The ten greatest male table tennis players of all time
Table tennis was first popularised in the early days of the 20th century in England. Since that time, it has grown to become a popular Olympic sport drawing competitors from all over the world. When it comes to indoor recreational sports, table tennis is an all-time favourite. Despite the fun that comes with playing table tennis, it is also very competitive. Like all sports, we obsess over athlete that capture our imagination with their skill. As a result, we will be sharing some of the greatest male table tennis players of all time.
While there have been many great players in the sport of table tennis, the athletes on this list have proven their worth without question. While debates will continue to endure as it is hard to judge different eras. However, we have managed to narrow down the list to Ten Greatest Players of All Time. In no particular order, they are;
10. Zoran Primorac
Zoran Primorac is one of the greatest table tennis players despite not winning any major championship. However, he is the joint record holder alongside Segun Teriola, Jorgen Persson and Jean-Michel Saive for the most Olympic appearance in table tennis. Appearing a record 7 times right from the introduction of table tennis as an official sport in the Olympic games in 1988. Regarded as the best table tennis player from Croatia, the European has managed to win silver medals with his partner Ilija Lupulesku in the World Champion Doubles Competition and the 1988 summer Olympics. He also won a bronze medal in the 1993 World Championship competition. Before, he retired he attain the 2nd ranked position on the ITTF ratings in 1998. While he never won any major competition, there is no denying his skills as one of the best players to ever play the game of table tennis.
9. Wang Liqin
Wang Liqin was born on the 18th of June, 1978, in Shanghai, China. He is a force to be reckoned with in the world of table tennis. Using his phenomenal Shakehand grip, Wang Liqin was ranked the number table tennis player by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) between 2004 and 2006. His reign is the second-longest streak as number one in the rankings, reigning for roughly 25 months.
Liqin is a three-time World Champion. He also won gold medals in doubles at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the 2004 Athens Olympics. Likewise, he received a bronze medal in the singles competition of the Athen Olympics.
Some people credit Wang’s 6-1 height as the reason for his powerful forehand due to the advantage he gets when accelerating on his shots. Nevertheless, the legend who started playing table tennis at the age of 6 as cemented his legacy as one of the greatest in the sport.
8. Liu Guoliang
Liu Guoliang is the second player to achieve a career grand slam by winning 3 majors in the world of table tennis. He has won an Olympic Gold medal, World Cup, and World Championships. Liu was born in Xinxiang, Jenna, China on January 10, 1976. Retiring at the age of 27 to settle into the position of coaching the current Chinese Table Tennis Team. Liu Guoliang is widely considered as the forerunner of the backhand reverse topspin. Despite retiring a bit young, he was spectacular to watch in his active days
7. Ichiro Ogimura
Prior to his death in 1994 due to lung cancer, Ichiro Ogimura represented Japan in all his World Championships. After winning the All-Japan National Championships, we went ahead to win World championships as well. Winning a total of 12 titles before he retired including two singles title in both 1954 and 1956. At the time of his retirement, he coached in the US, China, and Sweden. After his death, the ITTF inducted him into the Wall of Fame in 1997.
6. Jan-Ove Waldner
In a sport dominated by Asians, Jan-Ove Waldner can be considered as the greatest non-Asian player of all time. The Swedish national is one of the oldest champions in the sport of table tennis. He earned the nickname "Evergreen Tree" for his long and active career. He is a living legend as he competes with young players trained by his old opponents.
He was one of the first players to play in the first-ever held table tennis competition at the Olympics. He won gold and silver medals in 1992 and 2000 respectively. He received a total of 11 world championships medals.
In a strange turn of events, In 2010, Waldner won his 9th Swedish title against an opponent who was born on the day he won his first Swedish title.
5. Zhang Jike
Zhang Jike is a spectacular table tennis player and holds the record for the fastest player to win a grand slam. He was able to do it in 445 days and was close to winning it again. In 2016, Zhang and Ma Lin were the only players to have 5 major titles to their name. When it comes to titles, Zhang has 6 Pro Tour titles, Olympic Gold and Silver medals, WTTC titles and the World Cup. He continues to captivate fans of the sport with his mental toughness.
4. Xu Xin
Xu Xin is a 17-time winner of the World Tour Singles Tournament and has won the World Championships in men's doubles 3 times, mixed doubles 2 times, and fives times in the team event. He first got to world number 1 in 2013 on the ITTF rankings and been at the top spot on many occasions to this date 2020. He uses pen grip styles following after championship legends like Wang Hao and Ma Lin.
Xu Xin won the Asian Cup four times in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. He was also the back to back winner of the World Tour Finals In 2012 and 2013 Also, he is the only person to defeat Ma Long, the World Champion three times..
3. Kong LingHui
Kong Linghui plays the game of table tennis two European legends namely Jorgen Persson and Jan-Ove Waldner. He is often described as the most complete table tennis player. He has two Olympic Gold medals and a Silver medal.
He won his first Gold medal and Silver medal alongside Lui Guoliang in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics respectively. He won the other gold in the Singles Category in the 2000 Olympics. He is retired and currently the head coach for the Chinese Female Table Tennis Team.
2. Wang Hao
Wang Hao defeated the 3-time world champion Wang Liqin to become a world champion in May 2009, in Japan.
Born in China on December 15, 1983. He has won 5 Olympics medal which includes 2 gold medals and three silver medals.
In 2009, teaming up with Chen Qi, they won the men's doubles and he also won the men singles at the World Table Tennis Championships.
He also won the title in men's team event in 2010 at the World Table Tennis championships.
1. Ma Long
Ma Long, nicknamed "ITTF Pro Tour King" because of his record winning streak of 35 sets in a row. He also owns the record of winning five ITTF Finals Pro Tour Tournament and World Champion 3 times in a row 2015,17,19.
Long, who was born on the 20th of October, 1988 won the Rio Olympics. Furthermore, he is the longest number one ITTF ranking player with 58 months streak. A two-time World Cup winner, Ma won the 2010 Asian games and he is also a 28-time winner of ITTF World Tour.
The fifth to accomplish a grand slam, he has won all single titles present in table tennis tournaments. Ma Long is considered by many as the greatest table tennis player of all time.
If you enjoyed this list, kindly leave a comment on which legend you think should be on the list. Also, if you like the shirts the Chinese players are wearing in the pictures above most are available click here with free shipping worldwide.