10 Greatest Table Tennis Players of All Time

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Table Tennis or Ping-pong is one of the most popular sports in the world now. However, who holds the title of being the greatest Table Tennis player of all time? Is he the current best player in ITTF World Ranking?

Let’s find out the answer to these questions in our 10 greatest Table Tennis players of all time. You will get to know how and what made them the best in the game.

10. Yoo Nam-Kyu

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Born: June 04, 1968
Origin: South Korea
Major Achievements: 4 Olympic medals

Yoo Nam-Kyu is a legend in a ping-pong with one gold medal in the 1988 summer Olympic. In the same Olympic, he also won the bronze medal in men’s double with Ahn Jae-Hyung. In 1996 Olympic achieved rare feat as he had won two bronze medals in 1988,1992, and 1996 Olympic consecutively.

He is popular among his fanbase for strong and offensive Shake hand grips. Currently, he is involved in a coaching career.

9. Xu Xin

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Born: January 8, 1990
Origin: China
Major Achievements: Current no. 1 ITTF rank holder; 17 World Tour Singles Title, 1 men’s team title in Olympic

Xu Xin has been the world no 1 player since February 2013, which is a record itself. He holds the pen grip technique to play table tennis, unlike most players in China.
He beat Ma Long three times, which is also a groundbreaking event.

His only failure came when he could not qualify for the Rio Olympic.

8. Chen Jing

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Born: September 20, 1968
Origin: China and Chinese Taipei
Major Achievements: One Gold, two silver, and one bronze medal in the Olympics.

She is the only table tennis player to have won Olympic medals for two different countries, China and Chinese Taipei. She earned her only Olympic gold for China in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Later, she went on to win two bronze for Chinese Taipei in 1998 and 2002 Olympic. She prefers using a backhand shake during her game.

7. Zoran Primorac

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Born: May 10, 1969
Origin: Croatia
Major achievements: Two-time World Cup winner and participated in 7 Olympic games.

He is definitely Croatia’s best table tennis player. Moreover, he is one of the most famous European players in the circuit.

In 1998, he achieved the no. 2 ranks in the ITTF world ranking. He is among the three players to take part in 7 consecutive Olympics since 1988. Although he didn’t win any Olympic medals, his trophy case is full of some great trophies of ping-pong.

He is currently an elected member of the ITTF Athletes Commission that speaks about his greatness.

6. Kong Linghui

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Born: October 18, 1975
Origin: China
Major Achievements: One double and one single gold medal in Olympics; one silver medal in double in Olympics.

Many consider him as the complete table tennis player ever in the circuit. With Liu Guoliang, he established one of the most formidable double teams in the history of the game.

He is the only player to achieve a career grand slam (Winner of Olympic, World Championship and World Cup). However, he tired as he failed to qualify for the quarters of 2004 Men’s Double. He is known for his European style of playing. Currently, he is the head coach of the National Chinese Women Team.

5. Liu Guoliang

Img source: chinadaily.com.cn

Born: January 10, 1976
Origin: China
Major Achievements: Two doubles gold medal, a silver and a bronze medal in Olympics.

Likewise, his table tennis partner Kong Linghui, he won the 4 Olympics medal. His greatest achievement came when he started coaching the Chinese Men’s National Team, only at the age of 27.

In fact, he is now considered as the greatest coach and player in ping-pong. Currently, he is the elected President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association.

4. Zhang Yining

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Born: October 5, 1981
Origin: China
Major Achievements: Four gold medals in Olympic

She is probably the most celebrated female table tennis player active at present. She bagged four Olympic gold medals and two gold medals in World Table Tennis Championship.

She uses the traditional Shakehand grip. Her most significant milestone came when she took the Olympics oath on behalf of all the competitors in 2008, Beijing Olympic.

3. Deng Yaping

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Born: February 6, 1973
Origin: China
Major Achievements: Four Olympic medals; 18 World Championships.

She is the most decorated table tennis player with 22 major medals and trophies. She won the Chinese National Championship when she was only 13. However, she was denied a position in the Olympic team initially. Later in 1992 and 1996 Olympic, she won four gold medals in singles and doubles category.

However, she retired at the age of 24 only. She has been voted as the most celebrated Chinese female athletes of the past century.

2. Jan-Ove Waldner

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Born: October 3, 1965
Origin: Sweden
Major Achievements: One men’s single gold and one silver medals; two golds in a single category in World Championships.

He is popularly known as the ‘Mozart of Table Tennis’ for his smoothness while playing. He is extremely popular in China, and the Chinese call him ‘ Evergreen Tree” for his perseverance and longevity in the circuit.

He is undoubtedly the greatest non-Chinese Table Tennis player of all time.

1. Ma Long

Img source: ittf.com

Born: October 20, 1988
Origin: China
Major Achievements: Won gold medals in Olympics; Only male player to win all the major titles in Table Tennis arena.

Ma Long was the ITTF no.1 player for 64 months, including a 35 unbeaten set. He has won all the possible national and international awards in Table Tennis. With over 50 major titles, he is unprecedentedly considered as the greatest among all table tennis players.

He is currently the Caption of the Chinese Men’s Table Tennis Team and is looking forward to achieving new heights.

Final Verdict

Selecting the top ten greatest tennis players is a controversial task. We had to look at their achievements, dedication, and contribution to the game. We might have mentioned ten players only.

However, the list would be an incomplete one if we don’t mention a few other names such as – Zhang Jike, Ichiro Ogimura, Wang Liqin, Wang Hao, and Wang Nan. If you are further interested in this topic, turn on PingPongPassion.com.