Top 8 Best Ping Pong Players of All Time

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1. Jan-Ove Waldner

Jan Ove Waldner

Jan-Ove Waldner is a Swedish former table tennis player. He is one of the best ping pong players of all time. He is also very famous among Table Tennis Chinese fans.  He is known as ‘Lao Wa’ and ‘Evergreen Tree’ by his Chinese fans because of his amazing longevity and competitiveness. He has one of the longest careers, and due to his extra-ordinary hand to eye coordination, he is also known as one of the greatest players of all time.

Jan-Ove Waldner was born on 3rd October 1965, in Stockholm, Sweden.  He is the most famous successful non-Chinese table tennis player. His athletic potential was recognized at the ripe age of 16 when he reached the final of the European Championships. He took training at the national level training camp in China. He has the best blocking skills in the history of Table Tennis Game and is recognized as a technically complete player by many.


He achieved a lot in his amazing career and contributed largely to the table tennis game.

  • Won first Swedish title-1983.
  • Silver medal in team competition-1985.
  • Silver medal in a team in singles, silver medal in team competition-1987.
  • 1989 Gold medal in the single, gold medal in the team competition.
  • Silver medal in singles, gold medal in team competition-1991.
  • He received the ‘Savenska Dagbladet Gold Medal’ in 1992
  • He is one of the five players in the history of ping pong to achieve a career grand slam (World Champion and World Cup winner in singles, Olympic gold medal in singles), in 1992.
  • Silver medal in team competition 1995.
  • Gold medal in a single (21-0 in games), silver medal in double, 1997.
  • Bronze medal in single-1999.
  • Silver medal in single, final 16 in double, in 2000.
  • Gold medal in the team competition- 2000.
  • Ranked number one in the world- 2000
  • Bronze medal in team competition-2001.
  • Won ‘ninth Swedish Championship’ against Par Gerell, in 2010

With stunning records such as these, calling him a living legend of the sport wouldn’t be an overstatement.  He is also referred to as the ‘Mozart of Table-Tennis’. Throughout his career, he competed with many younger players and won. Even at the age of 52, he faced 30 years younger players. His energy and skills are unmatchable. He has the best Ping Pong tactics, artistic style, intelligence, and the best blocking skills. He has always impressed people with his skills and dedication. He played at the elite level until 2016.

His last game was on February 11th, 2016, in the Swedish First League and afterward, he announced his official retirement as a table tennis player.

2. Ma  Long

Ma Long

Ma Long is a Chinese table tennis player. He is nick-named ‘China Dragon’. He is ranked number 3 (March 2020) in the world by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). He became the first male player and second overall in the world who had won every singles title in table tennis.  Ma Long is the longest-reigning male world and best ping pong player of all time. He is fifth to accomplish the grand slam. He has won five ITTF World Tour.

He was born on 20th October 1988. He won both the Asian and World Junior Championships, and afterward Ma Long became the youngest world champion at 17 years old after he participated in the 2006 Bremen World Team Championship.


  • Even before turning 22, he had great success in singles. In his amazing career full of success, he got into the finals of 11 ITTF World Tour Tournaments and won 8 out of them.
  • Asian Cup: winner (2008, 2009, 2011, 2014), runner-up (2019).
  • World Cup: winner (2012, 2015); runner-up (2014); third place (2008, 2009, 2017).
  • He made it to the final round of the Asian Championships two times (lost to Wang Hao in 2007, won in 2009)
  • He played in the finals of the China National Game and All-China Championships.
  • He is an Asian Games gold medalist in 2010.
  • He won the Olympic gold medal in the Rio Olympics 2015.
  • Won the Olympic Games in 2016
  • Won the World Championships in 2017
  • China National Games: winner (2013, 2017)
  • Made record winning streak of 22 matches without dropping a single game.
  • Ma Long is 24 times ITTF World Tour winner and 5 times ITTF World Tour Grand Finals winner (2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016).

Ma Long is the best forehand attacker in table tennis history. He uses a close-range third-ball play to maneuver his opponents in most matches. At the peak of 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.

