Ma Lin is a table tennis player that retired after more than a decade of playing on the professional stage. Interestingly, at some point, Ma Lin was ranked the world’s 6th player in 2012 in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Furthermore, like most top table tennis players, Ma Lin also had various challenges including a marriage scandal. Despite all the downturns, Ma Lin remained focused and is celebrated today as one of the table tennis legends. Since his retirement about 7 years ago; precisely December 2013, Ma Lin has dedicated his time to coaching.
Let’s take a sneak peek into Ma Lin’s background.
Ma Lin’s Background
Ma Lin was born on the 19th of February 1980 in Shenyang, Liaoning. Like most Chinese professional table tennis players, Ma Lin started playing at an early age. Interestingly, he started playing at 5 years old.
In fact, he joined the Chinese provincial team in 1990. In other words, he was barely 10 years old. Then four years later he joined the Chinese national table tennis team. Ma Lin dominated the international stage for several years before retiring.
At some point, there were unconfirmed reports that Ma Lin was engaged to Bai Yang. Based on the Chinese National Team dating rules, Bai Yang was not part of the Women’s National Team in 2004. Players under 20 were not allowed to date.
Ma Lin later married Zhang Yi secretly in 2004 but they divorced in 2009. Presently Ma Lin is married to Zhang Yaging and they welcomed a son on the 19th of April 2016.
Intrigues of Ma Lin’s Career
To date, Ma Lin is the only male player to win gold at the Olympics singles, double, and team categories. Also, Ma Lin has won the highest number of medals at the World Cup. Remarkably, Ma Lin is dedicated to training. As a matter of fact, because of his rigorous training pattern, in less than 3 hours the sole of his shoes is often worn out.
For 4 years, Ma Lin won the World cup trophies in 2000, 2003, 2004, and 2006. However, he lost 3 times at the World Championships held in 1999, 2005, and 2007. Other remarkable achievements of Ma Lin are Men’s World Cup champion in 2000 and the Gold medal at the Men’s Team World Championship in 2010.
Amazingly, Ma Lin has won other trophies apart from those mentioned here. He indeed created a record to beat.
Playing Style and Pattern
Frankly, Ma Lin’s style of play is aggressive and his converse serves are unpredictable. Also, he makes use of the penhold grip. More so, he makes use of the reverse penhold backhand.
The most amazing part of his style is the dangerous forehand loop. This serve takes his opponents by surprise all the time. Also, his serves are powerful and swift. His style of service was nicknamed the “Ghost Serve”.
His serves often roll back to the net instead of moving forward to the opponent. Consequently, his opponent has to be pretty fast to hit the ball. Ma Lin is regarded as one of the tennis players with the best serves. Read more to learn about some of these moves and techniques.
It’s rare to find a successful table tennis player without some career setbacks. Ma Lin had a fair share of career setbacks too. At some point, Ma Lin was criticized for his lack of mental resolve.
Aside from his victories at the early stage of his career in 1999, his performance at national trials was very poor. Based on this, Ma Lin didn’t make the 2000 Sydney Olympics team. He also lost to Wang Ligin at the World Championship finals in Zagreb 2007 after leading 3-1.
During an interview, Ma Lin revealed that he was mentally unstable within that period because of family issues. He said his maternal grandfather committed success before the tournament began.
Meanwhile, his failed relationship and marriage also affected his gameplay at some point. After his divorce in 2009, Ma Lin said that he is married to table tennis.
Ma Lin is one of the best table tennis players in the world. Similarly, Ma Lin is estimated to worth between $1 million to $4 million. Indeed, Ma Lin has put his name down as one of the table tennis greatest.
Finally, some of Ma Lin’s achievements in sports remain unbeatable to date. Ma Lin is doing well as a ping pong oach at the provincial level in China.