At the moment, who do you consider greater: Ma Long or Zhang Jike?

Who's do you now consider the greatest?

  • Ma Long

    Votes: 57 81.4%
  • Zhang Jike

    Votes: 13 18.6%

  • Total voters
    70
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what part is not clear? world titles= grand slam titles/medals. sorry for not being specific. I dont consider world tours as world titles, world tours=pro tours. ITTF foolishly changed the name like it would make any difference in the prestige.

So Ma Long has 1 gold and 3 bronze. Zhang Jike has 2 gold and 1 bronze. Waldner has 2 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze. Where is this huge gap you are talking about? 3 or 4 medals vs 6? Out of how many events played?

And since we know that the main reason why the Chinese lose out is intrasquad competition and not their quality of play per se, what is your point? That we should just take the numbers plain vanilla because Sweden had no great next generation of players to challenge Waldner?

Ma Long is also going to be an interesting test case as his game is more versatile than the stereotype of the Chinese player. It will be interesting to see how it ages.

I also find being the #1 ranked player as a measure of consistency to be important. You can't get that by skipping events. And the grand tour finals is often harder to win than the World Cup.
 
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Question for everyone - how many people felt that it was 100% clear, with no doubt in their minds whatsoever, that when ZJ won all those majors in 2011, 2012, and 2013, that ZJK was the BEST player in the world, no controversy whatsoever?

Again question for everyone - how many people felt that it was 100% clear, with no doubt in their minds whatsoever, that when ML won all those majors in 2015 and 2016, that ML was the BEST player in the world, no controversy whatsoever?
 
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So Ma Long has 1 gold and 3 bronze. Zhang Jike has 2 gold and 1 bronze. Waldner has 2 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze. Where is this0 huge gap you are talking about? 3 or 4 medals vs 6? Out of how many events played?

And since we know that the main reason why the Chinese lose out is intrasquad competition and not their quality of play per se, what is your point? That we should just take the numbers plain vanilla because Sweden had no great next generation of players to challenge Waldner?

Ma Long is also going to be an interesting test case as his game is more versatile than the stereotype of the Chinese player. It will be interesting to see how it ages.

I also find being the #1 ranked player as a measure of consistency to be important. You can't get that by skipping events. And the grand tour finals is often harder to win than the World Cup.

since you like nitpicking so much, i think you can tell the difference between huge gap and serious catching up.

u probably forgot 4th place olympics @ 39 YO . My point is simply what I said , and i didnt remember saying anything about numbers plain vanilla. I said "in terms of ... blablabla"

Your criteria are different and mine are different. I ve said it in almost all of my posts (not only in this thread) whenever someone brings the GOAT issue, that it is unfair/hard to say who is GOAT because of different era's/rules and other factors. But you focus on nitpicking specific phrases and making conclusions out of them, neglecting all the other stuff i mentioned

Yes intrasquad competition gives less opportuties to high caliber CNT players but this does not take anything away from waldner being in the medals for 10 years facing 2 CNT generations

I agree about the grand finals, they should definitely have more value but that's ITTF's fault, it should be its most expected tournament since the best pro tour players over the year compete. But I cannot take it seriously enough when the CNT didnt even compete 2 times in the past 10 years. Grand finals with 300-500 spectators are a joke to me . And there are various great players with great results that dont even qualify because of the strict rules (1-2 continents and stuff plus the point allocation. at least they seem strict to me)
 
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Come on guys, this conversation is not worth wasting time over.

It is okay to agree to disagree.

They are both great. Some people are going to want to say ZJK is better overall. Others will say ML is better overall. That is how it is. No need to keep going on about it.

I say Der_Echte is better than all of them when you are out at 4am on a Saturday night and have to wake up in 3 hours to go to work.


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When asking the question of "at the moment" who is better, I can only look at their most recent match and health situations.

If I have a bad back and play worse, losing to a person I've never lost to, that person is better "at the moment". No exception, the player who outperforms the other right now is better at the moment.

So my answer is ma long is better at the moment.

But shuki zjk has a lot more wins against ma long and more achievements! But shuki zjk threw the match! But shuki zjk wasn't in the mind set to play as good as he can right now!

