IPAddr

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Handbook 2004

ITTF Table Tennis
Rules of Play
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Handbook 2004
IndexDescription
2THE LAWS OF TABLE TENNIS
2.1THE TABLE
2.1.1The 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.
2.1.2The playing surface shall not include the vertical sides of the tabletop.
2.1.3The 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.
2.1.4The 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.
2.1.5The 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.
2.1.6For 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.
2.2THE NET ASSEMBLY
2.2.1The net assembly shall consist of the net, its suspension and the supporting posts, including the clamps attaching them to the table.
2.2.2The 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.
2.2.3The top of the net, along its whole length, shall be 15.25cm above the playing surface.
2.2.4The 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.
2.3THE BALL
2.3.1The ball shall be spherical, with a diameter of 40mm.
2.3.2The ball shall weigh 2.7g.
2.3.3The ball shall be made of celluloid or similar plastics material and shall be white or orange, and matt.
2.4THE RACKET
2.4.1The racket may be of any size, shape or weight but the blade shall be flat and rigid.
2.4.2At 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.
2.4.3A 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.
2.4.3.1Ordinary 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 per sq. cm and not more than 30 per sq. cm.
2.4.3.2Sandwich 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.
2.4.4The 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 material.
2.4.5The 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.
2.4.6The 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.
2.4.7Slight 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 the surface.
2.4.8At 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.
2.5DEFINITIONS
2.5.1A rally is the period during which the ball is in play.
2.5.2The 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.
2.5.3A let is a rally of which the result is not scored.
2.5.4A point is a rally of which the result is scored.
2.5.5The racket hand is the hand carrying the racket.
2.5.6The free hand is the hand not carrying the racket.
2.5.7A 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.
2.5.8A 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 and has not passed beyond his end line, not having touched his court since last being struck by his opponent.
2.5.9The server is the player due to strike the ball first in a rally.
2.5.10The receiver is the player due to strike the ball second in a rally.
2.5.11The umpire is the person appointed to control a match.
2.5.12The assistant umpire is the person appointed to assist the umpire with certain decisions.
2.5.13Anything that a player wears or carries includes anything that he was wearing or carrying, other than the ball, at the start of the rally.
2.5.14The 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.
2.5.15The end line shall be regarded as extending indefinitely in both directions.
2.6A GOOD SERVICE
2.6.1Service shall start with the ball resting freely on the open palm of the server's stationary free hand.
2.6.2The 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.
2.6.3As 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.
2.6.4From 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 any part of the body or clothing of the server or his doubles partner; as soon as the ball has been projected, the serverís free arm shall be removed from the space between the serverís body and the net.
2.6.5It 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.
2.6.5.1If 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.
2.6.5.2Any subsequent service of doubtful legality of that player or his doubles partner will result in a point to the receiver.
2.6.5.3Whenever 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.
2.6.6Exceptionally, the umpire may relax the requirements for a good service where he is satisfied that compliance is prevented by physical disability.
2.7A GOOD RETURN
2.7.1The 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.
2.8THE ORDER OF PLAY
2.8.1In singles, the server shall first make a good service, the receiver shall then make a good return and thereafter server and receiver alternately shall each make a good return.
2.8.2In doubles, the server shall first make a good service, the receiver shall then make a good return, the partner of the server shall then make a good return, the partner of the receiver shall then make a good return and thereafter each player in turn in that sequence shall make a good return.
2.9A LET
2.9.1The rally shall be a let
2.9.1.1if in service the ball, in passing over or around the net assembly, touches it, provided the service is otherwise good or the ball is obstructed by the receiver or his partner;
2.9.1.2if 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;
2.9.1.3if failure to make a good service or a good return or otherwise to comply with the Laws is due to a disturbance outside the control of the player;
2.9.1.4if play is interrupted by the umpire or assistant umpire.
2.9.2Play may be interrupted
2.9.2.1to correct an error in the order of serving, receiving or ends;
2.9.2.2to introduce the expedite system;
2.9.2.3to warn or penalise a player;
2.9.2.4because the conditions of play are disturbed in a way which could affect the outcome of the rally.
2.10A POINT
2.10.1Unless the rally is a let, a player shall score a point
2.10.1.1if his opponent fails to make a good service;
2.10.1.2if his opponent fails to make a good return;
2.10.1.3if, after he has made a good service or a good return, the ball touches anything other than the net assembly before being struck by his opponent;
2.10.1.4if the ball passes beyond his end line without touching his court, after being struck by his opponent;
2.10.1.5if his opponent obstructs the ball;
2.10.1.6if his opponent strikes the ball twice successively;
2.10.1.7if his opponent strikes the ball with a side of the racket blade whose surface does not comply with the requirements of 2.4.3, 2.4.4 and 2.4.5;
2.10.1.8if his opponent, or anything his opponent wears or carries, moves the playing surface;
2.10.1.9if his opponent, or anything his opponent wears or carries, touches the net assembly;
2.10.1.10if his opponent's free hand touches the playing surface;
2.10.1.11 if a doubles opponent strikes the ball out of the sequence established by the first server and first receiver;
2.10.1.12as provided under the expedite system (2.15.2).
2.11A GAME
2.11.1A 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.
2.12A MATCH
2.12.1A match shall consist of the best of any odd number of games.
2.13THE ORDER OF SERVING, RECEIVING AND ENDS
2.13.1The 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.
2.13.2When 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.
2.13.3After 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.
2.13.4In 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 game.
2.13.5In doubles, at each change of service the previous receiver shall become the server and the partner of the previous server shall become the receiver.
2.13.6The 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.
2.13.7The 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.
2.14OUT OF ORDER OF SERVING, RECEIVING OR ENDS
2.14.1If 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.
2.14.2If 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 beginning of the match.
2.14.3In any circumstances, all points scored before the discovery of an error shall be reckoned.
2.15THE EXPEDITE SYSTEM
2.15.1Except where both players or pairs have scored at least 9 points, the expedite system shall 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.
2.15.1.1If 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.
2.15.1.2If 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.
2.15.2Thereafter, each player shall serve for 1 point in turn until the end of the game and if the receiving player or pair makes 13 good returns the receiver shall score a point.
2.15.3Once introduced, the expedite system shall remain in operation until the end of the match.