He held the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) number one ranking for a record total of 58 months since June 2017. His achievements made him the most famous player in the history of the table tennis game.

3. Xu Xin

Xu Xin

Xu Xin is a professional player from China. He is also considered one of the best table tennis players of all time. He is currently on the 2nd number in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Rankings of Men’s general. Xu Xin is one of the few penhold grip players in China. He followed the footsteps of famous penhold champions such as Ma Lin and Wang Hao.

Xu Xin was born on January 8th, 1990. Xu Xin has his main strength in his unmatchable shot variation and blazing fast forehand loops. He is often called a crowd entertainerdue to his wild shots. Xu Xin is referred to as ‘XUperman’, because of his ‘Superman-like’ skills. He is a Stiga sponsored athlete and uses the Stiga Dynasty Carbon as a blade.


  • Reached at number 1 position in the world ranking by winning the ITTF World Tour Grand finals, December 2012.
  • Defended his title by defeating Ma Long in the finals match of ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, Dubai-2013
  • Defeated number 1 ranked player and world champion Ma Long in the Semi-finals match of 2016.
  • World Championships: SF (2013, 2017)
  • World Tour Grand Finals appearances: 6.
  • Record: winner (2012, 2013)
  • Runner up (2009, 2010),
  • SF (2015, 16)
  • QF (2017, 2018).
  • Xu Xin participated with Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Lin Gaoyuan, and Yu Ziyang in 2018.
  • Xu Xin was a part of the winning team China at the 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championship.
  • Asian Games: winner (2014).
  • Asian Championships: winner (2019); runner-up (2015); SF (2009, 12).
  • Asian Cup: winner (2012, 13, 15, 16); 2nd (2011); 3rd (2010).
  • 10-time world tour winner.

Xu Xin won medals in many tournaments. He possesses a playful nature and confidence in-game. He has the efficient and effective shot selection and carries the responsibility of the game on his shoulders. His long arms provide him with the ability to move quickly and to execute a graceful and unique forehand loop.

4. Wang Liqin

Wang Liqin

Wang Liqin is considered one of the world’s best table tennis players. He is a three-time world champion, a bronze medalist in singles, and a gold medalist in doubles. According to the International table tennis foundation (ITTF) ranking Wang, Liqin is the world’s no 1 ping pong player from the year 2004 to 2006. Wang Liqin started his career at the age of 15 when he chose to join the Chinese man’s national team.

He was born on June 18th, 1978, in Shanghai. He started his career in the ’90s. Wang Liqin used his famous forehand technique combined with the shake hand grip to procreate a high amount of acceleration in the generation of strong shots. His famous shake hand playing style with two winged attack makes him similar to Ma long. That why he is also called the “great brother “of Ma Long. His ultimate perfect right hand and height provide a very strong edge to his entire game. He took tennis to the next level just by providing the heroic lead in every game he played.


  • He won the gold medal in doubles at the summer Olympics held in the year 2000 at Sidney, Australia.
  • Won a bronze medal in singles in 2004.
  • Due to outstanding performance, during the era of 2004–6, he was ranked as the world’s best table tennis player.
  • Won first world cup championship in 2001.
  • Got 48th WTTC 2005 in Shanghai, China, and 49th WTTC 2007in Zagreb, Croatia.
  • He also made it to the quarter-finals of the World Table Tennis Championship.
  • Wang Liqin was ranked number 12 in the world for Men’s Singles according to ITTF ranking in January 2012.
  • He has been ranked Number 1 by ITTF for 25 consecutive months from September 2000 to September 2002.

Not only these, but he also won a gold medal in a competition against Wang hao and Ma Lin. There is a list of equipment used by Wang Liqin because quite often he changes them. He has used 10 different models of rackets so far. The major Wang Liqin equipment includes Timo Boll Spirit; FH: DHS Hurricane III, BH: One of the Tenergy series, and many more rubbers for backhand.