So? Then zjk has a better record and couldn't win now.
So? If I throw a match then my opponent is obviously playing better than me
So? Maybe if he gets in a better mindset, then he will be better at the moment. Until then he's not better atm.


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Although ML and ZJK are of the same age, I would rather see them as players of different era because of all the rule changes. Simply say I will put Waldner as the greatest of 38mm, ZJK the greatest of 40mm and ML the greatest of 40+.

If you look back in history you can clearly see that every rule change shortened the career of many champions. ZJK may already have long term shoulder and back problem, the 40+ is definitely not helping but made it worst.

I would say both LXX and ZJK belongs to one camp while DN and ML represent the other in play style. There are 2 approaches to play with 40+. One is to hit harder to compensate for the loss of speed and spin. The other is to perfect their rally skill and hope to out play their opponent by one more shot. The slower and less spinny 40+ does favour the rally camp. LXX and ZJK suffer injuries by exerting more power into their killer shots which also lower their accuracy into more hit or miss. DN and ML always aim at consistancy and prolong rally which is matching perfectly with the new 40+.

Waldner took all his glory with 38mm. ZJK was doing the same with 40mm. Now ML start his domination after the ball change. I would treat them as such.

On a side note, I remember pretty much at the moment WH announce his retirement, ZJK's performance start to fall and ML began his rise to sky high. There was a saying years ago when WH was king that anyone wants to be the champion has to surpass him first. So WH was set as their number 1 target and rival among CNT. ZJK had done that but ML failed. That was exactly why ML was questioned by many for so long. I bet the retirement of WH alone has play a big part in boosting the mentality of ML to new height.
 
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Although ML and ZJK are of the same age, I would rather see them as players of different era because of all the rule changes. Simply say I will put Waldner as the greatest of 38mm, ZJK the greatest of 40mm and ML the greatest of 40+.

If you look back in history you can clearly see that every rule change shortened the career of many champions. ZJK may already have long term shoulder and back problem, the 40+ is definitely not helping but made it worst.

I would say both LXX and ZJK belongs to one camp while DN and ML represent the other in play style. There are 2 approaches to play with 40+. One is to hit harder to compensate for the loss of speed and spin. The other is to perfect their rally skill and hope to out play their opponent by one more shot. The slower and less spinny 40+ does favour the rally camp. LXX and ZJK suffer injuries by exerting more power into their killer shots which also lower their accuracy into more hit or miss. DN and ML always aim at consistancy and prolong rally which is matching perfectly with the new 40+.

Waldner took all his glory with 38mm. ZJK was doing the same with 40mm. Now ML start his domination after the ball change. I would treat them as such.

On a side note, I remember pretty much at the moment WH announce his retirement, ZJK's performance start to fall and ML began his rise to sky high. There was a saying years ago when WH was king that anyone wants to be the champion has to surpass him first. So WH was set as their number 1 target and rival among CNT. ZJK had done that but ML failed. That was exactly why ML was questioned by many for so long. I bet the retirement of WH alone has play a big part in boosting the mentality of ML to new height.


Let's keep it in perspective - ML still has a superior head to head over his career vs. WH.
 
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Let's keep it in perspective - ML still has a superior head to head over his career vs. WH.

May be some games are missing but I really won't say ML had a superior record over WH. Head to Head from ittf indicate WH won 12 while ML 11 from 2005 to 2013. I believe WH is the only one on earth having a winning record against ML. I believe WH was overshadowed and view as loser because of his triple Silver in OG, which should still be some serious achievement on its own.
 
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This debate proves is how difficult an exercise it is to compare the achievement of two players even when they played in the same era , even though peaking at different times ... so I think we should stop comparing greats from different generations !! I do agree with TurboZ that if not completely the change from 40 to 40+ did increase the injuries with ZJK ... and there is no doubt who is the greater player at the moment , but the question that really intrigues me is whether Ma Long lost to ZJK intentionally in the olympic trials and set this whole thing up ... a new conspiracy theory :D
 
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May be some games are missing but I really won't say ML had a superior record over WH. Head to Head from ittf indicate WH won 12 while ML 11 from 2005 to 2013. I believe WH is the only one on earth having a winning record against ML. I believe WH was overshadowed and view as loser because of his triple Silver in OG, which should still be some serious achievement on its own.

