What Is Table Tennis? This. Is. Table. Tennis.
February 6, 2019
It’s the game that everybody thinks they’re good at. Admit it, you and your mate pick up a paddle and you always tell them ‘I’m actually pretty decent at this.’ There is no just reason for you to say so, but don’t worry, we are all in the same boat. Yes, I am talking about the global phenomenon of table tennis.
The phrase ‘global phenomenon’ is certainly justified, as table tennis is the most popular racquet sport on the planet. Yes, even ahead of regular tennis! This is predominantly because of the game’s easy accessibility and simple rule format. Played in schools, gym halls, homes and, of course, the Olympics, you can find and play the sport anywhere you desire. You will also be pleased to hear about all the table tennis betting odds on offer – find the bookmakers offering the best markets here.
So, why am I also not referring to the sport through its other popular name of ‘ping pong’? Well this name is actually trademarked and owned by Escalade Sports. British manufacturers Jaques & Son used ping pong to advertise their playing equipment back in 1901, with the name still being used by players today.
Table Tennis Rules and Gameplay
Table tennis is exactly what it says on the tin – it’s tennis on a table! The basic rules and gameplay are very straightforward to follow, with this being an influential factor behind the sport’s popularity, particularly with younger players.
Played on a table that is 274cm long and 152cm wide, table tennis is played with a paddle and ball in either a 1v1 or 2v2 player format. Each player alternates after every two serves to start the game, with the objective being the first to reach three sets. If it is a 2v2 game, the serve must enter the opponent’s square diagonally opposite on the table.
Just like ordinary tennis, scoring points is done via your opponent failing to return the ball back over the 15cm net, which is found in the centre of the table. The ball must hit the table before returning and it is the first to 11 points (have to be two points clear) to claim the set. These rules virtually stay identical whether it be a 1v1 or 2v2 game taking place – the only difference is that in a 2v2 game, partners must alternate when it comes to returning the ball throughout.
Unsurprisingly, table tennis games tend to be of a very high pace and at the highest level, players require a quality standard of finesse and skill. The sport often goes viral online, with spectators becoming bewildered at the high-speed returning power and shots in rallies between players. YouTube ‘Michael Maze vs Zoran Primorace 2008’ and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Where Did Table Tennis Originate?
There is some debate regarding table tennis’s initial origination, but it first gained popularity amongst the British upper class near the end of the 19th century. The term ‘ping pong’ first came about via Jaques & Son, who sold a collective set of equipment under this name in 1901. The copyright of the name was then bought by the Parker Brothers and the sport’s participation numbers began to steadily grow.
Soon, official associations developed and in 1926, the first ever World Championships were held in London. The game was often played by soldiers around the world in the Chinese Civil War and then by Soviet forces in Russia. Given the limited resources and facilities required for the game, table tennis established itself as a convenient sport for the average player. By 1988, table tennis became part of the Olympic Game’s sport programme.
Where Is Table Tennis Most Popular?
Table tennis is most popular in China, South Korea and Sweden. In terms of professional level, it is the former that have experienced the most success in the sport’s history. With 28 gold medals, it is China who stand tall above the rest as the game’s rulers. Both Wang Nan and Deng Yaping boast four gold meals apiece, and the nation continue to produce some of the sport’s finest ever players. If you are betting on the game, expect China to be made the outright favourites amongst the table tennis betting odds.
The sport is undoubtedly popular in Asia as a whole, with South Korea also discovering the sweet taste of success at the games in 1988 and 2004. Ryu Seung-min’s journey to gold in 2004 was certainly one for the history books, as he defeated one of the top-seeded players in Wang Hao to reach the top podium spot. Momentarily, South Korea momentarily stepped out of China’s shadow and became just the second Asian country to bring home a gold medal.
Despite China’s dominance in the sport, no other country has done more for table tennis than Sweden. As the home to the STIGA (one of the leading table tennis companies), Sweden distribute equipment all over the globe and their population is just as passionate as any other, when the stars take their paddles to the table. No country in the world will be able to topple China from the rankings, but Sweden continue to be just as influential as their fellow counterparts in helping table tennis grow on a global scale.
Table Tennis Betting Odds
Despite its popularity worldwide, the professional level of table tennis has failed to break into the mainstream media, particularly when it comes to Western Europe. However, you may be surprised to hear that table tennis betting tends to be a popular market with viewers.
Games are fast paced and the action is certainly exhilarating – why not join in with the action? Here at Betting Circle, we provide information on bookmakers who offer all the best table tennis betting odds. There are plenty of prices on the table to have a look at, it really is on like ping pong.
Find all your table tennis betting odds here
As an experienced sports writer, Josh has been published across various different platforms, writing about his beloved club Manchester United and other footballing topics. He also covers a range of other sports, specialising in UFC and Formula One.