Question about ball spinning back over the net

This question about who wins the point when the ball spins back over the net was submitted by Daniel from New York, USA

Table tennis questions

My question is about who wins the point when the ball spins back over the net without the other player touching it.

For example, if player B returns player A's service with sufficient backspin so that the ball hits player A's side of the table and then bounces back over the net to player B's side of the table without being hit by player A - who wins the point?

Also, who wins the point if the same thing happens during a rally?


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----- Martin's Reply -----

 By Martin Hughes
 Owner and Editor

Daniel,

Thanks for your question. In both instances player B wins the point.

Of course, the opposite can also happen.

For example, if player A serves with sufficient backspin so that the ball hits player B's side of the table and then bounces back over the net to player A's side of the table without being hit by player B, then player A wins the point.

The rules (Law 2.10) state that a player wins a point if an opponent fails to make a correct return.

The receiver must hit the ball before it bounces on the other side of the table.

This means that if a player imparts backspin on the ball which causes it to go back over the net towards them, their opponent must still hit the ball before it bounces on the other side of the table.

The opponent can go beyond the net to play a stroke if they are quick enough, but they'll lose the point if they don't hit it.


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EXAMPLES

Here are three videos which show this in action.

The first video shows an English player (Mathew Ware) who is demonstrating his skills to a TV reporter, whilst the second and third videos show examples of play between some of the best players in the World.


Example 1

In this first video, watch how Matt Ware imparts backspin onto the ball so that the TV reporter cannot reach it (at 36 seconds into the video). If this occurred in a match, Matt would win the point.


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Example 2

This second video clip shows examples of players imparting sufficient backspin onto the ball in order to prevent their opponent from making a return.

After the ball touches the net, the ball continues onto their opponent's side of the net, but the backspin causes it to either go back into or over the net before their opponent can reach the ball.

As their opponent doesn't make a valid return, the player who imparted the backspin wins the point.

This is just good fortune because it's virtually impossible to be able to play this type of stroke consistently.

Because of this good fortune, it's usual for the player to acknowledge their good fortune by raising their hand and/or apologising verbally.


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HOWEVER...

Example 3

This third video clip shows an example of how a player is allowed to play their stroke from anywhere.

Zhu Yuling of China (pink shirt) mis-hits her shot and causes the ball to go high into the air.

The ball travels over the net onto her opponent's side of the table, but the mis-hit has imparted backspin onto the ball and it travels back towards her.

However, her opponent Mo Zhang of Canada (black shirt), is perfectly entitled to move forwards and play the ball from a position beyond the net.

Mo Zhang wins the point.


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