02 Jan 2020

Each has won the respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles at the World Championships on three occasions; each struck gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

They have challengers, their record is not one without defeats being experienced; but as we look back over the past ten years, the most prominent players on the global scene have been China’s Ma Long and Ding Ning.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The fact is reflected on the world rankings; since January 2010, when the monthly listings have been published, the name of Ma Long has appeared at the very top of the order on no less than 64 times.

Similarly on the counterpart women’s list, during the same period, on 53 occasions Ding Ning has been at the very pinnacle.

Both are well clear of the field; one that if we consider the names of the players who have ascended to the top spot on the world rankings in that period is dominated by China; the notable interlopers on the men’s list are Germany’s Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov, the women’s order is complete.

Timo Boll appeared at the head of the ranking on four monthly listings; for Dimitrij Ovtcharov twice his name was above all others.


Otherwise, it has been the might of China.

On the men’s rankings Xu Xin is next in line to Ma Long having appeared in first place on 21 publications. He is followed by Fan Zhendong 16 times, Zhang Jike seven appearances and Wang Hao, six such top spots.

Seven names at the top of the order in a timescale of 120 publications; for the women it is one less.

All Chinese names, second on the list to Ding Ning is Liu Shiwen with 33 monthly top listings, followed by Chen Meng on 12 occasions and Zhu Yuling nine times. Now retired from international play, Li Xiaoxia and Guo Yan complete the elite order. Li Xiaoxia during her illustrious career secured the top spot eight times, the name of Guo Yan appeared ten times.

Top ten

The fact that as an illustrious Chinese name retires, another is ready to step into their shoes is illustrated; the depth of talent is also underlined by the number of Chinese players who during the period have gained a top 10 listing.

In addition, on the men’s listings, of the current generation Fang Bo, Liang Jingkun, Lin Gaoyuan and Yan An have gained top ten places as for the now retired have Chen Qi, Hao Shuai, Ma Lin and Wang Liqin.

Likewise, for the women the names of Chen Xingtong, Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu and Wu Yang have all gained top 10 places as have from a previous generation, Guo Yue, Fan Ying, Feng Yalan, Wang Nan and Zhang Yining.

It is now a trend followed by Japan; since January 2010 Tomokazu Harimoto, Kenta Matsudaira, Jun Mizutani and Koki Niwa have all appeared in the top ten of the men’s rankings as on the women’s listings have Ai Fukuhara, Kasumi Ishikawa, Mima Ito, Miu Hirano, Sayaka Hirano and Hitomi Sato.

World Ranking ma long Ding Ning