THE LAWS OF TABLE TENNIS
1 THE TABLE
1.1 The upper surface of the
table, known as the playing surface, shall be rectangular, 2.74m long and 1.525m
wide, and shall lie in a horizontal plane 76cm above the floor.
1.2 The playing surface shall
not include the vertical sides of the table-top.
1.3 The playing surface may be
of any material and shall yield a uniform bounce of about 23cm when a standard ball
is dropped on to it from a height of 30cm.
1.4 The playing surface shall
be uniformly dark coloured and matt, but with a white side line, 2cm wide, along
each 2.74m edge and a white end line, 2cm wide, along each 1.525m edge.
1.5 The playing surface shall
be divided into 2 equal courts by a vertical net running parallel with the end lines,
and shall be continuous over the whole area of each court.
1.6 For doubles, each court shall
be divided into 2 equal half-courts by a white centre line, 3mm wide, running parallel
with the side lines; the centre line shall be regarded as part of each right half-court.
2 THE NET ASSEMBLY
2.1 The net assembly shall consist
of the net, its suspension and the supporting posts, including the clamps attaching
them to the table.
2.2 The net shall be suspended
by a cord attached at each end to an upright post 15.25cm high, the outside limits
of the post being 15.25cm outside the side line.
2.3 The top of the net, along
its whole length, shall be 15.25cm above the playing surface.
2.4 The bottom of the net, along
its whole length, shall be as close as possible to the playing surface and the ends
of the net shall be as close as possible to the supporting posts.
3 THE BALL
3.1 The ball shall be spherical,
with a diameter of 40mm.
3.2 The ball shall weigh 2.7g.
3.3 The ball shall be made of
celluloid or similar plastics material and shall be white or orange, and matt.
3.4 The ball shall be of a
brand and type currently approved
by the ITTF. (ETTA Rule 46.8)
4 THE RACKET
4.1 The racket may be of any
size, shape or weight but the blade shall be flat and rigid.
4.2 At least 85% of the blade
by thickness shall be of natural wood; an adhesive layer within the blade may be
reinforced with fibrous material such as carbon fibre, glass fibre or compressed
paper, but shall not be thicker than 7.5% of the total thickness or 0.35mm, whichever
is the smaller.
4.3 A side of the blade used
for striking the ball shall be covered with either ordinary pimpled rubber, with
pimples outwards having a total thickness including adhesive of not more than 2mm,
or sandwich rubber, with pimples inwards or outwards, having a total thickness including
adhesive of not more than 4mm.
4.3.1 Ordinary pimpled rubber
is a single layer of non-cellular rubber, natural or synthetic, with pimples evenly
distributed over its surface at a density of not less than 10/cm2
and not more than 30/cm2.
4.3.2 Sandwich rubber is a single
layer of cellular rubber covered with a single outer layer of ordinary pimpled rubber,
the thickness of the pimpled rubber not being more than 2mm.
4.4 The covering material shall
extend up to but not beyond the limits of the blade, except that the part nearest
the handle and gripped by the fingers may be left uncovered or covered with any
4.5 The blade, any layer within
the blade and any layer of covering material or adhesive on a side used for striking
the ball shall be continuous and of even thickness.
4.6 The surface of the covering
material on a side of the blade, or of a side of the blade if it is left uncovered,
shall be matt, bright red on one side and black on the other.
4.7 The racket covering should
be used as it has been authorised by the ITTF without any physical, chemical or
other treatment, changing or modifying playing properties, friction, outlook, colour,
structure, surface etc.
4.7.1 Slight deviations from
continuity of surface or uniformity of colour due to accidental damage or wear may
be allowed provided that they do not significantly change the characteristics of
4.8 At the start of a match and
whenever he changes his racket during a match a player shall show his opponent and
the umpire the racket he is about to use and shall allow them to examine it.
5.1 A rally is the period during
which the ball is in play.
5.2 The ball is in play from
the last moment at which it is stationary on the palm of the free hand before being
intentionally projected in service until the rally is decided as a let or a point.
5.3 A let is a rally of which
the result is not scored.
5.4 A point is a rally of which
the result is scored.
5.5 The racket hand is the hand
carrying the racket.
5.6 The free hand is the hand
not carrying the racket; the free arm is the arm of the free hand.
