13 Xu somehow. It's missing a few WTT results though, so not 100% accurate either.

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    #48
    https://results.ittf.link/index.php?...=87&Itemid=240

    Head to head record between Ma Long vs Xu Xin in international competitions*Just key in the details
    Last edited by matzreenzi; 08-02-2021 at 07:07 AM.

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    #49

    To add to this, Ma Long has faced Xu Xin twice in "majors": 2012 World Cup and 2017 WTTC. Both were 4-0 wins for Ma Long, and not really much closer than the score would indicate.

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    #50
    Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel
    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 completely agree. You need a very different skillset now. Case in point, the Chinese National Championships in 2019 was won by a 39 year old chopper named Hou Yingchao. Younger players are not training against different materials and different styles nearly as much as they used to.

    The ball change has impacted the game so much. You would be an idiot if you practiced the backhand counter-topspin close to the table with the 38 mm ball. It was so much more difficult. Even with the 40mm celluloid ball, the Chinese could force Boll to turn around because he could not counter that much spin and speed with this backhand. It is a lot easier to be safer and more aggressive with the plastic ball from the backhand side

    If you see Waldner, Persson or Kong Linghui looping against Liu Guoliang's frictionless pips, it is a skill that is not easy at all but needless to say, no longer needed. Dimitrij Ovtcharov struggled heavily against Fabian Akerstrom (who played a very atypical blocking/defense game with long pips) in 2009..
    When Waldner played against him in 2013, Akerstrom was the current Swedish Champion. Waldner has no issues at all reading his spin. It wasn't even a close match


    I do not think that many of the current players will fare too well against Liu Guoliang in his heyday, especially with 38mm and hidden serves. It's unfair to keep touting that the players are more "complete" now when a different skillset was needed back in the day.

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    Last edited by anchorschmidt; 08-02-2021 at 10:16 PM.

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    #51
    I think some people are going for minutia and missing the forest while focusing on the leaves of some of the trees.
    --
    Waldner was great. He was an innovator. The game would not be the same without some of the things the Swedish team he was part of unleashed on the table tennis world.
    --
    Kong Linghui then Wang Liqin were evolutionary developments. Both were amazing. Perhaps both surpassed Waldner in some ways.
    --
    Wang Hao was an innovator. I am not sure RPB has been taken to the level he took it to before or since. ZJK took a technique developed by Korbel and showed how it could be used as a weapon on any part of the table to nullify the effects of the short game (over the table BH). If you knew what you were watching, he was also amazing at varying spin.
    --
    All these players were great. And I am not one to normally say anyone is the best ever. Also, I confess, Ma Long has never been a player I really love. He is amazing. I do love to watch him. But, there are other players I like more and could say I am more a fan of.
    --
    Still, saying that, nobody, Nobody, NOBODY has stood so far above everyone else in an era so full of great players. So, I am okay with people saying Ma Long is the best ever, in spite of the fact that I feel best ever really is something the media uses to generate hype and to get enthusiasts and fanatics to argue over minutia.
    --
    When the money is on the line, since around 2015, nobody has put a dent or even a small scratch in Ma Long's prodigious suit of armor.
    --
    And really, he performed in big tournaments, small tournaments....any tournament he showed up to....he always came to play. It is worth acknowledging even if I joke around.
    --
    Still, I say Der could give him run for his money if they were in a club full of middle-aged Korean ladies. Der needs something to motivate him.

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    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 08-02-2021 at 11:49 PM.
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    #52
    Anyway, I'm glad Ma Long won it again.As for the 38 to 40 switch, it was a change but not THAT big of a change. Losing speed glue changed things a lot too. I played through all of that.. There were actually players who managed to do well in both eras. Samsonov, WLQ, some others come to mind. Waldner and Persson would have if they'd been a bit younger. On the other hand larger balls and new serving rules made things impossible for Luo Guoliang, at least it seems that wzy..The 40+ ball is another step though. And I can't help noticing that this encompasses the period of Ma Long's greatest success. I wonder if something about it suits him better? FZD has a style perfectly built for it. Which makes Ma Longs win all the more impressive.

