Jeff: Welcome to the PingPod, the ping pong podcast by PingSkills. I’m Jeff Plumb and with me is Alois Rosario.
Alois: How are you Jeff?
Jeff: I’m very good thankyou. And in today’s PingPod we’re going to be talking about Zhang Jike and his fine and also the new plastic ball. First Zhang Jike, everybody’s talking about it Alois. It made the news here in Australia, they didn’t actually show any table tennis but they showed Zhang Jike kicking the barriers. The first time I’ve seen table tennis on the news for a long time.
Alois: Yes it certainly created a lot of interest. Is it good publicity for table tennis? Any publicity is good publicity that’s what I say.
Jeff: Indeed, they’re calling him the John McEnroe of table tennis.
Alois: Yeah I don’t see it do you? I mean there’s not the temper. That was just an act of exhuberation and just being so happy and not being able to contain himself.
Jeff: Yes but I did find it interesting that he kicked one barrier at one end, ran up the other end then kicked the second barrier, he saw what he did to the first one, so the second one maybe pushed him over the edge?
Alois: Yeah I reckon if he had just done the one he would have got away with it but two was just over the line. And they certainly slugged him a big hefty fine!
Jeff: Nearly 50 thousand US, his total prizemoney.
Alois: That’s huge isn’t it? I don’t know whether that equates, you know for kicking a couple of barriers and breaking some signage – 50 thousand dollars!
Jeff: Yeah but does it send a message that we won’t tolerate this and stamp this behaviour out straight away?
Alois: Well it certainly does. I mean players will definitely be thinking about their misbehaviour from now on if they’re going to be slugged 50 thousand US dollars.
Jeff: But not many players are quite like Zhang Jike, he’s very animated isn’t he. Remember when he ripped his shirt off? So he’s a unique player.
Alois: And you know what? It’s good for the game. We don’t want players to just have no emotion. One of the really big things I see in table tennis often is at the end of the match the players just walk up to each other and give each other the wet fish handshake and they’re off. There’s just nothing. Have a look at tennis players and how well they do it. At the end of each match they acknowledge the crowd, they walk back out onto the court, they acknowledge the crowd, they thank the crowd, they are emotional, that’s what the crowd is there for. They are paying good money to go and see that and Zhang Jike at the end of that match gave them something.
Jeff: He did. He did. It was good to see. And I think that’s somewhere where, there’s all this thought about the Chinese dominance, is it good or bat for the game, and I don’t think it really matters. I think what they need to do is just promote those players, the best players in the World more. People love Zhang Jike, just let him be available to the public.
Alois: And I think you’re right. People don’t know enough about these players. That’s the real issue for me. So if I knew what Zhang Jike had done the 2 or 3 days before, I don’t know, if it was out there a little bit more, you know he was under pressure, he was really starting to feel the pressure that you know his results hadn’t been as good, and then he comes out and wins this tournament, you know then I’m almost riding it home for him. We didn’t get that background before perhaps enough. Or I don’t know enough about the players. So I think just publicising the players, doesn’t matter whether they’re Chinese. If I know that that player has this happening to them at the moment then I’m interested.
Jeff: Exactly. And so moving on from that, both of the World cups, the Women and the Men were using the new plastic ball and there was a lot of talk beforehand about whether this is bad for the game or good for the game. So we’ve used it in quite a few tournaments now, what are your thoughts?
Alois: Yeah well so far, the game doesn’t look a real lot different. And the results don’t look a real lot different either. Given it was the two Chinese players in both finals and they might have been a little bit ahead of the rest of the field but having said that there wasn’t that big turnaround in matches. So interesting in the Women’s final I thought Ding Ning did look a little bit edgy sometimes and even in the semi final wasn’t quite coping with the bounce of the ball sometimes, it was just holding up on her a little bit but within a month or two players like that are going to be able to just react naturally. The ball didn’t sound all that bad, there was a lot of talk about the ball and the sound of the ball, watching it on the live stream certainly I didn’t notice a lot of difference in the sound, it was quite good.
Jeff: So if you hadn’t known they were using the new plastic balls, would you have been able to tell the difference?
Alois: It wouldn’t have been something that jumped out at me. No. I mean the table tennis looked great. Especially the Men’s match. The Men’s match looked like a normal table tennis match.
Jeff: World class
Alois: Fantastic level, great finish. So yeah the plastic balls, we did suspect that it might be a lot more hype than the actual.
Jeff: So it seems like it’s a bit of a non-event to us here but let us know your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to hear your thoughts. So yeah let us know about Zhang Jike and the new plastic ball. So thanks for watching this PingPod and be sure to checkout PingSkills.com. We’ll see you next time.