Probably the most loved and popular indoor game ever, table tennis is played by people all around the world of all age groups. But only some of these table tennis enthusiasts manage to come out on top and stun the world with their skill and talent. One of these talents is Ma Long from China, which arguably is the best table tennis player of all time. Currently holding the second position in the world according to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), this Chinese prodigy has had quite an interesting life.
Born in Anshan, China, Ma spent his first 11 years in this town. He later moved to Shenyang, a town 100 km away from Anshan, after which he moved to the city of Beijing. He remembers that the first trophy he won for table tennis was in Anshan at the age of eight or nine. Ma had already developed a good reputation in terms of table tennis, winning about 3 championships by the time he was just 11 years old.
Northeast China had a reputation of being very aggressive, but Ma kept away from all that by concentrating on table tennis.
Ma’s style of playing
He is often referred to as the best two-winged loopers in the history of table tennis. His game strategy is non-traditional and modern. Initially, he concentrated on his forehand shots. It was quite evident that this was his forte and he used backhand only when absolutely necessary. But now, with all these years of experience, he has become more comfortable with his backhand shots and uses them a lot more than before. What makes him such a tough competitor to beat is his ability to be so unpredictable.
No one can ever predict what Ma has in store for them. His seemingly traditional shots are the most vicious and they throw people off, a quality only the best table tennis players in the world seem to possess.
Ma’s critically acclaimed career
Being the current Olympic and World Champion, it is clear that Ma has had a long and flourishing career. Starting off young, his career has been a climb, now peaking at the top. He was the number 1 table tennis player in the world for 64 months, the longest any table tennis player has defended the title. In addition to this, he has a remarkable record of winning 5 straight International Table Tennis Federation World Tour tournaments on a row.
And guess what, he also won 35 sets in a row. Now if that isn’t impressive, I don’t know what is! Liu Guoliang, the coach of the Chinese National Team said that Ma has all the skills which make him the best. The only area where he seems to lack a bit is the mental toughness that is required to be paired along with the great physical play.
This weakness became evident when he lost to Timo Boll and Vladimir Samsonov in the 2008 and 2009 World Cup. But as years have gone by, he has managed to toughen up and pays more attention to this integral part of the game.
People tend to forget that almost every sport you play, the mental game plan plays an equally important role as the actual physical actions. Ma’s career growth goes to show this fact very clearly.
Started young, he goes on to crush almost every game he gets involved in. He was also the first male table tennis player to win every singles title that table tennis has offered. I’m sure that by now you understand very evidently why Ma has been called the best table tennis player of all time.