Okay, it’s professional table tennis and it’s a fast growing, fast moving sport.
While it seems simple, hit the ball over the net, there are many subtle tricks and tactics involved in playing professionally.
We’ll get into that later in the article. Moving to the top of the ranks requires stamina, diligence, practice and determination.
Top ranked women’s player, Zhu Yuling, reportedly practices at least 9 hours per day!
To reach the top a player must constantly improve timing, reaction times, ball control and, most importantly, self-control.
Like any great athlete, the top table tennis players pay close attentionto their diets and habits in order to ensure top performance on game days.
Top Ranked Players
The top ranked men’s table tennis player today is Fan Zhengdong from China. The top ranked women’s player, also from China, is Zhu Yuling. These players often jump from one spot to another – the competition is stiff – so it’s good to know that top 2 or 3 players. The 2nd ranked players are Xu Xin for the men’s and Ding Ning for the women’s categories.
Like all rankings in all sports, the numbers change but as of September, 2018, these are the top-ranking players in the world according to the International Table Tennis Federation. You can see the current rankings here: https://www.ittf.com/rankings/
All of these players are having extraordinary careers and work very hard to be at the top of their game.
This 21-year-old, lightning quick powerhouse first rocked the Table Tennis world at 16, when he conquered the competition at the ITTF World Tour in Poland and Germany, beating out older and more experienced players with his aggressive style. He was the youngest player to join the Chinese Table Tennis Team, at 15, and the youngest to win those ITTF matches.
2015 was his first big year, winning the men’s singles category in the Asian Table Tennis Championships as well as the ITTF World Tour games in Poland and Sweden. In 2016 he won his first Table Tennis World Cup (Men’s Singles) in Saarbruken, Germany.
Fan plays aggressively and use a “Shakehand” hold. He’s right handed and sponsored by Stiga. His paddle is a Stiga Infinity VPS V bladed beauty. It has black DHS Hurricane 3 neo National Blue Sponge for forehand pounding and red Tenergy 05 for blistering backhand attacks.
He’s been lovingly nicknamed “Little Fatty” because of his stout stature. His footwork and fast hands have helped him to stay in the top rankings for his entire career. He’s a fearless player with sharp focus and a battle tested technique.
Born January 10th, 1995, Zhu Yuling has literally pounded her way to the top. She began playing table tennis at 5 years old. She and her mother moved when she was 9 so that she could improve her play and by 12 she was part of a semi-pro “provincial” team in China. She made the national team at 15, just like Fan Zhengdong.
She’s won the girls’ singles category of the World Junior Table Tennis Championships twice, was a semi-finalist, at the age of 18, at the World Table Tennis Championships, a reserve player for the Chinese Olympic team in 2016 and grabbed the number one ranking in 2017, then slid back, then recaptured it again in July of 2018.
Zhu Yuling agro style is called “Shake Attack”. She uses a Carbanodo 45 paddle with Neo Hurricane 3 forehand rubber and Rozena backhand rubber. Her focus and speed are exceptional. She’s top-ranking for a reason. If you haven’t yet, you should see her play!
Xu Xin is one of the few Chinese players who use the penhold grip. Recently, he’s even adopted a “reverse penhold” backhand grip. He’s a renowned doubles player and has won 3 men’s singles titles.
If he wins a fourth he will set a new record!
Xu Xin is known for his antics on the floor and for his long arms and fancy footwork.
Many people see his main strengths as his forehand loops and the sheer variety of shots that he can throw at an opponent. His ability to be simultaneouslyplayful and competent has given rise to the nickname, “The Showman”.
Xu Xin is a Stiga sponsored player. He uses a Stiga Intensity NCT blade, a custom made, red DHS Hurricane 3 Neo rubber for backhand and DHS Neo Skyline 2 with blue sponge, black rubber, for his forehand.
Breaking News! As of October 1, 2018, Ding Ning has jumped ahead on the top ranked list and now sits in 2nd place just behind Zhu Yuling. Ding Ning is on her way to the top. This is a great time to start following table tennis!
She has won gold in the 2016 Olympics and 3 World Champion titles in women’s singles, making her tied with Xu Xin in that respect. She’s truly a table tennis master.
Follow her progress in the International Table Tennis Federation page as she climbs her way to the top!