Table tennis, alternatively known as ping pong is undoubtedly the most popular indoor table game. Super easy to play with simple rules and regulations, this game has a lot of fans. While table tennis can be easy to pick up, not everyone can master all the tips and tricks of this fun game.
But a few people manage to stand out and shine as the best table tennis players. These players dedicate their lives to the sport, in exchange for the success they receive. In this post, we aim to briefly peek into the lives of these table tennis stars and try to understand what it takes to get to that level.
Of Swedish origin, Waldner is a former table tennis player and champion. Extremely popular in China, a country which is ruled by table tennis, Waldner is often referred to as the Mozart of table tennis, as an ode to his genius skills. Waldner is known for being very competitive and consistent in his play
. Born in 1965 in Stockholm, Sweden, his inclination towards table tennis was noticed at the young age of sixteen when he qualified for the European Championships. He later went to China with other table tennis professionals from Sweden. This move happened because he was extremely fascinated by the dedication and commitment the Chinese showed towards the game.
He has stated over and over that he became what he is because of his learning experiences in China while playing with Chinese table tennis professionals. Waldner also received the Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal in 1992, which is a very great honor in the world of table tennis and qualifies his to be a part of this list of the best table tennis players of all time.
Zhang Jike is one of the best table tennis players in my opinion because he was able to change his ranking from 168th to 76 in just a matter of 3 games. That kind of ranking improvement is highly admirable.
Born in 1988 in China, Zhang is quite young compared to his competitors. He was the fourth male table tennis player in the history of the sport to achieve a career Grand Slam. He won a gold in the men’s singles games at the 2012 London Olympics.
He did the unthinkable by getting the Grand Slam in just a matter of 445 days. Note that most players take up their entire sporting career to get that kind of a track record. Zhang has openly stated that he looks forward to competing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well. Born in Qingdao, Shandong, Zhang was coached by his father, who claims that the first time Zhang ever played table tennis was at the age of four.
Born in the same year as Zhang Jike (1988), Ma is the current table tennis World Champion and has a ranking of second in the world, according to the International Table Tennis Federation. Prior to that, he was the 1st ranking table tennis player for 64 months, the longest any male player has ever been able to maintain that ranking. He is also the record holder for winning 5 World Tour Tournaments held by the International Table Tennis Federation in a row, with a winning streak of 35 sets.
He also is the first male table tennis player to win every singles title in the sport of table tennis. It would be a gross misjudgment not to add Ma Long to this list of best table tennis players in the world.
These three inspirational players have come on top and stood out, thanks to their will to dedicate their lives to this amazing sport. Table tennis is governed by the International Table Tennis Federation. The ITTF currently has 220 member countries and constantly hosts tournaments to identify the best table tennis players periodically.