Zeus: "I took the initiative on this decision, and I hope in the long run it will be a positive change for the team"

During the media day of BLAST Pro Series Moscow, we briefly spoke with Danylo "Zeus" Teslenko to discuss his retirement and his teammates' reaction.

BLAST Pro Series Moscow will mark the farewell for Na`Vi's captain, who will play his last tournament as a professional player before hanging up his mouse to focus on other projects, including the creation of an academy team to pass on his experience to younger talents.

Zeus will play his last tournament in Moscow

During the media day, we briefly spoke with Zeus, who opened up about the hardships he faced during the early days of his career, his decision to retire, his teammates' reaction and his thoughts on coach Mikhaylo "Kane" Blagin's departure from the squad.

BLAST Pro Series will be your final tournament as a professional player, meaning you're concluding a 20-year-long career in competitive Counter-Strike. Reflect on these years and whether you feel content in regards to what you have achieved over them.

In the past few days, I've been thinking about the fact that 20 years isn't just a stint, it's a serious period of time. I can't say that I've been playing 20 years professionally, because I started playing professionally a little bit later, so I did it for around 16 of those 20 years, but I've been playing the game for 20 years. I can say that a lot of different things have happened, and people that have read my book understand what I had to go through. I'll repeat myself in saying that there was no money, including in the industry. We played because we liked the process, the fun and the time we spent together. We lived in all sorts of strange places, we drove old cars, sometimes traveled on busses and old trains. We didn't participate because of the money or the limelight, but because we loved the game and competing at tournaments; these were our aspirations.

There were moments when things were difficult when there was no money and we lived in a computer club. When we were eating 30 rubles-worth a day, we were saving up, eating something like a loaf of bread; it was like war times because we didn't have the opportunities. There were painful betrayals from people you didn't expect would conduct themselves this way, there were upsets. By the way, BLAST mentioned they wanted me to make a speech after the tournament, that's what I would say - there was a lot I had to go through, but we always marched towards our dream and our goal, which was victory. I've won over 60 tournaments, victories specifically, and each one was unique. Each victory gave its own impulse, its own energy, and of course, this applied to world championships of a large, global scale.

When so much shit happens around you, and in addition to what I've listed, even more shit happens - I was a person that used get very upset in the past, particularly after losses - every loss for me was extremely painful, I just wanted to throw myself under a car, I didn't want to live. This is true. Numerous times I would get drunk after losses, I was extremely upset. This happened in the past, and later on, I learned how to lose, I had good teachers who explained to me that I shouldn't be so harsh on myself, that it's just the process - someone wins, someone loses, but I was very hurt. Despite all of these negatives, at some point you hoist a trophy, you realise that you're a world champion, and you understand that all these negative moments were not endured in vain. The negative moments just dissipate and you feel some crazy invulnerability, you feel massive amounts of adrenaline, emotions, some sort of ecstasy. It was for these moments that I lived and played Counter-Strike for my entire life. This unyielding drive to win propelled me and even when things were very difficult, I kept going because I wanted to win.

I'd also like to mention that esports gave me a lot, particularly, and importantly, people. New acquaintances with amazing people that I have met in my life, and still talk to this day. I can remember my friend Aleksei Kolesnikov, Ugin, Kohanovskiy, Arbalet, the list goes on. I have met amazing people who have helped me throughout my life, who have supported me in difficult moments. These are people that I would move mountains for; it really inspired me and I am very grateful that life connected me with these people. If it wasn't for Counter-Strike and esports, things probably wouldn't have worked out this way.

To summarise, I'd say that I am very satisfied, and I think that I chose the right moment, because I think I'm leaving worthily. As they say, you need to leave well and in good time. There was no point prolonging it because everything needs to be done in its own time.

The possibility of your retirement had not been a secret ever since your interview back at BLAST Lisbon. Nevertheless, I'd like to find out how the team reacted when you finally delivered your decision to them. Did they try to dissuade you?

I think that, despite our differences and quarrels, we have something of a masculine understanding in the Na`Vi squad. I really hope the guys retain these relations because, knowing myself, this is the kind of person I am for life. I try to conduct myself with all people equally and with dignity, irrespective as to whether it's a millionaire or, for lack of a better expression, a "normal" person - it doesn't matter. As a team, we tried to go through everything together, and we have some form of internal synergy. Basically, we respect one another despite a list of issues.

