says ESN 42 hardness is my magic number
says ESN 42 hardness is my magic number
Well-Known Member
Mar 2021
2,666
2,796
6,337
Is GOAT a unisex title?

Can there be a GOAT man and GOAT woman?

Why are you guys putting Deng and Ma in the same category?

This is a true noob question and not a facetious one.
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Sep 2013
8,010
7,245
17,701
Read 3 reviews
Is GOAT a unisex title?

Can there be a GOAT man and GOAT woman?

Why are you guys putting Deng and Ma in the same category?

This is a true noob question and not a facetious one.
good question
I don't really take part in these GOAT debates. I have seen 100s of them over the years.

I learnt a lot from Deng when I was growing up and held her table tennis accomplishments (and effort) with huge respect.
while, having that, I also saw the great JO, LGL, KLH and the more recent wangs ma, zjk etc.
Ma Long was still a noob then and the GOAT was always among the men's and among all those I have named here.

Deng has the best record against any men (as shown by the 75% domination at grand slam events), but when GOAT came out, it was always - oh we talking about men's only.
So it become (forum rules I guess haha), GOAT men and not GOAT + women.
Deng will forever be GOAT women by a distance - so this remove Deng from threatening the men's I guess.

a decade ago, no one said GOAT men though, they just have GOAT, making it, I assume, unisex.

conveniently or not, I'm not sure.
But sport is always male dominance, and very little sport you would compare a woman being better than mens, so maybe it needs to stay separate, to keep the men's side happy?

I don't mind really, but is Ma Long actually that "great". I really hoped he could have done better.

Ma Long fans cried foul when he wasn't selected for WTTC 2021 for example, but then, Ma Long failed so many attempts to make his record unbreakable. That's a fair point I feel.
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Sep 2016
1,029
1,968
3,029
Why is it not the case that Deng Yaping just dominated weak generations of opponents especially women's techniques have evolve a lot lol

Altough people usually accept it is more competitive in men's games than women's, I think a more objective way is to use the old ITTF rankings system to take the past results and recent performance into consideration. Take WTTC for example, each player has the base points from the result of last attendance, if A has much higher base points than B, A will gain 0 for beating B. However, A will get a big penalty for losing to B and B will get a big bonus. The ranking points are dynamically calculated until the tournament is finished and players will get points for the position they reach and the sum of wins/losses against different ranked opponents. This can be applied to any kind of tournaments or to the three majors combined. Basically, beating a defending champion is a bonus to a "nobody", and losing to "nobody" hurts. It will not change much if both players are ranked close.

BTW, look at ML's failures in WTTC and WC records. From his second attendance in 2008 (20 yr old) to 2024(36 yr old), he reached SF every single time he attended. Not to mention the 100% winning rate in OG. So solid and consistent.
 
Last edited:
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
May 2011
1,356
1,494
3,618
good question
I don't really take part in these GOAT debates. I have seen 100s of them over the years.

I learnt a lot from Deng when I was growing up and held her table tennis accomplishments (and effort) with huge respect.
while, having that, I also saw the great JO, LGL, KLH and the more recent wangs ma, zjk etc.
Ma Long was still a noob then and the GOAT was always among the men's and among all those I have named here.

Deng has the best record against any men (as shown by the 75% domination at grand slam events), but when GOAT came out, it was always - oh we talking about men's only.
So it become (forum rules I guess haha), GOAT men and not GOAT + women.
Deng will forever be GOAT women by a distance - so this remove Deng from threatening the men's I guess.

a decade ago, no one said GOAT men though, they just have GOAT, making it, I assume, unisex.

conveniently or not, I'm not sure.
But sport is always male dominance, and very little sport you would compare a woman being better than mens, so maybe it needs to stay separate, to keep the men's side happy?

I don't mind really, but is Ma Long actually that "great". I really hoped he could have done better.

Ma Long fans cried foul when he wasn't selected for WTTC 2021 for example, but then, Ma Long failed so many attempts to make his record unbreakable. That's a fair point I feel.
Deng competed against women, Ma Long against men. If Ma Long or any of the men's top 10 players over the years spent their career playing against women they'd be more accomplished than Deng.

Keeping the GOAT conversation separate between women and men is to keep women happy, not to keep men happy, because making them unisex means no woman will ever be in the conversation in any sport.
 
