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PostPosted: 29 Aug 2013, 20:09 
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Below are the questions and answers from TSP. I'd like to thank TSP for the time and effort they spent answering our questions! :clap: :up: :up:

Interview with TSP

Company questions
TSP appears to have one the greatest range of rubbers for defensive players. What’s the history behind this? Will this still be the case in the future?
On one hand this results from our president Koji Matsushita being a defensive player himself during his active career. On the other hand, many manufacturers neglect material for defensive players, but we think this is a very important part of table tennis and want to offer top gear for defenders as well.

What inspired TSP to cater to majority of pimple players instead of the inverted players?
In fact this evolution was not planned by TSP, but since most of the famous pimples out players (Liu Guoliang, Wang Tao etc.) were convinced by our products, TSP got this image of a pimples specialist, which is still present to this day, due to the many top players which still use Curl, Spectol and Super Spinpips.

What is exactly the connection/relation between TSP and Victas? Since TSP is already regarded as a high quality brand, what necessitated the new brand VICTAS?
Both brands belong to the same company, which is called Yamato Takkyu Co., Ltd.
We are the oldest Japanese table tennis manufacturer with a history of 82 years (founded 1932). The premium brand VICTAS was founded in 2011 by the president of Yamato Takkyu Co., Ltd., former world class defender Koji Matsushita, in order to have a brand completely focusing on the demands of top players. TSP on the other hand offers products for a broad range, from beginners to pros.

After Koji Matsushita left TSP to become head at Victas, are there other top defenders in the team to advise and help with new innovations? What’s the link between Koji Matsushita and TSP now?
Koji Matsushita did not leave TSP for VICTAS. In fact both brands belong to the same company Yamato Takkyu Co., Ltd. and Koji has been the company president since 2010. Besides Koji himself the company has a network of hundreds of top players all over Japan and abroad. The most notable among the top defenders might be our contract player and Japans rising star Yuto Muramatsu (unfortunately he had to undergo an elbow surgery this spring and therefore could not take part in the WTTC in Paris) and Masato Shiono (US Open and Czech Open winner). There are also many former world class players among the TSP/VICTAS staff, e.g. Seiji Ono (Singles World Champion 1979), Kinjiro Nakamura (Barcelona Olympics 1992 at the age of 17).

TSP Rubbers:
What is the expected 'shelf life' of a rubber (how long can a rubber be kept on the shelf of a retailer (or a customer) before the rubber starts to deteriorate)?
This is hard to determine. First of all this depends under which conditions the rubbers are kept. Under good conditions classic rubbers (non tension) can be kept for several years (5 or more), without losing performance.
The lifetime of tension rubbers cannot be clearly determined, because depending on tension technology and generation there are big differences. Nevertheless the lifetime of tension rubbers on the shelf is definitely shorter than the one of classic rubbers.

Are there special 'Pro rubbers', not normally sold to the public, that are optimised for your sponsored players?
In Japan “fair play” is a very important issue for both professional and amateur players. Therefore we provide our contract players rubbers that are not “specially treated”, and normally sold to the public. The only exception are individual requests regarding sponge thickness and hardness.

ButterflyTenergy has been a very succesfull new rubber on the market, and a lot of other manufacturers seem to have created rubbers with similar characteristics. Would the new Ventus rubber be the best option (from the TSP range) for players that like rubbers like Tenergy?
The new Ventus rubber has received a very good feedback from our test players so far. It combines Japanese rubber know-how with German manufacturing technology. Among the current TSP lineup it is surely the best option for players who like rubbers like Tenergy.

What’s the added value of the new TSP Ventus series compared to other tensor or high tension rubbers? Is it true that sponge is from ESN? If so, how will collaboration with ESN will look like in future?
The Ventus rubber has been developed by a huge team of Japanese and German scientists and players. The difference to most of many other tensor and tension rubbers is that, although it is Made in Germany it has typical Japanese rubber characteristics such as good friction and spin (no slip), and a longer lifetime. Furthermore the Ventus offers a great arc for Top-Spin balls that many other tension rubber cannot offer in this form. Above all that we did our best to keep it reasonable so I am sure that Ventus will be the rubber with the best price-performance out there.
We are very satisfied with our cooperation with ESN and hope this will continue and even get better.

