Olympic gold medalist Natália Zilio is without a question Brazil’s NT’s current most important player. She is also the team’s current captain, and in 2017 led her squad titles at the FIVB Grand Prix (in which she also won the tournament’s MVP award), the Montreux Volley Masters, and the South American Championship, on her way to being named Brazil’s national player of the year. She recently talked to FIVB about her future plans in the sport. Below is an excerpt with the best parts of her interview:
What are your goals for the Women’s World Championship?
We want to play our best volleyball and achieve the best result possible in the FIVB World Championship. We know that we have strong opponents and we are practicing really hard to get into our best shape.
What could volleyball make even more interesting for players and fans in the future? What do you think about the technical innovations in volleyball?
Volleyball has already achieved a level that is excellent entertainment for fans and we always need to think of new ideas to make our sport even better. I think that some innovations, such as the video check, are really important for volleyball. Also, I enjoyed when volleyball was played in a stadium and I would like some women’s games to be played there as well.
Which of your successes so far do you rate as the biggest? Which dreams and goals do you still have as a volleyball player?
It is difficult to choose only one from so many good memories that I have in volleyball. However, the gold medal from the 2012 Olympics in London is very special. I want to continue playing as long as I am feeling good as a player and at a good level. I would love to win the World Championship and to compete in the Olympic Games one more time.
What has made the Brazilian national team so successful over so many years? What’s the secret?
I think we practise really hard and it is an important characteristic of the Brazilian national team.
Stadiums are surely one of FIVB’s trump cards for the future of volleyball. They are not, however, anything new for the sport, and actually make part of Brazilian volleyball lore. All Brazilian fans speak proudly of Brazil’s 1983 win against the USSR in Maracanã, the biggest soccer stadium in the world, which brought almost 96 thousand spectators to stands, a record that still stands today for team sports not including soccer.