by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Prior to his retirement announcement in 2016, the last major international match in which the Dane played was against Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the Men’s Singles quarter-final at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Now, at the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships in Halmstad, the 36 year old has given a glimpse the skills that have been absent from the international tournament scene in recent years.
“It is good to return and for me it is a good feeling. This tournament is good practice for my comeback. I am happy to represent Denmark in major competitions like this and I am proud to always be in action for my country. We now have a young team and Jonathan Groth is really doing well, so for me it is good that I can also motivate and help the team to do well. My level in this tournament has been up and down. I know I need more time to practise to be able to get back into the game.” Michael Maze
The former European Youth champion is most certainly looking forward to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“I want to continue to play for a few more two years with the hope of making it to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. After that I will see if my body can continue to carry me. In Sweden, I just want to enjoy myself in the tournament because we are going to play more matches and this will serve as good practice for me to come back. I must admit that I feel good coming back to the international scene.” Michael Maze.
Although Michael Maze would have loved to play in the Championship Division, he is content with his lot.
“We are playing in Second Division and I know it is going to be step-by-step for us to get back. It would be good to play in the main hall. We hope to fight to return to the Championship Division.” Michael Maze
Pertinently, for Jonathan Groth, the return of Michael Maze to the Danish team is a good for the development of young players who can tap into his wealth of experience.
“We have a lot to learn from Michael and we believe his presence will surely motivate the young players and we hope all can learn a lot from him.” Jonathan Groth
At the close of play on Wednesday 2nd May, when the group phase fixtures had been completed, the hopes of Denmark’s return to the Championship Division were very much alive; they finished in second position in the first stage group behind Ukraine but ahead of the Netherlands, Thailand, Chile and Canada.