Samsonov About The Poly Ball: "I Think The Change Won't Be That Big"

Samsonov about the poly ball: "I think the change won't be that big"
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Before the 2014 World Team Championships held in Tokyo, Vladimir Samsonov gave an interview to a table tennis website, where he talked about everything: his beginning in table tennis, his achievements, goals, secrets and current situation. Besides, he talked about the evolution of table tennis and the plastic ball.

Before being reelected as chair of the ITTF Athletes' Commission in the World Team Championships held in Tokyo, Japan, Vladimir Samsonov was interviewed by the web site, where he talked about everything: his beginning in table tennis, his achievements, his training system, his strategy, the evolution of table tennis and more.

During the interview, the topic "plastic ball" came up and this is what Samsonov said: "I have tried the plastic ball but at the moment it’s difficult to say how it will change the game. I think the change will not be that big."

He didn't say to much about the new ball, but he tabled deeply about previous changes in table tennis. For him, the biggest change has been the change to the 40mm ball: "The most significant change was in 2000, when the size of the ball was changed but the weight stayed the same. I guess the idea was that it would be better to see the ball for the  players and on TV. It was also hoped to reduce the speed of the ball. The biggest problem , however, was the quality of the ball, which, compared to the previous balls, is poor. Soon we will start playing with the plastic ball and we don’t know today, how important this change will turn out to be. For me, the most important is the quality of the balls, which I hope will be better."

The Belarussian player also commented about the quality of the new ball: "Current balls are not high-quality , and this is the reason why most of the top players make errors with the seemingly simple balls. Therefore, my opinion is that increasing the diameter of the ball to 40mm wasn’t a good change."

On the contrary, Samsonov is in favor of the rules service's change, because it had a positive impact on the game: "most of the players tried to hide the spin in every possible way, with the hand or body. In such case, the point was won either directly with serve or with the next attack. Now, however, the rallies are longer as it is much easier to return the serve."

Another change in table tennis was the ban of speed glue. Here Samsonov confessed that he had problems to get used to the new one, but he finally got used to it: " Yes, I did have problems because using the new glue, the rubbers were not that fast and spinny. But after some time,  new rubbers with good qualities were developed and there are no problems anymore with that.I am using Tibhar Evolution MX rubbers, with which I am really satisfied. I’ve also got myself a suitable blade – Samsonov Force Pro."

The 2009 World Cup champion thinks that the ban of speed glue was made in favor of players' health, but he doesn't agree with the very strict racket control by ITTF: "The speed-glue ban was an understandable move because it affected the health of the players. But what happened next, wasn’t fair. The players were punished when a small piece of rubber had come off during the game.  And that happened even after you had won a match. In my opinion that was not fair. I think it’s okay if the rubbers are not controlled at all. This has caused a lot of stress for the players because in most cases they have not cheated in purpose. After all,  the players should only concentrate on the upcoming match, without worrying wether the racket passes the control or not."

According to Samsonov, another positive change was the 11-point game: "Changing the set to eleven points was initially unaccustomed but it definitely became more interesting for the spectators. Therefore, I consider it as a right move in light of developing table tennis."

This and the other changes were carried out to make table tennis more attractive to spectators, but he thinks that table tennis game itself isn't tthe problem why our sport isn't on TV as tennis, football or basketball: "I think it is possible to make table tennis more viewable but in my opinion it won’t change the attitude of journalism. The popularity of table tennis depends on its traditions and results. In Europe, it is popular in France and Germany.  In Asia, table tennis is developing very rapidly. If you watch the TV broadcasts in China, then table tennis is in top three in sports. Today, table tennis also develops well in Japan and Korea. The reason that table tennis isn’t developing in Europe, is that there are not remarkable results. Asia is winning most of the medals and therefore in Europe, the interest in table tennis is quite small. But still, I don’t think that table tennis is less interesting than it was in the past. There are often many fantastic points that are played at high speeds. But of course we should go further. One option is to raise the net but that would be a very big change. It should be tested before.  Nevertheless in my opinion table tennis is a very interesting sport."

If you want to read Vladimir Samsonov's full interview, click here  

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