Some may say this is a tough comparison and extremely debatable. But for me, who is the greatest table tennis player (currently) remains clear and he holds the current GOAT Title!
Ma Long has reached a level never seeing before in table tennis. He looks technically perfect and at times he seems to be unbeatable.
Ma Long has won every major title, has the longest unbeaten streak in history and is the only player in history to have a winning ratio against every player he has ever competed against. Including his arch-rival Zhang Jike with a head to head ratio of 31-10.
Ma Long was unfortunate not to have been granted a place 2012 Olympics and lost in the Semi-finals of the world champions to his teammate (wang Hao) on numerous occasions. If those titles were on his CV, it would have been tough for me to argue that Ma deserves the GOAT trophy.
The Greatest Table Tennis of all Time
But on this occasion, I believe as of now, Waldner is still the greatest of all time!
Waldner like Ma Long has won the grand slam title in TT. So if both have won all titles and Ma has reached the highest TT level ever seen, why is Waldner still ahead for me?
Time plays a huge factor here and I grew up watching both these Table tennis icons.
Waldner currently edges this contest for me, because:
- Waldner sustained a world-class level for 3 decades. Facing 3-4 breeds of new and world-class players from China plus the rest of the world and defeating them all.
- Waldner faced massive game-changing factors including; Speed glue, change of ball size, new high tech rubbers, new scoring system and adapted to all with great success.
- Waldner also reached the highest-level TT had ever seen in his prime and raised the level a few times.
- Waldner was far more creative and constantly developing his game by reinventing himself. This gave him the ability to beat world class players and compete for major titles up until he was 45 years old.
- Waldner did not come from a nation of 200 million TT players. He did not have the best infrastructure such as China and yet from a small TT community in Sweden he enabled himself to become the greatest player anyone had ever seen back in the ’80s-’90s and early ’00s.
Taking all these factors into account, currently, Waldner is the greatest TT player in history (in my opinion). Now looking at the facts you can decide whether you agree with me or not!