Discussion of ITTF's Rebrand to WTT and Changes to the World Tour

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I know many people on here have pretty strong opinions on how ITTF/various table tennis governing bodies are run, so I decided to summarize some of the recent changes ITTF will be making to the world tour in the following blog post: https://edgesandnets.com/2021/02/06...-a-further-look-at-ittfs-rebrand-towards-wtt/

Summary of the new changes:
1) Legalizing blue, green, violet, and pink rubbers to replace the red rubbers starting October 2021
2) Splitting the upcoming Qatar Open in March into two independent back-to-back tournaments in the same location. I'm not sure if this will always be the case or if it's a pandemic related change.
3) Restricting the number of top 20 players who can play in a WTT Contender event. This would in principle include the upcoming Qatar Open, but ITTF has scrapped this restriction for this particular event due to the pandemic (so more star players will be allowed to play this March than typically allowed under the rules).
4) All singles matches through the quarterfinals and all doubles matches will now be three out of fives for the WTT Contender Series. In principle this should include the tournament in Qatar coming up this March, but ITTF may make an exception given that more star players are playing than typically allowed. Note that major events like the World Championships should still be four out of sevens throughout.

What do you think? I wouldn't have voted for any of these changes, but I think I can get used to the first three.

However I'm really not on board with switching to three out of fives. It is clearly designed to increase the likelihood of an upset, but I believe upsets are created by manufacturing organic improvement among developing young players across the world and not through arbitrary rule changes designed to increase the variance in a single match.
 
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It's change number 3 that I find highly problematic.

Imagine you're Nr19 in the world, chances are you won't get to play in a lot of tournaments whilst a player ranked around 25 can play in as many of these tournaments as they want.

I can't see any way how a restriction like this can be beneficial for players, viewers or tournaments. Not allowing players to compete can't be a good thing.

 
says Fair Play first
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[size=+1]UNRULY COLORFUL ANARCHY TO COME TO THE SPORT.
The 'massive color boom', as is now expected on the rubber market, does have unsalutary consequences a lot. Anti and LP rubbers with destructive effect, should they be used in play in 6 (!!!) different colorations, they would be some nightmare to the most of players, allowing dozens deceptive color schemes on a racket set. [/size]
 
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SofaChamp;338832

It's change number 3 that I find highly problematic.

Imagine you're Nr19 in the world, chances are you won't get to play in a lot of tournaments whilst a player ranked around 25 can play in as many of these tournaments as they want.

I can't see any way how a restriction like this can be beneficial for players, viewers or tournaments. Not allowing players to compete can't be a good thing.

One possibility that I though of is that if ITTF hosts many tournaments (more tournaments than any single player wants to play), then it will spread out the starpower across multiple tournaments. However, ITTF's official line still seems to be giving lower ranked players their chance to shine (by pitting them against other non-stars?).

 
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edgesandnets;338848One possibility that I though of is that if ITTF hosts many tournaments (more tournaments than any single player wants to play), then it will spread out the starpower across multiple tournaments. However, ITTF's official line still seems to be giving lower ranked players their chance to shine (by pitting them against other non-stars?).

To make sure every top 20 player could theoretically play there would need to be another 4 extra tournaments each time. Can't really see that happening.

I know that for the Doha tournament a wild card we
as used to solve this problem for Patrick Franziska whose current 15/ 16 ish WR puts him amongst those least well off for this new system.

Another issue with this system is how the ITTF seems to be completely disregarding the role of clubs in player development and in helping players make a living. Having four yearly extra big competitions, in addition to World and Olympic events makes it very difficult for players to turn up for club fixtures.

 
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igorponger;338841[size=+1]UNRULY COLORFUL ANARCHY TO COME TO THE SPORT.
The 'massive color boom', as is now expected on the rubber market, does have unsalutary consequences a lot. Anti and LP rubbers with destructive effect, should they be used in play in 6 (!!!) different colorations, they would be some nightmare to the most of players, allowing dozens deceptive color schemes on a racket set. [/size]

Dozens deceptive color schemes are not possible as only the rd color can be replaced. Black stays black all the time.

 
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SofaChamp;338849To make sure every top 20 player could theoretically play there would need to be another 4 extra tournaments each time. Can't really see that happening.

I know that for the Doha tournament a wild card we
as used to solve this problem for Patrick Franziska whose current 15/ 16 ish WR puts him amongst those least well off for this new system.

Another issue with this system is how the ITTF seems to be completely disregarding the role of clubs in player development and in helping players make a living. Having four yearly extra big competitions, in addition to World and Olympic events makes it very difficult for players to turn up for club fixtures.

In the ITTF promotional guide (https://wttprod.blob.core.windows.net/docs/WTT PROMO DOC DRAFT FINAL3.pdf) they were planning for 10-14 WTT Contender events, 6 WTT Star Contender events (Qatar will be one Contender and one Star Contender event), four WTT champions event, and four grand smashes. So instead of the 13 events that were on the pro tour in previous years (6 regular, 6 platinum, and grand finals), there will now be up to 24-28 events planned for a non-pandemic year. This is in addition to the world cup and the world championships. So it is quite possible for there to be way more tournaments than any single player wants to play.

Doha has something like 13 out of the top 20 men invited, so the restrictions pretty much won't be an issue for this event.

