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Top facts about Ma Long, the best table tennis player of all time

Wed 22 September 2021 | 19:30

Finding the first and the best person in some fields are really hard but according to so many professionals and different sources, Ma Long is the best when it comes to Table Tennis so today, we are going to read Top facts about Ma Long, the best table tennis player of all time.

Ma Long is a Chinese table tennis player who was born on October 20, 1988. He is the first male player to complete a career Double Grand Slam as the Olympic gold winner in men's singles in 2016 and 2020. He is widely considered the best table tennis player of all time. He held the number one position for the longest period of time in the history of table tennis, 64 months.

In 2015, 2017, and 2019, he won the World Championships in men's singles. His achievements earned him the nicknames "The Dictator" and "The Dragon" from the International Table Tennis Federation. He has been the captain of China's men's national table tennis team since 2014. Are you interested in knowing him better? No worries! Let's start...

Top facts about Ma Long, the best table tennis player of all time

Ma possesses a playing style that conforms to the current strategy of close-range third-ball play, making him one of the finest forehand attackers in table tennis history. His play approach was largely forehand-oriented at the start of his career, dominating play with powerful forehand loops and only utilizing his backhand for controlled returns to set up his forehand. He still favors the forehand, but his backhand has improved in consistency, stability, and power as his career has evolved.

He is considerably more confident attacking and defending with his backhand now than he was when he was younger.

His colleagues have described him as a tactical player who is constantly looking for a solution. His serves look to be standard pendulum serves, but they are among the most visually deceiving among elite players, with minute variations in spin and serving motion.

He is extremely fast on his feet, making it tough to pull him out of position and allowing him to chase down balls and recover from circumstances that most other players would be unable to achieve. On the Chinese National Team, Ma is also the most renowned user of the chopping block. Though he first utilized it when he was out of position or to counter sluggish loops with heavy side spin, he now employs it as a game technique, giving him even another weapon with which to confound opponents.

Let's get into this Legend's career in next part of Sportmob's Top facts about Ma Long

Ma Long's Early Career

Ma became the youngest world champion at the age of 17 when he competed in the 2006 Bremen World Team Championship after winning both the Asian and World Junior Championships. Before learning under Qin Zhi Jian, Ma built his foundations under Wang Hao and former Chinese National Team coach Ma Kai Xuan.

He had considerable success in singles before turning 22, reaching the finals of 11 ITTF World Tour competitions. He twice won the Asian Cup and the World Tour Grand Finals, as well as reaching the final round of the Asian Championships losing to Wang Hao in 2007 and winning in 2009.

He also competed in the China National Games and the All-China Championships finals, losing both bouts against Wang. Despite being the world's No. 1 player for much of the 2010–2012 period, he was not selected to represent China at the 2012 Olympics due to a brief drop in ratings following a 560-day winning run on the ITTF World Tour.

First, he was defeated in six games by Japan's Koki Niwa in the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament, and then he was defeated 4–1 by Lee Sang-Su at the 2012 Korea Open. The ITTF World Rankings were used to choose the players. As a result, at a time when he was largely regarded as the finest table tennis player in the world, he was denied the opportunity to earn Olympic gold in singles.

Everything between 2013 to 2015

Ma had a great year following his third defeat to Wang Hao at the WTTC in 2013. He won the China Open twice (beating Wang and subsequently Xu Xin in the finals), the Asian Championships three times, and the China National Games against Fan Zhendong in a full-stretch battle. Xu, on the other hand, defeated him 4–3 in the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals after the year. He won the Asian Cup for the fourth time in March 2014, beating Fan in seven games once more. He did not drop a single game at the 2014 WTTC.

Ma was instrumental in Germany's victory in the final, defeating Timo Boll in the first match and Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the second. He received the Victor Barna Award as the tournament's top player for his performance. He then won the China Open for the sixth time, tying Wang Liqin for the most wins in the tournament's history. He met Zhang Jike for the first time at a Grand Slam tournament in October 2014, at the World Cup in Düsseldorf. Despite leading 3–2 insets, Ma lost the match 10–12, despite preserving two match points in the last game.

All of this fueled more criticism of his failure to deliver on the greatest platforms at the most crucial times. He reached the final of the Chinese National Championships in November but was beaten 4–2 by Fan, bringing the year to a close.

2015, on the other hand, would be Ma's year. He won the Kuwait Open, defeating Xu Xin 4–1 in the final, and then the German Open, avenging a 3–1 loss against Zhang Jike in an exciting final. His most notable victory came at the 2015 WTTC when he did not lose more than one set until the final when he defeated tournament star Fang Bo in six games.  His only previous big singles win was the 2012 World Cup, thus this was a tremendous step forward for him.

