Best FH in the Eyes of Former and Current Japanese Players

says Shoo...nothing to see here. - zeio
says Shoo...nothing to see here. - zeio
Well-Known Member
Jan 2018
Link above is broken. Subtitles for original videos below.

Next question
Sakamoto-san(Ryusuke Sakamoto), you have an excellent serve
Your FH and BH are also very good, very high quality
But even so, of the ones you have faced, which player produced shots you thought you had no chance?
Wang Liqin
It's gotta be him, right?
- Scary
I thought I was hallucinating
WLQ, huh?
I never want to face him again
How do you make a shot like that?
Overpowered AF
Have you seen the highlight video between WLQ and Timo, that shot?
I know x2
- It's that shot
On top of that, coupled with his height
That forehand drive is out of the world
So true
- He's won the WTTC
He won it twice[TL's note: 3 times, 2001, 2005, 2007]
Even though he didn't win the Olympics
And then Ma Lin...
- From the same generation
Ma Lin, Wang Liqin, Kong Linghui, and then Wang Hao
Wang Liqin is still the scariest
To me, he's the No. 1 from a different dimension
His power is...amazing
You get blown away
- Like bang
Yup, that's it, I've had enough
Besides, a player his size, that could dart around like that, and pull off that forehand loop, you can't find that now
His BH is not that great...he doesn't miss, but it's just for transitioning
It still comes down to the FH
But with that level of FH, even a weaker BH becomes a non-issue
What about Japanese players, anyone you think is great?
Among our players?
I don't think so
Can't compare with the world?
One that makes you feel that way
The FH drive in the country that makes me feel scared
I can't think of anyone, to be honest

Drive, huh?
It's hard to pick, right?
The scariest I've ever faced
The strongest would be WLQ
Well, I feel the same
- For real?
In Shanghai
WLQ is so dangerous
He makes it look so easy
How does he do it?
That can't be helped
Have you seen his body?
Damn, so good
Folks might have the impression that table tennis players look thin
But in fact, they're ripped
I was so touched after seeing WLQ's body, seriously
I was still in high school
One time at the World Tour, I saw him changing
His back
is just like Baki(a protagonist in a manga by the same title)
When he turned around, his front was even more amazing
He's absolutely No. 1
- Yup, no question
I have faced many who play really fast shots
but his shots are fast and heavy
It's silent
The ball just vanishes in front of your eyes
I have faced him 3 or 4 times
but the 2nd time was the most shocking
The 1st time was at WTTC Yokohama(2009)
in the 2nd round
I felt it was easy...his shots didn't feel as difficult as it looked in the video
Eh, I thought I could take a game off him
I think I did
Thinking he wasn't what he was cracked up to be
Then, a year later[2 actually] at the Swedish Open
Very heavy shots, one after another
Like a totally different person
- Totally different from Yokohama
His form was probably tuned up
It felt like I couldn't even touch the ball
I was shocked...this is the real WLQ?
This is the world class FH
I couldn't come up with any answer
I have faced many players who play fast shots, like Yoshida-san(likely Kaii Yoshida), but...
As long as I could hit the ball, I could get it back
Ryu Seungmin, too, very fast shots
As long as I could hit the ball, I could get it back
WLQ's is impossible to return
- No chance
Very heavy
The return doesn't bounce back up, but goes straight down
It happens a lot when blocking
Xu Xin, too, overpowered FH, when stepping around
Right, it looks really hard to return
The trajectory, especially in doubles, is so dangerous
It comes flying over like this
His shots are full of variations
One flying low over the net, one around the net
[Subbed by zeio, based on Chinese translation by 水煮琥珀]

While we're at it, I dug up the following article and touched it up, fixing some translation errors and grammars.

Taken from the Table Tennis World, and originally posted 2011-3-27

Guinness CNT Players Records

Contest One: Techniques

Question(Abbreviated as Q): Who has the spinniest serve?
Answer(Abbreviated as A): Ma Lin and Guo Yue.

Li Xiaodong, a Ma Lin supporter, goes: "Ma Lin's is relatively spinnier, and Jike is also pretty spinny. My first reaction was that Ma Lin has the spinniest out of anyone on the team."

