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    #1

    TableTennisDaily interview with Jan Ove Waldner

    TableTennisDaily interview with Jan Ove Waldner

    Last weekend on the 10th of August 2014, TopSpinSports had the pleasure to have the worlds greatest players, Jan ove Waldner and Jorgen Persson opened their new 24/7 Central London Table Tennis venue, Fusion TTC. As Waldner and Persson were visiting one of the TopSpinSports sponsored clubs (Batts TTC), TableTennisDaily's @Dan managed to get an interview with the man himself, Jan Ove Waldner!

    Full Name: Jan Ove waldner
    Age: 48
    Date Of Birth: 3 October 1965
    Height: 179 cm
    Country: Sweden
    Highest World Ranking: 1


    Jan Ove Waldner - Olympic Gold in 1992 Barcelona (photo by: jo-waldner.com)

    Interview:

    Hi Jan, thank you for joining in on this interview here with TableTennisDaily. How are you finding your day today with TopSpinSports? Do you enjoy coming to the UK?

    Hi Dan, it's great to be here. I have had a good day so far and enjoy coaching the kids.


    Great, it looks like you and Persson are having a great time. Do you do this a lot, giving back your skills and inspiration back to the community?

    Yes, I love doing these events. With Donic I do 30 a year. We will be in Russia soon for our next one. This time round we are with TopSpinSports.


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    Jan Ove waldner noticed Ma Long was on the picture of the TableTennisDaily leaflet I was holding at the time and laughed. I said, I will put you on here in the future instead of Ma Long jokingly.

    Jan Ove replied, don't be silly he is the best player in the world at the moment.


    So Jan, a lot of people on TableTennisDaily discuss and debate who is the better player, 'Ma Long' or 'Zhang Jike'. What do you think on this topic?

    They are both excellent players, I think Ma Long's game is great, to say who is better is not possible they both have their qualities.


    Talking of Ma Long and Zhang Jike, in your prime and Ma Long and Zhang Jike at their best, who would win?

    Waldner laughs, this is a very difficult question to answer. Sport advances. Every 10 years generations get stronger learning from the old. It's a bit like Tennis, every 10 years players are stronger, quicker, more powerful and more complete players. I cannot say but the Chinese players had a hard time against me due to my variety and deception. I tried not to be predictive. I did stuff that was different, which I think players of today's generation do not do enough of this. Europeans cannot play the Chinese way, we need to be different. I also had the belief that I could beat the Chinese players, this was important.


    Thanks Jan, what are your thoughts on the new plastic ball? As you used the celluloid ball during your generation.

    This question is to difficult to answer now. I am not to sure.


    As a player starts to learn table tennis, what do you think is important?

    I think players often start out trying to play to fast and short like the Chinese. It is important for kids and players starting out to learn feeling and control. Playing lots of different strokes and different shots to build a good understanding of the game. Then as they become better, strokes then shorten to be able to recover during the rallies which will become faster as they get better.


    I see you like your golf, what sport do you find hard to play and learn... golf or table tennis?

    Waldner laughs, haha for sure golf, I am to stiff when I swing. (waldner then demonstrated his golf swing)


    Lastly, will you be able to challenge me to a 1 set match at some point today? Haha yes we will try, all depends if we have the time.

    Thanks so much for your time, it was amazing to meet you. Enjoy your stay in the UK.

    Luckily later that day, we had 5 minutes and the match took place! You can watch the match unfold here.

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    Very kind of Jan Ove-Waldner he accepted the match. I like these players which are not arrogant and with humility share their skills. I think this is important. In table tennis, in any other sport, and mainly in life

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    Wow, great guy. Great interview. Thanks to the both of you for this. Very candid.

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    It wasn't professional but me and a friend were present at the same event and managed to ask Jorgen persson a ton of questions, we talked to him for a good 10 minutes. I can roughly tell you guys what I remember if you'd be interested ?

