Ovtcharov & Chen Starts 2018 on Top of the WorldPhoto: ITTF
Germany's Dimitrij OVTCHAROV & China's CHEN Meng are the new world number ones on the new ITTF World Ranking released today 1 January 2018.
This comes under the effect of the newly developed ITTF World Ranking which will present a more accurate measure and realistic representation of the playing level of athlete's current performance, as well as to ensure that the World Ranking better supports ITTF events.
The dynamic duo has achieved the top ranking after a successful 2017, claiming several major titles on the international circuit to start their 2018 season on a high note.
OVTCHAROV, who has been dominating European table tennis for the past few years, showed he was ready to take on the world as he took home the Liebherr 2017 ITTF Men's World Cup trophy and claimed four World Tour titles (India, Bulgaria, China & Germany) after sweeping all available European titles. With his world number one position, OVTCHAROV also breaks China's seven years streak on the pole position since his teammate took the throne in January 2011 for three months.
"World number one sounds unreal. I have been dreaming about that when I started playing, but I mean we have millions of players around the world working hard, and they can read my name soon on the top of the list makes me proud and I'm very thankful to everyone who have supported me throughout my entire career," shared the 29-yeear-old German after his sensational victory over Japan's Koki NIWA at the World Tour Grand Finals to become the new world number one.
CHEN was the most successful female star on the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour, winning 3 Platinum event titles (Qatar, Australia & Germany), alongside the prestigious ITTF World Tour Grand Finals title in Astana, Kazakhstan to secure her top spot on the World Ranking.
Competition remains tough for the top spot on the ranking as CHEN is trailed closely by her teammate and former world number one ZHU Yuling (CHN), followed by Singapore's number one FENG Tianwei, and Japanese superstars Kasumi ISHIKAWA and Mima ITO.
Meanwhile, OVTCHAROV will have to keep up with his top form & performance in order to defend his throne from China's FAN Zhendong and LIN Gaoyuan, as well as former world number ones Timo BOLL (GER) and XU Xin (CHN) looking at reclaiming the top spot.
Reigning World & Olympic Champions MA Long (CHN) & DING Ning (CHN) whose world rankings have dropped to seven & 21 respectively due to inactivity in 2017, will also be looking at making their return.
Action resumes with the Seamaster 2018 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open that will be held in Budapest, Hungary from 18-21 January 2018.