Ma Lin himself is humble on that matter: "Pretty spinny as well, everyone's serve is about the same."

Zhang Jike agrees with Li Xiaodong: "Mine is the spinniest among shakehanders, and Ma Lin's among penholders. I'm confident, yeah?"

Wang Liqin picks: "Ma Lin and Chen Qi."

And so everyone settles on: "Ma Lin."

Q: Who has the most powerful forehand, and whose loop has the most momentum?

A: Strength-wise: Wang Liqin and Feng Yalan.

Accuracy-wise: Ma Lin and Guo Yue.

Still Men's team first, Li Xiaodong answers in a serious tone: "It boils down to Ma Lin and Wang Liqin. Ma Lin's forehand is just too good, which is the type that is good at making attempt, active in initiating, abundant in variation, and fast in speed. Da Li(nickname for Wang Liqin, literally big power) is the type that relies on actual strength. Ma Lin is the world's best at forehand third-ball attack, which "dips(once the ball touches the table)", is good at initiating but so-so in power, so his pace is quick and very active in initiating. Because his power is not huge, he has this variation between light and heavy. He is the best technique-wise, and Da Li is the best fundamental-wise. I have reflected this clearly to Guoliang that the two best forehands in the team are Ma Lin and Da Li.

Both parties maintain their low-key attitudes.

Ma Lin: "Forehand-wise Wang Liqin has plenty of power and Chen Qi's power is also very big."

Wang Liqin: "Ma Lin's forehand has the best accuracy."

I(Li Xiaodong) remember former world champion Wei Chingkuang once said, he is most afraid of facing Liu Guozheng, implying that Liu Guozheng's forehand has a sound foundation. Zhang Jike agrees: "Liu Guozheng has the world's best forehand."

Physical instructor of the men's team, Shi Hongfan, interprets with data the question regarding forehand power: "In terms of bench press, Wang Liqin and Zhang Chao have the greatest strength at roughly 106 kg(~234 lb), and Zhang Jike being at 101 kg(~223 lb). They bench press above 100 kg, and so their forehands have greater power."

Q: Who has the best backhand?

A: Wang Hao and Cao Lisi.

"The king of backhand is Wang Hao among the penholders and Zhang Jike among the shakehanders. Though Ma Long is not the strongest, he is the most versatile and can go on both the offensive and defensive forehand- and backhand-wise. And of course it is not flawless when he is not playing at his best." -- Li Xiaodong

"Zhang Jike and Wang Hao have good backhands." -- Wang Liqin

Whereas Zhang Jike and Ma Lin pick only: "Wang Hao."

Q: Who has the best touch?

A: Ma Lin and Fan Ying.

Li Xiaodong jokes: "Ma Lin has the best touch hand- and foot-wise!"

Ma Lin LOL: "Good foot touch? Meaning I play football well? I can't play well at all, but watching football is a different story!"

Zhang Jike's first reaction to hearing touch is Jun Mizutani[That 7-gamer at World Cup 2010 in Magdeburg must still be haunting him.] He went with Ma Lin instantly if it has to be from within the team."

Q: Who has the fastest footwork?

A: They are all quick. Among the nominated: Xu Xin, Wang Liqin, Wang Jianjun, Ding Ning and Feng Yalan.

Li Xiaodong: "Far away from the table Xu Xin is the fastest, and close to the table would be Da Li. Their footwork are quite fast. Xu Xin runs fast when he is mid-distance from table but not fast close to table. Footwork is a controversial topic as everyone thinks he/she is faster. Xu Xin says once away from table I use the forehand only. Can any of you manage it? Wang Liqin fights back saying at WTTC Bremen I slipped, fell over and managed to climb back up to counterloop."

Ma Lin: "Xu Xin is the fastest."

Zhang Jike: "Wang Jianjun is fast." Belgium national coach Wang Dayong once revealed that former national player Wang Jianjun, who once played for the Belgium club whatever-its-name, in a match against Oh Sang Eun of the Champions League, was so fast that he could only see a pair of red shoes sizzling around.

