Self-confidence drives Fan Zhendong to landslide victory over Ma Long at China National Games
As Fan Zhendong scored a decisive point against table tennis Grand Slam winner Ma Long, his Guangdong teammates rushed to give him a big bug.
Fan, 24, saved five match points in the deciding set to overtake Ma and led Guangdong to the top step of the podium in the men’s table tennis team final at the 14th China National Games on Tuesday night.
“It’s a tough game. Ma always changed the pace with her experience and gradually took control of the game. I didn’t quite get it,” admitted Fan, who teamed up with Ma Long and Xu Xin to grab the men’s team gold at the Tokyo Olympics last month.
Fan attributed the victory to his unwavering faith in adversity.
“At that time, maybe belief is more important than skills. I just focused on each point without thinking about anything else when I was hanging out. I told myself never to give up,” he explained. .
As two paddlers in their prime, Fan and Ma have faced the finals of several major tournaments in recent years, the last of which was in the Olympic Men’s Singles Final where Ma won a historic title defense.
“When you play against a player like Ma, you have to learn something from him in this process. We have played many times in international and national competitions. Every time I face him I want to win and I will do my best. to win. Although winning was not always on my side, it did not affect my determination and my confidence to achieve it, “Fan said.
“I think this is one of the games I will remember in my career,” added the world’s highest ranked paddler.
Ma thought Fan deserved the victory.
“Winning or losing is competitive sport. You never know what the outcome is until the end point,” said Ma, 32, who has five Olympic gold medals to her name. “The fan deserved the victory.”