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Women's World Cup

New Service Rule comes into effect

ITTF Press Release

Singapore, 2 September 2002. The Women’s World Cup was the first ITTF event implementing the new service rule, and though there is no statistic proof it seems like services are more easily returned – which gives more rallies and a more spectacular game.

Earlier many points were decided directly on the service because the server could hide the ball behind the arm or shoulder at the moment when it was struck. In that way the receiver was not able to see which kind of spin the server gave to the ball. According to the new rule the ball has to be visible for the receiver.
“Here at the World Cup I could see the ball when my opponent struck it, and that is an improvement. However the question is also the impact on your own service”, says Tamara BOROS (CRO) who – not to violate the new rule – swings her left arm behind her back immediately when the ball is in the air.

“The Chinese”, says Boros, “in my opinion are challenging the new rule by removing the arm only immediately before they strike it. That gives them a better coordination in the service, but then the limit between a legal and an illegal service is not clear. For sure if they are allowed to do it, I will start doing it as well”.

World Cup winner ZHANG Yining (CHN) did not like the rule from the very beginning.

“It has been difficult for me, but slowly I am getting used to it. Whether it has any impact on the game? I would like to wait a little before I say anything about that”.

Chinese national coach NI Xiao Dong has seen a lot of confusion because of the new service rule.

“We have followed the new rule for a few months in the Chinese league, and the interpretation differs from match to match and umpire to umpire. We will have to wait and see – but for sure some players will suffer more than others”, says NI.

Krisztina TOTH (HUN) thinks that the service has been and still will be more important to the men’s game than to the women’s.

“Men have more strength to put into the service and I think the change will be bigger for them”.

That could be proven already this week at the ITTF Pro Tour Korean Open. Last year Korean Open was the first Pro Tour to play with 11 points games. This year it will be the first to implement the new service rule.


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