Table Tennis – An Open Letter to the ITTF

Welcome to tonight’s episode of Sports Interrogation. As you all know, we are big fans of table
tennis here at S I. That’s right Lucy. I love putting heavy topspin
on the ball! Err. Yes. Thanks Paul. But we notice that we are the only sports
show that televises any table tennis these days. Yeah, why is that? I guess it is because the other shows only
air sports that they think will attract viewers. That makes sense. What are our ratings like
when we show table tennis? Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. Anyway, as table tennis fans, we have an open
letter to the ITTF that we would like to share with you all. Take it away Lucy. Thanks Paul. Hello ITTF, as table tennis fans ourselves
and on behalf of ping-pong players everywhere, we have a few questions to ask. Seeing as your regulations state that you
will endeavour to increase participation at all levels, enhance the popularity of the
sport, we don’t think it is unreasonable to hope for some straight answers to simple questions. Let’s start with attractive table tennis.
We notice the ITTF talks a lot about making table tennis more attractive, and often changes
the rules with this goal in mind. So could you please explain exactly what you
mean by more attractive table tennis? Is it longer rallies? More powerful strokes?
Less simple-looking mistakes? A variety of playing styles? More excitement? And attractive to who? Professional players?
Amatures? The general public? TV executives? This quest for more attractive table tennis
is only responsible for rule changes regarding service, the racket, the ball, and now even
possibly the net height, so perhaps a little explanation about what the ITTF actually thinks
is attractive table tennis would be a good idea, don’t you think? Ok, time to move on to our next set of questions. When are you going to fix the service rules,
so that umpires can easily enforce them? And if you are not going to change the service
rules, when are you going to fix the umpires in professional matches, so that they enforce
the rules and set a good example for the rest of us? Finally, seeing as you claim to be responsible
for increasing participation at all levels, how about coming up with a set of service
rules that are easy for a single umpire to enforce? You know, for the 99 per cent of table tennis
matches that only have one umpire? Quite simply, are you only here for the professionals,
or do you care about the rest of us who actually put money into the sport? Don’t you think having simple to enforce service
rules that give the receiver a decent chance of returning the ball might help make table
tennis more attractive? Enough about serving. Let’s talk a little
about the equipment, starting with rackets. Can we please have some easy to perform tests
for checking whether a racket is illegal? Why bother making racket rules that can’t
actually be enforced? If you outlaw speed glue and boosting, but can’t actually detect
players who cheat, all you are doing is penalising the players who follow the rules. Either make speed glue and boosting legal
for everybody, or find a way that the average tournament referee can use to detect cheats. Otherwise you have a set of racket regulations
that are as much use as a chocolate teapot. ITTF, you guys suck balls. Oh my god Lucy! You can’t say that on TV! Sorry, that was a Freudian slip. WHat I meant
to say was – ITTF, your balls suck! You originally planned to introduce plastic
balls in 2012. It is now 2016 and we still don’t have 3 star balls that are actually round, evenly weighted, bounce properly
and don’t break when you sneeze on them. Come on Lucy, give the ITTF a break. It is
only the ball – not something important like fining players who kick barriers in celebration.
They’ll get around to it. Yeah, when? Probably right after they fix the serving
rules and clean up racket boosting cheats. Finally, we notice that the ITTF is planning
trials of a higher net, in order to make the sport more attractive. Nice one guys. Make millions of nets around
the world obsolete, while ignoring the actual problems with service rules, rackets and balls. I wonder who came up with that proposal? Probably the same guys who want to change
to a bigger table. It is just like the plastic balls – follow the money. That is all we have time for this week. Join us next week on Sports Interrogation,
where our topic will be was Adham Sharara listed in the Panama Papers?

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