Today, two table tennis pros met at the Qatar Open and ended up locked in a staggering 10-minute, 766-shot rally.
The International Table Tennis Federation, which runs the event, said in an Instagram video that it “has got to be the longest rally ever in modern table tennis history!”
Li Jie of the Netherlands and Hitomi Sato of Japan are both internationally ranked table tennis players known for their defensive skills. Li competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Sato is a champion doubles player.
The score when Thursday’s rally happened was 0-0.
Neither player “took the risk to attack first, resulting in an endless rally,” the ITTF wrote.
The rally was interrupted not by a failure of focus or coordination, but by a stray ball from a neighboring match area. Under the ITTF rules, a rally may be stopped “because the conditions of play are disturbed in a way which could affect the outcome of the rally.”
Presumably, another little white ball entering the players’ field of vision could affect the outcome.
Li eventually ended up winning the match and moving on in the tournament, which has four more rounds.