Lausanne, Switzerland, March 13, 2019 – Japanese player Tatsuya Fukuzawa spoke to fivb.com about how his role in the team has evolved and the big opportunities at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Fukuzawa started playing for Japan in 2009 – arguably their best year in the last decade.
Japan won the trophy at the Asian Championship that year, led by the youthful Fukuzawa who won the MVP plum.
His next conquest was at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Grand Champions Cup in 2010, when Japan won bronze, and the Asian Games where his country brought home the gold.
Ten years later, he remains one of Japan’s most reliable players, performing at the same level as his younger teammates.
What are the most memorable moments in your long career as a national team player?
Tatsuya Fukuzawa: I have been given the trust to play for my national team for many years and my job is to continuously improve through the best and most difficult situations.
I have been into many memorable tournaments and have learned and made progress in each match I have played. As much as possible, I do not think about my past achievements and I just focus on the present and how I could help and be a great player for my national team.
How has your role evolved in the national team?
Tatsuya Fukuzawa: My role as a member of the team has evolved over the years. For me to get where I am right now, I had to push hard and bring out my best to adapt to the team’s strategy. I believe it has been the same role I have played ever since. I would do anything for my team. I do not think I am a leader, but rather a responsible role player and an essential part of the team.
What is your best experience playing for your club Panasonic Panthers?
Tatsuya Fukuzawa: Our club league has a different set-up than other countries. We do not have many player transfers each season because we remain with our club until we retire.
Most players in Japan are employees of the company or the club. With this set-up, we can build a good team because of the time that we spend together and also the opportunity for the players to grow.
I appreciate being part of the Panasonic Panthers and we have proven many times that we deserve to be the best as we have made history by winning triple crowns in the Japan V.League.
How does it feel to be in the company of great Japanese and foreign players at Panasonic Panthers?
Tatsuya Fukuzawa: I am happy to play with them. There are many great players in this team. I learned a lot from my teammates especially Michal Kubiak. He is one of the best players in the world right now. He is an amazing and dominating player and I try to be like him.”
Who is your favourite player?
Tatsuya Fukuzawa: I cannot just choose one because there are many good role models for me. I look at the skills, the attitude and how they train. My favourite would be Giba of Brazil. I saw him at the World League when I was younger and I told him – I want to be like you. He is still the player I admire most.
What are your expectations for the next edition of the Volleyball Nations League?
Tatsuya Fukuzawa: We have not finalised our 2019 schedule, but I look forward to being at the Volleyball Nations League. This tournament provides a great opportunity for Japan to play against great teams.
I want to make a strong impression before the start of the tournament. We have to show that we can beat strong teams at the VNL. I believe we can do it.
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