  • Like
Reactions: matzreenzi
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Sep 2016
1,029
1,968
3,029
Deng Yaping's WTTC: 1989 R16, 1991 Winner, 1993 R32 (as 1992 OG gold), 1995 Winner, 1997 Winner
So when shall the dominance start to count?

As I said earlier, the more attendance does not guarantee more titles
WLQ: 3/8 WTTC, 0/2 OG, 0/9 WC (last attendance not reaching SF)
MLin: 0/8 WTTC, 1/2 OG, 4/8(7?) WC (last attendance not reaching SF)
WH: 1/6 WTTC, 0/3 OG, 3/8 WC (last attendance runner-up)
ZJK: 2/4 WTTC, 1/2 OG, 2/3 WC (ZJK has the best winning rate in 3 majors, with the last attendance not reaching SF)
ML: 3/8 WTTC, 2/2 OG, 3/9 WC (last attendance winner; ML is also elder than the above players when they retired)
FZD: 2/6 WTTC, 0/1 OG, 4/6 WC (last attendance not reaching SF)
 
  • Like
Reactions: matzreenzi
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Member
Nov 2017
403
420
1,187
He was only great for some time in his fully career though.
Well, I never (nor anyone else I believe) claimed that he was. But even pre 2015 he was one of the best players, highly ranked, very consistent overall and somewhat successful (I know, he won most of the big titles after 2015...).

The point is, that simply no male tt player was as dominant as Deng Yaping for the women was, but I do not think it is expedient to bring Deng Yaping into the discussion when the thread is obviously focused at the men's side of this sport. It's a bit like bringing up Alexander Karelin as a reference, the russian wrestler with only two defeats all time. Not really relevant for men's tt...

Nevertheless, I think I understand your perspective at least a little bit better now...
Of course I am aware of Ma Long's statistics in the WTTC, the WC and the Olympics (I guess many of us had looked it up - either by now or at some point in time before this thread had even started).

Even though I kind of get (?) what your main focus is, I find it strange how someone would describe Ma Long's performance at the World Cup and at the WTTC as a failure or saying that he failed too often (in general or against certain opponents) at the "big stage". His overall performances in these tourneys are unquestionably one of the best compared to other great players. Winning the World Cup 3x (plus 2x silver and 3x bronze).
If that's considered a failure, then Waldner (GOAT contender!) and Boll must be complete losers (Waldner won noticibly less medals, while Boll has a somewhat similar medal yield in the WC compared to Ma Long, but Boll competed about twice as often!).
Which is why I like some of the things that rain posted:
...From his second attendance in 2008 (20 yr old) to 2024(36 yr old), he reached SF every single time he attended. Not to mention the 100% winning rate in OG. So solid and consistent.
Agreed. High-level consistency is imo one of the determining factors within the GOAT discussion. Sure, Wang Hao stood in Ma Long's way a few times when he was younger, but does that mean we have to automatically put Wang Hao ahead of Ma Long? Wang Hao had enough chances to establish his own case, but he too "failed" more often than not, and, after all Ma Long has a positive H2H record against him overall. I would like to believe that most of these matches were serious and competive ones and not some beach games with hard bats...:LOL:

I also like this:
WLQ: 3/8 WTTC, 0/2 OG, 0/9 WC (last attendance not reaching SF)
MLin: 0/8 WTTC, 1/2 OG, 4/8(7?) WC (last attendance not reaching SF)
WH: 1/6 WTTC, 0/3 OG, 3/8 WC (last attendance runner-up)
ZJK: 2/4 WTTC, 1/2 OG, 2/3 WC (ZJK has the best winning rate in 3 majors, with the last attendance not reaching SF)
ML: 3/8 WTTC, 2/2 OG, 3/9 WC (last attendance winner; ML is also elder than the above players when they retired)
FZD: 2/6 WTTC, 0/1 OG, 4/6 WC (last attendance not reaching SF)
ZJK's pure winning rate is indeed better than everyone else's, but mainly because of his lacking longevity. I do like him as a player, though.
Ma Long winning eight gold medals at the biggest three tournaments is not too shabby and more than anyone else on that list (plus people like Waldner, Boll, Samsonov, Kong Linghui etc.).

So, when Tony (or anyone else for that matter) questions if Ma Long is/was really that great, i. e. the GOAT, then who else would it be, purely from an objective point of view?