Wang Liqin also played along with the two best tennis players Ma Lin and Wang Hao. The best trio won a gold medal men’s team table tennis event of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at the Peking University gymnasium in Beijing dated 18th August 2008. China defeated Germany by 3-0. He retired from professional table tennis in 2013. Currently, he has joined the Shanghai Jinzhou Club as a coach, which is one of the best Chinese clubs in the world of table tennis.


Ma Lin

Ma-Lin is a retired Chinese table tennis player, famous for his outstanding and brilliant career in table tennis. At the tender age of 5, he learned to play table tennis and officially joined the provisional team in 1990 and after 4 years he joined the Chinese national team and started his career officially.


  • Due to his wonderful game strategies has been ranked as the world’s number 6th player as of 4th July 2012 in the international TABLE tennis federation (ITTF).
  • Ma-Lin is the only male player ever to win Olympic gold in singles, doubles, and teams. During the Olympics (2008), he won the gold medal in men’s singles as well as in teams.
  • Ma-Lin is the only male player who has won the world cup men’s single four times.
  • Continuing more about his achievements, he has also made a record of 5 major titles that includes 4 world cups and 1 Olympic Gold.
  • He has won four world cup trophies more than any other player in the history of tennis.
  • He has been honored with 9 titles in the men’s team and doubles.
  • Won gold medal in 2008 in singles and team in Olympic games.
  • Won Gold medal in 2008, Paris
  • 2009 Men’s World Championship 3rd place
  • 2007 ITTF Pro Tour Grand Finals Men’s Singles Gold
  • 2006 Men’s World Cup champion

All these heroic achievements are proof of his greatness in the tennis world. This makes him one of the best ping pong players in the world.  He uses penhold grip to conquer the game combining his quick and aggressive response with every shot. He is famous for his heavy shot, unpredictable sharpness, fast footwork, and strong third ball attacks. He also utilizes his consistent forehead loop to finish the strike vigorously. He is also called “Ghost Service” due to his famous service style. Ma-Lin’s famous pieces of equipment include Ma-Lin extra offensive racket, skyline 2 NEO rubber forehand, and Rakza 7 soft rubber (backhand).

Though he has finished his career he hasn’t stopped contributing to the table tennis game. He has collaborated with Yasaka to give coaching to the young and create amazing products. Ma Lin is famous for his devotion and dedication towards coaching, and being loyal to his table tennis career. Since his retirement in the year 2013, he has been a very active member by serving as a head coach of the Guangdong provisional table tennis team.

6. Timo Boll

Timo Boll

Timo Ball is 39 years old, a German professional table tennis player, who is currently playing for Borussia Dusseldorf. He is a left-handed player whose best weapon is his forehand topspin drive. Timo Ball’s ranking according to ITTF

Boll was born on the 8th of March, 1981, in the state of Hessen, Germany. He showed interest in games at a very young age of 4 and was coached by his father. At the age of 8, Helmut Hampel discovered his inner talent and skills. Helmut Hampel promoted Ball. He has a very successful career, he even coped with his back and knee injuries which hindered his performance in 2004 and 2015.


  • World Cup- Men’s Singles and champion- 2005
  • China Open – Men’s Singles Champion-2006
  • 2008- Men’s World Cup – Runner-Up
  • Super Cup – Gold Medalist-2008
  • Super Cup Open – Gold Medalist-2009
  • Euro-Top 12 – Men’s Singles Champion-2010
  • 2010 World Championships – Men’s Team (GER) Silver Medalist
  • European Championship-Men’s Singles, Doubles, and Team Champion-2010
  • World Championships- Men’s Singles, Doubles, and Team Champion-2011
  • Men’s World Cup Runner up- 2017
  • European Top 16- Champion- 2018
  • European Championships- Champion- 2018
  • Men’s World Cup- Runner-up- 2018

Boll’s technique is ahead of its time as he was one of the first two-winged loopers. He uses the spin-block technique to put immense pressure on the opponent instead of passive block. He is renowned for generating an elevated amount of spin, this technique puts pressure on his opponents, and it bought him a lot of success and makes him one of the best table tennis players in the world. Boll uses the “Timo Boll ALC” with Dignics 09c rubbers on both sides.

