Additionally, he became the first male player (and second overall) in the world to have won every singles title in table tennis.
Arguably the best two-winged looper in table tennis history, Ma's playing style is that of the modern strategy of close-range third ball play.
Ma developed his foundations under the tutelage of Wang Hao and former Chinese National Team coach Ma Kai Xuan before studying under Qin Zhi Jian.
Before turning 22, he had great success in singles, reaching the finals of 11 ITTF World Tour tournaments (winning 8).
His serves appear to be traditional pendulum serves, but are some of the most visually deceptive in the world, with very subtle differences in spin and service motion.Players were selected based on the ITTF World Rankings.As a result, he was not given an opportunity to win an Olympic medal in singles at the time when he was widely accepted as the best table tennis player in the world.Chinese National Team coach Liu Guoliang remarked that Ma had all the tools necessary to be the best, yet at major tournaments, he had so far lacked sufficient mental toughness to play to his full ability when under pressure.This was evident in his losses to Timo Boll and Vladimir Samsonov in the 20 World Cup semifinals as well as his defeats to Wang Hao (4–1, 4–2, 4–2) in the semifinals of three consecutive World Championships (2009, 2011, and 2013).