Someone else put the match record at 20-17 ML. So there are matches missing from the record. The other thing is when many of those matches took place. Counting matches that took place before 2009 is putting a baby up against a giant. Good for sadists but not really a measure of what is going on.

I am a big believer that Wang Hao is one of the top 3 players of all time. It is one of the reasons I hate the whole major title approach to ranking players.
 
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Someone else put the match record at 20-17 ML. So there are matches missing from the record. The other thing is when many of those matches took place. Counting matches that took place before 2009 is putting a baby up against a giant. Good for sadists but not really a measure of what is going on.

I am a big believer that Wang Hao is one of the top 3 players of all time. It is one of the reasons I hate the whole major title approach to ranking players.

Must be some CTTSL matches not counting by ittf. Yet we have no knowledge of any matches between them after lunch or before sleep so a record by ittf is still a record worth referring to. Even if 21-17 is true, it is still far from superior by all means. One can pick a period that favor ML but one can also pick a period that favor WH because of the age difference. If we just focus on records from 2009 till they last met in 2013, the ratio is ML 6-4. Out of the 4 wins by WH, 3 of them are WTTC. It was 6 Tour Open under ML's name by that period. With WH closer to his retirement, can't say that record is superior either.

But then the whole career of WH was ruined by his failure when he was still young in 2004. LGL had to spend a year to bring him back to his feet. Yet he met another failure in 2008. Again a year to recover but only to be crushed one last time by the uprising ZJK. LGL knew that if WH was aggressive enough and not the kind of player who need a long recovery period after each failure, he should have achieved much more than what he had before he retired.

LGL learned his lesson and did not want the same mistake happened to WH repeating on ML. That is why he only let ML play when he was 100% certain and ready. Finally ML peak one year before OG. Everyone called 2015 the Year of Ma Long. The timing was perfect. A new champion was born. That was his destiny with years of wisdoms of CNT combined.
 
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Must be some CTTSL matches not counting by ittf. Yet we have no knowledge of any matches between them after lunch or before sleep so a record by ittf is still a record worth referring to. Even if 21-17 is true, it is still far from superior by any means. One can pick a period that favor ML but one can also pick a period that favor WH because of the age difference. If we just focus on records from 2009 till they last met in 2013, the ratio is only ML 6-4. Can't say that is superior either. And out of the 4 wins by WH, 3 of them are WTTC. 6 Tour Open won by ML really can't compare I am afraid.

But then the whole career of WH was ruined by his failure in 2004. LGL had to spend a year to bring him back to his feet. Yet he met another failure in 2008. Again a year to recover but only to be crushed one last time by the uprising ZJK. LGL knew that if WH was aggressive enough and not the kind of player who need a long recovery period after each failure, he should have achieved much more than what he had before he retired.

LGL learned his lesson and did not want the same mistake happened to WH repeating on ML. That is the reason he only let ML play when he was 100% certain that ML was ready. Finally ML peak one year before OG. Everyone called 2015 the Year of Ma Long. The timing was perfect. A new champion was born. That was his destiny with years of wisdoms of CNT combined.

Not just super league but there were also national championships and national games matches. Some of those matches were pretty important too, but that is not my main point. I am not discounting the ITTF record but the record for the first 10 matches was Wang Hao 8, Ma Long 2, which makes the record for the last 10 matches Wang Hao 4, Ma Long 9. I am trying to point this out so people can see that there are two distinct periods in the matchup, which is why it is often felt that Ma Long choked, most glaring in 2013. In 2011 and 2009, one could argue he wasn't a clear favorite, but he had no real excuse in 2013. I agree though that Wang Hao would present a match up problem for Ma Long any time. I do think though that being exposed to Wang Hao before Ma Long was ready damaged him a bit.

As to whether WTTC wins are more important than regular tour wins, I have expressed my opinions elsewhere - they are not on the same level but they count or people would not play them. 9-4, with 3 of the wins coming at the WTTC and one coming just 3 months prior in 2011 - again, this highlights why people felt that ML was a choker. But there were also some backhand matchup inadequacies at play.

ZJK started playing Wang Hao when he was older - their first match was win 2008, unlike Ma Long, who first played Wang Hao in 2005. Wang Hao starts out 4-1, but then Jike ends with 8-0.

