Which Rackets Do Table Tennis Pros Use? (Ma Long, Boll & More)

Do you know this? You see a professional table tennis match and think to yourself: this is a different sport. If this is table tennis, what am I playing? At least that’s how I feel when I watch World Cup matches, for example. 

But the pros play with completely different rackets. Always a new rubber with a lot of grip and the ideal blades. That certainly makes a big difference, doesn’t it?

The answer is, of course, no! The material does not make you a better player. In fact, compared to other sports, the difference in price and quality between advanced and professional material is quite small, in my opinion. 

You can read more about the cost of a table tennis bat in this article.

What Do the Pros Play with?

Although you shouldn’t go in with the attitude that a better blade or a better rubber will immediately make you better, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at what the best table tennis players actually use in their matches.

In this post, you will find an overview of the equipment of selected pros. If you’re interested in someone, in particular, you’ll have quick access here:

Timo Boll

We start with the German table tennis legend Timo Boll. He usually plays very offensively, is now very close to the table and often shines with his outstanding backhand. He holds the racket in a shakehand grip.

He is sponsored by the table tennis supplier Butterfly and therefore plays exclusively with their material: 

Blade: Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit

Forehand: Butterfly Dignics 09 – formerly Butterfly Tenergy

Backhand: Butterfly Dignics 09 – formerly Butterfly Tenergy

Dimitrij Ovtcharov

Timo Boll’s teammate Dimitrij Ovtcharov is known for his offensive play from the half-distance. He also plays the shakehand grip. Unlike Boll, he is sponsored by Donic, which is why he uses the following material: 

Blade: Ovtcharov Original Senso Carbon or Ovtcharov Original True Carbon.

Forehand: Bluefire M1 in maximum sponge thickness

Backhand: Bluefire M1 in maximum sponge thickness

Ma Long

Ma Long is one of the most successful players of our time. He is the reigning Olympic and World Champion and, unlike many of his Chinese compatriots, plays in a shakehand grip with this material: 

Blade: DHS Hurricane Long V 



Xu Xin

One of the biggest competitors of Ma Long is called Xu Xin. He holds his racket in a penhold grip. He is sponsored by the Swedish supplier Stiga and plays with the following material: 

Blade: Stiga INTENSITY NCT (Penholder version)

Forehand: DHS Skyline 3 Neo 


Liu Shiwen

Liu Shiwen is one of the best table tennis players in recent years. In 2019 she won the world championship and played with the following material in the shakehand grip.

Blade: WOMUL 1PCS Butterfly Liu Shiwen

Forehand: DHS NEO Skyline 3 

Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 05

Zhang Jike

Zhang Jike is another top player from China. He won the Olympic singles in London in 2012. He also plays in the shakehand grip. His racket is composed as follows: 

Blade: Butterfly Viscaria FL 

Forehand: DHS Hurricane 3 National (black) 

Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 80 (Red)

Solja Petrissa

Solja Petrissa is currently the best German table tennis player. In shakehand grip she plays with a racket from Joola in her left hand: 

Blade: JOOLA Nobilis PBO-C

Forehand: Joola Rhyzer Pro 50

Backhand: Joola Rhyzer Pro 50

Fan Zhendong

We continue with the current leaders of the world ranking. In the men’s ranking, Fan Zhendong is in the 1st position. Although he is sponsored by Stiga, his racket is composed of components from different manufacturers. He plays with a shakehand grip:

Blade: Stiga INTENSITY NCT (Penholder version)

Forehand: DHS Hurricane 3 National

Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 05

Chen Meng

The number 1 of the women is Chen Meng. She also holds her racket in a shakehand grip and uses products from different manufacturers: 


Forehand: Tenergy 64

Backhand: Tenergy 64

Lily Zhang

Now let’s take a look at the USA. The reigning champion in the States is called Lily Zhang. She plays exclusively with equipment from her supplier Joola. How she got her equipment, you can read in this article from Joola USA. She currently plays with this combination: 

Blade: JOOLA Nobilis PBO-C

Forehand: Joola Rhyzer Pro 50

Backhand: Joola Rhyzer Pro 50

Kanak Jha

Lily Zhang’s male counterpart is called Kanak Jha. In shakehand grip he currently plays with a combination of Butterfly components: 

Blade: Butterfly Timo Boll ALC

Forehand: Butterfly Tenergy 05

Backhand: Butterfly Tenergy 05

Which Balls do the Pros play with?

The paddle is obviously not the only item you are interested in. There is also the ball. Unlike the rackets, the pros don’t always play with the exact same balls.

Depending on which equipment supplier sponsors the competition, sometimes a ball from DHS, sometimes from Nittaku or Gewo is used, and so on. At the 2021 Olympic Games, the athletes will play with this ball from DHS.

For the players, however, it is of course not a complete change every time. Because there are very clear guidelines from the ITTF table tennis federation as to what specifications a ball has to fulfill. 

A Ball has to meet these Requirements:

  • Material: New table tennis balls are no longer made of celluloid but of plastic.
  • Size: The ideal ball has a diameter of 40mm. 3-star balls may deviate by 0.5mm. This means that each ball is between 39.5mm and 40.5mm thick.
  • Weight: The weight must be between 2.67 and 2.77 grams. The ideal would be 2.7 grams
  • Roundness: A ping pong ball should of course be as round as possible. For this purpose, the difference of the diameter minimum to the maximum is measured. This must not be more than 0.25 millimeters for new balls that are made of plastic. The shape of the ball is also checked by another test. It is checked that the balls roll straight when rolling down a slope and do not tilt in one direction.
  • Bounce: 3-star balls should bounce properly, of course. If they are dropped from 30.5 cm, they must bounce at least 24 cm and at most 26 cm.
  • Hardness: The balls are tested for hardness by computer-controlled devices. Unfortunately, I could not find any information about the exact values they have to reach.
  • Color: Table tennis balls may only be matte white or matte orange.
  • Labels: New plastic balls are marked with “40+”. On older balls, you can still find the signs “40” or “40mm”.

Currently, only 96 of the table tennis balls produced worldwide to meet these requirements. You can find out exactly which ones in this list.

Fun > Skill > Equipment

Even if it’s fun to put together the exact same racket as some pros, it won’t make you better on its own.

In my opinion, it only makes sense to start thinking about high-end equipment at a very advanced level. Until then you should just work on your own technique. But the most important thing is, as always, to have fun playing.

More |   The 11 Fastest Table Tennis Rubbers for Exciting Attacking Play

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