Natus Vincere have survived day one in Stockholm despite suffering a loss to Ghost in the opening match on Dust2, as they defeated NRG in the elimination match of Group B following a close encounter in which they had to come back from a map deficit.
When did you start practicing after vacation and how much have you been able to prepare for Stockholm considering everyone had the off-season until late in August?
We had some issues with documents - as you know, we have to get visas for the Major, and we also had other problems with documents. That's why we couldn't get together, in Kiev or Moscow, it doesn't matter, we couldn't do this. We did it online and it was about four or five days, not more.
Was that enough to be satisfied going into Stockholm and later going into the Major, or will you be able to get a bootcamp after this tournament?
Of course, I'm not satisfied with our preparation because we didn't have enough time for it. But we're trying to do our best for this tournament, this tournament is more like a bootcamp for us, as well. The main goal for us is the Major, so after this tournament, we will have a bootcamp for about six days to be ready for the Major.
Do you have practice areas here?
We have practice areas here, but it's not the usual. We lack the space to do some usual stuff we do in our bootcamps, for example, get together and make some tactics, other teams can see it, so we can't do this. Of course, we have rooms, but it's a bit difficult, a bit different from our usual preparation. We are trying to practice here, but it's not as good as we'd like it to be.
I'd like to get your thoughts on your opening match against Ghost and what went wrong there, particularly the decision to play Dust2, which has been a poor map for you ever since it was introduced back into the map pool.
The decision was made by our coach and it was more about practice, we need to improve our Dust2 for the future, so we have to play it more. As you know, we have bad statistics on this map, but we have to play it. We were leading 13-9, but we went into overtime and lost it. But still, this is the best Dust2 we ever played with this lineup, we are growing up.
In the elimination match against NRG, it looked like you got into the first map and your pick, Inferno, too late to make up for the first half, what was behind that slow start?
As we said before, one of the main reasons is our preparation. It wasn't as good as usual, but we did what we could. This is one of our strongest maps, but the concentration was bad, the loss to Ghost impacted us and we were a little stressed. Even on Overpass, we were a bit confused on the map.
But we often lose the first map and make a comeback to win the best-of-three matches, this isn't the first time we lost the first map and came back to show a good result. That's what happened in this game, as well, we like when it's hard for us to win. When we get into a bad situation we play better and better, it's one of our strengths.
With this result, do you feel relieved that you've survived the first day after coming back from the break?
We're ready to play the next matches and we'll do our best to show our game, improve our skills and move forward. As I said, this is practice for us too. We know that this is also a really important tournament because it's in the Grand Slam, everyone understands that they should work hard on their own skills and their own game.
That's what we're going to do to show our fans who are supporting us, who cheer for us, that we are a real team and ready to play in any conditions and even after such a long break.