His Zen approach gives him the playing edge

Japan’s Yuji Nishida was introduced to international volleyball fans at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League. He soon made an impact and led Japan to fourth at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup.

He was quick to become a key player for Japan with his impressive work on court leaving crowds wanting for more. Fans took to social media to express their excitement and share great plays by the young Japanese opposite.

After a year of pause due to the pandemic, Nishida and his teammates saw action against China at the test event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Unfortunately, he sprained his ankle and was sidelined for several weeks.

At the 2021 VNL, Nishida played in some of his country’s matches, but could not go all-out as he was still on the road to recovery.

Japanese superstars Yuji Nishida and Yuki Ishikawa

Just over a month later, Japan’s 21-year-old left-handed wingman returned wiser and calmer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

He was aware that he was not in perfect form, but he knew that he had to give his best for his nation at their home Games.

“I did not play my 100 per cent, but I had to push myself to play hard as this was the right place to do so,” Nishida said.

“We were satisfied with our performance as a team, but we played some close matches and sometimes it was frustrating to lose. However, I was focused on putting in a good performance and sometimes it really drains all your energy.”

In his first Olympic Games, Nishida felt he improved every aspect of his game.

“I think I have improved a lot at the Olympic Games. I remained calm throughout the tournament. I improved my judgment and became calm. I enjoyed every moment of the Games.” …Nishida

Japan made their ninth Olympic Games appearance in Tokyo after missing the last two editions in London and Rio. They improved their 11th place performance at Beijing 2008 to seventh overall at Tokyo 2020.

“Playing here at our home Games, our team just wanted to win. Our drive and energy took our opponents by surprise, but I wanted to be the calm one in the team,” Nishida said.

Nishida will join Italian club Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia for the 2021/2022 Italian Serie A season. He will be one of the players to watch when the league starts up again in October.

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