TOP 10 Best Table Tennis Players in the World (until 2020)

I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Read more

In this article, the greatest table tennis players of all time have up to 8 Chinese players. Also understandable because table tennis is the most popular sport in China.

Of the 11 players, Ma Long, Jan-Ove Waldner, Liu Guoliang, Kong Linghui, and Zhang Jike are five who have completed all the Grand Slams in their career. So we rank the highest

1.Ma Long

Ma Long & His Equipment
Ma Long & His Equipment

Born on October 20 in 1988, Ma Long is one of the five players to complete a career ‘Grand Slam’. His first championship in 2006 inspired him to become one of the most famous players in the history of table tennis. Arguably the best forehand attacker in table tennis history, Ma uses a close-range third-ball play to maneuver his opponents in most matches. At the dawn of his career, his approach was mostly forehand-oriented, dominating playstyle with sturdy forehand loops, with him using his backhand only for controlled returns to set up the forehand.

Ma Long Information

  • Native name: 马龙
  • Nickname: The Dictator, The Dragon
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Born: 20 October 1988
  • Playing-style: Right-handed, shakehand grip
  • Highest Ranking: #1
  • Height: 5 ft 9in
  • Weight: 159lbs

Ma Long Equipment

  • Blade: DHS Hurricane Long V
  • Forehand: DHS NEO Hurricane 3
  • Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 05

Read Ma Long Equipment reviews

Ma Long Highlights

Ma Long’s Titles

GamesTypeGold MedalYear
Olympic GamesSingle12016
Olympic GamesTeam22012, 2016
World ChampionshipsSingle32015, 2017, 2019
World ChampionshipsDouble22011, 2019
World ChampionshipsTeam72006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018
World CupSingle22012, 2015
World CupTeam62009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2018
Asian GamesSingle12010
Asian GamesDouble12014
Asian GamesTeam32006, 2010, 2014
Asian ChampionshipsSingle32009, 2011, 2013
Asian ChampionshipsDouble22007, 2009
Asian ChampionshipsMixed Double12009
Asian ChampionshipsTeam72005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017
Asian CupSingle42008, 2009, 2011, 2014
ITTF World Tour Grand FinalsSingle52008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016
ITTF World Tour Grand FinalsDouble12006
China National GamesSingle22013, 2017
China National GamesMixed Double12013
All China Table Tennis ChampionshipsSingle12011
All China Table Tennis ChampionshipsDouble22010, 2015
All China Table Tennis ChampionshipsMixed Double12012
All China Table Tennis ChampionshipsTeam32011, 2012, 2018
World Junior ChampionshipsSingle12004
World Junior ChampionshipsTeam22003, 2004
Asian Junior ChampionshipsSingle12004
Asian Junior ChampionshipsMixed Double12004
Asian Junior ChampionshipsTeam12004

2.Jan-Ove Waldner

Jan-Ove Waldner & His Equipment
Jan-Ove Waldner & His Equipment

Jan-Ove Waldner is one of the best table tennis players of all time, not only did he make a name for himself but also the name of table tennis around the world. He was born on October 3, 1965, in Stockholm, Sweden. At a very young age, he was potentially fit for playing sports. In 1982, he became one of the finalists in the European League, and his opponent was his team member, a left-handed player, ‘Mikael Appelgren’. After this fateful night, his career in table tennis began.

He played table tennis ever since the 1990s to his last match on February 11th, 2016 while playing in the Swedish first league for Ängby/Spårvägen and officially announced his retirement as a player.

What makes Jan so great at table tennis is his ability to serve properly. At the age of seven, he could quickly return 75 backhands without any mistakes. At nine, he possessed a good forehand loop. In a match, he could easily trick his opponents with many serves at different angles, types, or even force. Most pros said that he and the ball has a strong connection that no one else has. He can find the perfect shot, an ideal angle, the thousandth of a second when the ball hit the paddle, only in the next millisecond to leave the rubber with the speed of a catapult, heading towards his opponents’ side. His serves are the reasons why he is called a legend in table tennis.

