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Can Table Tennis End in a Draw?

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Can table tennis, or ping pong end in a draw?

Let’s find out!

This in-depth guide explains all the essential rules of ping pong.

young start up business man and woman playing table tennis

Understanding Table Tennis Rules

Before we explore the possibility of a draw in table tennis, let’s familiarize ourselves with the basic rules of the game.

Table tennis is played on a rectangular table divided into two halves by a net. Players use small, lightweight rackets to hit a lightweight ball back and forth over the net.

The objective is to make the ball bounce on the opponent’s side of the table and score points when the opponent fails to return the ball within the prescribed rules.

Gameplay and Scoring

In table tennis, players take turns serving the ball, and each rally starts with a service.

The server must toss the ball upwards at least 16 centimeters and strike it so that it first bounces on their side of the table, clears the net, and then bounces on the opponent’s side.

The receiver must then return the ball by hitting it back over the net, aiming to prevent the ball from bouncing twice on their side and to keep it in play.

Points are awarded based on the outcome of each rally.

If a player fails to return the ball within the rules, their opponent scores a point. The first player to reach 11 points, with a minimum lead of 2 points, wins a game.

A match is typically played as a best-of-five or best-of-seven games, depending on the competition rules.

Exploring the Possibility of a Draw

Now let’s address the burning question: Can table tennis end in a draw? The answer is both straightforward and intriguing.

According to the official rules set by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), a table tennis match cannot end in a draw. The objective of the game is to determine a clear winner, and a draw does not align with this objective.

To ensure that a match doesn’t end in a draw, the ITTF has implemented a sudden death mechanism called “deuce” when the game reaches a score of 10-10.

In deuce, players continue to play until one of them achieves a two-point lead. This ensures that a definitive winner emerges from each game, eliminating the possibility of a draw.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s address some frequently asked questions regarding table tennis:

Q: Can table tennis end in a tiebreaker?

A: Yes, when a game reaches a score of 10-10, a tiebreaker or “deuce” is implemented to determine the winner.

Q: Are there any scenarios where a table tennis match can end in a draw?

A: No, according to the ITTF rules, a table tennis match cannot end in a draw. The game is designed to have a clear winner.

Q: What happens if both players reach 10 points?

A: When both players reach 10 points, the game enters the deuce phase, and they continue playing until one player achieves a two-point lead.


In conclusion, table tennis does not allow for a draw.

The objective of the game is to determine a winner, and the rules and mechanisms in place ensure that there is always a clear victor. So the next time you engage in a table tennis match, remember that there will be no stalemates or ties – only one player will win!

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