Timo Boll (German pronunciation: [ˈtiːmo ˈbɔl], audio; born 8 March 1981) is a German professional table tennis player, who currently plays for Borussia Düsseldorf. He is currently ranked 45th in the ITTF world rankings as of January 2024.[5] Boll is the most successful German table tennis player of all time, having won several medals at Olympic Games, world cups, and world championships.[6] He was ranked world No. 1 in 2003, 2011 and in March 2018.[7]

Timo Boll
Boll in 2016
Personal information
Born (1981-03-08) 8 March 1981 (age 43)
Erbach, West Germany[1]
Height1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Weight72 kg (159 lb)[1]
Table tennis career
Playing styleLeft-handed, shakehand grip
Equipment(s)Butterfly Timo Boll ALC blade; Butterfly Dignics 09c (Black, FH); Butterfly Dignics 09c (Red, BH) Early career = Donic
Highest ranking1 (January 2003)[2]
Current ranking26 (30 March 2024)[3]
ClubBorussia Düsseldorf[4]
Medal record
Men's table tennis
Representing  Germany
Event 1st 2nd 3rd
Olympic Games 0 2 2
World Championships 0 6 3
World Cup 2 3 2
Total 2 11 7
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 2008 Beijing Team
Silver medal – second place 2020 Tokyo Team
Bronze medal – third place 2012 London Team
Bronze medal – third place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Team
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2004 Doha Team
Silver medal – second place 2005 Shanghai Doubles
Silver medal – second place 2010 Moscow Team
Silver medal – second place 2012 Dortmund Team
Silver medal – second place 2014 Tokyo Team
Silver medal – second place 2018 Halmstad Team
Bronze medal – third place 2011 Rotterdam Singles
Bronze medal – third place 2006 Bremen Team
Bronze medal – third place 2021 Houston Singles
World Cup
Gold medal – first place 2002 Jinan Singles
Gold medal – first place 2005 Liège Singles
Silver medal – second place 2008 Liège Singles
Silver medal – second place 2012 Liverpool Singles
Silver medal – second place 2017 Liège Singles
Silver medal – second place 2018 Paris Singles
Bronze medal – third place 2014 Düsseldorf Singles
Bronze medal – third place 2010 Magdeburg Singles
European Games
Gold medal – first place 2019 Minsk Singles
Gold medal – first place 2019 Minsk Team
Gold medal – first place 2023 Kraków–Małopolska Team
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 2002 Zagreb Singles
Gold medal – first place 2002 Zagreb Doubles
Gold medal – first place 2007 Belgrade Singles
Gold medal – first place 2007 Belgrade Doubles
Gold medal – first place 2007 Belgrade Team
Gold medal – first place 2008 Saint-Petersburg Singles
Gold medal – first place 2008 Saint-Petersburg Doubles
Gold medal – first place 2008 Saint-Petersburg Team
Gold medal – first place 2009 Stuttgart Doubles
Gold medal – first place 2009 Stuttgart Team
Gold medal – first place 2010 Ostrava Singles
Gold medal – first place 2010 Ostrava Doubles
Gold medal – first place 2010 Ostrava Team
Gold medal – first place 2011 Gdansk-Sopot Singles
Gold medal – first place 2011 Gdansk-Sopot Team
Gold medal – first place 2012 Herning Singles
Gold medal – first place 2017 Luxembourg Team
Gold medal – first place 2018 Alicante Singles
Gold medal – first place 2019 Nantes Team
Gold medal – first place 2021 Warsaw Singles
Silver medal – second place 2000 Bremen Team
Silver medal – second place 2002 Zagreb Team
Silver medal – second place 2003 Courmayeur Team
Silver medal – second place 2014 Lisbon Team
Silver medal – second place 2023 Malmö Team
Bronze medal – third place 2003 Courmayeur Singles
Bronze medal – third place 2005 Aarhus Doubles
Bronze medal – third place 2009 Stuttgart Singles
Bronze medal – third place 2016 Budapest Singles