Jan-Ove Waldner information

  • Full name: Jan-Ove Waldner
  • Nickname: 老瓦 (Lǎo Wǎ)
  • Nationality: Swedish
  • Born: 3 October 1965, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Playing-style: Shakehand grip
  • Highest Ranking: #1

Jan-Ove Waldner Equipment

  • Blade: DONIC Waldner Senso Carbon
  • Forehand: DONIC Jo Coppa Gold (black)
  • Backhand: DONIC Jo Coppa Platin (Red)

Read: Jan-Ove Waldner Equipment Reviews

Jan-Ove Waldner Highlights

Jan-Ove Waldner’s Titles

GamesTypeGold MedalYear
Olympic GamesSingle11992
World championshipsSingle21989, 1997
World championshipsTeam41989, 1991, 1993, 2000
World CupSingle11990
World CupTeam11990
European ChampionshipsSingle11996
European ChampionshipsDouble31986, 1998, 1996
European ChampionshipsTeam71986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002
Swedish ChampionshipsSingle81983, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 2006, 2010
Swedish ChampionshipsDouble61981, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1999

3.Liu Guoliang

Liu Guoliang & His Equipment
Liu Guoliang & His Equipment

Liu Guoliang is considered one of the greatest ping pong players of all time, the second man ever to achieve a grand slam of 3 major tournaments. He was born on January 10, 1976, in Xinxiang, Henan. He was very good at playing table tennis when he was a child. In 1991, Liu was first chosen for the Chinese national team, which led him to the professional table tennis. At that time, he was just 15. From 1991 to 2001, Liu was seen as one of the best table tennis players as he won many medals in this sport. However, he retired as a player after the 2001 season. Soon after his retirement, he became the youngest head coach of the Chinese men team when being appointed as the head coach of China National Men’s Team at the age of 27.

His special playing style is based on the use of short pimped-out rubber. Liu favors a penholder grip and is the forerunner of the backhand reverse topspin. His blade is Stiga Clipper, his forehand rubber is Stiga Clippa, and his reverse backhand rubber is Stiga Mendo Energy. During his time, he won over four medals in the Olympic, 2 of which are golds. Another gold and bronze in the World Cup, Liu has made himself the most decorated male table tennis in history.

Liu Guoliang Information:

  • Full name: Liu Guoliang
  • Nickname: Legend Liu
  • Nationality: China
  • Born: January 10, 1976, Xinxiang, Henan, China
  • Playing-style: Penhold grip
  • Highest Ranking: #1
  • Time prime: 1996 – 1999

Liu Guoliang Equipment

  • Blade: STIGA Clipper CR
  • Forehand: STIGA Clippa
  • Backhand: STIGA Mendo Energy

Read: Liu Guoliang Equipment Reviews

Liu Guoliang Highlights

Liu Guoliang titles ‘as player

1995World Table Tennis ChampionshipsChinese TeamGold
1996Summer OlympicsSingles, MenGold
1996Summer OlympicsDoubles, MenGold
1996Table Tennis World CupSingles, MenGold
1997World Doubles ChampionshipsDoubles, MenGold
1997World Table Tennis ChampionshipsChinese TeamGold
1999World Doubles ChampionshipsDoubles, MenGold
1999World Singles ChampionshipsSingles, MenGold
2000Summer OlympicsSingles, MenBronze
2000Summer OlympicsDoubles, MenSilver

4.Kong Linghui

Kong Linghui & His Equipment
Kong Linghui & His Equipment

Kong Linghui is considered one of the all-time greats of table tennis and has now taken up the position as Head Coach of China’s National Women’s Team. Kong Linghui is famous for his titles in the men’s doubles competition together with Liu Guoliang.

Kong Linghui Information:

  • Native name: 孔令辉
  • Nationality: China
  • Born: October 18, 1975, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China
  • Playing-style: Shakehand grip
  • Highest Ranking: #1

Kong Linghui Equipment

  • Blade:Butterfly Kong Linghui
  • Forehand: Butterfly Sriver FX
  • Backhand: Butterfly Bryce High Speed

Read: Kong Linghui Equipment Reviews

Kong Linghui Hightlights

Kong Linghui’s titles

1995World Table Tennis ChampionshipsSingles, MenGold
1995Table Tennis World CupSingles, MenGold
1996Summer OlympicsDoubles, MenGold
2000Summer OlympicsSingles, MenGold
2000Summer OlympicsDoubles, MenGold

All Partner Liu Guoliang’s in the doubles is Liu Guoliang

5.Zhang Jike

Zhang Jike & His Equipment
Zhang Jike & His Equipment

Zhang Jike Information:

  • Native name: 张继科
  • Nationality: China
  • Born: February 16, 1988, Qingdao, Shandong, China
  • Playing-style: Shakehand grip
  • Highest Ranking: #1

Zhang Jike Equipment

  • Blade: Butterfly Viscaria
  • Forehand: DHS Hurricane 3 NEO
  • Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 80 FX