Needless to say I also agree with NDH that the pure "accumulation" of medals alone is not a determining factor. In that case we could just give the GOAT title to Victor Barna...in my view he would not be "eligible", simply because he couldn't compete with modern players (modern as in "from Waldner until now"). Waldner is one of the very few, maybe the only one from the mid 80s onward, who - at his best and despite the different rule changes - could actually compete with today's top players.

For me I should mention, that it is not an absolute clear cut case who the GOAT is. But looking at the overall picture, Ma Long comes out on top eventually. It's just tough to argue against him, i. e. his case, considering what he has achieved in his career and put someone else on top of him. Who could that be?

Ma Long has an impressive resume, no question, but it has some dents here and there, that were already discussed (not peaking earlier and beating rivals in important matches). I'm aware of it and surely don't deny them. But looking at the resumes of other GOAT contenders, they contain more and deeper dents which imo prevent them from "dethroning" Ma Long, at least as of right now (May 2024). FZD will have a tough time to get where Ma Long is, and WCQ will also have to win a lot the next few years in order to get into the conversation (he does already have a slight H2H advantage over Ma Long, if I'm not mistaken...). He, WCQ, might have an easier path, because the level of the newest chinese generation is indeed not too overwhelming compared to previous ones. A valid point that Tony made in that regard.
I for myself find the generation from the 2000s (WH, MLin, WL) and the one from the 2010s (ML, ZJK and XX) about equally strong, although XX is lacking success in the singles; he wasn't a walkover either.

"World Champs
Ma Long took part in 7 and ONLY winning 3
greatness ratio of 3/7 = 42.8%?"

Lmao, then he should have won 7/7 to be greatest?
Right, it is a bit presumptuous to expect from a player like Ma Long to have a better (or even a perfect) resume when pretty much no one else of his peers has something better to offer in the big picture.
I guess I just dislike when statistics are "distorted" and presented in a way that it seems that the involved player/athlete somehow underperformed, even if he is a record or co-record holder in that specific area.


Imagine on a tennis forum someone criticising Roger Federer for winning Wimbledon "only" eight times (Well, he didn't win it the other 14 times he competed. 8/22. Winning percentage: 36,36 %. What a loser...).

Pete Sampras never won the French Open. That was his big achilles heel. You still won't find too many people in the tennis world who would say that Sampras is not one of the greatest players ever, even though he completely failed at the French Open. Maybe he is/was not on the level of Nadal, Federer or Djokovic, but still easily Top 10 all time. I fact, before the arrival of the aforementioned "Big Three", it was Sampras who was widely considered to be the greatest ever, ahead of people like Laver (Grand Slam in one year), Agassi (career Grand Slam), Borg, McEnroe, Conners, Becker etc., and despite his disastrous French Open resume.


As for Tony: I understand why he hesitates to call Ma Long the GOAT and I accept his sentiment: Not peaking/dominating earlier and not beating certain rivals in some important matches, while later dominating in a (supposedly) and slightly weaker(?) era. Be that as it may. Nobody is perfect. He did what he could and he won a lot. It's a close call for sure, but I just can't put aynone else ahead of him (for now).
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Sep 2013
8,010
7,245
17,701
Read 3 reviews
Correct me if I am wrong, this GOAT thingy is a fan made up title and is not an official one? Sorry another noob question.
Yeah
Few years ago you could see 2 fan clubs
The Ma long club vs the Zhang jike club going on against each other on who is the goat.
It went on for years, it was hilarious
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Member
Nov 2017
403
420
1,187
Correct me if I am wrong, this GOAT thingy is a fan made up title and is not an official one? Sorry another noob question.
Of course it's a fan "thingy" in most cases (including TT). The only exception that I know of is Michael Jordan, although it is "only" awarded by the NBA and not FIBA.
I kinda get the feeling that you make a little fun of that whole debate, and perhaps rightfully so...:LOL:
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Oct 2014
13,183
18,920
47,676
Read 17 reviews
Of course it's a fan "thingy" in most cases (including TT). The only exception that I know of is Michael Jordan, although it is "only" awarded by the NBA and not FIBA.
I kinda get the feeling that you make a little fun of that whole debate, and perhaps rightfully so...:LOL:
Michael Jordan is also debatable stats wise, it is his influence on popularity that isn't. I think Tom Brady is as close as it gets in the modern NFL stats wise. Still stats always need narratives. Ma Long still carries the Wang Hao and plastic ball monkey. But it is just hard to debate his status and the eye test. I remember the former coach of England Don Parker felt MaLong was the GOAT or the best player he had ever seen in 2011. That said expert opinion is still opinion, not every player Dom felt would be good made it to the top.