Boll was born in Erbach im Odenwald, Hessen. Boll started playing at age 4, and was coached at the time by his father. In 1987, he became a member of TSV Höchst. At age 8, he was discovered by Helmut Hampel, a Hessian trainer who promoted him. In 1990, he started to train at the training centre Pfungstadt and four years later changed teams to FTG Frankfurt [de] with whom he took part in the Second Division, at which time he attracted the attention of other table tennis associations. TTV Gönnern [de] recruited him in 1995, a move which required the entire team to relocate 170 km away, to Höchst, to enable daily training with the then 14-year-old Boll. Boll was placed in position five on the team, but lost only one match throughout the whole season. This contributed to the team's transition to the table tennis national league's Tischtennis-Bundesliga (First Division).



Junior success


At age 14, Boll held the title of youngest player in the national league (A title he shared with Frank Klitzsch). He celebrated his first international success during the Table Tennis European Youth Championships in The Hague in 1995, where he won three gold medals. In 1996, he was a runner up in the Junior Boys Singles of that same competition, but then went on to win the singles title in 1997 and 1998, as well the doubles title in 1998.[8] He finished school with a secondary school level I certificate.

Early International success (2002–2003)


In 2002, Timo Boll became the first German player to win the Europe-Top-12-Tournament beating Vladimir Samsonov in the final. Boll also became the best German player, according to the ITTF Rankings, overtaking Jörg Roßkopf. During the European Table Tennis Championships in Zagreb, Boll won both the singles and the doubles with Zoltan Fejer-Konnerth. The German team featuring Boll was defeated in the final by the Swedish team with a score of 2–3. With his victory in the 2002 Table Tennis World Cup held in Jinan, China (where he beat the world champion Wang Liqin and the Olympic champion Kong Linghui), Timo Boll 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. After his elimination during the second round of the singles competition, Boll lost his number one position in the world rankings.

Injury and comeback (2004–2006)


Back problems troubled Boll during the first half of 2004, which hindered his preparation for the 2004 Summer Olympics. Here, he was outclassed in the quarterfinal by Jan-Ove Waldner. After a period marked by public criticism, Timo Boll won tournament victories in Poland, Austria, and Germany. He also reached semi-finals of the Pro Tour in Peking, where he was edged out 3–4 by Ma Lin. Early in the 2005 season, Boll's back problems struck again; nevertheless, he won the silver medal in doubles at the World Championship, playing with Christian Süß. 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, leading to a defeat. The year ended with Boll winning the Champions League with TTV RE-BAU Gönnern [de], and the Table Tennis World Cup in Liège in Belgium, in which he defeated all three Chinese first-class players.

Draft to Borussia Düsseldorf


In December 2006, Timo Boll signed a 3-year contract with Borussia Düsseldorf [de], the current championship record-holding team, due to his former team's financial situation and loss of key players. Boll also moved in light of the upcoming Olympic Games 2008 and the possibility to train there with his doubles partner, Christian Süß. His 3-year contract with Borussia Düsseldorf began on 1 July 2007, with stipulations allowing him to miss certain Bundesliga matches in order to focus on international tournaments. His contract was later extended until 2022.[9]

Climb to World No. 1 and further success (2007–2015)


In 2007, he won the European Championship singles, doubles, and in the team competition. He was also active as a guest player in the Chinese Super League.[10]

During the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, he participated again with the German national team. After victories over Croatia, Canada, Singapore and Japan in preliminary rounds and the semi-final, the team lost 0–3 against the host Chinese team.[11] As the top-ranked player in 2008, Boll successfully defended his three European Champion titles from the previous year.

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 semi-finals but beating Hong Kong in the bronze medal deciding match.

