Tatsuya Fukuzawa: Backing Japan’s new generation

www.fivb.org|25-Oct-2019 12:34

Hiroshima, Japan, October 24, 2019 – Thirty-three-year-old Tatsuya Fukuzawa has played for Japan since 2005 and his experience and presence were key to his team's successful run at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup.

Japan have a mix of young and more seasoned players, which provides the team with a variety of skills and strengths to draw on. Fukuzawa, in particular, has helped Japan’s new generation to realise its full potential and was instrumental in their eight victories in 11 matches in this year's World Cup.

“I’m one of the oldest and I have experience,” Fukuzawa said. “Now I lead a young team. Sometimes I say something to the younger guys just to keep them calm in the game and also to change the mood of the game. That’s my role and for me leadership comes naturally.”

His role in the team has certainly evolved over the years – from being Japan’s top scorer to providing reliable backcourt support and spiritual leadership.

“My role now is to take care of reception,” he said. “Right now we have two big weapons - (Yuki) Ishikawa and (Yuji) Nishida – in the team, so my job is to provide stable reception because if we have it then we can score points. Stable reception makes the setter’s job easier, and it provides us with some key points.”

Japan continue to look ahead to the volleyball tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, when they will want to be at their best in front of a passionate home crowd. Their strong performance at the World Cup bodes well ahead of next year's event and expectations will be high when the Games begin.

“So far we have managed to look into every detail, focusing even on the smallest things to playing step-by-step and point-by-point," said Fukuzawa.

“With the other countries, they have big guys and they have big serves, but our team plays with stability. With stability, we can concentrate more on every detail of our game.”