Q: Who plays the best irregular shot and improvised shot? Who plays the most epic shot?

A: Wang Hao, Ma Long, Guo Yue, Mu Zi, Chang Chenchen and Feng Yalan.

Li Xiaodong: "Wang Hao plays many epic shots. You smash him a shot, he can drive it right back at you down-the-line, and it happens a lot. In terms of improvising, Ma Lin is the best. His improvisation comes from the technique, and Wang Hao's improvisation is from his charisma, which simply amazes you. Ma Lin is the type that has an actually good touch.

And so Li Xiaodong concludes that -- Wang Hao, in terms of charisma and Ma Lin when it comes to improvising at will.

Ma Lin: "I don't play that many. It is very common. Wang Hao and Ma Long play a lot of epic shots."

Zhang Jike: "Ma Long."

Q: Among the coaches who feeds the most terrifying multi-ball?

A: Liu Guoliang and Ren Guoqiang.

By chance Sichuan head coach Chen Hongyu at Li Xiaodong's office says: "Li Xiaodong has it the most terrifying, so much so that you can hardly sleep at noon once you think of having to do multi-ball in the afternoon and night." Li Xiaodong was Chen Hongyu's master back in the days.

Li Xiaodong shakes his head in denial: "That was the old days when I fed multi-ball, and is no good now. Currently Guoliang feeds the most terrifying multiball, especially irregular points where you are on the initiative. Liu Guoliang feeds a lot of aces, and keeps on swaying you. You look like a dumbass when you miss, when in fact you have been conned.[LMAO]

Wang Liqin and Ma Lin concur: "Coach Liu's multiball is no fun to return, which has a relatively higher quality and has a pretty high quality in every shot. The quality is so much higher than training with single ball, and sometimes (we) fail to keep up."

Zhang Jike insists on his coach: "Xiao Zhan. His feed is so dazzling."

Contest Two: Physical Strength

Q: Who plays football the best?

A: Qiu Yike loves playing the most, and Lei Zhenhua and Wang Jianjun, too. Da Li and Zhang Chao are about the same. Everyone is a bit of a rogue, and Qiu Yike is the best at that, and is especially good at bargaining. -- Shi Hongfan

Q: Who is the best at long-distance running?

A: The kids from second-string team are the best at long-distance running. Lin Gaoyuan's stamina is quite good. -- Shi Hongfan

In the women's team Li Xiaodan has the best stamina, who finishes 3000 meters under 13m 01s. Second in line is Hou Xiaoxu at 13m 05s. Wen Jia at 13m 08s, and this was from a test in 2009. Guo Yue at 13m 32s. Li Xiaoxia at 14m 32s. As for 10000 meters Chang Chenchen, Li Xiaodan, Wen Jia and Wu Yang are not shabby. -- Chen Zebin

Q: Who performs best at sprinting?

A: Zhang Chao and Zhang Jike are best at sprinting, 100 meters in around 11s. Zhang Chao, Wang Liqin, Wang Jianjun and Zhang Jike get off the mark the quickest at roughly 3s 6. (Zhang Chao used to train in track and field before he picked up table tennis!) -- Shi Hongfan

As for 10-meter shuttle run, which is a test of agility, Liu Shiwen clocks in at 10s 97. Squatting, a test for speed-power, shows that Guo Yue and Mu Zi are the quickest, Guo Yue at 10s 87, and Mu Zi at 10s 84. -- Chen Zebin

Q: Who has the best lower-body strength?

A: Wang Hao and Xu Xin have the best lower-body strength. There is this instrument that you pull up while seated with adjustable weights. Wang Hao, Xu Xin, Da Li are quite remarkable, managing over 100 kg. -- Chen Zebin

Feng Yalan and Guo Yan fare better on lower-body strength, reaching 27.5 kg. -- Chen Zebin

Content Three: Daylifes

Q: Who has the best singing?

A: Lei Zhenhua and Wang Xuan.

Li Xiaodong: "Lei Zhenhua on the men's side, as far as it goes currently. Though Wang Liqin always gets sent out to sing, for his fame. Lei Zhenhua has a good voice, yet Wang Hao and Wang Liqin get all the chances. Under-appreciated would be the right word here.

