Timo Boll’s main strength in the game of table tennis is his shot variation and his use of the space around the table.
He is a left-handed player whose best weapon is his forehand topspin drive but he also plays an extremely quick backhand loop. He sets his shots up with his deceptive serves, and he has some of the best footwork in the game of table tennis. Boll has been a real force to be reckoned with for several decades, and he continues to perform as one of the world’s top players.
Timo Boll: A Brief Introduction
Born on 8 March 1981 in the German state of Hessen, Timo Boll is one of Germany’s best table tennis players ever. When he was fourteen, Boll shared the title of the youngest player in the national league. He celebrated his first international success when he won three gold medals in the Table Tennis European Youth Championships at The Hague in 1995.
In 2002, he became the first German player to win the Europe-Top-12-Tournament when he overcame Vladimir Samsonov in the final. Boll also became the 10th best German player that year, according to the ITTF Rankings. During the European Table Tennis Championships in Zagreb, Boll managed to win both the singles and the doubles with Zoltan Fejer-Konnerth.
In the 2002 Table Tennis World Cup in Jinan, China, he beat the world champion Wang Liqin and the Olympic champion Kong Linghui and finished the year as the highest-ranked player in the world. During the European Championship of 2003, Vladimir Samsonov led the Belarusian team to victory in the final against the German team and this led to Boll losing his number one position in the world rankings. Little did he know that he would be back on top again more than fifteen years later!
Timo Boll’s Equipment
In terms of equipment, top players like Timo Boll generally have several long-term sponsorship agreements. One of those agreements that he has is with Butterfly, which means that Boll exclusively uses and recommends all types of Butterfly table tennis equipment. The enormous charisma and energy that Timo Boll has brought to the game of table tennis as a European star have really made many of these products best sellers all over the world.
Boll has been sponsored by the Butterfly table tennis company since 1993. In May 2007, he extended his sponsorship until 2015 and he remains sponsored by Butterfly to this day. Boll even has his own series of ping pong paddles within the company. For example, one of the most popular paddles on the market is the Timo Boll ALC FL Pro-Line With Tenergy 05. This paddle is widely used by many world-class players.
The paddle allows a full range of topspin power play whether you prefer to play close to the table or at a middle distance. The Spring Sponge technology adds a lot of speed and spin to each shot and offers a high level of comfort. It is easy to take advantage of Butterfly’s enormously popular Arylate-Carbon technology when you use this paddle.
His own specific blade that he uses in international competition is the Butterfly Timo Boll ALC with Dignics 09c rubbers on both sides of the paddle. Boll was one of the first two-winged loopers in the game with a shake-hand grip and a spin-block instead of a passive block.
Whenever this technique is used by Boll, it tends to put more pressure on his opponents. He is certainly one of the best players when it comes to generating heavy spin, especially in terms of his opening topspin. He manages to do this with a low stance, quick acceleration, and ample use of his wrist. This technique brought him a lot of success, especially during the celluloid ball era.
When plastic balls started to be introduced into the game in recent years, Boll has come to rely more on his counter-topspin backhand and forehand shots. A perfect example of this was against Fan Zhendong at the Austrian Open in 2019, a game which he ultimately lost, but he still managed to put in an incredible performance against the much younger World No. 1.
Timo Boll’s Stats
Germany and Europe as a whole can be very grateful for Boll’s contribution to table tennis and he has shown that he is still a world star on his day, even though he is now nearing forty years of age. He is widely regarded as a hard-working, enthusiastic player who spends much of his free time practicing and improving his skills.
As an integral part of the German national team, Boll received silver medals at both the Team World Championships 2010 in Moscow and the 2012 championships in Dortmund. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Boll lost in the last 16 to Adrian Crisan but the German team won the bronze medal in the men’s team event, losing to China in the semifinals but beating Hong Kong in the bronze medal match.
Boll stayed in good form in the Chinese Super League in 2015, with a total of 7 wins and 5 losses. Due to a knee injury, Boll chose an operation to prevent a more serious injury, and he still managed to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics. At the Olympic Singles event, he lost against Quadri Aruna in the round of 32. However, Boll and his partners Bastian Steger and Dimitrij Ovtcharov won the bronze medal in the team event.
Boll also won a silver medal at the 2017 World Cup, when he defeated Lin Gaoyuan in the quarterfinals and Ma Long in the semifinals. He won another silver medal in the following World Cup in 2018, losing to Fan Zhendong in the finals. Boll won another eight titles at the European Table Tennis Championships. He continues to feature in international competition and his present doubles partner is Patrick Franziska.
Timo Boll’s Height
Timo Boll is able to return the kinds of shots that other players often struggle with. He has an impressive reach around the table and he can often pull off some incredible shots. He is reasonably tall for a table tennis player at 5’11”, or about 180 centimeters. He weighs about 163 pounds. Like a lot of German players, he commands a strong presence around the table.
Timo Boll’s Net Worth
With his lucrative sponsorship deals and a savvy mind for business, the estimated net worth of Timo Boll is believed to be approximately $7 million, making him one of the richest table tennis players in Europe and in fact, one of the richest in the world. Over the years, he has earned many endorsement deals with various brands. This means that also he receives equipment and extra money from all of his sponsors.
