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Dmitriy Muserskiy: Because I love volleyball!

Dmitriy Muserskiy in action at VNL 2018
Lausanne, Switzerland, February 1, 2019 – Dmitriy Muserskiy played a key role in Russia’s victorious run at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. And the 2.18m-tall middle blocker’s spot on the VNL Dream Team was certainly deserved. A player with Japan’s Suntory Sunbirds, Muserskiy took time out to speak to fivb.com about the VNL, about volleyball, about life...

Russia were not the favourites to win the VNL title but beat the odds to claim gold. What made your team so strong at the time?
Dmitriy Muserskiy: I always say that there are no weak teams at this level. Everyone can win and at the same time everyone can lose. It all depends on many things: conditions, preparation, goals, team atmosphere, mental readiness, life problems, etc. It was a nice time for our team in the VNL. Everything was good and we were able to beat everyone! We were confident in each other and in our performance as a team. We were as solid as a rock! One day before the beginning of the finals I was sure we would win this tournament.

What prevented Russia from repeating this success at the World Championship?
Dmitriy Muserskiy: Probably it was a different team - many players were changed, our preparation changed, the atmosphere within the team changed... At the World Championship we did not play against the opponents, but against ourselves.

After the VNL last summer, you posted, “I felt nice and comfortable! VNL 2018, I will miss you!” Are you already looking forward to VNL 2019?
Dmitriy Muserskiy: I liked working with our coach. I enjoyed the team last year and, of course, I want to feel those emotions again! I would like to play in VNL 2019.

Will the Russian team deliver what it takes to defend their VNL title in 2019?
Dmitriy Muserskiy: I’m no god. I can’t tell the future. But I’m sure that I will do everything possible to defend the title. I would like to say that I always play at my maximum regardless of the team or the score. Because I love volleyball!

What do you think about the format of the VNL?
Dmitriy Muserskiy: I like it. There is enough time to recover and adapt to the new time zones in different countries, and, of course, to do our homework and learn from mistakes.

What made you return to the national team last season after a long break?
Dmitriy Muserskiy: I had a deal with our coach. In the summer of 2017, he let me take some rest for the first time in my life and spend time with my family. I needed this rest because I was very tired, mentally and physically. But in 2018 I played the entire season.

You have won gold medals in most major competitions, but the World Championship is the big victory you are missing. With the next edition taking place in Russia almost four years from now, will you stick around to try to fill that gap as well?
Dmitriy Muserskiy: Nice question! I don’t play for the medals or the honours. I play to live. The medals and the honours are just a nice bonus in my job, nothing else. I like my education and development in this way, my way, my way in sport... And I enjoy it so much! I have no goals for WHAT to play. I have my goals for HOW to play.

This is the first season you are playing for a foreign club. Why did you choose Japan?
Dmitriy Muserskiy: When I decided to change clubs, Japan was the only place I was looking at. I like this highly cultural and highly developed country. I like their ideas on sport. I like their idea of life. They are very close to mine! I like their polite and respectful attitude to everyone, regardless of who you are: big or small, foreigner or Japanese, worker or athlete... I like their quality of almost everything; high quality of organization from sports matches... to all aspects of life. Surprisingly, even the food... They change the food in the supermarkets three times a day! I enjoy this country! And of course I enjoy playing with Suntory.

In a recent social media post you say that “volleyball is an art.” Please elaborate.
Dmitriy Muserskiy: This is my idea of sport, especially volleyball. Sport is an art. It is not war. We need to focus on a good performance and enjoy the game.

If you were to create your own Dream Team, who are the six players you would like to play with?
Dmitriy Muserskiy: Everyone in the world can teach you something important. I am open to learning. I don’t know with whom I will play in the future. I don’t want to decide. Time will show... But I am already thankful for the future opportunities and experience to play with anyone.

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