Greatest ping pong players of all time

Table Tennis, also known as Ping Pong is a very popular game and has a massive sports scene. Mainly dominated by Asian players, this is a sport that requires fast reaction speed, dedication, hard-working ethics, and many more. Because of this, the competition to be called the best is very high and only a few individuals have stood out from the rest by claiming the top pedestal in the world of competitive table tennis. 

In this article, we will be taking a look at a few of the greats of table tennis, and seeing what makes them stand out from the rest. These are the players who have been considered the best in the world at some point in their careers and have managed to win the highest accolades in the sport of table tennis.

Ma Lin

Ma Lin started to play table tennis when he was 5 years old, and this is something that many world’s best tennis players share. Lins’s career started when he was invited to join the provincial team when he was 10 years old, and by the time he was 14 Ma Lin was already part of China’s national table tennis team. 

What makes Ma Lin so special is the numerous records that he holds. He is the only player who won the Olympic gold medals in singles, and doubles, and as part of team China. He is also a player who has won the most World Cups, winning 4 World Cup titles in the singles category. Ma Lin retired in 2013 and has taken up a coaching mantle. 

Wang Liqin

When talking about young proteges, Wang Liqin always comes to mind, when looking at table tennis. He started playing table tennis competitively at the age of 6, and by the age of 15, he was part of the Chinese national table tennis team. Liqin used to be ranked the World No.1 for 25 consecutive months, which is the second-longest streak in table tennis history.

When it comes to titles, Liqin has won 3 world championships. He won his first World Championship in 2001 and added two more titles in 2005 and 2007. He also holds two Olympic gold medals, in doubles and team competitions. Liqin retired in 2013 and went to coach the Shanghai team in the Chinese super league.

Zhang Jike

Having won all possible major titles in table tennis, Zhang Jike is one for history. Born and raised in China, Zhang started playing tennis when he was just 4 years old, under his fathers’ guidance, who was a table tennis coach. Zhang has retired from competitive table tennis, but he still remains the player who won the table tennis grand slam the fastest. 

His grand slam run began in 2011 when he won WTTC, which was followed by the World Cup title the same year, and he completed his grand slam when he won a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Zhang was a generational talent, but in the later stages of his career, he started to drop off due to a lack of concentration and motivation. He was also one of the most famous tennis players to place bets on, and when table tennis betting with cryptocurrencies became available, a lot of Chinese viewers were betting on Jikes games. 

Jan-Ove Waldner

Jan-Ove Waldner is considered the best non-Chinese table tennis player ever. Born and raised in Sweden, Waldner started playing table tennis when he was 16 years old, and soon after he was traveling the world and competed in top table tennis tournaments. To this day, Waldner remains the only non-Asian player to have ever won an Olympic gold medal in table tennis.

He is a two times world champion in singles and has 4 world championships team gold medals. But what made Waldner stand out the most is that he was the first player to win a table tennis grand slam ( World Championships, World Cup, Olympics), a feat only repeated by 4 other players ever since. He is undoubtedly one of the best table tennis players in history, and the best non-Asian table tennis player ever.

Ma Long

Widely considered the best table tennis player in history, Ma Long most certainly has had unbelievable success in this sport. Current Olympic medalist Long is the only player in history to have won the Double Grand Slam, by winning each of the three major titles at least two times. Including singles, doubles, and teams, Long has managed to win over 70 gold medals in his career at the biggest table tennis tournament in the world. 

Ma Long also holds the record for having held the World No.1 rank for 64 consecutive months, that’s more than 5 consecutive years of being the best in the world. He is also the first player in table tennis history to win every single tournament that there is to win. With these kinds of statistics, it should not be surprising why Ma Long is considered the best tennis player in history. 

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