Chen Hongyu: "Among the coaches Li Xiaodong is the best. No one has any chance once he sings." At the 2004 National Table Tennis Lunar Festival night, Coach Li performed the song "Santa Lucia" to everyone's astonishment.

Ma Lin: "Lei Zhenhua sings pretty well. I can sing OK I guess. I can sing pretty well after a little drink."

Zhang Jike and Wang Liqin: "Lei Zhenhua."

Guo Yue, Liu Shiwen and Ding Ning: "Guo Yan, Feng Yalan and Wang Xuan."

Guo Yue adds: "Guo Yan and Feng Yalan sing well, and Wang Xuan sings cute. Two styles!"

Li Sun: "Wang Xuan! 'Women are Tigers'!"

A certain year back the national team pulled a little night party after the closed training at Zhengding. Wang Xuan performed a song while acting, the song 'Women are Tigers' gave acting head coach Cai Zhenhua and officer Wang of the Zhengding base a good laugh.

Q: Who has the best dancing?

A: On the men's side, none. On the women's side, Feng Yalan.

Li Xiaodong: "Ma Long and the likes want to train now."

Ma Long is training for real, and goofs around during physical training.

Li Sun, Liu Shiwen and Ding Ning: "Feng Yalan!" Firmly. (Feng Yalan's street dance is the real deal, full of hip-pop!)

Q: Any collectors on the team? Who has the most collections?

A: Yes and no.

Li Xiaodong: "Yes, a little bit. Xi Minjie used to collect Hetian Jade."

Ma Lin: "Not particularly into collecting. I collect houses."

Zhang Jike: "Wang Hao collects cards, all kinds of cards."

Li Sun, Xiao Weiqiao and the entire women's team: No one is into this hobby.

But when Li Meiduo interviews Guo Yan, she says something about she has quite a large collection(like digital pianos and all kinds of instruments)...

Q: Who is the most proficient at using computers and electronics?

A: Men's team jointly and Fan Ying.

Li Xiaodong: "All of them are not bad, Ma Long seems to be pretty awesome, and Chen Qi is pretty good at anything. I suspect these guys know how to program."

Ma Lin: "Everyone is better than I am. I am illiterate."

Li Sun: "Fan Ying is good. We(coaches) all go to her for help. It used to be Jiang Huajun, and now her."

Liu Shiwen: "Fan Ying! We all say Fan Ying is the customer service for the team's iPad, iTouch and !Phone. We go to her for help anytime we run into questions!"

Q: Who is the maddest reader?

A: Me.

Li Xiaodong: "I am the most frenzied."

Ma Lin: "I love reading the most, anything that I come into contact, history from 5000 years back. I am richer in knowledge."

Guess there will just be one answer if this keeps on -- me.

Q: Who is a foreign language maniac?

A: Wang Liqin and Yao Yan.

Li Xiaodong: "Da Li, he is the one who is more satisfactory and learns with a serious attitude.

Ma Lin: "Not so good. The key is I am not good at speaking Chinese. I feel that since my Chinese is not good, I am not good either at foreign language."

Zhang Jike: "When it comes to foreign language, Wang Liqin."

Li Sun: "Yao Yan. She can speak. She can answer whatever people asks her."

Ren Guoqiang:”Yao Yan not only is good at English, but also Japanese, Korean...!"

Ding Ning: "Yao Yan is good!" Liu Shiwen and Guo Yue concur.

Q: Who is the scholar of the team?

A: Li Xiaodong

Li Xiaodong: "Me? Haha! No way, I am most afraid when people call me a scholar. Scholar has to be a college graduate."

Ma Lin: "It depends. If it is about writing then it has to be Li Xiaodong and if speaking then Liu Guoliang."
Li Sun: "Everyone has talent. If not then how could one make it to the national team?"

Q: Who has the most beautiful writing?

A: Ma Lin.

Li Xiaodong: "No one is particularly good. What could happen if they can write well. Ma Lin's signature is the most attractive and readable. I haven't seen his writing before, but speaking of signatures, I can make out Ma Lin's, and the others' are like scribbling. Secondly the two characters "Ma Lin" shows he is decently skilled, the others' make my hair curl.

