The following observations are of course my personal view and do not claim to be the “truth”!
Let’s start with the currently best defender in the world: Joo Se Hyuk:
This recent game is one of the better ones against Ma Long even though he lost 3:1. He was using more often the pips-in on backhand and attacked with it. Only the use of pips-in when pushing from the backhand side and the use of longpips on slow spinny topspins down his forhand are missing to make up for a just too powerful Ma Long:
This is a terrific fighting game and Joo is nearly as good as back in 2003! If only he would occasionally use pimples in to push with his backhand, play a low “float” with pimples in on forehand defending or use pimples on forehand when defending against heavy spin! But you can’t do it all in one person of course 🙂
This recent match confirms what I was writing about his pimples rubber (see below analysis): He definitively has a material/rubber issue. His pimples are not choppy enough. He should consider trying some choppier stuff.
The two currently best defenders playing each other:
Poor video quality but great matches by joo:
- Good footwork
- Great Forehand topspin against chop, block and topspin
- Good consistent defending on the backhand
- Good defending forehand against fast topspins
- Great variety of serves
- Good smashing with the backhand pimples against high balls or slow blocking
- always uses the pimples on the backhand to push against a push ball thus taking the risk of getting heavily punished by big and fast forehand topspins à la Zhang Yike, Ma lin or Wang Hao. The Push with Feint pimples is too predictable. Rallies get too long and physically too exhausting so that especially in a tournament he might be too “crushed” before getting to the semifinal or final stage.
- struggles getting the ball back low when confronted with heavy, but slow and short topspins into his forehand
- When defending with the forehand there is not enough difference between float and chop thus making it to simple for the attacker to eternally spin on.
- The Feint pimples or whatever he is using work fine getting the ball back low, fast and constistent but do not have enough back spin. He might have changed the pimples recently. I don’t have a confirmation of this. If somebody has: Get back to me with it.
- When defending a couple of times with the backhand pimples and the attacker pushes the ball short into his backhand so that he cannot attack with his forehand Joo should consider using the pimples-in rubber side to push back the ball with heavy chop long down the line into the extreme backhand corner of the attacker.
- Against slow, short top spins with heavy spin into his forehand, Joo should practice using a mixture of low slow blocking back the ball from underneath the table, using the pimples to play back the ball with the heaviest backspin possible, trying to float the ball back in a deceptive manner.
- Practice heavy chop by quickly hitting the bat upright down to give the most heavy chop or doing it deceptively by closing the bat and producing a float that looks like a heavy chop
- Joo should consider trying to use a TSP Curl P-1 R or other pimples out that produce much more back spin when used against heavy top spin