Back problems led Boll to not participate in the 2008 and 2009 World Championships in China and Japan respectively. At the 2008 World Cup in Liège, he scored a semi-final victory over Ma Long but lost out in the final against Wang Hao, winning a silver medal.

At the beginning of 2011, Timo Boll was back at the top of the world rankings, having beaten 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 being beaten 4:1 by  world champion, Zhang Jike. During this championship, Boll declined to compete in doubles and team matches, focussing instead on the singles competition. Playing for the German national team, Boll received silver medals at both the Team World Championships 2010 in Moscow and the 2012 championships in Dortmund, losing out both times to the Chinese team.

Knee injury and comeback (2015–2016)


Boll kept his good form at the Chinese Super League in 2015, obtaining a result of 7 wins and 5 losses.[12] Due to a knee injury, Boll opted for an operation to pre-empt a more serious injury.[13] The surgery kept him out of action for an extended period of time. After resting from the surgery, Boll qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

At the Olympic Singles event, Boll lost against Quadri Aruna in the round of 32. At the Team event, Boll along with partners Bastian Steger and Dimitrij Ovtcharov won the bronze medal at the team event.

Continued Success (2017–)


Boll also won the silver medal at the 2017 World Cup, defeating Lin Gaoyuan in the quarterfinals, Ma Long in the semi-finals but losing to teammate Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the finals. He won the 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 in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2018.

Timo Boll will represent Germany in the men's singles event at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he hopes to medal.[14]



In June, Boll defeated Anton Kallberg in the quarter-finals of the European Table Tennis Championships. After the match, Boll said it was one of the best matches he had played in the last year or two as he felt that he was agile and thinking well.[15] Boll then defeated Mattias Falck in the semi-finals and Dimitij Ovtcharov in the finals to clinch his record-extending eighth European Championship.[16] After the event, Boll remarked that he was pleasantly surprised by the championship and that he was glad to be back on top after having a particularly bad last year.[16]

In July, two weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, Timo Boll withdrew from an internal German Olympic Scrimmage due to a hip injury.[17] Boll lost to Jeoung Youngsik in the round of 16 in the men's singles event at the Tokyo Olympics.[18] Boll helped lead Germany to the men's team finals, and played a critical role as the third match against Taiwan and Japan. Before the finals, Boll stated, "If we can be on our peak, all three of us have the skills and the will to win the match. We will definitely go no limits to prove that this is our time.[19]" However, China ended up winning 3–0.[20]

In 2021, Boll won the bronze medal at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships in Houston, defeating Kanak Jha in the quarterfinals 4-2 before losing to Truls Möregårdh in the semifinals. At the age of 40, this was one of his major career achievements as he had only won one singles medal at World Championships or Olympic Games before (bronze at the 2011 World Table Tennis Championships).[21]

Starting in 2022, Boll suffered from various injuries, such as a rip and a shoulder injury.[22][23] These complicated his preparation for and even prevented him from competing in major events. Boll participated in the 2022 European Championships in Munich, but lost to Dang Qiu in straight sets.[24] He could not play the 2023 World Championships in Durban at all.[25] As a consequence, he was only ranked 182th in the world in early 2024.[26]

However, 2024 started more promising for Boll. He won the WTT Contender in Doha in January, beating top-12 players Jang Woojin, Lin Yun-Ju, and Tomokazu Harimoto back-to-back.[27] As a consequence, he gained 137 places in the ITTF world rankings, jumping from rank 182 to 45.[28]

At the end of May 2024, Boll announced on his social media that the Paris 2024 Olympics would be his final championship, after which he decided to retire.[29][30]



Timo Boll is a left-handed player whose best weapon is his forehand topspin drive but who is also noted for his extremely quick backhand loop. His blade is the "Timo Boll ALC" with Dignics 09c rubbers on both sides. His present doubles partner is Patrick Franziska.[31]

