The match pitted Tahl Leibovitz against Paul David. Leibovitz is a Paralympic Gold Medalist and the number 6 IPC player in the world; he is rated 2391 by the USATT, the independent US table tennis rating organization (higher is better). Paul David is a World Championship player who has been on the Guyana National Table Tennis Team since 1991, he was the 2012 Caribbean Bronze Medalist and is a top 50 player in the United States. David is currently rated 2437 by the USATT.
Despite Paul David being the superior player according to the USATT and using a sponge (soft rubber) paddle that retails for approximately $200, he was defeated by Leibovitz who used the standard Table Tennis Nation paddle. The Table Tennis Nation paddle features 9 layers of wood , 2 layers of carbon, and a 25% larger face. The paddle is designed to make the game easier for beginners and more exciting for pros. As Leibovitz helped prove, the paddle also helps players defeat expensive sponge paddles by eliminating the effect of the sponge’s spin.
Paul David was confident before the match saying that Leibovitz “couldn’t win with sponge, let alone sandpaper.” The crowd at SPiN also thought Paul David was the favorite as well, but the match turned early when it became clear that the sponge paddle’s biggest advantage, a tricky, unpredictable serve, was negated by the Table Tennis Nation paddle.
The match was played for a prize of $200 in conjunction with a tribute night to the late Marty Reisman, the most famous American table tennis player, and the designer of the Table Tennis Nation paddle. Reisman, whose career was famously derailed by the rise of the sponge paddle, was an adamant opponent of the soft rubber paddles and built the Table Tennis Nation paddle not only to make the game easier for beginners, but to help top players unseat the sponge paddle as the racket of choice. Reisman was planning the sponge vs. Table Tennis Nation challenge matches before he passed.
“We can think of no better tribute to Marty Reisman than to see sponge defeated by the Table Tennis Nation paddle he designed. This is proof that the sponge paddle is a flawed part of modern table tennis and players of all abilities need to look to an alternative like the Table Tennis Nation paddle,” said Cooper Fallek, Table Tennis Nation’s new President.
The Table Tennis Nation paddle has been a prominent part of the changing table tennis scene. The paddle was recently used as the basis for the paddle used by all players in January’s made-for-British TV World Championship of Ping Pong. The event’s promoters touted the longer rallies and more exciting points facilitated by the paddle’
Unlike the sponge paddles used by most top players, the Table Tennis Nation paddle does not require expensive maintenance of its rubber sheets and is available ready-to-play for $24.99 plus shipping from TableTennisNation.com.