Content Four: "Men's team Special Treatments"

Questions below are typically Li Xiaodong's own opinions, which serve as a good chance for this scholar to tease the Men's team.

Q: Who is the best(worst) blamer?

Li Xiaodong: Ma Lin is the best blamer who wants anything, and blames constantly when playing matches with the B-team, even to the point of hoping to gain an advantage on rules.

Q: Who is best at boasting?

Li Xiaodong: Ma Lin also happens to be the boldest. Xu Xin is good at that among the youngsters, but are sometimes too good for their own good, and they do it whoever they play with, and fail to deliver in the end.

Q: Who is the most modest before a match?

Li Xiaodong: Da Li is the most modest, and often thinks too big of his opponents and too small of himself. Same for Ma Long.

Q: Who is the one with eyes bigger than the belly?

Li Xiaodong: Ma Lin is the one. Wang Hao is also pretty greedy. And both of them have to go on a diet to keep their games up. They used to eat anything in two big plates and ended up as little white rabbit, which can eat only greens, and don't dare think about eating meat at night or during the main course of a meal.

Q: Who is best at maintaining health?

Li Xiaodong: Ma Long is the best at that. Four sessions a day. Do not smoke, do not drink, and do not stay up late.

Q: Who has the most peculiar taste in the types of music they listen to?

Li Xiaodong: The typical team members all listen to pop songs. Somehow Wang Hao is now close to my style, who listens to bel canto. The other day he let me have a taste of it, all of them were bel canto with a bit of pop.

Q: Who is the wildest? Who has the most grit?

Li Xiaodong: Zhang Jike has got to be. The harder it is to win the darer he fights, and even goes beyond what is necessary. At the Moscow WTTC Men's team final against Suss, he went overboard, making countless mistakes, and thank god in the end he found the pace. He is of the gutsy type. Wang Hao is also gutsy, though he failed to be at the two most important events('04 and '08 Olympics.) Ma Lin's grit is not big. He is of the self-taught type. Quite a bit of his techniques is nurtured rather. Xu Xin is gutsy and rebellious. At the "Penhold vs Shakehand Battle" early 2010 in Sichuan, Xu Xin and Zhang Jike played in a two-person comic talk show. In the show there was a line that goes "whether it be Shakehand or Penhold one has to get by us", when I wrote the script I said they have gone too far with the bluff and after the show to my surprise, the two of them made it at the first two stages of the Moscow Express trials. A bluff come true.
[TL's note: For Zhang Jike, right after winning the WTTC 2011 in Rotterdam, in an interview Liu Guoliang describes him as a Tibetan Mastiff in light of his ferocious nature and how he ripped apart his jersey.]

Q: Who is the most parsimonious?

Li Xiaodong: Everyone is quite a meanie. Guoliang is at the top. He doesn't want to let go of even one championship title to others.

At the moment, ML has the best FH in terms of 3rd ball. LGL wrote once in his Table Tennis World column that ML's 3rd ball is better than MLin's.

LGL's opinion in 2011
Ma Long’s characteristics are very comprehensive. On a good day, everything is good, but at the crucial moment, he lacks a “nuclear weapon” and lacks a winner stroke. Ma Long always gives off the vibe of keeping a distance from people, which allows them the chance to perform. In fact, Ma Long's 3rd ball is better than Ma Lin, but in the big stage, that advantage is not reflected. Usually his offense and defense are the most comprehensive, but the defense is always hollow on the big stage. His mind, touch, and tactical awareness are his strengths. What he needs now is to think ahead of others and focus on how to lock others within his range. Instead of your own comfort, you should make the opponent uncomfortable first.

ML's opinion in 2012
Ma Long said: "I am a relatively quick starter, being of the 3rd ball type. I have made some progress compared to 2 years ago when it comes to clutch moment, including a great improvement in my mentality. The coach felt safe to put me in the 1st match.