Ma won the China Open for the record sixth time, defeating Xu Xin 4–1 after a shocking 4–1 loss to Shang Kun at the Japan Open. He guided Ningbo to the Chinese Super League title in September, defeating Fan Zhendong and Bayi.

Ma did not lose another game in the competition after losing a set against Omar Assar in the round of 16, allowing his opponents to score an average of 6 points each set for the rest of the event. Because he had won three prior World Tour tournaments, he was seeded first for the World Tour Grand Finals despite missing the last two World Tour tournaments of the year due to injury.

He faced Fan again in the final, winning 11–9 in the last game of a full-stretch match after coming back from 3–2 in sets after being up 2–0, including 8–6 in the sixth and 6–2 in the seventh. Ma only lost once in international competition in 2015, and only five times in total. Of course, He was not satisfied with all this and that's why we are going to read about his biggest achievements in the next part of our Top facts about Ma Long.

The Big Success

In January 2016, Ma won the German Open, staying unbeaten until the final, when he defeated Vladimir Samsonov 4–1. He didn't lose a game during China's 2016 WTTC victory over Japan in Kuala Lumpur, extending his unbeaten record to three World Team Championships. He reached the final of the Kuwait Open in March but was defeated 4–1 by Zhang Jike, who had already upset him 5–4 in China's WTTC Trials.

However, he won the Qatar Open a week later, defeating Fan in five games and surpassing Wang Liqin's record for most ITTF World Tour singles victories by a Chinese player. In April, he won his division of the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament, defeating Zhang and subsequently Fan in six and five games, respectively, to qualify for the Olympic Singles in Rio.

Despite not competing in another international tournament until the middle of June, Ma remained world No. 1. Xu Xin defeated him twice in less than two weeks, first in the Japan Open semi-finals in six games and then in the Korea Open full-stretch final.

Since 2012, Ma has gone the shortest period between international losses. Because of his No. 1 rating, he automatically qualified for the third round of the singles at the Rio Olympics. He swept Denmark's Jonathan Groth in the first round but lost 2–0 against Korea's Jung Young-Sik in the second round. He rebounded, though, and went on to win the next four games to reach the quarterfinals.

Ma defeated him four times in a row to advance to the semi-finals, where he would face Jun Mizutani, Japan's best player. Ma won the first three games 11–5, but Mizutani won the fourth game 11–7 and the fifth game 12–10. Ma defeated Zhang Jike, the incumbent Olympic champion, 11–5 in the sixth game to set up a historic final match.

Ma won the gold in a 4–0 blowout against Zhang in their second encounter in a Grand Slam final, marking the first four-game sweep in an Olympic single final. Ma cemented his legacy as an iconic figure in table tennis history by winning the gold medal in Rio.

He became the sixth man to complete the Grand Slam and the second man to be the defending champion of all three Grand Slam tournaments at the same time. He was the second man, after Kong Linghui, to win the ITTF World Tour Grand Finals and the three Grand Slam titles, and the first to do it in a row, making him the first male to be the reigning champion of all four at the same time. Let us continue to next  part of Top facts about Ma Long.

The Story of 2017

For the second year in a row, Ma won the Qatar Open in February, defeating Fan Zhendong 4–1 in the final. Fan, on the other hand, will avenge himself at China's 2017 WTTC trials, nicknamed "the Marvellous 12." After the first 11 rounds, Ma and Fan, the world's No. 1 and No. 2 players, both had nine victories, but Fan defeated Ma in a thrilling three-game match that went down to the wire.

Ma was forced to withdraw from the trials after injuring his waist in his last match against Lin Gaoyuan, missing out on one of the three guaranteed berths in the 2017 WTTC.

Despite his hit-or-miss start to the year, Ma was invited to compete in the global championships in Düsseldorf from late May to early June. Ma, who entered as the No. 1 seed, breezed through the first four rounds, save for a difficult six-game encounter against Sweden's Anton Kallberg, whom he had never faced before.

In the quarterfinals, he faced Timo Boll of the host nation, who had a fantastic tournament in front of his home fans. He then swept teammate Xu Xin, who was making his second appearance in a WTTC singles semi-final, to go to the final. The men's singles final of the 2017 WTTC did not disappoint.