As to whether Ma Long's victory is about the wisdom of the CNT or just superior play, I don't know. I have always felt that the CNT top players are generally on the same level and the result depends on the weather, psychology, coaching, tactics and matchups. So I am not one of those who reads too much into the changes in results. I believe any of the top national players can beat and lose to each other on any given day depending on a variety of things.
 
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Kind of hard to find all records outside ittf but there was a big one in 2009, the National Game of PRC which play every 4 years. I believe WH and ML were WR 1st and 2nd by that time so it is worth a mention. Record shows that WH won Gold in both Men Single and Team while ML got Silver in Single and Bronze in Team. WH also won Gold in Mix Double in which ML may not have participated. That should put some weight on the side of WH when both are around their prime in one of the most important game of China.


ML did beat WH 4 years later in 2013 but then WH was already way past his prime. To ignore the records when ML was young then it is only fair to also ignore those when WH was old. When they both play in their top form a few years back I can't help but say WH did have an edge.

Some other important record I found is about National Championship. In 2010 ML entered as number 1 seed but lost to some unknown player 0:4. ZJK beat WH in semi and ZJK went on to clinch Gold and WH Bronze. In 2011, ML claimed Gold and WH Bronze. But they did not met. WH lost to Ma Lin while ML beat ZJK and then Ma Lin in final. WH and Ma Lin won Gold in Double while the pair of ML and ZJK lost early to Li Ping and Hao Shuai. In 2012, ML lost in the first round while WH the second. Yet they did not met either. It was Zhou Yu who claimed Gold beating ZJK and FB. There must be more encounters between them but so far I can find this much.


ML is the King of Tours no doubt. But Tours is more about boosting WR and hooning one's skill in the international stage. After all one should know what CNT and LGL weight the most when choosing who to play OG Single. I bet Tours result is about one of the last in the list.
 
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Kind of hard to find all records outside ittf but there was a big one in 2009, the National Game of PRC which play every 4 years. I believe WH and ML were WR 1st and 2nd by that time so it is worth a mention. Record shows that WH won Gold in both Men Single and Team while ML got Silver in Single and Bronze in Team. WH also won Gold in Mix Double in which ML may not have participated. That should put some weight on the side of WH when both are around their prime in one of the most important game of China.


ML did beat WH 4 years later in 2013 but then WH was already way past his prime. To ignore the records when ML was young then it is only fair to also ignore those when WH was old. When they both play in their top form a few years back I can't help but say WH did have an edge.

Some other important record I found is about National Championship. In 2010 ML entered as number 1 seed but lost to some unknown player 0:4. ZJK beat WH in semi and ZJK went on to clinch Gold and WH Bronze. In 2011, ML claimed Gold and WH Bronze. But they did not met. WH lost to Ma Lin while ML beat ZJK and then Ma Lin in final. WH and Ma Lin won Gold in Double while the pair of ML and ZJK lost early to Li Ping and Hao Shuai. In 2012, ML lost in the first round while WH the second. Yet they did not met either. It was Zhou Yu who claimed Gold beating ZJK and FB. There must be more encounters between them but so far I can find this much.


ML is the King of Tours no doubt. But Tours is more about boosting WR and hooning one's skill in the international stage. After all one should know what CNT and LGL weight the most when choosing who to play OG Single. I bet Tours result is about one of the last in the list.

WH was "way" past his prime in the same year he came second in the WTTC and represented his area in the National games? Wang Hao was not even 30 until the end of 2013- the only thing we can say about Wang Hao is that he was also someone who used to train hard for big events - the amount of weight he lost for the 2012 Olympics was a lot.

TurboZ, let's try to understand what I am saying here. Ma Long is 5 years younger than Wang Hao. If you have two world class players playing and one is over 20 and one is under 20 and the gap is 5 years, the one over 20, especially when they are between 25 and 30, has a serious advantage in experience and peaking. To both their credit, they were both talented enough to make the CNT top 3 at a young age and had outstanding results against older and better players. I am only saying that you cannot focus too hard on what happens when someone is just coming in and younger. Unless you know Wang Hao was injured, he was not WAY past his prime in 2013. The first clear rumblings about Wang Hao began in 2014 at the German Open. ZJK had a similar 4.5 years gap, but most of his matches began when he was already 20 and he began playing Wang Hao internationally when he was 22.

