The 32-year-old, who might grow to be the best desk tennis Olympian ever on the Tokyo Games in 2021, is a international famous person of the game, however away from the limelight prefers to preserve a low profile.
As such, there are some elements of Ma Lengthy’s life which can be perhaps extra obscure.
Listed below are 5 info – some enjoyable, some lesser-known – to know concerning the three-time singles world champion from the northeastern Chinese language metropolis of Anshan.
1. Ma Lengthy’s three nicknames
Some folks might need a nickname and even two. Ma Lengthy has a minimum of three in common utilization amongst his followers and the desk tennis world.
The primary of these nicknames is “the Dragon“.
Why? Ma’s given identify, Lengthy, has the Chinese language character 龙 – which means dragon. Easy sufficient.
Unsurprisingly, one other widespread nickname is “Captain Lengthy“. Ma is the captain of China’s males’s nationwide desk tennis staff, and has held this position since 2014.
Maybe probably the most attention-grabbing of his nicknames is “the Dictator“.
He obtained this nickname from his fashion of play that dominated and dictated video games. He is a ruthless attacker who controls matches.
Three nicknames that describe Ma Lengthy completely.
2. Ma Lengthy’s report world primary stint
Earlier than the Worldwide Desk Tennis Federation (ITTF) switched to a weekly world rating at first of 2021, it was Ma Lengthy who held the report for the longest time spent at world primary amongst males’s singles gamers.
Ma recorded 64 months on the high of the standings, first topping the rankings in January 2010.
From March 2015 to December 2017, he recorded 34 straight months at world primary, earlier than harm and a change in calculations noticed him slip off the highest.
Whereas he has not been again to world primary since, he has – when match – continued to be a pressure, efficiently defending his 2015 and 2017 world singles titles on the 2019 World Championships.
For over a decade from March 2007 till October 2018, Ma was not ranked outdoors the highest ten on the planet as soon as.
3. Ma Lengthy’s Olympic heroes
It is no shock that Ma counts his predecessors within the Chinese language desk tennis staff – together with Liu Guoliang, the previous Chinese language head coach and present president of the Chinese language Desk Tennis Affiliation – amongst his heroes.
However, away from desk tennis, Ma is simply one other sports activities fan like everybody else.
Talking to the Olympic Channel in Shenzhen, China, in 2019, Ma revealed which fellow Olympic champions in different sports activities he seemed as much as.
“I used to play football, and in the previous couple of years I’ve performed some basketball,” he stated then, itemizing Argentinian soccer famous person Lionel Messi, a Beijing 2008 Olympic champion, and seven-time NBA All-Star Paul George (gold at Rio 2016), amongst his favourites.
4. Ma Lengthy would have been a golfer if not for desk tennis
What would Ma Lengthy have finished if desk tennis hadn’t labored out for him?
Along with taking part in soccer and basketball, Ma had his eye on one other sport.
However talking in a 2015 video on the ITTF’s “Ask A Professional Something” section, Ma stated that may have been his sport of alternative.
“Perhaps I [would have been] a golf participant,” he stated then.
Increasing on that when he sat down with the Olympic Channel 4 years later, he clarified that he had diminished his leisure golf.
“I used to play golf,” he stated. “However with the concern of harm, I’ve been taking part in much less.”
5. Biggest desk tennis participant of all time?
Ma presently ranks joint-second amongst males within the all-time desk tennis Olympic medal honours, with three gold medals. He’s behind solely Zhang Jike (three golds and one silver), who he beat within the Rio 2016 ultimate.
If chosen for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 2021 as anticipated, Ma would have the chance to grow to be the most distinguished male desk tennis participant in Olympic historical past.
And, already broadly considered one of many better of all time, Ma might seal that spot for himself if he competes in each the singles and staff occasions in Tokyo.
Nonetheless, with Ding not among the many high three Chinese language girls, her place within the Tokyo squad shouldn’t be a forgone conclusion.
Ma might re-write historical past, and put to mattress as soon as and for all of the “GOAT” dialogue in desk tennis.