|Full name||Ma Lin|
|Born||19 February 1980|
|Height||174 cm (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||75 kg (165 lb)|
|Playing style||Chinese Penhold|
|Highest ranking||1 (October 2002)|
He learned to play table tennis at the age of five and became a member of the provincial team in 1990. In 1994, he joined the Chinese national team. Ma Lin is the only male player ever to win Olympic gold in Singles, Doubles and Team. Additionally, he previously held a professional era record of 5 major titles (4 World Cups and 1 Olympic Gold), having won more World Cups than any other male table tennis player in history. (Note: as of 2020, Ma Lin is now tied with Fan Zhendong for the most World Cup wins of all male players with 4 World Cups each.) He has since been surpassed by Ma Long who has won 7 major titles. He has won a total of 18 world championships in his life.
Since retiring in December 2013, Ma Lin has been serving as the head coach of the Guangdong provincial table tennis team. Since December 2022, Ma Lin has been serving as the head coach of the China National Women's Team.
Style and equipment
Ma Lin uses the penhold grip. An aggressive player, he is known for his converse unpredictable serves, heavy short push receives, fast footwork, and powerful third ball attacks. In addition to possessing a solid backhand block, Ma Lin also uses the reverse penhold backhand (RPB), an innovative stroke utilizing the underside of the blade which allows a penholder to produce topspin from both wings. The most dangerous weapon Ma Lin has in his arsenal, however, is his consistent forehand loop, which he often uses to end a point decisively. He is also considered a master at serving and his serve is considered one of the best in the world, earning the nickname "Ghost Service". It involves the ball bouncing back to the net instead of going straight off the table.
Because of this, Ma Lin has claimed the titles "Maestro Ma Lin," "Defense Killer," and "Table Tennis Olympic Champion."
Ma Lin is currently using a Yasaka Ma Lin Extra Offensive Penhold as his blade. He uses DHS NEO Skyline 2 TG2 for his forehand and Butterfly Bryce Speed FX for his backhand.
In the China Table Tennis Super League, Ma Lin played for Bayi Gongshang, Shandong Luneng, Guangdong Gotone, Shaanxi Yinhe and Ningbo Haitan. His transfer to Shaanxi Yinhe for over 5 million Chinese yuan was a league record. His next transfer was to Ningbo Haitan for just 1.3 million yuan (US$168,000), including 1 million yuan in salary. Ma Lin’s training attitude was very serious, especially during the preparation for the Guangdong Ninth National Games. The training volume is large and the training time is long. Ma Lin not only practiced hard to serve but also practiced multiple balls back and forth, which requires a wide range of running. He practiced so hard that broke a pair of sneakers every week. He has won four World Cup trophies (2000, 2003, 2004, 2006), more than any other player in history, but has lost three times in the World Championship finals (1999, 2005, 2007). Three times he reached the final, but three times he returned with hatred. The 1st time, in the 1999 World Table Tennis Championships in Eindhoven, Ma Lin played a heroic role, defeated Samsonov and Waldner, and reached the final. In the final, Ma Lin faced the Olympic champion Liu Guoliang.The two fought to a 2-2 draw, and Liu Guoliang led 23-22 in the final game. Ma Lin served, Liu Guoliang turned his forehand to rush the slash, Ma Lin blocked and Liu Guoliang won 24-22.The 2nd time, in the 2005 Shanghai World Table Tennis Championships, in the men’s singles final, Ma Lin trailed Wang Liqin 2-3 and 7-10 in the 6th game. Finally, Ma Lin lost the match 7-11.The 3rd time, at the World Table Tennis Championships in Zagreb in 2007, Ma Lin met Wang Liqin again in the final. Ma Lin made full preparations, leading 3-1 and 7-1 in the fifth game. However, Wang Liqin staged a shocking reversal and once again defeated Ma Lin.
2004 Olympics: Coaches who understand Ma Lin know that he came to Athens for the two gold medals. In the round of 32, Cai Zhenhua said that Ma Lin was the best of the three Chinese players. Surprisingly in the following round Ma Lin lost to Waldner. Ma Lin was shocked, and the coaches suddenly had a big problem: there was no one protecting the bottom half of the draw. They were also worried about men’s doubles, because one of their two pairs had been eliminated in the first round. If Ma Lin could not adjust in time, with Chen Qi’s inexperience, the last pair might be out of the event before long. Ma Lin and Chen Qi were able to withstand the pressure, won the next three rounds, and the important gold for China. Ma/Chen played against Denmark’s Maze/ Tugwell who just eliminated Persson/Waldner in the semifinals .Ma/Chen won the first game. In the second, they were ahead 10-6 and were caught up by the Danes, losing that game 11-13. After the score was tied at 2-2 in games, Ma/Chen fell behind 6-9 in game 5, but came back to win it 13-11.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Ma Lin won the teams competition with his compatriots Wang Liqin and Wang Hao. In the men's singles, Ma Lin defeated Korean player Oh Sang Eun in the quarterfinals (4-0), his rival Wang Liqin in the semifinals (4-2). Ma Lin defeated his compatriot Wang Hao (4-1) in the finals. Ma took the game 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-9. Ma Lin is now 15-10 head-to-head against Wang Hao.
An anomaly to Ma Lin is that he is one of the few Chinese players who is not able to complete a grand slam, because he has no World Championships title (his closest being 2007). Yet Ma Lin is considered to be the true Olympiad of table tennis, because he has grabbed all possible titles in the Olympics (Athens 2004 - Doubles Champion with Chen Qi, Beijing 2008 - Singles Champion, Team Events Champion). Furthermore, Ma Lin was inducted into the ITTF Hall of Fame in 2010.