The thing about coaching is that when you know the players personally, you can weight different things based on your experience. You can have pretty interesting opinions about a variety of things. For example, we watching a match cannot tell if a player is playing with a problem on his mind, but LGL can know. So those things can influence how seriously a coach looks at a result. I am sure that LGL ranks pro tours pretty well, but everything is based upon how he knows what motivates the players. CNT also have internal ranking system.

ML, as did ZJK in some years, also had best performance in CTTSL and the best team with Yan An. These were the things people used to look at when they said that ML's biggest opponent was himself. He hated losing so much he was scared of it. That was ML's biggest problem.
 
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WH is pretty weak dealing with big loss and he needs long recovery before getting back up again (almost a year in many cases and lots of help from LGL). He was not considered old in 2013, the word "old" is there only to contrast ML's "young", not really about his age. 2013 was after his 3rd lost of OG and everyone called him "Second in a Thousand Years" (Second forever in meaning). That hurts a lot even winning Silver 3 times in OG is an achievement no one can repeat. It is hard to get back up but he did, yet never the same fighting spirit like before because he knew his chance of Grand Slam is nil. Then again no one believe WH by that time can beat ML in his peak but he did the impossible. WH peak after WLQ and that was around 2007. I really won't say he was still keeping it till 2013. Many said he should not be pick to play London in 2012 is the proof.

It is fine if you insist 2013 should be included. But I don't get the part you said "the record for the last 10 matches Wang Hao 4, Ma Long 9". That adds up to 13? You are playing your magic to make the number look in ML's favor and putting extra weight on Tours. Looks like you are playing games with your own rules that makes you unbeatable. :eek:

I can't find records of them met in National Champ but they share one win each in National Game of 2009 and 2013 Single, and WH also won Team Gold in both years. Adding 3 WTTC wins on WH's side from those years, I still find it hard to say ML has a "superior" record against WH. Sorry. :cool:


As WH had already dropped to WR 3 and 4 in 2013, in order to include that year and play fair, one should also start counting when ML reached the same level of WR 3 and 4. Record shows that ML reached WR 4 at the end of 2007 and WR 3 in all of 2008. He was playing active and highly competitive much earlier than 2009. If so then they have met 14 times and equal wins of 7 each. I see WH still have an edge with 3 WTTC wins in his pocket. :rolleyes:
 
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In general what you are saying does make a lot of sense but Wang Hao was definitely past his prime level of "consistency" in 2013. His prime was 2007-2011, where he dominated the rankings, but according to the statistics, he never won a pro tour after becoming World Champion in 2009.

He was still good enough to give it his all before big events and create a game-plan to defeat Ma Long and battle ZJK convincingly in 2011 and 2013 but he was nowhere near consistent enough to be considered to be in his prime.

Didn't have much to do with age, more to do with making his family a priority (http://tabletennista.com/2015/12/wang-hao-won-the-world/). He had a child in 2009 and obviously couldn't devote as much to his training as his other compatriots
 
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Right now Ma Long is obviously playing a lot better. Over their careers they have both accomplished amazing things. Would ZJK playing the best he has ever played beat Ma Long right now? Sometimes.

Next Level (I think he was the one, or maybe it was wturber) not too long ago did an interesting simulation of showing how a table tennis match would look if every point was a flip of the coin. One player would probably win in 7 games and in some matches it would sometimes look like the winning player had made a dramatic comeback. That is often how random stochastic processes work. Those two have played a lot of matches that amount to that.

But the 4-0 crushing at Rio seems to reflect the level of their games right now. Ma Long has long ago quashed doubts about his ability to win big matches. And at a technical level his game has no weakness. None.
 
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Someone else put the match record at 20-17 ML. So there are matches missing from the record. The other thing is when many of those matches took place. Counting matches that took place before 2009 is putting a baby up against a giant. Good for sadists but not really a measure of what is going on.

I am a big believer that Wang Hao is one of the top 3 players of all time. It is one of the reasons I hate the whole major title approach to ranking players.
I agree with this, mostly, but not sure I would put WH above WLQ, who was ranked number 1 in the world for 48 straight months.
 
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