Given the massive volume ot tournaments planned, perhaps ITTF wants the world tour to displace the club system. Calderano recently announced he will be switching from German Bundesliga to the Russian league to "focus on international competition".

 
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I see what the ITTF tries to do for lower ranked pros who don't get benefit from really structured national federations, I mean countries that are not turn pro TT training. We've seen it can bring to light some players like Adrianna Diaz who comes from a little country, even though she surely get pro and quality training in the US.

And that's a good thing, World Rugby for example has done the same with 7, who will be the Olympic rugby event, to let countries like Kenya have a chance to be represented and even win a medal. we all know the classic XV game would be only beneficial to 4 or 5 countries only, say the ones who won the world cups or finalists : SA, NZ, Australia, England, France who went as a finalist 3 times. They know they have to develop the game worldwide to get more fame, so to get more... cash for the players. Make the game more fun visually, open to competition to lower ranked ones born in countries not turned on TT yet. It's a marketing project for sure.

And as all marketing project, it has its issues Sofachamp and Edges pointed. They want to build a mix of World Rugby competitions (World Rugby does the same to develop "little" countries like Spain, Belgium or Russia with alternative competitions) and ATP system. And unfortunately it will lead to players in the 15 to 25 rank zone being put away from many of the competitions. At least the ATP in tennis brings a clearer system: first qualifications for lower ranked players, qualifications winners enter the main draw. But it led to local clubs competitions disgrace, even to Davis Cup disgrace ! because of the too much ATP singles tournaments over the year.

And yes for sure all this will lead to European national leagues disgrace and ETTU Cups disgrace, and as long as local clubs are mainly growing young hopes, it will be hard for them to maintain that level of training without quality leagues.

Then it will bring the same dichotomy as in tennis today: some national federations pay for the coach, physio for developing players until their 25 anniversary (that's the case in France for example), and then they have to make it on their own, because local clubs don't have quality coaches anymore: the best ones are, as the players, on the worldwide market and sell their skills. It will lead to the same system, and we all know that at the end of the day it's only beneficial to the Top 10 only. So yes, there's a bit of hypocrisy here.
 
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edgesandnets;338851[...]

Given the massive volume ot tournaments planned, perhaps ITTF wants the world tour to displace the club system. Calderano recently announced he will be switching from German Bundesliga to the Russian league to "focus on international competition".

The fact that Calderano will continue to make train at Ochsenhausen shows even more how important clubs are to the development and training of players.

And on Calderano, he's probably one of the few players for whom this may well work in his favour.

 
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SofaChamp;338885

The fact that Calderano will continue to make train at Ochsenhausen shows even more how important clubs are to the development and training of players.

And on Calderano, he's probably one of the few players for whom this may well work in his favour.


He'll continue to train at Ochsenhausen mainly because his coach is there, same coach as Simon Gauzy: Jean-René Mounié. He's actually the coach that follows him on all international events. So it's not for the club itself, it's for Jean-René Mounié first and foremost, so Calderano is already following the same path as pro tennis players by having a personal coach . No less.

It's a pro and independent entity by the way, just like tennis academies, as the Mouratoglou one for example.
http://www.masters-college.com/en/about-us/
http://www.masters-college.com/en/portfolio/jean-rene-mounie/

 
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2) Splitting the upcoming Qatar Open in March into two independent back-to-back tournaments in the same location. I'm not sure if this will always be the case or if it's a pandemic related change.
3) Restricting the number of top 20 players who can play in a WTT Contender event. This would in principle include the upcoming Qatar Open, but ITTF has scrapped this restriction for this particular event due to the pandemic (so more star players will be allowed to play this March than typically allowed under the rules).

More content.

 
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The fact that Calderano will continue to make train at Ochsenhausen shows even more how important clubs are to the development and training of players.

And on Calderano, he's probably one of the few players for whom this may well work in his favour.

The clubs are so important. Hugo and Simon have good chemistry i bet it was a hard choice for Hugo to leave Simons team..

 
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Konrad said:
Simon has probably the same situation like Hugo but his Brazilian federation has less money so he must pay for all kind of stuff like hotels and Russian are rich clubs and they need less club effort just to win 5-10 games in a year... For me table tennis lost art after ball changes, so I like watching France league because they have players on lower level but with more action and YouTube streams...
they discountined red rubbers? Sad


Does Calderano really use personal money to pay for his own hotels at ITTF events?

The red rubber has not been discontinued. It just has the option of being swapped out for brighter colors to make the game "more colorful"

 
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Calderano, just like top 10 ATP tennis pros, or even Formula 1 racing drivers, has really big sponsors actually, say for example a famous japanese automotive company, Nissan, who used to be the biggest in the world at some point, and a bank, you know ... that Bank Of Communication logo we used to see on the ITTF's Finals floors. The ITTF tournaments revenues are obviously not enough yet to pay for the Masters College Academy team in Ochenhausen.

In a decade they'll all have that kind of sponsoring, with a private team of coaches, sparring partners and physios. This is what the WTT is aiming at: big money, big pros/big characters, big events. They really don't care about clubs, even World Team Championships will somehow be relegated to what the Davis Cup in tennis is nowadays: reduced to its bare bones.
 
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