Read: Zhang Jike Equipment Reviews

Zhang Jike Highlights

Zhang Jike’s Titles

Olympic Games

2016Rio de JaneiroSinglesSilver
2016Rio de JaneiroTeamGold

World Championships

2009YokohamaMixed DoublesSilver
2016Kuala LumpurTeamGold

World Cup


Asian Games


Asian Championships


6.Timo Boll

Timo Boll & His Equipment
Timo Boll & His Equipment

Timo Boll is a German player born on March 8 in 1981, who is currently playing for Borussia Düsseldorf. He is a left-handed player whose best weapon is his forehand topspin drive but is also noted for his rapid backhand loop. Boll’s technique was ahead of its time as he was one of the first two-winged loopers. He creates the spin-block instead of a passive block to put more pressure on his opponents.

He is seen as a hard-working and enthusiastic player who always spends time practicing and improving his skills. As a result, he won many medals in a variety of international competitions such as the World Cup, European Champion, and World Championship Single. With such achievements, Timo Boll is known for being one of the top players when it comes to generating elevate amounts of spin, especially in his opening topspin.

Timo Boll Information

  • Nationality: German
  • Born: 8 March 1981, Erbach, Hessen, West Germany
  • Playing-style: Left-handed, shakehand grip
  • Highest Ranking: #1
  • Height: 5ft 11in
  • Weight: 163 lbs

Timo Boll Equipment

  • Blade: Butterfly Timo Boll ALC
  • Forehand: Butterfly Dignics 09C
  • Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 05

Read: Timo Boll Equipment Reviews

Timo Boll Highlights

Timo Boll’s Titles

World CupSingle2-times2002, 2005
European ChampionSingle7-times2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2018
European ChampionTeam7-times2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2017, 2019
Europe Top-16Single7-times2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2018, 2020
European Super CupSingle3-times2007, 2008 and 2009
German ChampionshipSingle11-times1998, 2001–2007, 2009, 2015, 2017

7.Xu Xin

Xu Xin
Xu Xin

Xu Xin, born January 8, 1990, is a professional player from China. In 2013, he first reached the No. 1 position in the World Ranking after becoming the winner in the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals in December 2012. Since then, he has achieved many medals in many international competitions, making himself one of the best ping pong players of all time.

Xu Xin is a penhold grip player, following the footsteps of former champions such as Wang Hao and Ma Lin. His long arms and frame enable him to move quickly and reach his ball widely. His arms give him the ability to execute a graceful, unique forehand loop. He has also adopted the reverse penhold backhand grip (RPB), a recent development for China’s penholders, allowing a two-winged attack. He still uses a traditional penhold (Chinese) backhand to lob and push the ball with the forehand side of his racket.

Xu Xin Information:

  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Born: 8 January 1990, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China
  • Playing-style: left-handed, penhold grip
  • Highest Ranking: #1
  • Height: 5 ft 11 in
  • Weight: 165 lbs

Xu Xin Equipment

  • Blade: STIGA Dynasty Carbon Penhold
  • Forehand: DHS NEO Skyline TG 2
  • Backhand: DHS Hurricane 3 NEO

Read: Xu Xin Equipment Reviews

Xu Xin highlight

Xu Xin Titles

World CupSingle12013
World Team CupTeam62009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2018
World ChampionshipsDouble32011, 2015, 2017
World ChampionshipsMixed Double22015, 2019
World ChampionshipsTeam52010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018
ITTF World TourSingle182010 – 2020
ITTF World TourDouble282009 – 2019
ITTF World TourMixed Double62018 – 2019
ITTF World Tour Grand Finals ChampionSingle22012, 2013
Olympic GamesTeam12016
Asian GamesSingle12014
Asian GamesMixed Double12010
Asian GamesTeam22010, 2014
Asian ChampionshipsSingle12019
Asian ChampionshipsDouble22009, 2015
Asian ChampionshipsMixed Double22012, 2019
Asian ChampionshipsTeam62009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
Asian CupSingle42012, 2013, 2015, 2016

8.Wang Liqin

Wang Liqin & His Equipment
Wang Liqin & His Equipment

Wang Liqin was born in Shanghai, June 18, 1978. He is considered one of the greatest ping pong players in the world. He started his career in the 90s. During his time, he won 3 majors and ranked #1 by ITTF for 25 consecutive months., from September 2000 to September 2002. However, Liquin retired from 2013 from professional table tennis in 2013.

Wang Liqin uses the shake hand grip. He plays a forehand dominated style with the occasional backhand loop to open a topspin rally, combining with his above-average height allows additional leverage for acceleration and momentum, creating more powerful shots.