Are you planning to make a Long pimple rubber with the P-1R top sheet and P4 sponge ?
There are no plans for such a rubber. We have tested a lot and came up with a new top sheet, which is similar to the P-1R but slightly different and delivers the best performance in combination with the soft P4 sponge.

What's the origin of the name ‘Curl’ in the curl-series?
At the moment of ball impact the long pimples snap and sort of “curl” around the ball. So it became “Curl”.

Are you planning to release and design more alternate short piples like the succesful Spinpips series? How many new pimple rubbers are you going to release? My coach told me that TSP designs the best pips in the Euro/Japanese market.
Actually there are some new pimples out rubbers under development. I hope you can understand that any details are still classified. Our pimples out know-how has also been used for the two new VICTAS tension pips out rubbers VO>101 (horizontal pimple geometry – like Spectol) and VO>102 (vertical pimple geometry – like Super Spinpips).
Your coach is actually right . The fact that top pimples out players, who have contracts with other manufacturers, come to us for our pips out rubbers is the best prove.

How do you pronounce some Victas products, e.g. "V>01 Limber"?
There is no “rule” as such for the pronounciation of our products, but in Japan it is common to say “V zero ichi” which in English would be “V zero one” or “V o one”. The “>” mark is usually not pronounced.

TSP Blades:
I like TSP Besty blade very much. Does TSP think they did something special with this blade compared to others on the market? Did they produce some similar blades?
Besty is indeed a popular blade in Japan. The concept of this blade was to create a light carbon blade, which is very fast, but still offers good control. Due to the combination of flexible Aramid fibers and classic Carbon fibers, Besty has a slighly less stiff ball touch than classic Carbon blades. Similar blades are TSP Campione, Lepard and our classic, Hino-Carbon Power, or VICTAS Firefall AC, Quartet Speed.

Do you have many blades still made in Japan? In the latest TSP catalogue it can be seen only very few of the shakehand blades is made in Japan.
This a matter of production capacity and labor costs. It is true that only few shakehand models are Made in Japan. Since these are handmade, the production effort is immense. Our Japanese penholders are still produced in Japan. Nevertheless there is no reason to worry about quality, since our blades, which are - for example Made in China - are made outside of Japan, but Made “by” Japan. In other words the production process is managed and supervised by Japanese, wood material is sent from Japan and the quality control is also Japanese standard.

How are decisions made on when to discontinue a blade? It seems that quite a few are missing from the latest catalog, does this mean it's discontinued?
First of all, if a blade does not sell anymore it will be usually removed from the lineup. Another reason to discontinue a blade is, due to constant development and testing we come of with new products which are improved version of existing blades and eventually replace them under a new name.

General:
Do you have any plans to sponsor players directly in Australia? What would be the requirements of a player to get sponsored? Would they be required to only use TSP equipment?
We have a few Australian players, which we support with material (e.g Miao Miao). At the moment there are no concrete plans to directly sponsor players in Australia. There are no strict requirements for sponsoring, but to be considered as contract player candidate international ranking and potential for further development are important factors. We are also focusing on younger players, which we can support in their development.

Regarding the new plastic (poly) balls, does TSP have a design or source for new plastic TSP balls yet? Will you continue to make celluloid balls? Have they been tested with your current rubbers? Do you plan to design any rubbers specifically for the new balls?
Yes we have a prototype for the new plastic ball. Of course we testing a lot with it in order to find out everything about its characteristics, which might also lead to new rubbers, specifically designed for the new ball.
Until the celluloid ball is not forbidden I am sure there will still be a demand and therefore we will continue to produce celluloid balls.

You have a large range of defensive products, are you planning to make any new defensive products, like new pimples or new inverted for classic or modern defense?
Under our premium brand VICTAS, we have released the VS>401 rubber and two new Koji Matsushita blades (Defensive and Offensive). VS>401 is a slightly sticky rubber with a very hard sponge, developed by Koji Matsushita himself specifically for the requirements of modern choppers. The new Koji Matsushita Defensive offers more control than you can ever get for your defensive game, whereas the Koji Matsushita Offensive is designed for the aggressive chopper who wants to use any opportunity to surprise his opponents with counter attacks.
Since the game itself is steadily evolving and the new plastic ball will have an impact, we will always continue to develop products that satisfy the needs our players and customers.

