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The World Grand Prix is very valuable for us: Ze Roberto


Brazil celebrate their World Grand Prix title on Sunday

 Sapporo, Japan, September 1, 2013 – Brazil clinched the gold medal in the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals for a record ninth time on Sunday, overcoming China 3-0 (25-15, 25-14, 25-20) at Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center. China was the only other team in contention for the gold medal and finished in second place. Brazil coach Ze Roberto emphasised that the win was just the start on the road to Rio.

Brazil coach Ze Roberto: The Rio Olympic Games mean a lot for the team,   not only because we’re the home team, but also the Brazilian people expect victory, so the pressure of these expectations to win is another thing we have to prepare for. I’m very happy with today’s victory and winning the World Grand Prix for the ninth time. 

This tournament is a very valuable tournament for Brazil because we can play against several strong teams with different playing styles. Also, we have to be away from home for about a month, but what we gain from this is bigger. My team’s attitude was good for the whole tournament. I don’t think we are a level above other teams. There were several teams that couldn’t make it to the finals, such as Russia and Turkey and Bulgaria, so on that basis I can’t make a comparison. Leading up to the Rio Olympics, all the other teams will improve so we don’t want to be left behind. In terms of speed and defence, we want to catch up with other teams.

(Re. three years of finishing as runners-up): During that time, the United States was the best team in the world and we learned from them. We improved our team because we thought about the Olympic Games every time. When we played against the United States we were trying to learn everything about the USA team. So it’s normal that we wait two or three years and now we’ve won again.

Brazil captain Fabiana Claudino: I’m happy for the victory. The result was what all the players were hoping for and they all played very well. It seems that China weren’t as good as usual today. With this title I think we can improve and now I want to celebrate. 

Brazil No. 6 Thaisa Menezes: I’m happy with the win. Because of some new players in team there were some parts of our game that we didn’t execute so well, but it was nice for the team to start with this championship. I expect the team will get better and better.

China coach Lang Ping: Today, we tried our best. Last night, we finished very late and some players have injuries so we preferred to rest them. Also some of our players haven’t had so many opportunities to play. We did what we could. I think our team did a good job. We learned so much and also could see the talent of our young players. We know in the future who we want to work on. There are lots of areas we should improve. I want to thank Japan for organising this beautiful tournament. The people who work with our team are very professional and the fans have been nice. It’s very comfortable to play in Japan.

China captain Hui Ruoqi: First, congratulations to Brazil to get the championship. I think Brazil is a very strong and powerful team with very good blocking and defence. Also, we changed some players today. I hope we can play better next time.

China No. 5 Shen Jingsi: Congratulations to Brazil. They played very well. There are many things China can learn from them. We want to practice hard after returning home.

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