The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has unveiled a new format for the sport which is designed to appeal to the youth market.
Table Tennis X (TTX) has been launched on the eve of the 2016 summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The TTX ball is bigger and heavier to suit outdoor play, while simplified rackets will produce less spin.
Matches will be played in three two-minute sets instead of first to 11 points, while points will also be awarded for ‘winners’ and ‘wild cards’. The ITTF said the new time-bound format will “amplify” the excitement of conventional table tennis by reducing the skills gap between participants and increase the level of variety and unpredictability to gameplay. A TTX event series will be announced in the coming months.
ITTF president Thomas Weikert said: “This is the table tennis revolution that the world has been waiting for. TTX is for the young and young at heart and takes table tennis to you, instead of you having to come to table tennis. The ITTF believes that this can perfectly complement our professional table tennis game, as it connects the hobby player that plays with their mates at home to a viable competition format which is designed around having fun.
“It was also a perfect moment for our sport which has been internally criticised for too many changes in recent years. Here we can do many new things, experiment with cool new ideas and at the same time, allow some time for our professional game to adapt to the recent changes.”