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Spin doctors

How sponge rackets changed table tennis forever

Asian players began to dominate table tennis after the introduction of the foam racket in the early 1950s. (© AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Four years ago, I had a routine check-up at the doctor’s and the diagnosis was high blood pressure. Not uncommon in men of my age, but still something that needed attention. Physical exercise was prescribed. What to do?

Apart from skiing, the only sport I’d enjoyed in my youth was ping-pong, so I went along to the nearest club. Clustered around three tables were half a dozen…

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