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  13. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    Anyway, I'm glad Ma Long won it again.As for the 38 to 40 switch, it was a change but not THAT big of a change. Losing speed glue changed things a lot too. I played through all of that.. There were actually players who managed to do well in both eras. Samsonov, WLQ, some others come to mind. Waldner and Persson would have if they'd been a bit younger. On the other hand larger balls and new serving rules made things impossible for Luo Guoliang, at least it seems that wzy..The 40+ ball is another step though. And I can't help noticing that this encompasses the period of Ma Long's greatest success. I wonder if something about it suits him better? FZD has a style perfectly built for it. Which makes Ma Longs win all the more impressive.
    One thing I noticed with ML, and this occurred right as it looked like FZD was about to overtake him back in around 2015 was, when that looked like it was the writing on the wall, ML developed a way of handling FZD that really was uncanny, where he started using FZD's over the table BH rips that were giving him so much trouble a short time before, and using them as just another shot to launch his massive 3rd ball FH attacks. I also remember watching FZD fall apart under that pressure in a few top tier tournaments when ML added the depth of that skill to his already massive repertoire.

    This was one of the things I do think defined how great he was. There was a challenge and he, for a time did not have an answer to it and struggled against it. And then he did the work to find the answers. And after that, to me, it looked like he owned FZD when it mattered.

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    #54
    Ma Long has now won a gold medal in every event he has played in over 3 Olympics.

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    #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    Anyway, I'm glad Ma Long won it again.As for the 38 to 40 switch, it was a change but not THAT big of a change. Losing speed glue changed things a lot too. I played through all of that.. There were actually players who managed to do well in both eras. Samsonov, WLQ, some others come to mind. Waldner and Persson would have if they'd been a bit younger. On the other hand larger balls and new serving rules made things impossible for Luo Guoliang, at least it seems that wzy..The 40+ ball is another step though. And I can't help noticing that this encompasses the period of Ma Long's greatest success. I wonder if something about it suits him better? FZD has a style perfectly built for it. Which makes Ma Longs win all the more impressive.

    I do think you are analyzing the switch in the wrong direction. I think many more players would struggle if we went back to a 38mm ball. The spin element was much higher back then. It would also allow less athletic but more touch oriented players a place. It's no accident that as the ball has gotten bigger the best ralliiers have taken advantage. Hidden serves are another controversial element but I digress.

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    Last edited by NextLevel; 08-07-2021 at 06:10 PM.
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    #56

    Still, I say Der could give him run for his money if they were in a club full of middle-aged Korean ladies. Der needs something to motivate him.

    What would be a moivator about the middle aged Korean lady crowd is their husbands are SO WILLING to foot the chicken and beers tab for me, so graciously.

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    #57
    Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel

    I do think you are analyzing the switch in the wrong direction. I think many more players would struggle if we went back to a 38mm ball. The spin element was much higher back then. It would also allow less athletic but more touch oriented players a place. It's no accident that as the ball has gotten bigger the best ralliiers have taken advantage. Hidden serves are another controversial element but I digress.

    I don't disagree.. ITTF intentionally dumbed down the sport. And it did not result in a more visually appealing product.

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  18. yoass is online now
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    #58
    NL and Ba’al are right of course. As a rallier, though, I actually think it’s become more fun to play. Or a bit less frustrating anyway.

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    #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal

    I don't disagree.. ITTF intentionally dumbed down the sport. And it did not result in a more visually appealing product.




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    #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Musaab

    Yes but that means to win the gold medal you have to win against at least two chinese (at least one would be in your side of the draw and the other waiting in the final).
    While and this applies to chinese players too, in order to win a gold medal you have to go through only one chinese.

    With that argument, then you can add Ma Long's win in China national championship (maybe the toughest TT tournament) and wins at WTTC. In terms of level of competition, Olympics isn't really the highest level for table tennis.

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