Nikos Zisis, the Greek international combo guard of Montepaschi Siena talked about tomorrow's Eurobasket 2009 opening game, against FYROM.
When asked about the possibility of FYROM players wearing jerseys bearing the name "Macedonia", Zisis – who himself was born in Macedonia (North Greece) – stated:
"In that case, we will go crazy and we will take our revenge on the court. Nevertheless our top priority is to beat them and if we are provoked that will just maximise our motivation." and continued:
"We are optimistic and we think of the first three games, starting with the game against Skopje. We know that we will have a difficult task to tackle because even low level teams have improved lately. It is very important to start off with a win, so we get rid of the stress that we have, mainly due to the fact that we are a young and new team. I hope we reach the knock-out phase of the tournament and then do our ebst to reach even further."
When asked about the changes that took place in the Greek National Team, the player stated:
"Every beginning is difficult. Some things that we were used to doing for years have now changed and is before any major tournament we had some problems. But we worked hard and taking advantage of the time we had we played some friendly games. It is difficult for a new team to gel in just six weeks. Playing in official games will make us even better, but the main goal is to get the wins neccessary to advance to the next stages of the tournament."
Commenting the absences of Papaloukas and Diamantidis, Zisis said: "I know I will have a more important role this year and that my performance will mean a lot for the team. But I always put the interest of the team over my personal interest." and proceeded to commenting the defense of the team: "Defense is very important part of the game, especially in such tournaments. We are a team that applies it well on the court, but we can do even better."
The team's coach Jonas Kazlauskas also spoke to media:
"It is not a secret that our team always aims for the top positions. I will not use our important absenses as an excuse. When you play in such tournaments you always aim high. We must fight and give our best in order to achieve something important. I believe that we are ready to do so. In this job living under pressure is something normal, if you can not endure the pressure then you are not fit for this job."