Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world

Table Tennis

Table Tennis is a sport played on a table either in a single or doubles format. The sport, which originated in England, is currently played by almost all countries around the world. The Chinese have dominated the sport for the last two decades.

Table Tennis is played on a rectangular table with a net in the middle that splits the table into two halves. Each half has a vertical marker line in the middle that splits the half into two boxes. The sport is played with a racket (also called a bat or paddle) and a lightweight plastic ball.

A play starts with a serve. Serves are required to land on the diagonally opposite box on the other side. All subsequent shots are allowed to bounce anywhere on the opponents side of the table. Serves are the only shots that are allowed to bounce once on the player's own side of the table. All other shots have to directly fall on the opponents side. Each player alternatively gets to serves two times, irrespective of which player gets the point off of a serve. Points are awarded to a player when an opponent is unable to return the ball back on to a player's half of the table.

Table tennis matches are played in best of seven sets format, where a player who first wins four sets, wins the match. Each set is played for 21 points, and the has to be won with a two point differential. If a player reaches 21 without a two point differential the match continues until one player get a two point lead.

ITTF, the highest governing body for the sport, conducts several major tournaments around the world. Table tennis is also played in the Olympics.

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