5.7 A player strikes the ball
if he touches it in play with his racket, held in the hand, or with his racket hand
below the wrist.
5.8 A player obstructs the ball
if he, or anything he wears or carries, touches it in play when it is above or travelling
towards the playing surface, not having touched his court since last being struck
by his opponent.
5.9 The server is the player
due to strike the ball first in a rally.
5.10 The receiver is the player
due to strike the ball second in a rally.
5.11 The umpire is the person
appointed to control a match.
5.12 The assistant umpire is
the person appointed to assist the umpire with certain decisions.
5.13 Anything that a player wears
or carries includes anything that he was wearing or carrying, other than the ball,
at the start of the rally.
5.14 The ball shall be regarded
as passing over or around the net assembly if it passes anywhere other than between
the net and the net post or between the net and the playing surface.
5.15 The end line shall be regarded
as extending indefinitely in both directions.
6 THE SERVICE
6.1 Service shall start with
the ball resting freely on the open palm of the server's stationary free hand.
6.2 The server shall then project
the ball near vertically upwards, without imparting spin, so that it rises at least
16cm after leaving the palm of the free hand and then falls without touching anything
before being struck.
6.3 As the ball is falling the
server shall strike it so that it touches first his court and then, after passing
over or around the net assembly, touches directly the receiver's court; in doubles,
the ball shall touch successively the right half court of server and receiver.
6.4 From the start of service
until it is struck, the ball shall be above the level of the playing surface and
behind the server's end line, and it shall not be hidden from the receiver by the
server or his doubles partner or by anything they wear or carry.
6.5 As soon as the ball has been
projected, the serverÔÇÖs free arm and hand shall be removed from the area between
the ball and the net.
Note: The space between the
ball and the net is defined by the ball, the net and its indefinite upwards extension.
6.6 It is the responsibility
of the player to serve so that the umpire or the assistant umpire can see that he
complies with the requirements for a good service.
6.6.1 If the umpire is doubtful
of the legality of a service he may, on the first occasion in a match, declare a
let and warn the server.
6.6.2 Any subsequent service
of doubtful legality by him or his doubles partner will result in a point to the
6.6.3 Whenever there is a clear
failure to comply with the requirements for a good service no warning shall be given
and the receiver shall score a point
6.7 Exceptionally, the umpire
may relax the requirements for a good service where he is satisfied that compliance
is prevented by physical disability.
7 THE RETURN
7.1 The ball, having been served
or returned, shall be struck so that it passes over or around the net assembly and
touches the opponent's court, either directly or after touching the net assembly.
8 THE ORDER OF PLAY
8.1 In singles, the server shall
first make a service, the receiver shall then make a return and thereafter server
and receiver alternately shall each make a return.
8.2 In doubles, the server shall
first make a service, the receiver shall then make a return, the partner of the
server shall then make a return, the partner of the receiver shall then make a return
and thereafter each player in turn in that sequence shall make a return.
8.3 When two players who are
in wheelchairs due to a physical disability are a pair playing doubles, the server
shall first make a service, the receiver shall then make a return, but thereafter
either player of the disabled pair may make a return. However, no part of a player's
wheelchair shall protrude beyond
the imaginary extension of the centre line of the table. If it does, the umpire
shall award the point to the opposing pair.
9 A LET
9.1 The rally shall be a let
9.1.1 if in service the ball,
in passing over or around the net assembly, touches it, provided the service is
otherwise correct or the ball is obstructed by the receiver or his partner;
9.1.2 if the service is delivered
when the receiving player or pair is not ready, provided that neither the receiver
nor his partner attempts to strike the ball;
9.1.3 if failure to make a service
or a return or otherwise to comply with the Laws is due to a disturbance outside
the control of the player;
9.1.4 if play is interrupted
by the umpire or assistant umpire.
9.1.5 if the receiver is in a
wheelchair due to a physical disability and the ball, provided the service is otherwise
126.96.36.199 leaves the receiverÔÇÖs
court after touching it in the direction of the net;
188.8.131.52 comes to rest on the
184.108.40.206 in singles leaves the
receiverÔÇÖs court after touching by either of its sidelines.