Ma won the Japan Open in Tokyo in June, defeating Xu, who had defeated him there the year before, in 6 games and Fan in 5 games. This was his first victory in Japan, and he now has victories in Kuwait, Germany, China, Qatar, Japan, and Korea on the ITTF World Tour.

Ma competed in three events at the 2017 China National Games: singles, doubles, and team, from late August to early September. Ma and Beijing were placed in the same category as reigning champions PLA, headed by Fan Zhendong, in the team event group stage.

When Beijing and PLA faced off, Ma defeated Zhou Yu 3–1 but was swept by Fan, allowing PLA to win the match 3–1 and claim first place in the division. Beijing, on the other hand, qualified for the knockout stage by winning their remaining two games and placing second in the group. They played Lin Gaoyuan and Guangdong in the team quarterfinals.

Beijing was eliminated from the team tournament after losing to Ma in five games, a surprising outcome gave that they had finished third in the team event in the previous two National Games. Ma and Xu Xin, the 2011 World Champion men's doubles team, were partnered together in the doubles tournament.

They swept all of their opponents on their route to the final, where they would meet reigning champions Fan and Zhou Yu from PLA. The contest was thrilling and lasted all seven games. As Fan and Zhou retained their championship, Ma and Xu nearly lost the last game by the tiniest of margins, settling for silver.

The road continues

As a result of his inactivity, Ma's global ranking slipped to 9th at the start of 2018. The ITTF had earlier stated that a new ranking system will be implemented at the start of the new year, with the new system giving more weight to a player's activities rather than their playing strength.

The Dragon not only lost his number one status, which he had held for 34 months, but he also fell out of the top five in the ITTF world ranking for the first time since 2011. Despite his lower ranking, Ma made an impression in the 2018 World Team Cup in London, which took place in late February.

Throughout the competition, he was unbeaten in singles and doubles, and he helped China overcome Japan in the final. Ma won the German Open for the sixth time in March, defeating a very tough competition.

In winning his 25th ITTF World Tour singles championship, he overcame Maharu Yoshimura, Jun Mizutani, Timo Boll, Wong Chun Ting, and compatriot Xu Xin, boosting his world ranking to 6th.

Ma's ailments lingered into 2019, preventing him from competing in the Marvellous 12, a Chinese qualifier for the 2019 World Table Tennis Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in April. Despite this, he was named to the Chinese singles and doubles lineups for the championships.

In late March, he made his long-awaited comeback to international play at the Qatar Open. Due to his seven-month hiatus from the game, it was unclear how well he would play, and it showed when he required six games to overcome Tristan Flore in his first encounter. However, he looked to be in terrific shape following that. He swept Timo Boll and Jun Mizutani in a row then defeated Xu Xin in a hard-fought six-game encounter in the semi-finals.

He came back from a 0–2 deficit in the final, including a 2–7 deficit in the fifth game, to win in six games against compatriot Lin Gaoyuan. He appeared in front of the camera just after winning the match, wiping the dust off his racket to show he was OK after being idle for so long. With 27 ITTF World Tour singles championships, he was tied with Vladimir Samsonov. Shall we start the next part of Top facts about Ma Long

The Year 2020 and 2021

Ma finished second in the 2020 World Cup, losing in the finals against Fan Zhendong. [24] Ma was down 3–1 to Harimoto in the semi-finals when he requested a timeout in game 5 and turned to a high-toss serve that Harimoto couldn't read.

As a result, Ma was able to recover and win 4–3. Ma, on the other hand, finished the year by defeating Fan Zhendong 4–1 in the ITTF World Tour finals, extending his record to six titles in the tournament. Ma participated in the China Olympic scrimmages in May. In the semi-finals of the first leg of the scrimmage, he was defeated 4–3 by Zhou Qihao.

He was chosen to represent China in the men's singles event of the Tokyo Olympics alongside Fan Zhendong in mid-May. Ma was defeated 4–2 by Xu Chenhao in the quarter-finals of the second leg of the scrimmage shortly after.

Ma met with WTT in June for an interview about his Olympic preparations. He claimed that mental preparation was the most essential aspect of his preparation for Tokyo and that he needed to be even better psychologically prepared than he was in London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Our legendary player also defeated compatriot Fan Zhendong 4–2 in the final of the 2020 Summer Olympics, becoming the first player in history to win consecutive gold medals in the men's singles event. Fan dubbed Ma the finest player of this generation after the game.

He also became the first male table tennis player to win five Olympic gold medals after defeating Timo Boll 3-1 at the 2020 Summer Olympics, retaining China's perfect record in the men's teams event.

 

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