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The ping pong racket may be of any size, shape, or weight but the ping pong blade shall be flat and rigid. At least 85% of the blade by thickness shall be of natural wood. An adhesive layer within the blade may be reinforced with fibrous material such as carbon fiber, glass fiber, or compressed paper but shall not be thicker than 7.5% of the total thickness or 0.35 mm, whichever is the smaller. A side of the blade used for striking the ping pong ball shall be covered with either ordinary pimpled rubber with pimples outward having a total thickness including adhesive of not more than 2 mm. or sandwich rubber with pimples inwards or outward having a total thickness including adhesive of not more than 4 mm. Ordinary pimpled ping pong rubber is a single layer of non-cellular rubber, natural or synthetic, with pimples evenly distributed over its surface at a density of not less than 10 per sq. cm. and not more than 50 per sq.cm 4.3.2 Sandwich rubber is a single layer of cellular rubber covered with a single outer layer of ordinary pimpled rubber, the thickness of the pimpled rubber not being more than 2 mm. The covering material shall extend up to but not beyond the limits of the blade, except that the part nearest the handle and gripped by the fingers may be left uncovered or covered with any material and may be considered part of the handle. The blade, any layer within the blade, and any layer of covering material or adhesive shall be continuous and of even thickness. The surface of the covering material on a side of a blade or of a side of the blade if it is left uncovered shall be matt, bright red on one side and black on the other. Slight deviations from uniformity of color or continuity of covering due to fading, wear, or accidental damage may be ignored provided they do not significantly change the characteristics of the surface. At the start of a match and if he changes his racquet during a match, a player shall show his opponent and the umpire the racquet he is about to use and shall allow them to examine it. If a player breaks his table tennis racquet during a game, he shall replace it immediately with another racquet which he has brought with him to the playing area or one which is handed to him in the playing area. A racket shall not be changed in an individual match unless it is accidentally damaged so badly that it cannot be used. If a player changes a racket during an individual match without notification, the umpire shall suspend play and report to the referee. Table Tennis Rackets complying with all requirements of the rules for Hard Bat ping pong rackets shall be legal in all USATT tournaments except the US Open and North American Open Team Championships. Hard Bat rules are shown at www.hardbat.com/ If a player strikes the ball in play with a side of the blade whose surface does not comply with the requirements of the Rules, his opponent will be awarded a point.
Players shall not choose ping pong balls in the playing area. Whenever possible players shall be given the opportunity to choose one or more table tennis balls before coming to the playing area. The match shall be played with one of these table tennis balls, taken at random by the umpire. If a table tennis ball has not been chosen before players come to the playing area, the match shall be played with a ball taken at random by the umpire from a box of those specified for the competition. If a ball has to be replaced during a match, the replacement shall be provided according to the procedures of Rules. Unless otherwise authorized by the umpire, players shall leave their ping pong racquets on the table during intervals.