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    #5
    I totally agree with Waldner regarding his reply on the important aspect of learning TT. We can't teach kids to be like robot. Coaches should at least tell them each kind of ball contact and the effect they give. Surely there will be kids who don't get the idea but the fast learners, ones who can think logically and imagine the contact on the racket would grow to understand the game quickly. If you can't tell what went wrong with your shots then you don't understand table tennis and you can't improve or fix your weaknesses like those who do. Understanding the game enable you to not only work hard, but also work smart.

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    #6
    Epic interview dan. Nice question about what the kids need. I agree control and feeling need to be a bigger part of beginner coaching

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    He's right though that European/non-Chinese players can't learn the Chinese way because Chinese players are so much more consistent in topspin vs topspin rallies. You have to play slightly unconventionally. Even Timo Boll can't out-topspin the Chinese players (full disclosure: I think that his tactics have gotten worse). Waldner had fully original serves unlike the reverse pendulum that everyone is doing nowadays. Excellent inside-out strokes on both forehand and backhand, pin-point ball placement as well as his signature side-spin blocks. Moreover, he could play in various styles. For eg. Samsonov beat him 3-0 a week before the WTTC singles in 1997, Waldner came back with an all-attacking style and beat Samsonov 3-0 in the finals. Not only that, he had innumerable tricks up his sleeve as well as clever change of pace. In the Olympics in 2004, Waldner was topspinning with Timo Boll away from the table until he moved his arm with the same speed but somehow managed to put more spin but less pace on the ball. Timo completely missed the ball because of the much larger dip. In a match in 2013, I saw him hit a forehand but slightly stop his arm for a couple of milliseconds. As his opponent moved to the forehand side, he got a rocket on his backhand side.

    In the tournaments that he won you would hardly see him away from the table and in a book about Table Tennis Tactics by Larry Hodge, I read that he was able to succeed against the Chinese for such a long period of time because they didn't know which Waldner they would have to prepare against. His tactical depth was the main reason that he was able to stay competitive in his later years (silver medal in 2000 Olympics as well as Gold in WTTC team at age 34 and semifinals in 2004 at age 38).

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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Darthray
    It wasn't professional but me and a friend were present at the same event and managed to ask Jorgen persson a ton of questions, we talked to him for a good 10 minutes. I can roughly tell you guys what I remember if you'd be interested ?
    Please do!!!

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    #9
    Great interview!

    It seems only fans take side in who's better, ML or ZJK, question. The professionals all dodge it.

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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by chuklebolt
    I totally agree with Waldner regarding his reply on the important aspect of learning TT. We can't teach kids to be like robot. Coaches should at least tell them each kind of ball contact and the effect they give. Surely there will be kids who don't get the idea but the fast learners, ones who can think logically and imagine the contact on the racket would grow to understand the game quickly. If you can't tell what went wrong with your shots then you don't understand table tennis and you can't improve or fix your weaknesses like those who do. Understanding the game enable you to not only work hard, but also work smart.
    Quote Originally Posted by lgreggs
    Epic interview dan. Nice question about what the kids need. I agree control and feeling need to be a bigger part of beginner coaching
    Agreed guys, as I am a coach myself I thought this would be a good question for coaches out there. This way of learning makes players have a better understanding for the game I feel.

    Quote Originally Posted by zjkfanforever
    Great interview!

    It seems only fans take side in who's better, ML or ZJK, question. The professionals all dodge it.
    Haha they sure like to dodge this. They have to be reasonable I guess

    Fans can have there favourites tho can't they @zjkfanforever hehe

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    Great interview.

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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by anchorschmidt
    He's right though that European/non-Chinese players can't learn the Chinese way because Chinese players are so much more consistent in topspin vs topspin rallies. You have to play slightly unconventionally. Even Timo Boll can't out-topspin the Chinese players (full disclosure: I think that his tactics have gotten worse). Waldner had fully original serves unlike the reverse pendulum that everyone is doing nowadays. Excellent inside-out strokes on both forehand and backhand, pin-point ball placement as well as his signature side-spin blocks. Moreover, he could play in various styles. For eg. Samsonov beat him 3-0 a week before the WTTC singles in 1997, Waldner came back with an all-attacking style and beat Samsonov 3-0 in the finals. Not only that, he had innumerable tricks up his sleeve as well as clever change of pace. In the Olympics in 2004, Waldner was topspinning with Timo Boll away from the table until he moved his arm with the same speed but somehow managed to put more spin but less pace on the ball. Timo completely missed the ball because of the much larger dip. In a match in 2013, I saw him hit a forehand but slightly stop his arm for a couple of milliseconds. As his opponent moved to the forehand side, he got a rocket on his backhand side.

