Best Female Table Tennis Players

Best Female Table Tennis Player of All Time

Women’s table tennis is incredibly entertaining.

It has a wide variety of playing styles, with many more defenders than the men’s game. As years passed, some players stood above the rest due to their achievements.

A great curiosity is that most of the best female players in history (all of the players in this list) came have come from China’s total domination of table tennis.

We’ve gone through the history books and compiled a list of the top 5 female table tennis players of all time, each with their own dominant techniques and tactics.

5) Ding Ning

A picture of Ding Ning
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Playing style: Left-handed, shakehand grip
  • Born: 20 June 1990
  • Height: 1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
  • Olympic medals: 4 (3x gold, 2016 Singles Champion)
  • World cup medals: 10 (10x gold, 3x Singles Champion)

We’ll start off this list with the Queen, Ding Ning. Having retired this year to pursue a master’s degree in physical education, she’s the last female player ever to achieve the “Table Tennis Grand Slam” (she has won the Olympics in 2016, the World cup 3 times, and the World Table Tennis Championship 3 times as well).

And all her success was due to her proactivity. Ding Ning hates to block. You’ll always see her trying to attack before her opponents, and if she loses the initiative, she’ll try to counter every attack thrown at her. She’s incredibly reactive and light on her feet, but also remarkably powerful, possessing a potent forehand loop and a snappy backhand stroke that she uses to pressure her opponents.

4) Qiao Hong

A picture of Qiao Hong
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Playing style: Right-handed, shake hand grip
  • Born: November 21, 1968
  • Height: 1,62m (5 ft 4 in)
  • Olympic medals: 4 (2x gold, 2x doubles winner)
  • World cup medals: 4 (1992 Doubles Champion, alongside Deng Yaping)

At number 4, we have a very skillful offensive player. She was inducted into the ITTF hall of fame in 2005, and it’s easy to understand why. She boasts a total of 6 gold medals across the Olympics and the World cup, and when paired with Deng Yaping as a doubles couple, they were virtually unbeatable, possibly the best female doubles partnership of all time. 

Her playstyle was versatile and feel-based, she had an excellent touch on the ball and great shot IQ. She could open with spin, then pressure with strong drives on both wings. When attacked, she would try to block, then counter the next ball, as her game was based mostly on consistency, this way, she minimized unforced errors. She thrived at high-speed exchanges and was more of a rally player than a 3rd ball attacker.

3) Zhang Yining

A picture of Zhang Yining
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Playing style: Right-handed, shake hand grip
  • Born: October 5, 1981
  • Height: 168 cm (5 ft 6 in)
  • Olympic medals: 4 (4x gold, 2004, 2008 Singles Champion)
  • World cup medals: 7 (4x gold, 4x Singles Champion)

The number 3 spot goes to my favorite player on this list: Zhang Yining.

Zhang Yining has had an amazing career, and she is possibly the player who dominated their era the hardest, as she was ranked number 1 for 6 years in a row, except for two months in 2008.

She won four Olympic gold medals, ten World Championships and four World Cups.

I say that she is my favorite player on this list because of her elegant style of play. Zhang is a backhand dominant player who can’t seem to miss the table.

She was the most dominant player of her era because no one could get shots past her, and when she attacked, noone could deal with her loops.

Her style is quite similar to Waldner’s, in a sense. Zhang Yining had a devastating active block, a loop over the bounce that gave her opponents very little time to react, and immaculate placement.

Her backhand side was automatic. She would take shots over the bounce, put them where she wanted and she’d never miss.

A curiosity about this player is that she retired in 2009 at only 29 years old, in the best years of her career. This made her one of the few players in history to retire holding both the World Cup and Olympic titles for singles and team events in table tennis.

2) Wang Nan

A picture of Wang Nan
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Playing style: Left-handed, shake hand grip
  • Born: October 23, 1978
  • Height: 1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)
  • Olympic medals: 5 (4x gold, 2000 Singles Champion)
  • World cup medals: 7 (5x gold, 4x Singles Champion)

A very clear backhand dominant player, Wang Nan liked to take her shots over the bounce before they reached their maximum height.

Her game plan was to get into the rally and pressure her opponent with blistering fast backhand punches and explosive loops, with amazing control and placement. She would stand near the middle of the table, where she would dominate and send bullets to every part of the opponent’s half, giving them very little time to react and forcing them on the back foot. 

This intelligent and effective way of playing the game led to her success, over her 11-year playing career, she achieved the Grand Slam, the second female player to do so.

1) Deng Yaping

Deng Yaping
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Playing style: Right-handed, shakehand grip
  • Born: February 6, 1973
  • Height: 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)
  • Olympic Games: 4 (4x gold, 2x Singles Champion)
  • World cup medals: 7 (6x gold, 2x Singles Champion)

The only long pimples player on this list and the best female table tennis player ever is Deng Yaping. 

Standing at 1.50 meters tall, she was initially deemed too short to play on the national team, but eventually, the coaches promoted her, and years later, she became the GOAT female player. She was excellent on both wings, executing a variety of different strokes effortlessly. She preferred to take her shots over the bounce, be it powerful hits on her forehand, or a mixture of chop-blocks, blocks, and hits, with her long pimples. She would dominate with her pips, creating opportunities for attacks, and then she pivoted and hit with her forehand, and almost never missed. This oppressive playstyle led to her becoming a two-time Olympic singles champion.

Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 200 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!

Blade: Tibhar Stratus Power Wood | Forehand: Nittaku Fastarc G-1 | Backhand: Rasanter R42
Playstyle: Forehand Looper

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