Golden Web Award



Osaka, Japan - April 26th, 2001

ITTF Passes New Serve Rule Making Hidden Serves Illegal  and Switches to 11-Point Games. 

The ITTF, at its Annual General Meeting, voted overwhelmingly today to switch to 11-point games and make hidden serves illegal. Both rules needed a Âľ majority of all ITTF members to pass, and both did so easily.

11-Point Games

This was proposed by the ITTF Executive Committee. By a vote of 104-7, starting September 1, 2001:

  • Games will be to 11

  • Matches will be best of 7 or best of 9

  • Servers will switch every two points

  • Players will switch sides in the last possible game when either player scores 5.

The ITTF Technical Committee will decide later which ITTF events will be best of 7 and which will be best of 9. These two options roughly parallel the current best of 3 and best of 5.

11-point games have been used in the past, including the French and Slovenia Opens last year. USATT experimented with this in the 1980s, using 11-point games in their Allstar Series for a year.

New Service Rule

The new rule was proposed by England and the ITTF Rules Committee. The rule effectively makes it impossible to hide contact when serving. The vote was overwhelming, greater even then the 11-point rule vote (see above), and so no official vote count was taken. This rule will go into effect on September 1, 2002, one year after 11-point games become effective. The new rule is:

"There should be nothing between the ball and the entire net from the moment when the ball is presented in service until the server hits the ball."

These changes officially only affect ITTF events, which in the U.S. would mean the U.S. Open, North American Teams and possibly others. However, it is expected that USATT and other countries will match the ITTF rules.

The 11-point rule was passed in order to increase the number of "game endings" in a match, so that there are more exciting points. The new service rule was passed to make the game more open and visible, and easier to understand by spectators, and to increase rallies.

ITTF President Adham Sharara admitted that many will not like the new rules, especially established players. "We can’t just think about today," he said. "We must think about the future."

The ITTF had increased the size of the ball from 38mm to 40mm, effective October 1, 2000. By switching to 11-point games on September 1, 2001, and making hidden serves illegal as of September 1, 2002, it spreads these three changes out to one per year.

"I am very happy that we can now implement the whole package of rule changes that we planned some years ago," said Sharara. "We already changed the size of the ball from 38 to 40mm. Now it is time to take the next steps. I believe it will improve the game. I know that some players and coaches might be against the changes, but this is only natural. Players don’t like changes. I am sure they will adapt. If today you give them a 38mm ball, they can’t believe they ever played with that kind of ball."

By Larry Hodges


Last Update : 06 November, 2002

Copyright © 2001-2006 Ertan Patir

Webmaster :