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More experienced Lucarelli ready for 2014 World League

Ricardo Lucarelli says he has matured as a player
 Lausanne, Switzerland, May 16, 2014 – He’s only 22 years old, but Ricardo Lucarelli is already considered by many to be a major player for the Brazilian men's volleyball team. In his second season with the Bernardo Rezende’s team, Lucarelli feels more prepared to represent his country and that should help as Brazil prepares for the FIVB World League. 

Lucarelli has already faced three opponents that Brazil will meet in the first phase of this year’s World League and this knowledge will put him in a strong position as Brazil meets Italy (May 23 and 24), Poland (May 29 and 30) and Iran (June 6 and 7).

Lucarelli shared his thoughts ahead of next week’s opening matches.

Q. Who are the toughest opponents?
Lucarelli: In my opinion, everyone. Poland has a team with power, which Brazil knows about very well. They are strong and skillful. It is very difficult to move the ball against Poland. Italy is a traditional team with a very strong serve, while Iran may have slightly less power in attack compared to the other two but pass and defend very well. These three teams are certainly very strong.

After playing in the 2013 World League, do you feel better prepared for this year?
The World League last year was my first championship with the senior team and the first game was pretty complicated. In addition, the game was in Poland, where the crowd is completely in love with volleyball and is very supportive to the home team. I was very anxious, not knowing what would happen on court. Having played a number of games at this level now, I'm less anxious and just trying to find ways to help the team in the best way possible.

Is this the main feature that you feel has changed in your game?
Now I know what I can do as games develop at this high level. One thing I learned is that, under such conditions, we have to have the brains to manage the game. Striking the ball is not always the most important part of the game. There are many details that we learn just by playing and these are essential for the athlete to mature and learn to cope better in games.

How do you feel about the Brazil team heading into the World League?
This year our situation is a little more complicated because we have had little training time together. Players with Sada Cruzeiro played in the Club World Championship and others were in the European Championship. Last year we had a short time to prepare, but with everyone. This year, the players only joined the group a week before the championship. I believe we will have some difficulty because of this but the Brazilian team always has the guts, willpower and determination to overcome any obstacles that appear.

Four of your World League games will take place in two cities where the men's team hasn’t played before. What do you expect from the crowd?
We’ve never played in Jaragua do Sul and do not have much information on the home crowd, but of course we hope to have strong support. As for Maringa, we have a reference as the fans packed the arena in the Superliga. I played there in the Copa Brazil with Sesi-SP and saw first-hand how the crowd gets involved in matches. And in Sao Paulo people are already accustomed to always cheer for Brazilian volleyball. In fact, wherever the games are, our fans always help us a lot.

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