Cubans continue to creep out of Copacabana shadows

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 12, 2016 – Cuba’s Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez progressed to the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games quarterfinals after they defeated Austria’s Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) at the Copacabana Beach Arena on Friday.

Here’s what they said after the match…

Nivaldo Diaz, Cuba
“I think that gives us an advantage to play against teams that don't really know our strategy and how we play, but it's not 100% that. It's also the hard work that we have put in it. Even if they knew our game, they should be prepared and have a strong game against us, because the surprise is on us.”

Sergio Gonzalez, Cuba
“We've finally made it to the final eight and we always said to go step by step and to go keep winning and it's so exciting. I have goosebumps now because it's so exciting.

“We keep our focus all the time, and also our serve, our spikes, our blocks - this gives us a lot of advantages. But we also play with a lot of energy and a lot of desire, and we know what we want.

“We know we are at an Olympic Games, and we give it all every match and we will fight until the end.

“We love beach volleyball, we've played since we were kids, and when you do the thing that you love and enjoy, honestly things come easy and naturally. There is no reason to be tense or unhappy, because you always do what you like, so you are happy and smiling no matter what happens.”

Clemens Doppler, Austria
“We didn't know what to expect because nobody knows the Cubans. They showed up two years ago at the World Champs, they got qualified out there then disappeared. Then they come to the Olympics and haven't lost a game so far.

“If they continue to play like that, not thinking too much, I think they're going to win.

“I don't think they have a mental game, if I'm honest. They seem like they really don't care. All the other teams feel the pressure a little bit, I mean it almost seems like they don't feel pressure at all. They play easy and that's the most difficult thing in sports, to play easy.

“If they don't start to think that they have a really big chance to win a medal, I think they will go very far.

“They played so strong that we couldn't play our game, that was the difference.”


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