Table Tennis is fun!
 
  • Like
Reactions: matzreenzi
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Member
Nov 2017
403
420
1,187
When Gozo asked if it's official or unofficial, I brought up MJ and was "strictly" referring to the first sentence of the first paragraph of MJ's profile on the NBA website (I thought it was known). That's kind of "official" because it's from the NBA, which is - at least in part - recognized by the FIBA as the national governing body (actually it's USA Basketball, but the NBA is the de facto main part of it)...but then again I don't really take it that seriously...

 
  • Like
Reactions: NextLevel
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Oct 2014
13,183
18,920
47,676
Read 17 reviews
When Gozo asked if it's official or unofficial, I brought up MJ and was "strictly" referring to the first sentence of the first paragraph of MJ's profile on the NBA website (I thought it was known). That's kind of "official" because it's from the NBA, which is - at least in part - recognized by the FIBA as the national governing body (actually it's USA Basketball, but the NBA is the de facto main part of it)...but then again I don't really take it that seriously...

Stern I think has a hand in that so I get what you mean better now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jimbob MacInbred
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Member
Jul 2019
460
344
1,545
JIANG JAI LIANG would be an interesting challenger to the likes of Waldner for "greatest" as he beat him an awful lot. He was a one sided sp penholder who seemed to have only 3 shots - a block, a push and a flat kill. He had tremendous fighting spirit and unmatched fast reactions. Any way as an SP player he is the special one for me. Check him out its worth it
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Member
Nov 2017
403
420
1,187
Stern I think has a hand in that
Yeah, that's a good guess. They were very close. While I do believe that Stern really thought that MJ was the GOAT, that specific sentence is probably also meant as an appreciation for what MJ did for the NBA publicitiy-wise. Guys like Magic and Bird and a few others laid the foundation, but the NBA peaked in popularity during the Jordan era and it was mainly Jordan who brought them new market opportunities, such as Europe and Asia.
JIANG JAI LIANG would be an interesting challenger to the likes of Waldner for "greatest" as he beat him an awful lot.
You mean Jiang Jialiang? I do remember him. He sometimes gets overlooked, although he did win the WTTC twice and beat Waldner a few times during the mid 80s (but beat him an awful lot?). Is there a H2H record available for them? In 1987 Waldner unfortunately suffered from food poisoning, but still managed to get to the final...
Too bad also that Jialiang wasn't around for too long, as he faded away around 1990/1991. He eventually went into television for some time; he even interviewed Waldner a couple times. Their body language was very awkward. It seems to me that they were not only rivals on the court but also didn't seem to get along on a personal level.
Surely enough Jialiang was a "nasty" and fierce competitor and somewhat of a nemesis to Waldner.
 
This user has no status.
This user has no status.
Well-Known Member
Sep 2013
8,010
7,245
17,701
Read 3 reviews
You mean Jiang Jialiang? I do remember him. He sometimes gets overlooked, although he did win the WTTC twice and beat Waldner a few times during the mid 80s (but beat him an awful lot?). Is there a H2H record available for them? In 1987 Waldner unfortunately suffered from food poisoning, but still managed to get to the final...
Too bad also that Jialiang wasn't around for too long, as he faded away around 1990/1991. He eventually went into television for some time; he even interviewed Waldner a couple times. Their body language was very awkward. It seems to me that they were not only rivals on the court but also didn't seem to get along on a personal level.
Surely enough Jialiang was a "nasty" and fierce competitor and somewhat of a nemesis to Waldner.

the Ma Long fans (and ZJK's fans before) all pinpoint that you need OG + World Cup to be grand slam (other than WTTC). That automatically writes off many players, since Korea introduced table tennis into the 1988 games.
if it wasn't for the Korean's who knows how long it will take for TT to become an Olympic sports.
It was support to only be 1 edition too. Luckily it did so well for IOC that they decided to keep it on.

for the rest of the older era - they had almost no chance to Olympics, just like Deng had little to no chance to more WC titles (while the modern guys live off WC titles)

In JJL's era, the new gen was out within 5 years and knocking on the door. China was only getting strong and stronger every generation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: pingpongpaddy
Top