Table tennis is a game that is popular all over the world. There are a ton of professional table tennis players that dedicate most of their time to building their skills and abilities. But who is currently the best? Here’s our list of who we think the best players are and why.
#1 Ma Long
Ma Long is considered by many people in the table tennis industry to be the best table tennis player today. He is the fifth male in the world to complete the grand slam (Olympics, World Championships, and World Cup wins) and has held the ITTF #1 ranking for a total of 58 months. However, he is currently ranked at 11th place and it has pissed off a whole lot of people in the table tennis community.
In 2018, the ITTF ranking system was changed and has caused a ton of disputes between people in table tennis society. To a lot of people no and days they find this new ranking system irrelevant and lacking consideration of the players abilities.
Ma’s current low ranking could also be because of an injury he recently sustained that put him out of play for a total of 6 months. Regardless of his ranking today he has had the highest winning percentage of all time and has won the most titles in the ITTF world cup.
#2 Zhang Jike
Zhang has earned the grand slam faster than any other table tennis player in the world. He managed to get a gold metal, win the World Championships, and the World Cup all within 445 days. He’s currently working on his 2nd grand slam.
Over recent years his motivation for the game has slipped quite a bit and he’s even considering retirement. His fans think he’s getting too used to the celebrity lifestyle and often makes appearances on popular TV shows rather than focus on the sport.
Most people find him arrogant and think that this is the main reason he has not been able to surpass the most popular Ma Long. His arrogance has however made him a very graceful player when under pressure which is something that Ma Long struggles with himself.
#3 Jan-Ove Waldner
Jan-Ove Waldner is one of the oldest professional table tennis players that is still at it today and going strong. He’s the most popular non-Chinese player in the world and has been playing long before table tennis was even an Olympic sport.
Waldner was the first table tennis player to ever earn a grand slam. He has earned himself a total of 11 World Championships and in 1996 became a triple gold medalist in the European World Championships.
Today, Waldner is no longer playing in elite tournaments but is still very much respected by all other table tennis players and people in the industry. Being 52 he’s won against players who’ve been trained by his previous opponents without breaking a sweat.
#4 Fan Zhendong
Fan Zhendong is currently ranked #1 in the ITTF championship. He is still one of the youngest table tennis players that have made it big in such a short amount of time. His reputation for his attack style started when he was playing in the ITTF junior league.
Even though he is in this list of top 5 players he hasn’t had the opportunity to get himself a grand slam quite yet but he is working on it. Every competitor that has had the opportunity to play against Fan can definitely agree that he will one day make this accomplishment.
He is often compared to Ma Long because they have such a similar attack style. He’s also compared to the very popular Zhang Jike in the way he moves confidently. Fan will not have any trouble continuing to move up in his ranks.
#5 Liu Guoliang
Liu Guoliang is the second table tennis player to achieve a grand slam and is also started coaching at the youngest age. His table tennis career started when Liu was 15 and had been accepted into the Chinese national team where he won a lot of his first Olympic gold medals.
However, after earning his grand slam he soon quite playing in professional tournaments and became a table tennis coach at the age of 27. Since then he has been elected to be the president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association.
Who Are the Top Ranked Women Table Tennis Players?
The current top 5 women ranked in the ITTF championship are all mostly Chinese. #1 Ding Ning (China), #2 Zhu Yuling (China), #3 Kasumi Ishikawa (Japan), #4 Chen Meng (China), and #5 Liu Shiwen (China).
Which Country is Best at Table Tennis?
Arguably, China has earned the most gold medals in table tennis than any other country and they are always the highest ranked players in the ITTF championships. There have been single players from different countries that have accomplished more than players that are playing today.