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21. 09. 2016

EXCLUSIVE: Rouzier – “It might have been one of the hardest decisions that I’ve had to make so far

Source: Photo: lanouvellerepublique.fr, AFP/ouest-france.fr

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When Antonin Rouzier decided to end his international volleyball career, fans around the world were in disbelief. In an exclusive interview for WorldofVolley, the Frenchman opened his soul and explained in detail the reasons for his retirement from France National Team.

 

News that France National team opposite and also 2015 CEV European Championship Most Valuable Player retired from international volleyball resounded like a bomb among fans in his country and worldwide. It was because there were no previous signals for this. Thus, logical question imposed - was it a sudden decision?

“No. I’ve been thinking about this decision for a long time. It’s not the kind of decision that you make suddenly. Volleyball is a big part of my life and we don’t have a lot of time for anything else. There is no off-season. We go straight from clubs to national team, we are away from home most of the year living in hotels, and always traveling... it’s very rich and I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity to be a part of all of this. I just want to take a step back and focus on others goals right now. This doesn’t mean I am finished with volleyball! I want to win titles with my club, and hopefully in the Champions League as well. I am only 30 and I still have a lot to accomplish in my volleyball career,” Rouzier started to explain his decision.

Why did you decide to end your international career?

It might have been one of the hardest decisions that I’ve had to make so far. I’ve been in the national team for 10 years now, and I have so many great experiences. I just felt that it was the right time for me. It has been 10 wonderful years, full of emotions, but I feel I need to be the best I can for my professional career. I want to take better care of my body, and rest is important. Most of all, I want to take a break to spend time with my family, especially my wife and my newborn son Louis ... I don't want to have any regrets in my life,” French opposite hitter emphasized.

 

What are the moments you will remember the most from your career in the national team?

“It is such an honor for me that I had the opportunity to play all these years for France National team. I’ve always dreamed about it, as long as I can remember. I’ll keep all these memories in my mind. I’m really happy to have been a part of it. I’ll remember the big competitions in full gyms, the adrenaline during the big games, and our team spirit... I feel so blessed by this experience. I’ll always be here for this team, these guys are like family to me,” Rouzier got emotional.

Which are your most important team and individual achievements with the national team?

“Winning the MVP at the European Championship, our 2015 World League title in Rio, and of course our gold medal in Sofia that same year. I’m also very proud that we had the chance to be a part of the Olympic Games. It is something that only a few people can say they have been a part of. We had a great time! Although we were expecting a medal it was still an amazing experience,” he stated.

Do you have any message for the fans around the world who expressed big disappointment because they will not be able to see you on major tournaments any longer?

“I am so honored by all of the support from everyone. I didn’t imagine that I had so many people behind me. Many fans support me and understand my decision. I can understand their disappointment but I still have a lot to accomplish in my career. As I mentioned before, I will always be a part of this team. If they need me someday maybe I can help… If I’m not too old (laughs)... I will do my best to help them. Thank you for all of the love and support!! I'll see you on the court!,” Rouzier sent the message to his faithful fans.

 

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