Shiono was the first defender since many years to win a world tour tournament, using TSP Curl P4 0.5. Can you tell us more about him and his relation with Koji Matsushita and with TSP now and in the near future?
Of course we are happy that Masato has finally had his international breakthrough. He was known as a good player in Japan for many years we are also glad that he uses Curl P4. There is no special relation between Koji and him, except that both are choppers and both use P4. There is also no special relation between him and TSP at the moment, though this might change in the future.

To what extent is Shiono's win (and broader: the successes of other top defenders like Joo SaeHyuk using TSP) a commercial opportunity/boost for TSP?
It is good for the sport to have more top defenders, because it is always nice to watch strong choppers. Of course it has a good promotional effect for us as well, if the worlds best defenders use our products, but even without that, many defensive players already know about the quality of Curl. As we are already very present on the pimples out and long pimples segment, we want to grow in the other product categories.

---End of Interview--- Copyright OOAK - please do not copy without permission

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 Post subject: Re: Interview with TSP
PostPosted: 29 Aug 2013, 23:53 
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Great interview, very interesting to read! Thanks!

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PostPosted: 31 Aug 2013, 20:13 
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I don't know if anyone noticed it, but TSP said they will continue to produce celluloid balls until they're no longer legal. :o
I think that's great news, coz the last I heard, the major manufacturer had stopped making celluloid balls completely, which meant celluloid balls would simply no longer be available.

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PostPosted: 31 Aug 2013, 21:48 
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First of all, great interview! :up: Among other things now I finally know what happened to Muramatsu.

haggisv wrote:
I don't know if anyone noticed it, but TSP said they will continue to produce celluloid balls until they're no longer legal. :o
I think that's great news, coz the last I heard, the major manufacturer had stopped making celluloid balls completely, which meant celluloid balls would simply no longer be available.


"Until the celluloid ball is not forbidden I am sure there will still be a demand and therefore we will continue to produce celluloid balls."

You can read this as a fact he knows (i.e. I know there will be a demand) or as a belief (i.e. I'm convinced there'll be a demand, but I don't know for sure). It might be the latter interpretation. The production of celluloid balls is only a consequence of this fact/belief. Buit if there's no demand, there's no production of celluloid TT balls.


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2013, 14:11 
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broad. The most notable among the top defenders might be our contract player and Japans rising star Yuto Muramatsu (unfortunately he had to undergo an elbow surgery this spring and therefore could not take part in the WTTC in Paris) and Masato Shiono (US Open and Czech Open winner). There are also many former world class players among the TSP/VICTAS staff, e.g. Seiji Ono (Singles World C

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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2013, 03:28 
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Quote:
Masato Shiono (US Open and Czech Open winner)


Actually. Masato won the Japan Open and Czech Open. At the US Open, he lost to Primorac in the quarterfinals.


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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2013, 03:31 
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Quote:
coz the last I heard, the major manufacturer had stopped making celluloid balls completely


What major manufacturer? Where did you hear this?


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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2013, 03:33 
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larrythoman wrote:
Actually. Masato won the Japan Open and Czech Open. At the US Open, he lost to Primorac in the quarterfinals.


Thanks for clarifying. I read that and thought "did he win the US Open? I am sure I would of have heard about that"

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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2013, 08:37 
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larrythoman wrote:
Quote:
Masato Shiono (US Open and Czech Open winner)

Actually. Masato won the Japan Open and Czech Open. At the US Open, he lost to Primorac in the quarterfinals.

Thanks for clarifying Larry! :up:

larrythoman wrote:
Quote:
coz the last I heard, the major manufacturer had stopped making celluloid balls completely

What major manufacturer? Where did you hear this?

I wish I could remember :oops: It was about a year ago, and it was discussed here on this forum. Does anyone else remember?

PS It would be great if you can keep us up to date with the latest news and development with the new balls. You seem to have many sources and connections with good information! :up: :up: :up:

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PostPosted: 16 Sep 2013, 23:09 
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Quote:
It would be great if you can keep us up to date with the latest news and development with the new balls. You seem to have many sources and connections with good information!


