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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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.

It was Wturber but I have similarly embraced the role of luck in TT for a while now.

Was it really about winning big matches or was it a Wang Hao problem? Yes, Ma Long was a bit of a wreck about losing but I think that Wang Hao was the more the issue than the size of the occasion.
 
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It was Wturber but I have similarly embraced the role of luck in TT for a while now.

Was it really about winning big matches or was it a Wang Hao problem? Yes, Ma Long was a bit of a wreck about losing but I think that Wang Hao was the more the issue than the size of the occasion.

Definitely possible. WH was incredible for a couple of years and some people represent a huge problem for some others.

Another possibility I just thought of is that ML may actually benefit from plastic balls because of the way he plays and the power he has always had.
 
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I feel like Ma Long as an overall player, both technically and achievement wise, is stronger. He has achieved he same as ZJK in terms of big titles (apart from one worlds which I reckon he will win next year!) - but he also has a major advantage in terms of the rest of his career stats. His status as world number one (for the second longest period in history behind WLQ), and the fact he has a winning head to head against any player he has played more then once, shows that he is simply the stronger of the two players. If Zhang Jike can somehow come back and win worlds next year (which I struggle to see happening) then perhaps he would regain the the status of being one of the best ever - but as I see it he has dropped in form through injuries since 2013/14 and it would be hard for him to regain a big title.
 
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I definitely agree about the plastic balls being better for ml. It's like he's never rushed and is always able to get into place for the perfect stroke. That's one thing I noticed in my game for the plastic ball. I play much better.

Whether it's having more time to read the ball, more time to get in place or whatever, I feel like the plastic balls have been better for me than for most other players at our club.


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Definitely possible. WH was incredible for a couple of years and some people represent a huge problem for some others.

Another possibility I just thought of is that ML may actually benefit from plastic balls because of the way he plays and the power he has always had.

I have to say I disagree with this. Do you people forget already that the quality of ZJK's actually increased because of plastic ball while ML suffers from it? LGL said this back after German WC 2014. Not to mention, the comment from the CNT coach that stated ML's power is so so even compared to FZD. While ZJK actually has incredible and a very physical player.

On topic, ML has proved that he bested ZJK in small and biggest tournament. Naturally, he is greater.

ZJK was once the greatest but many things happen in life. His setback and ML ability to deal with his own setbacks put him as the second greatest ever.
 
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I have to say I disagree with this. Do you people forget already that the quality of ZJK's actually increased because of plastic ball while ML suffers from it? LGL said this back after German WC 2014. Not to mention, the comment from the CNT coach that stated ML's power is so so even compared to FZD. While ZJK actually has incredible and a very physical player.

On topic, ML has proved that he bested ZJK in small and biggest tournament. Naturally, he is greater.

ZJK was once the greatest but many things happen in life. His setback and ML ability to deal with his own setbacks put him as the second greatest ever.


Yeap li xiaodong described ma long as a complete combination fighter and FZD ZJK as power players. ZJK has also stated that their playstyles are quite different, ML likes to borrow power (spin/speed) and use it against you ZJK likes to create his own power focused on spin mostly. Its not easy to understand that subtleties as an amateur player like we are, I was quite amazed when I saw those statements because as many, I also thought ML is pure power because of his flashy big move FH

If u watch ML FH in super slow mo you can actually see how relaxed and controlled his movement is adding some extra pace to the incoming topspin. If I remember correctly li xiao dong said that players like FZD ZJK produce their own power (spin speed) and ML uses that power with placement , focusing on speedy placements using the spin against you, something like that.
 
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I have to say I disagree with this. Do you people forget already that the quality of ZJK's actually increased because of plastic ball while ML suffers from it? LGL said this back after German WC 2014. Not to mention, the comment from the CNT coach that stated ML's power is so so even compared to FZD. While ZJK actually has incredible and a very physical player.

On topic, ML has proved that he bested ZJK in small and biggest tournament. Naturally, he is greater.

ZJK was once the greatest but many things happen in life. His setback and ML ability to deal with his own setbacks put him as the second greatest ever.