Boll's technique was ahead of its time as he was one of the first two-winged loopers. He employs the spin-block instead of a passive block to put more pressure on his opponents. He is renowned for being one of the top players when it comes to generating elevated amounts of spin, especially in his opening topspin. This is rendered possible by his low stance, quick acceleration and use of the wrist. This technique brought him a lot of success due to his opponents being put under pressure during the celluloid ball era. In recent years, due to the introduction of the plastic ball, which cannot be given as much spin, Boll relies more on his counter-topspin technique from both the backhand and forehand side. A good example of him employing this technique is his match against Fan Zhendong at the Austrian Open in 2019, in which he reached the deciding set against the 16 years younger World No. 1.[32] This technique allows him to conserve energy but requires very good anticipation and reading of the opponent.

Club history


Timo Boll has played for TSV Höchst (1986 to 1994), FTG Frankfurt (1994 to 1995) and for TTV Gönnern (1995 to 2007).[33] On 1 July 2007, his three-year contract began with Borussia Düsseldorf and still plays for this team.

Personal life


Timo Boll married his long-time girlfriend, Rodelia Jacobi, on 31 December 2002. They have a daughter, Zoey Malaya, born 4 December 2013.[34]



Boll has been sponsored by Butterfly table tennis since 1993. In May 2007 Boll extended his sponsorship until 2015 and is still playing Butterfly to this day. He has gone on to say that he is most satisfied with the agreement. Boll has his own racquet series with the company.


  • 1997 Table Tennis Junior Player of the Year
  • 1998 German Table Tennis player of the Year
  • 2005 Bambi Sport
  • 2005 German Sportspersonality of the year – 3rd position
  • 2006 Sportsman of the Year in Hessen
  • 2007 Fair-Play-Award of Minister (Secretary) of the Interior Home Secretary
  • 2007 German Sportsmen of the Year 2nd position
  • 2008 Sportsman of the Year in Hessen
  • 2010 Sportsman of the Year in Hessen
  • 2010 German Sportspersonality of the year – 2nd position
  • 2017 ITTF Male Table Tennis Star


  • World Cup 2002 and 2005, silver 2008, 2012, 2017 and 2018, bronze 2010 and 2014
  • Single European Champion 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2018 and 2021
  • Team European Champion 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2017 and 2019
  • Europe Top-16 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010,[35] 2018 and 2020
  • European Super Cup 2007, 2008 and 2009
  • ITTF World Tour/Pro Tour (19) and Grand Finals (1): Brasil 2001, Austria 2002, Japan 2003, Poland, Germany and Austria 2004, Japan, Sweden and Grand Finals 2005, China, Germany and Poland 2006, Austria, Germany and Poland 2008, Qatar, Germany, and Poland 2009, Japan 2010, Korea 2017.
  • Double: European Championship 2002 (together with Zoltan Fejer-Konnerth), 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 (together with Christian Süß), Japan Open 2005, Pro Tour Grand Final 2005, 2009 (together with Christian Süß)
  • Double: 2nd position World Championship 2005, 3rd position European Championship 2005 together with Christian Süß
  • Team: 2nd position Olympic Games 2008; 3rd position Olympic Games 2012, 2016; 2nd position European Championship 2000, 2002, 2003, 2014, 2nd position World Championship 2004, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018; 3rd position World Championship 2006.
  • German Championship: 13-times Single-Winner (1998, 2001–2007, 2009, 2015, 2017–2019), 3-times Double-Winner (1999 together with Lars Hielscher, 2005 and 2007 together with Christian Süß)
  • Champions League: Winner 2005 and 2006 with TTV RE-BAU Gönnern [de], 2009, 2010, 2011, 2018 and 2021 with Borussia Düsseldorf
  • 3rd position Qatar and Kuwait Open Single 2007
  • 3rd position World Championship Single 2011 and 2021
  • As the first German number one of the world table tennis rankings (January 2003)