Well, here's what I posted on the About.com TT forum last week:

Got an email from FIT updating me on the patent issue surrounding the poly ball. FIT hired an attorney to evaluate the poly ball patents worldwide and provide an opinion on whether FIT members would be subject to patent infringement lawsuits if they chose to produce non-celluloid balls.

It was the judgement of that attorney that indeed companies who produce, sell, or distribute non-celluloid balls in the countries protected by those patents--Europe, US, China, Japan, and possibly Korea if it approves the patent application--could be subject to "enormous legal disputes and litigation". Therefore, the attorney recommended that FIT members restrain from the sale of non-celluloid TT balls.

FIT will have meetings at the European Championships and World Cup to discuss the legal findings and what actions to take. But unless something happens pretty quickly to resolve this matter of patent infringement, my guess is that the ITTF will have no choice but to delay implementation beyond 7/1/14 as no manufacturer is going to take a chance on producing the new balls if they are likely to be subjected to patent infringement lawsuits as soon as they do.

The lawyer also stated there was an easy way to circumvent the patents if it was possible--simply include a small amount (he suggested 5%) of celluloid in the plastic formulation for the new balls. Whether that is possible or not, I haven't heard, and the lawyer's report does not address that possibility.

The report also said that a German Company--Weener Plastik GmbH--has challenged the European patent on grounds of insufficient disclosure, inadmissible extension beyond the content of the application as filed, lack of novelty, and lack of an inventive step. Such legal actions typically take several years to resolve, but in the lawyer's opinion, he believes that Weener will ultimately prevail.

Lastly, the lawyer contacted ITTF about his findings and to get a reaction to the problems noted therein. And--surprise, surprise--the ITTF has not responded.

Larry


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PostPosted: 16 Sep 2013, 23:23 
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And some more from About.com TT forum:

By the way, another recent development along this front was that I received a number of seamed non-celluloid balls from China to test out. Overall, I'd say they were much closer in performance to celluloid balls than the previously tested seamless balls. They were pretty similar in sound (didn't sound cracked), carried spin and speed better, and slow underspin didn't "stop" like the seamless non-celluloid balls I'd tested earlier.

On the other hand, many more were badly out of round. I recorded differences of the ball diameters measured at the "equator" versus at the "poles" of up to 0.49mm! 36% of the balls tested at differences of more than 0.25mm, 37% from 0.06 to 0.24mm difference, and only 26% that were 0.05mm difference or less.

Needless to say, most of the balls wobbled quite a bit. But the ones that did spin true, were very playable, IMO. A 2500 player who tried one out for a few minutes thought they were "soft", but I did not think that in my testing.

Also the surface of the ball felt significantly rougher than the surface of the seamless balls I'd tested previously. This may be responsible for the spin carrying better on these balls.

Also, what was the average diameter?

At the equator, 40.02mm. At the poles, 40.14mm. BTW, there were many with at least one diameter less than 40.0mm, which I believe would make them illegal under the new guidelines. The smallest diameter I recorded was 39.89mm and the largest, 40.54mm. Standard deviation at the equator was 0.04, at the poles, 0.20, and of the difference between the equator and poles, 0.18.

Looks like the sizes are about the same as the seamless balls

Actually I'd say they average about 0.20mm smaller. The seamless poly balls I had were pretty consistent in the range of 20.20 to 20.25 with only one outlier at 40.18 and one outlier at 20.28. And without a seam to designate the "equator", I didn't bother with diameter measurements along the "poles". My sense was that the seamless balls were out of round because of shell thickness with the outside diameters pretty consistent.

With these seamed balls, 90% of them had at least one diameter in the relatively narrow range of 39.95 to 40.05, which surprised me because that is really pushing the envelope as to the allowable minimum size. And while most of them had one diameter at about 40.0mm, there were many of them with the other diameter quite a bit bigger. This makes me think that the problem with the roundness of the seamed balls was this difference between diameters at the poles and equator instead of with the shell thickness.

My guess would be that the manufacturers will find it easier to resolve the roundness issues of the seamed ball than of the seamless ball.

Larry


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PostPosted: 16 Sep 2013, 23:24 
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Thank you very much larrythoman! :up: :up: :up: I've started a new topic on this in the ITTF watch section.

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