Antonin Rouzier is playing a double role as top scorer and top advisor for France's World Championship team
Katowice, Poland, September 17, 2014 – Frenchman Antonin Rouzier was the 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship's top scorer at the end of Round 2, with 182 points and an average of 20.2. He also tops his team in another category: Age.
At 28, Rouzier is the eldest member of a team which is just one step away from making the Men's World Championship semifinals, and he’s enjoying both his playing and his role as a senior player on and off the court.
“To be honest, it is a strange feeling when you are 28 and the oldest guy in your team, and sometimes my teammates treat me like an older brother,” Rouzier laughed. “But I like my role and it is normal that I can teach them something, now and then.”
The 2.01m native of Saint-Martin d'Hères praised the sense of fraternity which exists in the French team, and the ever-present spirit of camaraderie.
“We are always in good spirits and it doesn’t matter how old you are,” he said. “I like my role of advisor, but we generally focus only on the games and they all know what to do.”
Rouzier got married during the summer and it was suggested that tying the knot has had something to do with his stellar performance at the Men's World Championship.
“Definitely, it has,” he laughed again. “But seriously, after a tough year I just wanted to show that Rouzier is still a good player who can perform at the highest level.”
After a 3-0 victory over Germany last night - when he contributed 16 points to put France on the brink of the semifinals - the veteran player adopted a cautious position.
“We are not thinking about the semis yet,” he commented. “We don’t know if the 3-0 win will be sufficient. For the moment we don’t want to think about it, but we will be ready when the time comes.”
The French team's performance throughout the tournament has been first class, with the team playing in very strong pools and coming out on top in the first two rounds.
“We really don’t know the reason why we are playing so well,” Rouzier said. “Maybe it is because we are taking one match at a time, with the recipe of not thinking about medals or anything like that and just focusing on playing beautiful volleyball.”
Playing beautifully at Spodek Arena in Katowice is nothing new for the French player and his national team. The city's state-of-the art facility hosted the 2007 World League Finals, at which Rouzier also began his international volleyball career.
“I can remember that, because it was my first time with the national team,” he said. “We lost 3-2 against Poland and I received the MVP award for the game. That was really something for me – only 21 and playing in Spodek in front of a crowd of 12,000.”
Rouzier has played professionally in France, Belgium and Italy and next season will play in Turkey. Of course, he has also played in Poland, and has good memories of his visits to the country.
“The atmosphere here is very familiar and I know how it looks and how everyone in Poland loves the game of volleyball. I won’t say no to playing here in the future!” he concluded.