NANYANG, Central China, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Olympic and world champion Ma Long, also the captain of the Chinese men's table tennis team, says he is focusing on the upcoming Olympics and using training to balance the pressure and desire for victory.
"I feel more relaxed and improved my competitiveness this time," Ma Long told reporters after beating 20-year-old Liang Yanning 11-7, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6 in the first round of the Chinese table tennis Olympic simulation tournament on Wednesday.
Compared to the last match in Xinxiang, Central China's Henan Province, Ma said the week-long training helped him to be more focused and calm in the match.
When talking about China's table tennis Olympic squad he said, "It is an honor for me to be elected into the team to Tokyo, but there is more pressure and responsibility on me. I will train to balance the stress and desire for victory, as well as keeping calm during matches."
Ma will represent China in the Olympic men's singles table tennis with Fan Zhendong, the world No.1, while Xu Xin joins them in the men's team.
As the captain of the Chinese men's table tennis team, Ma explained, "For me, it is more of a motivation to lead this star-studded team, since some young teammates look at me as a target and work hard in order to beat me. I have to keep training and improve myself rather than being left behind."
"I'm grateful for the trust of the team and at the same time, I hope I can cherish the opportunity. There are still a few months, and I will make full preparation for Tokyo 2020."
The 33-year-old champion once fell into self-doubt and choose to undergo knee surgery in August, 2019, but now looks forward to his third Olympic trip and the chase for another world title.
The Tokyo Olympic Games table tennis competitions are set to take place from July 24 to August 6 in the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. China has collected 28 out of 32 gold medals on offer since the sport debuted at the Olympics in 1988. Enditem