What makes him so special is not just his playstyle but how frequently he changed his paddles. He had used more than 10 different models of rackets, some of them for a long period of time.

Wang won the gold medal in doubles at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and the bronze medal in singles at the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens, Greece, as well as at the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wang won a gold medal in the team competition with Ma Lin and Wang Hao. For most of 2004–2006, he ranked as the world’s best table tennis player.

Wang Liqin Information:

  • Full name: Wang Liqin
  • Native name: 王励勤
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Born: June 18, 1978, Shanghai, China
  • Playing-style: Shakehand grip
  • Highest Ranking: #1
  • Height: 6 ft 1 in
  • Weight: 165.3 lbs

Wang Liqin Equipment

  • Blade: Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit
  • Forehand: DHS Hurricane King II
  • Backhand: NITTAKU Wang Liqin

Read: Wang Liqin Equipment Reviews

Wang Liqin Highlights

Wang Liqin Titles

GamesTypeGold MedalYear
Olympic GamesDouble12000
Olympic GamesTeam12008
World ChampionshipsSingle32001, 2005, 2007
World ChampionshipsDouble22001, 2003
World ChampionshipsMixed Double22005, 2007
World ChampionshipsTeam42001, 2004, 2006, 2008
World CupTeam32007, 2011, 2013
Asian GamesSingle11998
Asian GamesMixed Double11998
Asian GamesTeam21998, 2002

9.Ma Lin

Ma Lin
Ma Lin

Ma Lin is the only male player ever to win Olympic gold in Singles, Doubles, and Team. Additionally, he holds a professional era record of 5 major titles (4 World Cups and 1 Olympic Gold), having won more World Cups than any other male table tennis player in history.

Ma Lin Information:

  • Native name: 马琳
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Born: February 19, 1980, Shenyang, Liaoning, China
  • Playing-style: Chinese Penhold
  • Highest Ranking: #1
  • Height: 5 ft 7 in
  • Weight: 165 lbs

Ma Lin Equipment

  • Blade: YASAKA Ma Lin Extra Offensive Penhold
  • Forehand: DHS NEO Skyline 2 TG2
  • Backhand: Butterfly Bryce Speed FX

Read: Ma Lin Equipment Reviews

Ma Lin Titles

Olympic GamesSingle12008
Olympic GamesDouble12004
Olympic GamesTeam12008
World ChampionshipsDouble12007
World ChampionshipsMixed Double21999, 2003
World ChampionshipsTeam62001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012
World CupSingle42000, 2003, 2004, 2006
World CupTeam22007, 2011
Asian GamesMixed Double12006
Asian GamesTeam32002, 2006, 2010
Asian ChampionshipsDouble11998
Asian ChampionshipsMixed Double11996
Asian ChampionshipsTeam31998, 2000, 2007

10.Wang Hao

Wang Hao & His Equipment
Wang Hao & His Equipment

Wang Hao was ranked #1 on the official ITTF world rankings for 27 consecutive months, from October 2007 to December 2009. He is known to execute the Reverse Penhold Backhand (RPB) with exceptional skill.

During his career, he has appeared twelve times in major world competition finals, which is a record. In men’s singles, he has won the Asian Championship, Asian Cup, Asian Games, and Chinese National Games at least once.

Wang Hao retired from the national team by the end of 2014.

Wang Hao Information:

  • Native name: 王皓
  • Family name: Wang
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Born: December 15, 1983, Changchun, Jilin Province, China
  • Playing-style: Offensive Penholder
  • Highest Ranking: #1
  • Height: 5 ft 9 in
  • Weight: 154 lbs

Wang Hao Equipment

  • Blade: DHS Hurricane Hao 3 (N656)
  • Forehand: DHS Neo Skyline III Blue Sponge
  • Backhand: Butterfly Sriver top sheet on Bryce sponge

Wang Hao Highlights

Wang Hao Titles

GamesTypeGold MedalYear
Olympic GamesTeam22008, 2012
World ChampionshipsSingle12009
World ChampionshipsDouble22005, 2009
World ChampionshipsTeam52006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014
World CupSingle32007, 2008, 2010
World CupTeam42007, 2010, 2011, 2013
Asian ChampionshipsSingle22003, 2007
Asian ChampionshipsTeam32003, 2005, 2007
Asian CupSingle22005, 2006

That is the list of the greatest table tennis players in the world until 2020. They are considered Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic .. in table tennis.

Some young players currently show great potentials like Fan Zhendong or Tomokaz Harimoto

And you, who is your table tennis idol !!

5/5 - (2 votes)