by Simon Daish
Included on the list of entries for stage two of the Marvellous 12 competition but Ma Long won’t contest China’s internal qualification tournament as he aims to improve his recovery chances ahead of the all-important Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships in April.
Ma Long hasn’t been involved in singles action since the Seamaster 2018 Bulgaria Open in August and was absent from the opening ITTF World Tour event of the New Year in Budapest, Hungary once again due to fitness concerns. Coincidentally Ma Long was also forced to withdraw from the Marvellous 12 in 2017, picking up a wrist injury at the event.
The player drafted in to replace Ma Long at the Marvellous 12 is Yan An, a fearless competitor who is always exciting to watch.
Yan An sees every shot as an opportunity to hit a winner, regardless of who stands in his way and is always capable of causing an upset of two against the world’s best.
His honours include two Men’s Singles trophies on the ITTF World Tour, claiming gold medals from the 2013 Swedish Open and 2017 Hungarian Open.