After retirement, Ma Lin has been a coach for the Chinese national team. Since 2013, he has coached the Guangdong provincial team. Ma Lin was appointed as the head coach of the China National Women's Team since December 2022.
Ma Lin's alleged girlfriend, Bai Yang, was dropped from Women's National Team in 2004. It is against the rules to date in the Chinese National Team for athletes under twenty years old. Ma Lin went on to secretly marry actress Zhang Yi in late 2004. They divorced in 2009. On this Ma Lin stated, "Table tennis would be my wife forever. This will never change." Ma Lin married Zhang Yaqing in December 2013. On April 19, 2016, they had a son.
- 2004 Olympics, Athens: Champion (Doubles, with Chen Qi)
- 2008 Olympics , Beijing: Champion (Singles)
- 2008 Olympics , Beijing: Champion (Team, with Wang Liqin & Wang Hao)
- 1999 Eindhoven: Champion (Mixed Doubles, with Zhang Yingying)), Runner-up (Singles)
- 2000 Kuala Lumpur: Runner-up (Team)
- 2001 Osaka: Champion (Team), Third (Singles)
- 2003 Paris: Champion (Mixed Doubles, with Wang Nan), Third (Doubles, with Qin Zhijian)
- 2004 Doha: Champion (Team)
- 2005 Shanghai: Runner-up (Singles), Third (Doubles, with Chen Qi)
- 2006 Bremen: Champion (Team)
- 2007 Zagreb: Champion (Doubles, with Chen Qi), Runner-up (Singles), Runner-up (Mixed Doubles, with Wang Nan)
- 2008 Guangzhou: Champion (Team)
- 2009 Yokohama: Third (Singles)
- 2010 Moscow: Champion (Team)
- 2011 Rotterdam: Runner-up (Doubles, with Chen Qi)
- 2012 Dortmund: Champion (Team)
- 2013 Paris: Runner-up (Doubles, with Hao Shuai)
- 2000 Yangzhou: Champion (Singles)
- 2003 Jiangyin: Champion (Singles)
- 2004 Hangzhou: Champion (Singles)
- 2005 Liege: Third (Singles)
- 2006 Paris: Champion (Singles)
- 2007 Magdeburg: Champion (Team)
- 2011 Magdeburg: Champion (Team)
- 1998 Paris: Runner-up (Doubles, with Qin Zhijian)
- 1999 Sydney: Champion (Doubles, with Kong Linghui)
- 2000 Kobe: Third (Singles), Third (Doubles, with Liu Guozheng)
- 2001 Hainan: Champion (Singles)
- 2002 Stockholm: Champion (Doubles, with Kong Linghui))
- 2003 Guangzhou: Champion (Doubles, with Chen Qi)
- 2004 Beijing: Champion (Doubles, with Chen Qi), Runner-up (Singles)
- 2006 Hong Kong: Runner-up (Doubles, with Chen Qi), Third (Singles)
- 2007 Beijing: Champion (Singles), Runner-up (Doubles, with Wang Hao)
- 2008 Macau: Third (Singles)
- 2011 London: Champion (Doubles, with Zhang Jike)
Pro Tour Singles Winner (×20)
- 1998 Malaysia Open
- 1999 Australian Open
- 2001 Danish Open
- 2002 USA Open, German Open, Polish Open, Danish Open
- 2003 Korea Open, China Open, Danish Open
- 2004 China Open (Wuxi)
- 2006 Kuwait Open, China Open, Singapore Open
- 2007 Qatar Open, China Open (Nanjing), French Open
- 2008 Qatar Open, Japan Open
- 2011 China Open (Shenzhen)
Pro Tour Doubles Winner (×37)
- 1997 Australian Open, Malaysia Open
- 1998 Japan Open, China Open, Lebanon Open, Yugoslav Open, Swedish Open
- 1999 Japan Open, French Open
- 2000 Polish Open , Swedish Open
- 2001 Japan Open
- 2002 USA Open, German Open, Netherlands Open
- 2003 Korea Open, China Open, Japan Open, Danish Open, Swedish Open
- 2004 Greece Open, Singapore Open, China Open (Wuxi)
- 2006 Kuwait Open, Singapore Open, Japan Open
- 2007 Croatia Open, China Open (Shenzhen), French Open
- 2008 Kuwait Open, Qatar Open, China Open
- 2009 Kuwait Open
- 2010 Qatar Open, China Open
- 2011 UAE Open, China Open (Suzhou)
- 2002 Busan: Champion (Team), Third (Doubles & with Kong Linghui), Third (Mixed Doubles & with Li Nan)
- 2006 Doha: Champion (Team), Champion (Mixed Doubles, with Wang Nan), Runner-up (Singles), Runner-up (Doubles, with Chen Qi)
- 2010 Guangzhou: Champion (Team), Runner-up (Doubles, with Xu Xin)
- 1996 Kallang: Champion (Mixed Doubles, with Wu Na), Runner-up (Team), Third (Singles)
- 1998 Osaka: Champion (Team), Champion (Doubles, with Liu Guoliang)
- 2000 Doha: Champion (Team), Third (Singles)
- 2007 Yangzhou: Champion (Team)
1997 National Games, Shanghai : Champion (Team), Runner-up (Singles)
2009 National Games, Shandong : Runner-up (Team)
2007 National Championships: Champion (Doubles, with Wang Liqin)
2010 National Championships: Champion (Team), Third (Doubles, with Zhang Jike)
2011 National Championships: Champion (Doubles, with Wang Hao), Runner-up (Singles), Third (Team)
2012 National Championships: Third (Doubles, with Zhangchao)
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