Table Tennis Rules
2.1 THE TABLE
The table surface must be rectangular measuring 2.74m long and 1.525m wide. It must be horizontal 76cm above the floor.
The playing surface is restricted to the horizontal plain and not the vertical sides.
The playing surface can be made from any material as long as it enables a uniform bounce of about 23cm when a regulation table tennis ball is dropped onto it from a height of 30cm.
The table must be uniformly dark (typically green or blue) and matte. The lines are white and measure 2cm wide along the 2.74m and 1.525m edges.
The surface is divided into two courts by a net which stands vertically.
If you are playing doubles, each side of the table is divided into two equal courts by a white center line measuring 3mm wide. It runs parallel with the side lines.
2.2 THE NET
The net consists of the net, supporting posts and clamps which allows it to be attached to the sides of the table.
A cord pulled to a height of 15.25cm is suspended between the two net posts. It extends to 15.25cm outside of the white table lines on the edges.
The top of the net must be a uniform 15.25cm above the playing surface.
The bottom of the net must remain as close to the table surface as possible.
2.3 THE BALL
The ball has to be round at a diameter of 40mm.
The weight of the ball must be 2.7 grams
The ball should be made of celluloid or a similar plastic material and should be white or orange and matte.
2.4 THE RACKET
The racket should be any size, weight or shape. The blade must be flat and rigid.
85% of the blade by thickness must be made from natural wood. Carbon may be used within the blade but cannot be thicker than 7.5% of the total thickness or 0.35mm (whichever is smaller).
The blade shall be covered either with pimpled rubber (aka pips out) with a thickness not exceeding 2.0mm OR sandwich rubber with the pimples in. Total thickness cannot be higher than 4.0mm.
The rubber material shall not extend beyond the wooden hitting surface of the blade.
The blade, any layers and rubber surface shall be of even thickness.
One side of the paddle's surface must be matte red and the other matte black.
No chemical treatment can be applied to the rubber surface.
At the start of a match and if a player changes his/her racket, they must show it to the umpire and opponent so they can examine it.
2.5 THE SERVICE
The balls must rest in the open palm of the server's hand.
The server shall throw the ball upwards without causing the ball to spin. It must rise at least 16cm and then not touch anything before being hit by the racket.
The server must strike the falling ball so it first touches their side of the court before bouncing over the net and onto the opponent's side of the court.
During service, the ball must be behind the back line of the table and shall not be hidden
from the person receiving.
2.6 A LET
The rally shall be a let:
- if the ball is served, hits the top part of the net and goes over to the other side of the table.
- if the serve is made when the receiving player is not ready.
- if play is interrupted by the umpire.
- if a serve causes the ball to bounce on the receiver's side of the net and spin back towards the net.
- if the ball comes to rest on the receiver's side of the table.
2.7 A POINT
2.7.1 Unless the rally is a let, a point shall be recorded:
- if a server fails to make a correct service.
- if a receiver fails to make a good return.
- if the ball is hit by a player and it does not bounce on his opponent's side of the table.
- if a player obstructs the ball.
- if a player hits the ball twice.
- if a player moves the table.
- if a player or anything he is wearing touches the net.
- if a player's free hand touches the playing surface.
2.8 A GAME
A player wins a game when he scores 11 points. The only exception is if both players are tied on 10 points which means that the game is won by the player who wins by 2 clear points.
2.9 A MATCH
A match is the best of any odd number of games. Typically, it will be the best out of 5 games. If both players are tied at 2 games each, there will be a 5th and final game.