Ping-pong balls, or table tennis balls, are the official size for competitive play. According to international standards, the ping-pong ball must have a diameter of 1.57 inches (40 mm) and a circumference of 4.94 inches (125.6 mm). It must also weigh 2.7 grams (0.095 oz). In 2000, the size of the ball was increased from 38 mm to 40 mm in order to make it more attractive to spectators.
The bigger ball is slower and spins less, which should theoretically result in longer rallies. The white lines on a table make it easier to see the edges of the table during fast-paced rallies where players rely on their peripheral vision. In addition to size, there are other rules that a ping-pong table must meet in order to be considered a competition standard. The ball must remain behind the final line and above the top surface of the table, known as the playing surface, at all times during service.
The table must also be slightly smaller than a mid-size family sedan, making it perfect for playing in the garage instead of a car. Before a ball can be included in the list of authorized 40mm table tennis balls from the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), it must go through a rigorous testing program. This includes ensuring that it meets all of the criteria set forth by the ITTF, such as remaining behind the final line and above the playing surface at all times during service. Table tennis is one of the truly global sports played around the world, and more than 220 member countries are part of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Famous players such as Feng Tianwei have won medals at three Olympic table tennis events, more medals than native Singaporeans have won in all other sports combined (two). Table tennis authorities were unhappy with the reduced duration of table tennis rallies due to smaller balls. To combat this, they increased the size of the ball from 38 mm to 40 mm in 2000. This resulted in slower balls that spin less, which should theoretically result in longer rallies.
In addition, topspin is considered an offensive technique due to its ability to increase ball speed and place pressure on opponents by reducing reaction time.