Although his net worth is so high, it could have even been higher. In the Chengdu Seamaster Championship in June 2017, the world’s top three table tennis players (Timo Boll, Ma Long, and Fan Zhendong) all refused to play their Round of 16 matches after the Chinese coach, Liu Guoliang, was promoted to vice president.
The International Table Tennis Federation gave each player a $20,000 fine for breaching ITTF rules stating “players must do their utmost to win a match and shall not withdraw except for reasons of illness or injury.” By refusing to play in the Chengdu competition, Boll lost the chance to earn a big chunk of the prize money. Then, all three players also did not attend the following week’s scheduled tournament in the Gold Coast of Australia and this led to him losing out on even more prize money.
Some Highlights of Timo Boll’s Career
Back problems troubled Boll during the first half of 2004, which hindered his preparation for the 2004 Summer Olympics. This is partly why he was so easily defeated in the quarterfinal by Jan-Ove Waldner. After a period marked by intense public criticism, Timo Boll got into his stride again by winning spectacular tournament victories in Poland, Austria, and Germany.
Early on in the 2005 season, some of Boll’s back problems surfaced again, but he still managed to win the silver medal in men’s doubles at the ITTF World Championship. He was awarded the Fair Play Award from the ITTF after a referee’s decision was reversed in favor of his opponent during the knockout rounds of that competition, which ultimately led to his defeat.
Boll ended the year by winning the Champions League with TTV RE-BAU Gönnern, and also the Table Tennis World Cup in Liège in Belgium, where he was able to beat three first-class Chinese players. In December 2006, Timo Boll signed a 3-year contract with Borussia Düsseldorf. Boll also moved for the upcoming Olympic Games 2008 and the possibility to train there.
His three-year contract with Borussia Düsseldorf began on July 1, 2007, and there were quite a few stipulations that allowed him to miss certain Bundesliga matches in order to focus on international tournaments. His contract was later extended until 2022.
In 2007, he won the European Championship men’s singles and men’s doubles competitions, and also the team competition. He became a guest player in the Chinese Super League. He participated again with the German national team in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
After victories over Croatia, Canada, Singapore, and Japan in preliminary rounds and the semifinal, the team ultimately lost 0–3 against China. As the top-ranked player in 2008, Boll successfully defended his three European Champion titles from the previous year.
At the beginning of 2011, Timo Boll was back at the top of the world rankings again when he beat Ma Lin in the Volkswagen Cup final. In April 2011, he was replaced as number 1 by Wang Hao. At the 2011 World Table Tennis Championships in Rotterdam, Boll won his first singles medal in that competition, a bronze medal, after losing to world champion, Zhang Jike.
He spent the next few years slogging away on the ITTF World Tour until Boll was eliminated at the third stage of the 2016 German Open after losing straight games to Vladimir Samsonov. Then, when attempting the 2016 Korea Open five months later, Boll suffered a shock first-round defeat by Tristan Flore. This is an example of how he has sometimes struggled to adapt to the many changes that have come to the game of table tennis over the years.
Neither Timo Boll nor Dimitrij Ovtcharov played in the recent 2020 ITTF World Tour Platinum Qatar Open in Doha, and for Germany, this meant that the responsibility for victory fell to Patrick Franziska, Bastian Steger, and Ricardo Walther.
Adapting to Changes in the Game
For most of the 32 years that table tennis has been an Olympic sport, Timo Boll has been playing at the top level. He first reached the top of the world rankings in 2003 but he has had to adapt continually to keep up with all of the changes. As a triple Olympic medallist, Timo Boll has witnessed directly just how much table tennis has changed since he started playing.
He has seen the sport modernize dramatically in over 20 years at the top level. The first major change came in the year that Boll made his Olympic debut in Sydney when the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) decided to make the balls bigger. Table tennis balls, which had been a maximum of 38 millimetres in diameter since the laws were first codified by the ITTF in 1928, now measured 40 millimetres across.
Boll, whose game relied on heavy topspin, was dramatically affected by the change, which reduced the impact of playing that type of spin. Another change has been learning how to maximize his table tennis paddle and the rubbers on each side. Twenty-five years ago, Boll played with a very soft rubber that had a kind of catapult effect, but now he prefers very hard rubbers for maximum control.
The paddle design has been controversial over the years when players began applying high-speed glue to their rubbers, which changed the way the ball reacted after being hit. This led the ITTF to actually ban the glues in 2007, and decree a year later that “the racket covering must be used without any physical, chemical or other treatment which would change its characteristics.”
The Chinese team has traditionally dominated table tennis but all of their top players have also struggled with these changes. Balls used to be made of celluloid, but they were changed to plastic in most international competitions in 2014.
The plastic balls cut down the rotation and spin of the ball. After the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there was another slight change to the plastic composition of the ball, which was welcomed by Boll, who returned to the world number one position in early 2018, a sign of his longevity and continued success.
Looking Toward the Future
Modernizations have included changes in the playing rules, to the dimensions and material of the ball, to what the paddle is made of. Boll, who has won three Olympic medals so far, will make his sixth Games appearance at Tokyo 2020. As a player in major contention, Timo Boll could succeed again at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games. Timo Boll will represent Germany in the men’s singles event at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he hopes to medal.
Timo Boll has consistently been one of the best players on the ITTF world tour. He has been ranked in the top 10 of the world rankings continuously since 2002 and he has been a former world number one on several occasions. He topped the list at the beginning of 2003 and again at the beginning of 2011 and 2018.