XX has the best FH in terms of handling topspin shots out of all penholders in CNT's history. Wu Jingping said this.
XX has good talent. He is very strong in topsin exchanges, whom I believe is the greatest inverted penholder in handling topspin shots in the history of CNT. Also, XX is tall, has a huge wingspan, has got a good touch and outstanding physique. However, his style could use more aggression. He wins mostly by his coping ability and he is adept at clinging to his opponent, giving rise to his nickname "the boa".
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says Shoo...nothing to see here. - zeio
says Shoo...nothing to see here. - zeio
Well-Known Member
Jan 2018
Stats from the Marvelous 12, 3/2017:

Strongest FH, by scoring percentage?

1 XX, 41.3%
2 ML, 28.6%
3 Zhou Qihao, 26.1%
4 FZD, 25.5%

1 DN, 28.10%
2 LSW, 27.70%
3 Feng Yalan, 27.10%

Strongest BH?

1 Zhou Yu, 23.3%
2 LJK, 21.7%
3 Liu Dingshuo, 21%
4 FZD, 20.9%

1 CM, 23.7%
2 WMY, 22.9%
3 LSW, 22.2%

Strongest 3rd Ball?

1 XX, 31%
2 ML, 30.6%
3 LGY, 27.9%

1 LSW, 30.1%
2 DN, 29.6%
3 ZYL, 26.6%

Strongest in Rallies?

1 FZD, 25.1%
2 XX, 24.2%
3 YA, 23.7%

1 WY, 30.5%
2 WMY, 29.1%
3 Mu Zi, 27.6%



Marvelous 12, 2019

Marvelous 12, 2020
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This user has no status.
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Jan 2016
I'm lucky to have both Ryusuke Sakamoto (1st vid) and Yuhei Murata (interviewer) as TT coaches :)

Murata has been only a good junior at national level (QF of national junior championships) while Sakamoto was a pro player and played World Championships but both are good coaches.

Both make a lot of TT videos but Murata's vids are available for free on Youtube, (while Sakamoto makes a lot of instructional DVDs) his channel is
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says Shoo...nothing to see here. - zeio
says Shoo...nothing to see here. - zeio
Well-Known Member
Jan 2018
Bumping this up for future reference.

方博:王皓拉球历史第一爆!柳承敏王励勤也没有王皓爆!!一次拉球拉爆俩块板!!! (Fang Bo: Wang Hao has the most explosive loop in history! Even Ryu Seungmin and Wang Liqin can't match!! One loop wrecks two rackets!!!)

方博程靖淇:龙队没的说牛,但是确实没有我和王皓“冲,爆”王皓就是历史第一爆!打马特朱世赫球往天上飞!!! (Fang Bo/Cheng Jingqi: Ma Long sure is badass, but he is truly not as "powerful, explosive" as me or Wang Hao | Wang Hao is the most explosive in history! The ball flies toward the sky when playing Ma Te/Joo Saehyuk!!!)

如何看待方博认为王皓最爆 (How to treat Fang Bo's opinion that Wang Hao is the most explosive)

关于王皓拉球是否是历史最冲 后续 (Follow-up on whether Wang Hao has the most explosive loop in history)
Last edited:
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says transitioning from JPEN to CPEN
says transitioning from JPEN to CPEN
Aug 2019
Bumping this up for future reference.

方博:王皓拉球历史第一爆!柳承敏王励勤也没有王皓爆!!一次拉球拉爆俩块板!!! (Fang Bo: Wang Hao has the most explosive loop in history! Even Ryu Seungmin and Wang Liqin can't match!! One loop wrecks two rackets!!!)

方博程靖淇:龙队没的说牛,但是确实没有我和王皓“冲,爆”王皓就是历史第一爆!打马特朱世赫球往天上飞!!! (Fang Bo/Cheng Jingqi: Ma Long sure is badass, but he is truly not as "powerful, explosive" as me or Wang Hao | Wang Hao is the most explosive in history! The ball flies toward the sky when playing Ma Te/Joo Saehyuk!!!)

如何看待方博认为王皓最爆 (How to treat Fang Bo's comment that Wang Hao is the most explosive)

关于王皓拉球是否是历史最冲 后续 (Follow-up on whether Wang Hao has the most explosive loop in history)