See also



  1. ^ a b c "BOLL Timo". ittf.com. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Ranking progression". ittf.com. Retrieved 12 June 2023.
  3. ^ "ITTF Table Tennis World Ranking". ittf.com. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  4. ^ Concha, Romina (1 September 2011). "Timo Boll will stay with Borussia until 2014". tabletennista.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Senior Men's Singles". www.ittf.com. Retrieved 28 January 2024.
  6. ^ "Timo Boll". Table Tennis Media. 21 April 2021. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  7. ^ "Timo Boll, once again on top of the world – International Table Tennis Federation". International Table Tennis Federation. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  8. ^ "ETTU.org – History – Results". ettu.org (in German). Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Boll verlängert in Düsseldorf – TTBL". ttbl.de (in German). Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  10. ^ "'Table tennis is becoming a major professional sport' – The Sunday Guardian Live". The Sunday Guardian Live. 14 July 2018. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Timo Boll's Performances Recognised by German Journalists". ITTF. 22 December 2008. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  12. ^ Daniels, Jörg (26 August 2015). "Ausgepowerter Boll schwärmt von China". Faz.net. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  13. ^ Scherer, Patrick (6 April 2016). "Olympia macht mich gierig". Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Timo Boll Interview With German Newspaper Fuldaer Zeitung – Edges and Nets". edgesandnets.com. 3 February 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Timo Boll Defeats Anton Kallberg 4–1 in ETTC Quarter-Finals". edgesandnets.com. 26 June 2021. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  16. ^ a b "Timo Boll Defeats Dimitrij Ovtcharov To Win Eighth European Championship". edgesandnets.com. 27 June 2021. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov Withdraw From Internal Olympic Scrimmage Due To Injuries". edgesandnets.com. 12 July 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Olympic Table Tennis Men's Singles Brackets and Results". edgesandnets.com. 24 July 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Germany and Japan To Face China in Olympic Table Tennis Team Finals". edgesandnets.com. 4 August 2021. Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Liu Guoliang Looks Forward After China Wins Olympic Men's Team Gold". edgesandnets.com. 6 August 2021. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
  21. ^ Bregman, Scott (30 November 2021). "Fan, Wang capture singles gold at 2021 World Table Tennis Championships". Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  22. ^ "Timo Boll's European and World Championships participation in danger due to rip injury-Xinhua". english.news.cn. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  23. ^ "ETTU.org - FILUS replaced injured Timo BOLL in team Germany". www.ettu.org (in German). Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  24. ^ Hopkins, Steve (21 August 2022). "European Championships: Dang Qiu Wins in Munich". Butterfly Online | Butterfly Table Tennis. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  25. ^ "ETTU.org - FILUS replaced injured Timo BOLL in team Germany". www.ettu.org (in German). Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  26. ^ "Senior Men's Singles". www.ittf.com. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  27. ^ Hopkins, Steve (20 January 2024). "Boll Wins WTT Contender in Doha". Butterfly Online | Butterfly Table Tennis. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  28. ^ "Senior Men's Singles". www.ittf.com. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  29. ^ "German paddler Boll to retire from international stage after Paris Olympics-Xinhua". english.news.cn. Retrieved 29 May 2024.
  30. ^ "Timo Boll concludes his exceptional career - somewhat". aussiedlerbote.de. 27 May 2024. Retrieved 29 May 2024.
  31. ^ "World champions toppled, German stars rise to the occasion". ittf.com. 1 June 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  32. ^ "Fan Zhendong vs Timo Boll Austrian Open". Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 28 January 2020 – via YouTube.
  33. ^ "Timo Boll Profile". Borussia Düsseldorf. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  34. ^ "Timo Boll is now a father!". Tabletennisdaily. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  35. ^ "Unstoppable Timo BOLL at LIEBHERR Top-12: he's legend". tabletennis.gr. 7 February 2010. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
Olympic Games
Preceded by Flagbearer for   Germany
Rio de Janeiro 2016
Succeeded by