    In the tournaments that he won you would hardly see him away from the table and in a book about Table Tennis Tactics by Larry Hodge, I read that he was able to succeed against the Chinese for such a long period of time because they didn't know which Waldner they would have to prepare against. His tactical depth was the main reason that he was able to stay competitive in his later years (silver medal in 2000 Olympics as well as Gold in WTTC team at age 34 and semifinals in 2004 at age 38).
    I think Waldner was more referring to how little time Europeans have to learn and grow. With school and other responsibilities they aren't able to catch up to the Chinese with their training schedules. They need to be creative and learn tactics, and some original shots that can give them an edge in the match. Dima Ovtcharov is a good example of this. His excellent serves and backhand are precisely the issue for Chinese players when they're playing him. There aren't as many "holes" in his game to attack. Though his technique is quite different and less efficient as the Chinese he's able to compensate with strong tactics and athleticism.

    For Timo it was the early 2000's where his tactics and style gave the Chinese so much trouble because they weren't used to someone with such a short stroke and able to play off the bounce. Also add the fact that his footwork is quite fast compared to other Europeans.

    I really enjoy Waldner's answers here because I have agreed with them for a while now. Especially the one about his best play vs the current best players. It's always been my opinion that without Waldner you wouldn't have the players you have today. Ma Lin's dropshot is very much like Waldner's and no doubt his use of it increased after having it used on him quite often by Waldner. I'm positive that many of the tactics and strokes played by today's players have many derivatives to Waldner's play. There's little doubt that China hasn't spent hours studying his game and figuring out ways to prevent such a dominance in the future. Heck it's a large reason why the Chinese play inverted now as opposed to pips out.

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    #13
    120 replies and only TWO likes ???!!!

    Where is the love?

    Great opportunity you made Dan, super.

    Forum, hit the LIKE button for crying out loud haha. The best player in the world, ever, only 2 likes? C'mon..

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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte
    120 replies and only TWO likes ???!!!

    Where is the love?

    Great opportunity you made Dan, super.

    Forum, hit the LIKE button for crying out loud haha. The best player in the world, ever, only 2 likes? C'mon..

    Haha how do you mean here @Der_Echte? Do you mean likes for this interview? There are 3 now thanks to you

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    #15
    Just watched the show you had uploaded, remembered me of their show in Helsinki They are so good at it, always entertaining to watch. Also really nice interview, must have been awesome for you to meet them personally and play against Waldner

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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by EditingSports
    Just watched the show you had uploaded, remembered me of their show in Helsinki They are so good at it, always entertaining to watch. Also really nice interview, must have been awesome for you to meet them personally and play against Waldner
    I agree Waldner and Persson shows are the best, both are such funny guys! Because they are such idols to everyone, it really doesn't matter what they do, its just incredible haha! Even when Waldner misses a easy ball, he can make the crowd erupt with laughter. Just brilliant!

    It sure was an amazin moment meeting them both! It will be one I will never forget. I don't think it has sunk in yet how lucky I was that weekend!

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    #17

    Smile

    Hey Dan, JO shared this interview on facebook and thanked you for your Good Work !!! Now you need to give us a treat !! This is really out of the world man !! Damn Danimal !!!

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    #18
    Awesome interview! A true legend!

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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by ttmonster
    Hey Dan, JO shared this interview on facebook and thanked you for your Good Work !!! Now you need to give us a treat !! This is really out of the world man !! Damn Danimal !!!
    This means that he might have read my comment. This is awesome!

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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by ttmonster
    Hey Dan, JO shared this interview on facebook and thanked you for your Good Work !!! Now you need to give us a treat !! This is really out of the world man !! Damn Danimal !!!
    Wow I have just seen! Just amazing! I am honoured!!

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