Bill Ryan, an unbeatable out-of-state guest player in Utah

by Varghese on October 18, 2007

Sponsor Ad: TableTennisStore.US - 1000 XIOM, TSP, JOOLA, CHAMPION table tennis products! complete table tennis store and ping pong store for table tennis players

I have great respect for table tennis players who have a passion for the game. Bill Ryan is one of those players whom I greatly respect. Bill Ryan owns a table tennis store called Zero Pong. He is above 60, and a 2020 USATT rated player. His company Zero Pong is the largest distributor of 729 & Gambler Chinese rubbers outside of China. Any 729 rubber that you buy in the US comes from his company. That is a background about Bill Ryan.

I met Bill Ryan in August, 2006 at my club. At that time I was using a Butterfly Schlager carbon blade with a Bryce on my forehand and a tackifire special soft on my backhand. Though Bill has not seen my game before, he told me a lot of about the equipment that I used which I was not aware, and he stressed the point that an attacking player should play with such equipment.

I played against Bill on the following day. I could hardly score any points against him – in one of the games I could not even score a point. After the games, he came to me and apologized for the hardships I had because of various spin shots he played against me. I think there was no reason to apologize to me, but I took the advice from him seriously - his advice was to review my equipment to suit my defensive play. Finally I made a decision to change my equipment to suit my style, and it just happened after a week.

After an year, Bill visited Salt Lake City last week again. At this age, travelling to all the three clubs in the Salt Lake area is hard, but his passion for the game took him to reach the club at the right time even before other regular players arrived.

Bill played against few players in my club on the first day. The match that noticeable was against Mike who is a 2012 USATT player – Mike is the top player in Utah. I thought it would not be that hard for Mike to beat Bill because Mike beats me every time – Mike knows how to play against long pips players. Unfortunately Bill won 2 matches against Mike. Since I was playing against other players, I was able to watch only few rallies between them. On the second day, Bill played against Noel who is a 1949 rated player. Bill beat him also. I did not play against him on both the days except an hour of practice we had. He was going to Huntsman Senior Games, and wanted practice against long pips.

The matches Bill won against my club mates put a lot of pressure on me. Should I take a chance to play against him? I wanted two days to think about it. Yesterday at the Salt Lake Club, Bill showed a great interest to play against me because he wanted to get familiar with players who play long pips before he plays at the Huntsman Senior games at St.George, Utah.

The Matches against Bill Ryan

Before the match began, I thought about some strategies to win some points against Bill Ryan - I did not plan to win the match though. I have seen his paddle – he uses long pips on his backhand and inverted rubber on the forehand. Bill has an unorthodox grip which has the advantage of using his forehand or backhand easily without twiddling the paddle. In the first match he beat me 11-7, 13-11. 11-9.

I don’t know how serious he played against a 1550 player like me, but I think he played serious. He challenged me for a second match – to probably find out how close I can come to his play. He won by 11-9, 11-9 and 11-9.

Bill’s unorthodox grip adds more unpredictability to where he is going to serve. You may think his serve is a “right side underspin” serve, but in the end, it would be a “left side underspin” serve. I struggled with those serves, however I returned 90% of the servers very low. I have never seen him doing a third ball attack against me. But I missed his serves when he served on to my forehand on the right line. His no spin serves to my long pips was not a problem to me much. I was able to loop his left underspin serve also.

Yes, I like to play against top spin players especially heavy top spin loopers. In the two matches that I played against Bill, he was not that successful in returning my backhand chops against his controlled low arc top spin loops. I noticed he made two consecutive mistakes looping my chops because of the heavy spin I generated in the stroke. In the two matches I was able to see only three or four heavy spin shots from him, all remaining shots were defensive shorts like chops and no spin.

Though I don’t twiddle the paddle much, change of spin caused him trouble – his smash did not get on to the table when I changed the spin to side top spin. The first serve from him in the second game was a no spin short serve to my forehand. I flipped and smashed that ball, and scored a point. He changed his strategy after that and never served any ball short to my forehand or backhand.

I desperately wanted to hit his chops and no spin ball with the long pips. I was not successful with long pips attack against him. In a match that I played against another defensive chopper before I played against Bill, I was able to smash chops and pushes with the long pips. I scored consecutive 5 points against him with smashes. I realized why I was not successful in hitting his chops and dead balls were due to my lack of footwork and positioning for attack.

I had hours of conversations with Bill in the last few days. I felt he is a gentleman though we all hate him when we get on to play against him. He is a knowledgeable person of the game and the equipments. If you ever get a chance to play against him, please do - you will learn many things from this veteran of the sports.

Sponsor Ad: TableTennisStore.US - 1000 XIOM, TSP, JOOLA, CHAMPION table tennis products! complete table tennis store and ping pong store for table tennis players

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gords October 21, 2007 at 11:17 pm

Well written. I didn’t see this guy at the club. I must have been missing the week he was at WFTTC. Too bad. I would have enjoyed watching him play.

adampas December 23, 2007 at 11:17 pm

Zeropong is great, I play with all 729 and Gambler equipment. It’s of the best quality and ships extremely fast. Thanks Bill

Leave a Comment