Star India table tennis player Sharath Kamal said tactical preparation and mental toughness helped him put up a brave fight in a third-round match against China’s Ma Long, the reigning Olympic and world champion, in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Sharath fought tooth and nail to take the second game from Long but eventually lost the men’s singles contest 7-11, 11-8, 11-13, 4-11, 4-11.
“My body language unnerved him. My message was you could be Ma Long but I will not give you the match on a platter. The third game was crucial. Had I won that it could have been a different story. Today everyone saw what I am capable of,” Sharath told The Telegraph from Tokyo.
“We (national coach Soumyadeep Roy and Sharath) did our homework well. We went through a lot of Ma Long’s videos and broke down his style of play. You can’t face him just like that.”