Best Table Tennis players
Jan-Ove Waldner (Stockholm, 3 October 1965) is a Swedish former table tennis player. He is often referred to as "the Mozart of table tennis, " and is widely regarded as being the greatest table tennis player of all time. A sporting legend in his native Sweden as well as in China, he is known in China as 老瓦 Lao Wa - ("Old Waldner)" or 常青树 Chang Qing Shu - "Evergreen Tree, " because of his extraordinary longevity and competitiveness.
Jan-Ove Waldner was born in Stockholm on 3 October 1965. His athletic potential was recognized at an early age and was displayed in 1982 when, as a 16-year-old, he reached the final of the European Championships, losing to distinguished left-handed teammate Mikael Appelgren, who was perceived then as the logical successor to the original Swedish World Champion, Stellan Bengtsson. While still developing his game, Waldner, along with several other Swedish players, traveled to a national-level training camp held in China, and was reportedly amazed by the dedication and solidarity of the Chinese players. He has claimed ever since that he learned much during his stay, and thereafter first began to regard his opportunity to succeed in table tennis as paramount. In China, a country that adores table tennis, he is undisputedly the best-known Swedish person, and still one of the most well-known sports personalities. In the 1990s, he was more recognizable in China than then President of the United States Bill Clinton. His venerable status and long career has led to his being nicknamed "the evergreen tree" (Lao Wa) in Mandarin. He is considered by many to be the most technically complete player of all time, and is almost inarguably the most successful "shakehand" player who has ever lived.
As of 2015, Waldner has been playing international elite level table tennis for more than thirty years, which is somewhat unusual in the table tennis world given that hand–eye coordination and quick reactions are essential. Some young Chinese players whom he has recently played against were trained by those he played against in the 1990s, who were in turn trained by others he played in the 1980s.
He is one of the seven table tennis players who competed at the first five offered Olympic games (successively since the sport's introduction at the Games in 1988). The others are Swede Jörgen Persson, Croatian Zoran Primorac, Belgian Jean-Michel Saive, Hungarian Csilla Bátorfi, Serbian-American Ilija Lupulesku, and German Jörg Roßkopf.