- From the history of the game 5. Countries good at table tennis
- The first tennis competitions 6. Table tennis equipment
- The rules of table tennis 7. Why watch tennis
- Similar yet different 8. Both for men and women
A. Table tennis is a ball game similar in principle to lawn tennis. It’s played on a flat table divided into two equal courts by a net fixed across its width at the middle. The task is to hit the ball so that it goes over the net and bounces on the opponent’s half of the table in such a way that the opponent cannot reach it or return it correctly. The lightweight hollow ball is propelled back and forth across the net by small rackets. The game is popular all over the world, among people of different age.
B. Table tennis is a relatively young sport. In fact, it was invented in England in the early days of the 20th century and was originally called Ping-Pong. The name “table tennis” was adopted in 1921 or 1922 when the old Ping-Pong Association formed in 1902 was revived. Led by representatives of Germany, Hungary, and England, the International Table Tennis Federation was founded in 1926. By the mid-1990s more than 165 national associations were the members of this association.
C. Table tennis is really a sport for everyone. You don’t need to spend much money or buy many things to play table tennis. The table is rectangular, 9 feet by 5 feet, its upper surface a level plane 30 inches above the floor. The net is 6 feet long, and its upper edge along the whole length is 6 inches above the playing surface. The ball, which is spherical and hollow, was once made of white celluloid. Since 1969 a plastic similar to celluloid has been used. The racket may be any size, weight, or shape.
D. It’s easy to understand how tennis is played. A tennis match consists of the best of any odd numbers of games, each game being won by the player who first reaches 11 points or who, after 10 points each, wins two clear points ahead. A point is scored when the server fails to make a good service, when either player fails to make a good return, or when either player commits a specified infraction. Service changes hands after every two points until 10-all is reached, when it changes after every subsequent point.
E. Table tennis may be played with one player at each end of the table or with two players at each end who may be both men or both women or one of each. Worldwide, the women’s game is comparable in organization to the men’s, and women take part in world championships and all other organized events. The first female tournament took place in 1909, but women are known to have been playing tennis since 1874, which is obvious from old pictures and photos which survived the test of time.
F. The first world championships were held in London in 1927, and from then until 1939 the game was dominated by players from central Europe, the men’s team event being won nine times by Hungary and twice by Czechoslovakia. In the mid-1950s Asia emerged as a breeding ground of champions, and from that time the men’s team event has been won by either Japan or China, as has the women’s event, though to a lesser extent; North Korea also became an international force.
G. People eagerly come to the stadiums to see a game of tennis live or switch on their TVs when an exciting match is on. The interest to the spectator lies in observing the ability of one player to defeat another by some well-thought-out strategy. Increasing the speed of the game, slowing it down, varying the direction of or imparting different spin or pace to the ball are just some of the tactics that may be used to support the strategy planned by a sportsman. Thus, a game of tennis can be a real show.