You certainly might be right (and I hadn't seen the LGL comment on that) and I don't claim to have all the answers, but 2014 was then and this is now, 2016, two years later.

It may not be quite that simple, as there are really two questions about plastic balls. Who adjusted sooner, and then, once everybody adjusted, who's game ended up best adapted for it? So for now I still go with my eye test and say that it seems to me at least that Ma Long is better suited for it.

Of course there are so many other things that go into possibly explaining why Ma Long is at the top now and why ZJK seems to be declining. Balls may not have anything to do with it, maybe there are injury issues, or motivation issues, or who knows what all. But I still think balls could play a small role.

In any case, I agree with the bottom line as to who is greater, largely because I think Ma Long's forehand and serve are stronger. Both have achieved everything possible in their sport. But Ma Long is not finished yet.

(By the way, I always felt like Ma Long often used other player's power and was one of the best counterattackers ever, but figured if I posted that I would be roasted alive. I am glad somebody else mentioned it).
 
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Fascinating discussion. One can make a convincing case for either player.

Right off the bat, I'm going to have to say that a few arguments here have convinced me to admit that Ma Long has been more consistent by far and his earlier performances in big tournaments shouldn't be held against him as much as they are. His consistent level of dominance makes a very strong case and tips the scales in his favour.

One thing that I want to add is that ZJK's performance in 2011 Rotterdam is probably greater than any other performance by any player in the last 5 years. I've never seen anyone move so fast over the table. Though he struggles with this nowadays, it was no problem for ZJK to cover the entire table after playing the backhand flick. Even Zhang Jike said that his match against Timo Boll was the best he has ever played. His matches against Ri Chol Guk, Wang Liqin and Wang Hao were fantastic performances.

However, playing like that is extremely hard on the body and it greatly reduced his "shelf-life" so to speak, even if he gave us some breathtaking performances.

Ma Long doesn't use the banana flick over the table a lot of the time (which cuts down his footwork close to the table) and his style of borrowing power is cleverer and puts less strain on his body. This post sums it up pretty well I don't think his domination is going to end until he is 30 and it is also dependent on Fan Zhendong's development.


Another thing that people forget to mention is how your month of birth, your age and your compatriots play a factor depending on how long you can dominate.

Wang Hao had to deal with growing as a player while Ma Lin and Wang Liqin were at their best and then he had to fight against ZJK and Ma Long shortly after he starting playing his best table tennis (2009). He had to fight against 2 different generations, so to speak, and still made so many finals, which speaks volumes of his greatness as a player.

Ma Long, on the other hand, belongs to the same generation as Zhang Jike and Xu Xin. However, unlike WLQ and Ma Lin ( H2H 23-24), he has been dominant against his compatriots. ZJK hasn't been consistent and Xu Xin took a really long time to bring his backhand to where it should be. This is no fault of Ma Long's but it makes him seem more unbeatable than he really is as his teammates were not able to improve as quickly as they should have and it gave him a slightly easier time on the World Tour.

I can see myself getting roasted for saying this but at least I can hide behind my keyboard on the internet. I'm not saying that Ma Long's achievements should be undermined. I just want to say that he faced less stiff competition compared to the earlier WLQ-Ma Lin generation, who were both crushing foreign players as badly as Ma Long is right now but were true competitors.

His titles reflect this as well. Ma Long faced Fang Bo in the finals of the WTTC, faced a ZJK who was nowhere near his best in the Olympics and faced his junior Fan Zhendong in the World Cup. For me personally (and I might get roasted for this again), his world's title would have been sweeter if he had actually beaten Wang Hao and ZJK when they were close to their best in 2011. He was world number 1 the entire year in 2010 and was capable of doing so but he didn't.

His game was definitely not perfect prior to 2015. Wang Hao has shown multiple times that Ma Long can be beaten using clever tactics. Zhang Jike has also made Ma Long look beatable in the 2014 World Cup, 2015 German open and the China trials for the Olympics in 2016. When Xu Xin started to trust his backhand more, he was able to beat Ma Long twice in a row in 2016 and looked every bit his equal.

However, these are just things that detract from making Ma Long the clear winner in this debate but overall, consistency-wise, I'm still going to have to go with Ma Long.
 
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