April 13, 2002

Video Demonstrations of New Services

The CTTA has prepared videos showing the current hidden serves and the new unhidden serves, as demonstrated by top players. Thanks to www.cn-tt.com, these videos are available for online viewing:

Kong Linghui: http://www.cn-tt.com/pic/video/si_klh.rm

Liu Guoliang: http://www.cn-tt.com/pic/video/si_lgl.rm

Ma Lin: http://www.cn-tt.com/pic/video/si_ml.rm

Wang Liqin: http://www.cn-tt.com/pic/video/si_wlq.rm

Wang Nan: http://www.cn-tt.com/pic/video/si_wn.rm

Zhang Yining: http://www.cn-tt.com/pic/video/si_zyn.rm


Ma Lin's Regrets

On March 10, the Chinese team came home from Qatar. After the long flight, everyone looked tired. Ma Lin took a seat on the last row of the van, and he talked to reporters about the tournament. Ma Lin bluntly said that he really should not have lost.

During training at the center prior to Qatar, Ma Lin felt sluggish. In Qatar, Ma said that he started to feel better after the tournament started. In the quarters, he played especially well against Boll. "Boll had just won the Austrian Open and the European Top-12. He has become one of our strongest opponents. I played him once before, and lost to him. This time I wanted to win. and I took the match 4-1. That fulfilled one my my goals on this trip," Ma said.

After that win Ma started feeling good about the tournament. His semifinals opponent was Chuan Chih-Yuan. On the day before, Ma heard that Chuan was going to withdraw so that he could play a club match in Europe. Then Chuan stayed to play, and that caused a little "ripple" in Ma's mental state.

Ma had never lost to Chuan before, and he opened the match very well, leading 3 games to 1. In the 5th game, Ma was ahead 4-1, and Chuan popped up a service return. Ma hit the ball powerfull at Chuan's middle, and unexpectedly Chuan returned the ball and caught Ma by surprise. He missed the return. After the point, Ma proceeded to lose the game. In the 6th, he still had not recovered, and did not even score one point. In the 7th Ma had a chance, but he did not seize the advantage and lost the game and the match. " I really regret losing that match. Mainly it was because of mental mistakes, and the fact that I did not control the rhythm of the match. In the 5th game, when I was ahead 4-3, if I had taken a time-out to calm down, I would have better chances", Ma said. He was really at a loss about his performance in that match.

"At Qatar, almost everyone in the top 32 came. Kong and I made the semifinals, and we were very close to winning the event. But then we did not win. We are very disappointed and unhappy with the results", Ma said.

Last year in Qatar Ma lost to Chiang Peng-Lung. This year he lost to another player from Taiwan. Other than in Qatar, Ma had never lost to the players from Taiwan. Ma felt bad about that. His hope is to win next year's Qatar Open.

Kong's Column: Preparing for League Play

On April 5th, we finished our training at the base. On the 6th, the team came back to Beijing. During the 40 days of closed training, I felt good and I had reached my goals. Now I am in normal shape. During that period, we went outside of China twice, and the results were not good. On March 23, during the match against Belgium, I pulled a thigh muscle. I have now recovered from that injury. I have lost some weight because of the large volume of training, and that is a good thing. The new service rule has given Liu Guoliang and me quite a bit of problem, and Liu still is not playing consistently with his new rubber. We have tried matching Ma Lin with me in doubles, but the results were not very good. We still have not decided who I should play doubles with.

During the late stages of training, the CTTA has made a decision that in the first half of Super League play, we will use the old service rules. That was actually my proposal. I felt that we did not do well in Qatar and in Belgium, and that to a large degree was due to our training being out of sync with competition. Before September 1, there are still several major events that we need to do well. We do not want to lose confidence against our opponents. I feel that the CTTA decision is a timely one. For the 11 rounds of league play from April 13 through May 18 we will use the current service rules. Then we will compete in the Malaysian and the China Opens. For the final 11 rounds of league play, from June 15 through August 3, we will use the new unhidden service rules. There is a break from June 29 through July 13 where we will play in the US Open. In August, after the completion of league play, we will start training under the new service rules. In the first half of September we will play in Korea and Japan, after the new rule is in effect.

Two of our coaches, Lu and Han, went to watch the European Championship in Croatia. Germany's Boll played very well there. He has great results this year, and he will be one of our major opponents, together with Samsonov. For me, Samsonov is a tougher opponent. Boll's style makes you feel awkward playing against him, but Samsonov has a much more fierce game.

The Super League will start on April 13. We will play Hebei in the first round.

(Chung's Notes: The national team was practicing the new unhidden service rules during closed training, and several players reported that it was difficult playing in Qatar because of that. Kong's club won the first match of the season, but he had to play a "golden-ball" match against Li Jing to pick up that victory.)

Super League Results From 1st Round

The men's matches were close ones. The Shanghai club, with Wang Liqin, lost to Zhejiang. Wang won his match against Cheung Yuk, but then the Shanghai club lost the next 3. Wang played doubled with Guo Jinhao and lost narrowly to Cheung Yuk and Jin Enhua in the last match, with the 5th game score 10-12. Kong's team won over Hebei, and Kong scored three points, including the golden ball match against Li Jing. Nanjing lsot to Sichuan. The Luneng team led by Ma Lin and Liu Guozheng beat the Shaanxi team led by Liu Guoliang and Yan Sen 3-1. The PLA club, now led by Wang Hao and Zhan Jian, scored a win over Tianjin's 729 club. The Guangdong club headed by Qin Zhijian and Ko Lai Chak prevailed over the Beijing club.

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