The hooking sidespin loop had its heyday in the early 1970s, with the rise of Hungary’s Istvan Jonyer, the 1975 World Men’s Singles Champion. Jonyer looped with a straight arm, and would often contact the ball on the far side, hooking the ball to the left (he’s a righty) with incredible sidespin. Often his racket tip would point straight down at contact, giving him essentially 100% sidespin. When players went to his forehand side, often he would loop around the net, with the ball barely rising above table level, and mostly rolling when it hit the far side – nearly unreturnable. Primarily because of Jonyer, the rules were changed, requiring the net to project six inches outwards. This makes around-the-net loops rare, though top players still do this shot sometimes from the very wide forehand.
If you want to play table tennis at a high level, you really should learn to loop any deep backspin ball. There are, of course, exceptions, but they are few (such as choppers and some blockers). On the forehand side, where you have a big hitting zone, you should never really need to push against a long backspin. Think of this as a given – deep backspin to your forehand means you forehand loop. Don’t even think about it, just do it.
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