7. Vladimir Samsonov

Vladimir Samsonov

Vladimir Samsonov is a table tennis player from Belarus. He is one of the best table tennis players of all time, maintaining a position of 26th currently in the international table tennis federation rankings.  His wholesome all-around ability, both in defense and offense, has earned him the title of “Tai Chi” by his Chinese fans. He has been the most consistent table tennis players in the European Champions League, gathering the name Mr. ECL from his fans. His skill with the attack, combined with artful blocks, raised his name in the table tennis game, making him one of the greatest players of all time.

Vladimir Samsonov was born on the 17th of April, 1976 in Belarus. He developed his game with the table tennis ball at a very young age, getting training and coaching from Germany at the age of 16. Before that, he was able to win the table tennis European Youth Championships in 1987. His cadet years made him world-famous, as he displayed his talent as a gifted table tennis player by winning a lot of singles, doubles, and mixed doubles championships. His qualification in the top seed competitions of the International Table Tennis Federation, along with stellar performances, saw him breaking into the top ten rankings of table tennis players in 1996. He became the greatest table tennis player in 1998, becoming World Number 1. He is the second most active table tennis player with an illustrious career, after Jan-Ove Waldner.


Vladimir Samsonov has a decorated table tennis career, with a lot of accolades.

  • Silver Medal at the Doubles World Championships in 1995
  • Bronze Medal at the World Cup in 1996
  • Bronze Medal at the World Cup in 1997
  • Silver Medal at the Singles World Championships in 1997
  • Bronze Medal at the Doubles World Championships in 1999
  • Winner of the World Cup in 1999, 2001 and 2009
  • Third Position and Bronze Medal at the World Cup in 2012
  • Runners-Up and Silver Medal at the World Cup in 2013
  • European Champion for Mixed Doubles in 1996
  • European Champion for Singles  and Doubles in 1998
  • Champion of the European Championship for Team and Singles in 2003
  • Winner of the European Championship in 2005, and Runners Up for the Doubles
  • Silver Medal at the Euro Competition for Singles in 2007
  • Runner Up for both Team and Singles at the European Championship in 2008
  • He won a Silver Medal for the Asian Games in Baku in 2015.

Vladimir Samsonov is one of the most skilled players to have graced the game of table tennis. His shake attack style leaves the opponent dumbfounded, whereas his lightening reactions made for a good defense. Vladimir Samsonov’s equipment is unique.  He uses the Fortino Pro table tennis racket with an Evolution MX-P50 forehand rubber and an Evolution MX-S Rubber for the backhand.

8. Ding Ning

Ding Ning

Ding Ning is a Chinese female table tennis player. Ding Ning was born on 20th June 1990 in Heilongjiang, China. She has great potential for playing at a very young age, started playing table tennis at the age of 6. She got success at a very young age. She entered the young National team in 2003, and two years later she was selected to represent her country at the senior level. Since 2003 she represented her country with pride and honor. She is also known as ‘Queen of hearts’.


  • Won Asian Champions in 2009
  • Won women’s singles in 2011 in World Table tennis Championship
  • Won Silver medal in 2012 Summer Olympics in women’s singles event.
  • Won 2nd position title in women singles in 2015 world table tennis
  • In 2017 World Table Tennis Champions in Dusseldorf Ding Ning defeated Zhu Yuling, and become world champion for the third time.
  • Won women’s table tennis singles gold medal in 2016.
  • Won World Championships thrice in (2011, 2015, 2017)
  • Won China National games 2017

Ding Ning’s ranking was 1 (March 2019) and the current ranking is 6 (March 2010). She is a left-handed player and she uses a shake-hand grip. She confronts her opponents skillfully.

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Hey there! I am Hammad. My love affair with ping pong started when my dad bought the pingpong table for the family and coaxed me into playing. With time, I started loving the sport and sometimes played for the whole day. I also took part in a lot of local competitions in Texas. I decided to share my years of experience with my fellow ping pong players through my writing. I keep researching new information or products related to the game to keep myself and my readers updated. I hope my writing will help to make your ping pong experience much more enjoyable.

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