Overview

Table tennis at the Tokyo Games will comprise five medal events:

  • Men’s Singles
  • Men’s Team
  • Women’s Singles
  • Women’s Team
  • Mixed Doubles (new to the Tokyo Games)

In Tokyo, all events will be contested as a single elimination tournament.

  • Players/teams can score regardless of whether they are the serving or receiving team.
  • The serving player/team changes after every two points have been scored.
  • Singles/mixed doubles matches are best of seven games.
  • Team matches consist of best-of-five matches (one doubles match and four singles matches). Each match is best-of-five games.

Players/teams switch sides after each game. However, in the last possible game of a match, the players/teams change ends when either player/team has scored five points. 

Men’s/Women’s Singles

Singles matches are the best of seven games. Each of the seven games is played to 11 points (win by two).

Competition unfolds using single-elimination bracket. At the beginning of the tournament, athletes are placed into the bracket based on their world ranking (as of July 2020). The top 16 athletes in the world will be seeded directly into round 3, athletes ranked 17-23 will start their tournament in round 2. The remaining athletes will begin in the preliminary or first round.

Preliminary Round: This round will only take place if the number of competitors exceeds 64.

Initial Rounds:

  • Round 1 (16 matches)
  • Round 2 (16 matches)
  • Round 3 (16 matches)

Final Rounds:

  • Round of 16 (8 matches)
  • Quarterfinals (4 matches)
  • Semifinals (2 matches)
  • Bronze and gold medal matches

Expected Duration (based on Rio):

    • A match that is a four-game sweep can be over in just 20 minutes.
    • Matches that consist of six or seven games typically last about an hour.

Mixed Doubles

Mixed doubles matches are the best of seven games. Each of the seven games is played to 11 points (win by two).

This event will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo. Sixteen doubles are expected to compete (each pair consists of one man and one woman).

At the beginning of the mixed doubles tournament, pairs will be placed into a single-elimination bracket. Competition will consist of the following phases:

  • Round of 16 (8 matches)
  • Quarterfinals (4 matches)
  • Semifinals (2 matches)
  • Bronze and gold medal matches

Men’s/Women’s Team

Each team consists of three players (though a team of two players is allowed to participate if the third player is absent due to illness, injury or disqualification). Each team match consists of five separate matches: one doubles match and four singles matches (if necessary). The team match is best-of-five; it ends when one team wins three matches. Each individual match within the team match is best of five games (rather than best of seven), with no other differences from the men’s and women’s singles event.

Sixteen teams are expected to compete. Competition unfolds using a single-elimination bracket consisting of the following phases:

  • Round of 16 (8 matches)
  • Quarterfinals (4 matches)
  • Semifinals (2 matches)
  • Bronze and gold medal matches

Expected Duration (based on Rio):

  • Team matches that include only three individual matches usually take between 1-2 hours
  • Team matches that include four individual matches usually take between 2-3 hours
  • Team matches that make use of all five individual matches usually take about 3.5 hours

More information:

Official Tokyo site – Table Tennis

USA Table Tennis

International Table Tennis Federation