9.2 Play may be interrupted
9.2.1 to correct an error in
the order of serving, receiving or ends;
9.2.2 to introduce the expedite
9.2.3 to warn or penalise a player
9.2.4 because the conditions
of play are disturbed in a way which could affect the outcome of the rally.
10 A POINT
10.1 Unless the rally is a let,
a player shall score a point
10.1.1 if his opponent fails
to make a correct service;
10.1.2 if his opponent fails
to make a correct return;
10.1.3 if, after he has made
a service or a return, the ball touches anything other than the net assembly before
being struck by his opponent;
10.1.4 if the ball passes over
his court or beyond his end line without touching his court, after being struck
by his opponent;
10.1.5 if his opponent obstructs
10.1.6 if his opponent strikes
the ball twice successively;
10.1.7 if his opponent strikes
the ball with a side of the racket blade whose surface does not comply with the
requirements of 4.3-4.5;
10.1.8 if his opponent, or anything
his opponent wears or carries, moves the playing surface;
10.1.9 if his opponent, or anything
his opponent wears or carries, touches the net assembly;
10.1.10 if his opponent's free
hand touches the playing surface;
10.1.11 if a doubles opponent
strikes the ball out of the sequence established by the first server and first receiver;
10.1.12 as provided under the
expedite system (15.2).
11 A GAME
11.1 A game shall be won by the
player or pair first scoring 11 points unless both players or pairs score 10 points,
when the game shall be won by the first player or pair subsequently gaining a lead
of 2 points.
12 A MATCH
12.1 A match shall consist of
the best of any odd number of games.
13 THE ORDER OF SERVING, RECEIVING
13.1 The right to choose the
initial order of serving, receiving and ends shall be decided by lot and the winner
may choose to serve or to receive first or to start at a particular end.
13.2 When one player or pair
has chosen to serve or to receive first or to start at a particular end, the other
player or pair shall have the other choice.
13.3 After each 2 points have
been scored the receiving player or pair shall become the serving player or pair
and so on until the end of the game, unless both players or pairs
score 10 points or the expedite
system is in operation, when the sequences of serving and receiving shall be the
same but each player shall serve for only 1 point in turn.
13.4 In each game of a doubles
match, the pair having the right to serve first shall choose which of them will
do so and in the first game of a match the receiving pair shall decide which of
them will receive first; in subsequent games of the match, the first server having
been chosen, the first receiver shall be the player who served to him in the preceding
13.5 In doubles, at each change
of service the previous receiver shall become the server and the partner of the
previous server shall become the receiver.
13.6 The player or pair serving
first in a game shall receive first in the next game of the match and in the last
possible game of a doubles match the pair due to receive next shall change their
order of receiving when first one pair scores 5 points.
13.7 The player or pair starting
at one end in a game shall start at the other end in the next game of the match
and in the last possible game of a match the players or pairs shall change ends
when first one player or pair scores 5 points.
14 OUT OF ORDER OF SERVING,
RECEIVING OR ENDS
14.1 If a player serves or receives
out of turn, play shall be interrupted by the umpire as soon as the error is discovered
and shall resume with those players serving and receiving who should be server and
receiver respectively at the score that has been reached, according to the sequence
established at the beginning of the match and, in doubles, to the order of serving
chosen by the pair having the right to serve first in the game during which the
error is discovered.
14.2 If the players have not
changed ends when they should have done so, play shall be interrupted by the umpire
as soon as the error is discovered and shall resume with the
players at the ends at which
they should be at the score that has been reached, according to the sequence established
at the start of the match.
14.3 In any circumstances, all
points scored before the discovery of an error shall be reckoned.
15 THE EXPEDITE SYSTEM
15.1 Except where both players
or pairs have scored at least 9 points, the expedite system hall come into operation
if a game is unfinished after 10 minutes' play or at any earlier time at the request
of both players or pairs.
15.1.1 If the ball is in play
when the time limit is reached, play shall be interrupted by the umpire and shall
resume with service by the player who served in the rally that was interrupted.
15.1.2 If the ball is not in
play when the time limit is reached, play shall resume with service by the player
who received in the immediately preceding rally.
15.2 Thereafter, each player
shall serve for 1 point in turn until the end of the game and if the receiving player
or pair makes 13 returns the receiver shall score a point.
15.3 Once introduced, the system
shall remain in operation until the end of the match.