Bartosz Kurek talks about his role in the national team, the atmosphere among colleagues and chances to get to the Final Six round played in Cordoba, Argentina.
"To get to the Final Six now we must win every match." – says Kurek. – "It’s a pity we lost the first match in Cuba, because we could win and now it would be a bit easier. We weren’t able to keep cool heads. Now we have to focus on winning every successive game. We don’t calculate. We are in situation, in which there’s nothing left to lose. I have an impression that recently we have been able to succeed even if, or maybe especially, when the situation was really hard. Perhaps now it will be the same?" – he hopes.
In Poland there are great expectations on Kurek’s skills and talent. But the player denies that it’s burdensome for him. – "I’m not surprised that spectators expect miracles from me. I noticed that some time ago." – admits polish receiver. – "Practically from the beginning of my professional career my peers were said to have time to make mistakes, don’t have to play perfectly, because they are young and talented. I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes. But it’s not an imposition for me because I understand what caused it. Simply, in some games I gave the people a pretext and now they have right to expect much from me. I didn’t have volleyball youth, but at least now I know how to behave in difficult situations on the court."
In Poland there are many good receivers and coach Daniel Castellani has a ‘problem’ of richness. For that reason there is a strong competition among players on that position in team. – "It’s not possible that on the reception I will be the person who always will play." – comments Bartosz. – "Player who has similar features to mine is, for example, Zbigniew Bartman. And everybody sees it on trainings. Sometimes we play on the same level. It helps me, I feel his breath not on my back, but somewhere next to me. But I think that our competition is healthy. However, who said we cannot play together? In recent sparrings with France we got out on court with two of us on the reception and I think it worked. For now we are not so strong to keep the reception on high level playing together. Nevertheless, while Zbigniew was playing in Italy, he made a big progress in this element of the volleyball art and I’m very impressed." – he concludes.
At the beginning of this year’s World League some of the top polish players were given a few days off after long and tiring season in club. The younger players benefited from this absence, receiving more chances to play on the international scene. – "I’m glad I’ve been given many chances to play recently. The coach trusts me and I will do my best not to disappoint him. I let him make a decision about my rest. If he decides that I need a relax – OK. Nevertheless, I feel I can play without a break. Now and during the next season in club. I’ve been talking with the ‘older’ colleagues. They felt how hard was the club season and for that reason they took a break. I understand them, but I don’t need it right now." – says Kurek. What has changed when the experienced players joined the team? – "There’s more talking on the trainings… (laugh). No, obviously they raised a level of practice. After the last match someone asked me how many matches the ‘older’ players need to come back on their ‘normal’ game level. They don’t need a practice, simply we have to learn how to play together again. It’s about a few trainings."
World League is just a stop on the road to World Championships played this autumn in Italy. – "Each of us knows that someone won’t go on a big event. That’s truth. We are practicing together, competing and it’s normal. We are friends but the moment of grade always comes. The coach makes a decision, but the choice will not influence our relations. If Daniel Castellani won’t take me to Italy, I will stop liking him? That’s impossible." – says Bartosz.