Table Tennis Competition Format

Commonwealth Games Table Tennis competition consists of a total of nine medal events. There are Singles, Doubles and Team events for both men and women, including two Para-Sport events in men’s and women’s singles.

The Singles and Team competitions are played as a round robin then knockout competition while Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles are played on a straight knockout basis.

Team Event

Team events for men and women are played as a round robin to knockout competition.

The Team event is played using the Olympic team competition format as follows: Each team consists of three players and each match consists of a maximum of four singles matches and one doubles match. Each athlete shall compete in a maximum of two individual matches. Individual matches are played in the following order:

Singles A v X

Singles B v Y

Doubles C & A or B v Z & X or Y

Singles A or B* v Z

Singles C v X or Y*

*The athlete not playing doubles

Each individual match within the Team event will be the best of five games. The Team event will end when one team has won three individual matches. The competition is conducted with qualifying groups of three or four teams with two teams progressing to the Round 16 stage draw which will be played on a progressive knockout basis. All other teams will progress to play classification matches, also on a knockout basis, to produce a final ranking.

Singles Event

The Singles events are played as a round robin to knockout format.

The top 16 seeded athletes in each event go straight into the knockout phase. The remaining athletes are divided into groups of three or four, with the top player from each group progressing to the round of 64 knockout phase. All matches are the best of seven games.

Doubles Events

Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles are played on a straight knockout basis. All matches are the best of five games.


Field of Play

The upper surface of the table, known as the playing surface, is rectangular, 2.74m long and 1.525m wide, at a height 76cm above the floor. The surface can be made of any material and must yield a uniform bounce of about 23cm when a standard ball is dropped from a height of 30cm.

The table is dark coloured and matt, and with a side white line, 2cm along the four sides. A vertical net in the centre of the playing surface is 15.25cm high and runs parallel with the end lines, suspended by a cord attached to upright posts. The bottom of the net should be as close as possible to the playing surface. In Doubles, the court is divided into two equal half-courts by a white centre line, 3mm wide, running parallel with the side lines.

Racket Control

It is the responsibility of each player to ensure that racket coverings are attached to their racket blade with adhesives that do not contain harmful volatile solvents.

Before a match starts, the match umpire will perform racket testing, except for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) testing, which are selected on a random basis. This testing takes place in the Racket Control Centre (RCC). During this testing, only the player whose racket is being tested and their coach or delegate may attend. From quarter-finals onwards in singles events, and from semi-finals onwards in doubles and team matches, all rackets will be tested. The referee may, at any time, choose any other matches to be tested.

Players are also entitled to have a maximum of two voluntary tests each day of the event. In tests of individual events, two rackets can be presented and in team events, players can only present one racket.

After-match tests take place if a player fails to present their racket for a before-match test or if the racket failed the before-match control test or if a racket is replaced during the match and has not been tested.


A point is scored if an opponent fails to make a correct service or return. A point is also won if:

  • After making a service or a return, the ball touches anything other than the net assembly before being struck by an opponent
  • The ball passes over his court or beyond his end line without touching his court, after being struck by an opponent
  • An opponent obstructs the ball
  • An opponent strikes the ball twice successively
  • An opponent strikes the ball with a side of the racket blade whose surface does not comply with the rules
  • An opponent, or anything an opponent wears or carries, moves the playing surface
  • An opponent, or anything an opponent wears or carries, touches the net assembly
  • An opponent’s free hand touches the playing surface
  • A Doubles opponent strikes the ball out of the sequence established by the first server and first receiver; as provided under the expedite system.

A game is won by the player or pair first scoring 11 points, unless both players or pairs score 10 points. The game is then won by the first player or pair to gain a lead of two points.


Service starts with the ball resting freely on the open palm of the server’s stationary free hand. They project the ball near vertically upwards without imparting spin, so it rises at least 16cm from the palm of the free hand. The server then strikes the ball so it touches their court then passes around or over the net and touches the receiver’s court. In Doubles, the ball must touch the right half court of server and receiver.

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. In Doubles, the server makes a service; the receiver makes a return; the partner of the server then makes a return; the partner of the receiver makes a return and thereafter each player in turn in that sequence makes a return.


A rally is a let:

  • If in service the ball touches the net
  • If the service is delivered when the receiving player or pair is not ready
  • If failure to make a service or a return is due to a disturbance outside the player’s control
  • If play is interrupted by the match officials
  • If the ball, after touching the receiver’s court, returns in the direction of the net; comes to rest on the receiver’s court or in Singles leaves the receiver’s court after touching it by either of its sidelines.

The Racket

The racket is the official term, though it is commonly known in Britain as a bat and in the USA as a paddle. The wooden part of the racket is referred to as the blade, which must be flat and rigid. A side of the blade, used for striking the ball, is covered with either ordinary pimpled rubber no thicker than 2mm outwards, or sandwich rubber, no thicker than 4mm outwards. The covering material is matt, bright red on one side and black on the other.

The Ball

The ball is spherical, with a diameter of 40mm and weighs 2.7g. It is made of celluloid or similar plastics material and is either white or orange, and matt.


Players wear a short-sleeved or sleeveless shirt and shorts or skirt. Tracksuits are not permitted except with the permission of the referee. The uniform, other than the sleeves and collar of a shirt, must be a different colour to the ball in use. In Doubles both players must wear identical uniforms.

Sport Jargon

Shakehands: Style of grip favoured by European players.

Penhold: Style of grip popular in Asia, whereby the racket is held as if holding a pen.

Time-out: During matches a player can call a one-minute break at their own discretion.

Chop: a defensive shot that carries a huge amount of backspin.

Loop– an offensive shot that carries a tremendous amount of topspin.

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