Table tennis: China's Fan and Chen stay atop first release of new ITTF world rankings, S'pore's Feng 12th

China's Fan Zhendong (left) and Chen Meng are currently the world's top-ranked players. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (XINHUA) - China's Fan Zhendong and Chen Meng start 2021 as the world's top-ranked players after the weekly ITTF table tennis world ranking lists were published for the first time under a new name and structure.

The new rankings were approved on Dec 21, 2020 by the ITTF executive committee. The transition from the ITTF world rankings to the ITTF table tennis world rankings commences with players retaining 80 per cent of their December 2020 ITTF world ranking points, and these points will be progressively reduced by a further 10 per cent every six weeks up to week 49, which means there is no change to the current top five players in the world.

Sitting on top of the men's rankings, Fan is followed by compatriots Xu Xin, Ma Long and Lin Gaoyuan. Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan ranks fifth.

China also has four players featuring in women's top five - Chen, Sun Yingsha, Wang Manyu and Ding Ning, with third-placed Mima Ito the only non-Chinese among the world's top five.

Singapore's top woman player Feng Tianwei is placed 12th - she is followed by Yu Mengyu (50th), Lin Ye (59th) and Zeng Jian (73rd).

With the launch of World Table Tennis (WTT) in 2021, the new rankings structure incorporates the Grand Smash, WTT Cup Finals, WTT Champions, and WTT Contender Series events for the first time, with the winner of Grand Smash events collecting 2,000 ranking points, which is at the same level as the World Table Tennis Championships and Olympics.

WTT Cup Finals winners will earn 1,500 points, while 1,000 points are on offer for WTT Champions events.

On the Contender Series level, players will contend for 600 points at WTT Star Contender tournaments, while 400 points are available at WTT Contender events.

Allocation of points by round also changes under the new structure, with players rewarded for their performance by round in a proportional, merit-based way.

A major change to the publications of the rankings sees the ITTF table tennis world rankings published weekly on Tuesdays.

Performance at the WTT Youth Series will be incorporated into the new ranking structure, with ranking points offered for those participating in the Under-19 category events

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