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Articles: Table tennis

Table tennis

Table tennis, or ping pong, is a sport played by two or four players. They hit a small ball with a paddle on a special table with a net in the middle. They attempt to play the ball in such a way that the opponent is unable to return it, scoring a point. A game is won by the player who first scores 11 points with a 2-point margin. Players serve twice in a row, then switch. So the game is very fast and exiting.

China and Japan are mentioned as countries where this game appeared in the most primitive form. However, the first rules and the competitions were composed in England in period 1899-1904. First tournament was played in London Royal Aquarium.

There are somewhat 300 million table tennis players around the world (fun players, club players, and of course professional table tennis players.) Chinese players are currently in majority and they are the most dominant. Table tennis tournaments are really numerous, the most important international tournaments are African Championships, European Championships, Asian Championships, North-American Championships and Latin American Championships, and of course, World Championships and Olympics.

A game of table tennis

Table tennis is usually played indoors on a dedicated table. A net is spread in the middle of the table, and all players have paddles with which they hit the ball. Playing clothes normally consists of a short-sleeved shirt and skirt or shorts, socks, and playing shoes. The players are usually in the clothes of the same colour, but never white and only socks and trainers can be different colour from clothes. White clothes are not allowed as the ball is white and it would be very difficult to see it. On the back of the shirts, players have numbers, names or signs which represent their club or country.

The table is rectangular and the dimensions are 274cm by 152,5cm. 76cm high. The room must be minimum 7m by 14m. The surface is a dark color and has no reflections on it. The table can be made of any material, but it’s usually made of a thick wood.

How a table tennis match begins

The choice of playing position at the table and order of service are determined by the toss of a coin. If the winner of the toss prefers to have first choice of playing positions, the opponent then has the choice of whether to serve first or receive first, and vice-versa.

Players hold the racket at an open angle - as if they were going to play a backhand push - and with their free hand hold the ball between their thumb and first finger at a height of around 30cm (12 inches) directly above the racket. Without moving their racket, they drop the ball onto it so that the ball is projected towards your opponent's side of the table. The ball must first bounce on server’s side of the table and then go over the net and bounce on your opponent's side of the table.

The main rules of the game

The ball, having been served or returned, should be struck so that it passes over or around the net assembly and touches the opponent's court, either directly or after touching the net assembly.

A competition match is usually played to two or three sets 11 points each. Pauses between the sets are one minute long. Between the third and fourth set the pause can be five minutes long, if the players ask for it. Players switch places after each set.

Players switch serving after 2 points, regardless of winning or losing those points. So players have to pay a lot of attention to the serves. Referees say the result as soon as the ball is out of the game, or at the end of each played point. Play may be interrupted to correct an error in the order of serving or to warn and penalize a player.

A table tennis game is officiated either by the two players playing in the game, or an official referee may be designated. The players or referee must confirm that all rules of table tennis are followed, including regulations regarding the table, racket, play, and scoring.

Rules of table tennis are governed by the International Table Tennis Federation and USA Table Tennis organizations.

Basic strategy and tactics playing tennis

The aim of the game is simple - to keep the ball in play longer than your opponent. A point is scored if one player hits the table tennis ball legally and his opponent either fails to return the ball legally or it strikes the returner's side of the table twice. A point is also scored if a player serves the ball illegally. A "redo" is not permitted.

There are various table tennis tactics, but these six are the most useful: 1) Play on your opponent's weaknesses 2) Play consistently and don't make unforced errors 3) Move your opponent around the table 4) Vary your strokes 5) Vary the speed, spin and direction of your strokes 6) Play to your own strengths

Competing in table tennis

Table tennis competitions are popular in Asia and Europe and they are gaining attention in the United States. The most important international competitions are the World Table Tennis Championships, the Table Tennis World Cup and the Olympics. Continental competitions include the Europe Top 12, European Championships, the Asian Championships and the Asian Games.

There is an annual ITTF World Tour, formerly known as the Pro Tour, with around 15 tournaments held each year and Grand Finals at the end. Recently a series of rule and format changes have made matches more appealing to television audiences. The increased exposure has brought demand for betting markets and the betting aspect of the sport is the topic of this article.

Betting on table tennis

Table tennis only appears on most people’s radar during the Olympics. It’s usually received very well however, with the frenetic speed of the game making for an enthralling spectacle. Betting options for able tennis matches are fairly limited.