Table Tennis Vs Tennis: Find Differences to Match Your Preference!

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  • Post last modified:April 2, 2024
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Are you caught in the middle of a racquet sports dilemma of Table Tennis vs Tennis, unable to decide between the fast-paced action of table tennis and the athletic rigor of tennis? You’re not alone. Both sports captivate fans around the globe with their distinctive dynamics and thrilling gameplay. This post explores the major elements of table tennis and tennis to understand what sets them apart, and which might be the right fit for you.

Table Tennis Vs Tennis: Equipment Used

The game of table tennis
The game of tennis

In table tennis (also called ping pong), players use a racket (also called a paddle or bat) to hit a lightweight ball back and forth across a table divided by a net. The racket is usually made of wood and rubber, allowing players to control the ball’s speed and spin. The ball is small, light, and hollow, designed for quick and agile play. The table itself is regulation-sized and has a smooth surface to ensure fair and consistent gameplay.

In tennis, players use a strung racket to hit a felt-covered rubber ball back and forth over a net to bounce on a rectangular court. The racket is typically made of lightweight materials like graphite, featuring a head with a stringed hitting area, a shaft, and a handle. The tennis ball is designed to bounce effectively on the court surface. Additionally, players wear specialized shoes that facilitate the quick movements and directional changes essential for playing tennis.

Tennis is played on a much larger court (78 ft x 36 ft) compared to the smaller table (9 ft x 5 ft) used for table tennis.

Tennis rackets are significantly larger and heavier than table tennis paddles.  In tennis, strung rackets are used for hitting, whereas the game of table tennis uses wooden or composite rackets padded with rubber. Ping Pong balls are also much lighter and smaller than tennis balls.

Table Tennis Vs Tennis: Rules of the Game

A table tennis player is serving
Table Tennis Serve
A tennis player is serving
Tennis Serve

In tennis, the server must serve diagonally across the net for the first bounce on the receiver’s service box, while in table tennis, the serve must bounce on the server’s side before crossing the net. You can serve anywhere to bounce the table tennis ball on the opponent’s half in singles play.

In tennis, you can volley or smash the ball before it lands on the court, which is not allowed in table tennis. You have to hit the ball only after the first bounce, not before the bounce.

The similarity between the two sports is that while returning a ball during rallies, only one bounce is allowed.

Differences in Scoring Pattern

Table Tennis matches are by the best of five or seven games, with each game played to 11 points and the winner needing at least a two-point margin.

Tennis scores advance through points, games, and sets, with a somewhat complicated language of love, deuce, advantage, and tiebreakers.

Earning Potential

Tennis has higher earning potential, with larger prize pools at international championships.  The top players in the world can earn millions of dollars each year from prize money, endorsements, and sponsorships.

While the earnings of the present no. 1  Novak Djokovic is an estimated $38.4 million in 2023, the 42-year-old Roger Federer earned $95 million in the last year of his career.

Table Tennis, on the other hand, is far behind with fewer high-paying tournaments. Ma Long is the richest player in the World having a net worth of $20 million.

However, it is still possible to make a good living as a professional table tennis player through sponsorships and competitions.


Both sports are globally recognized and hold their presence in the top 10 most popular sports in the world. Tennis traditionally holds a broader spectator fan base due to major international tournaments like Wimbledon and the French Open.

Table Tennis, often considered the world’s number one indoor sport, enjoys immense popularity in Asia and parts of Europe.

In global popularity and fan following list, Tennis is 3 – 4 steps ahead of Table Tennis.

International Events

Table Tennis shines at the Olympics and World Championships.

Tennis is equally prestigious at Grand Slam tournaments, the Davis Cup, and also an essential part of the Olympic Games.

Tennis Vs Table Tennis: Which is better?

Professional play depends on personal skills and preferences. Tennis players enjoy greater global recognition and endorsements. However, Table Tennis players participate in truly fast-paced, dynamic matchups requiring intense focus and reflexes.

For a casual player, Table Tennis might be easier to set up and play in confined spaces, like a garage or recreation room. Tennis requires more space but is a fantastic choice for those seeking aerobic exercise and social community clubs.

Table Tennis is a more acceptable choice for amateurs because it has less physical demands. You can play the game even when you are 50 – 60 years older. It is a fantastic game to spend quality time with your kids, family members, or friends. It can bring colors to parties, picnics, or social gatherings.

On the other hand, Tennis is primarily an outdoor game. So you have a dependency on weather conditions. A rainy day may spoil all your energy and excitement.

Tennis Vs Table Tennis: Summary Chart

CategoryTable TennisTennis
Board/ Court SizeSmaller (9 ft x 5 ft)Bigger (78 ft x 36 ft)
Racket weightLess More 
Ball weightLess (2.67 – 2.77 gm)More (56 – 59.4 gm)
Indoor/ OutdoorMainly IndoorMainly Outdoor
Rally DurationLessMore
Dominant ShotTopspinGroundstrokes
No of Sets5 – 73 – 5
Match DurationLessMore
Difficulty Level for Amateurs EasyHard
Main EventsOlympics & World ChampionshipsGrand Slams & Olympics
Most Popular inEast Asia and EuropeNorth America, Australia, & Europe

Finding the Right Choice

While tennis emphasizes endurance and power, table tennis rewards hand-eye coordination and reflexes. Both sports offer unique challenges, making the choice dependent on individual strengths, weaknesses, and preferences in the professional realm. However, Tennis is more appealing toward prize money and endorsements for higher earning potential.

On the other hand, Table Tennis has a universal approach for all ages as a recreational sport. This strategic sport can be a great additive for school learners to sharpen their brains by juggling with the magic of spin and instant game planning.

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