They reacted with respect, they accepted my choice. Further, I let them know in advance - we had certain issues in the team, some of which we were unable to resolve or they were difficult in their resolution. I hope that my departure will have an impact on the guys and will make them look and think about the situation from a different angle, because, for me, all of the players on the team are very close to me. With flamie, I'd even say he's, maybe not my son, but something of a little brother. He grew up without parents, and, to a degree, I feel I'm responsible for him. I showed and taught him certain things in life, and, as they say, we're responsible for those we helped bring up. As such, I worry about him and the guys, and I want everything to work out for them.

Zeus hopes the adjustment yields Na`Vi long-term benefits

Alongside your departure after BLAST, it was announced that Kane would part ways with the roster too. You were always someone who defended him going back to when the two of you joined and subsequently left Gambit. Do you feel this decision to part ways with him is correct for the squad?

If we're being honest, Misha [Kane] is a peculiar guy. He isn't always in the best of relations with the team - he's in the coaching role, and always has a strong sense of ambition. He's frequently quite a strict person in relation to the team, and this strictness can sometimes wind the players up. I was somewhat of a mediator in the team, helping to unify the coach and players. I was somewhere in the middle and tried to pump the brakes to make sure conflicts didn't get inflated. I just think the guys understand that when I'm not around, it will be difficult to work going forward. It's was a team initiative, and they want to try out something new. I don't think it's bad - if they have a new captain, then why not try out a new coach.

Changes are coming, and in all, we didn't achieve big results like we did last year. We had to either show results or continue our hard graft, which I understand that I can't do any longer. Alternatively, we could make adjustments, which is what we landed on, and I took the initiative on this decision, and I hope in the long run it will be a positive change for the team.

Ukraine Mikhaylo 'Kane' Blagin
Mikhaylo 'Kane' Blagin
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Ukraine Danylo 'Zeus' Teslenko
Danylo 'Zeus' Teslenko
No team
Rating 1.0:
Maps played:
Sweden Liinkan 
2019-09-13 16:41
smooya | 
Austria shaakeh 
2019-09-13 16:41
pronax | 
Germany AdiZen 
f for one of the best callers in the world
2019-09-13 16:50
2019-09-13 18:23
good luck bro
2019-09-13 16:41
nice :)
2019-09-13 16:41
Tham | 
Russia (Tifa) 
2019-09-13 16:41
2019-09-13 16:42
Zeus | 
Finland 0lter 
Feelsbad man
2019-09-13 16:42
Won major at least
2019-09-13 16:42
Zeus 1 Major Liquid 0
2019-09-13 17:27
Russia Pon4iPay 
2019-09-13 17:43
As it should be
2019-09-13 17:48
2019-09-13 18:20
Zeus | 
Europe Jakestarx 
2019-09-13 16:42
GL Zeus
2019-09-13 16:42
Poland sh0tdown 
2019-09-13 16:43
s1mple + Boombl4 IGL great partnership and friends
2019-09-13 16:43
Nigeria Asbhdhsbs 
2019-09-13 16:43
The G.O.A.T is retiring
2019-09-13 16:44
Hi Brian
2019-09-13 17:02
A legend, but not the GOAT
2019-09-13 18:21
2019-09-13 16:44
France J0riS 
Respect, at least he knows that his career must end unilke GTR
2019-09-13 16:44
2019-09-13 16:44
great story
2019-09-13 16:45
nexa | 
United States cyrus2121 
no shit it would help you fuckin bot Zeus to coach Natus Vincere
2019-09-13 16:48
North America X3phyR 
Nah he said he wouldn't coach
2019-09-13 18:06
Spain akproxx 
2019-09-13 16:49
legend, pls become a coach, navi are dead without u
2019-09-13 16:50
s1mple | 
Other zj2 
Pls stop news about him
2019-09-13 16:50
valde | 
Asia Simiya 
2019-09-13 16:50
United Kingdom Xfolo 
2019-09-13 16:53
Finland Teukkasd 
Respect legend.
2019-09-13 16:54
On the long run? It will be better after day 1.
2019-09-13 16:54
I don't think so. If you could read he said there was a lot of issues and conflicts in the team and he was the one holding them together. After day 1 they will play poorly... This team will implode in the long run.
2019-09-13 18:41
Turkey Aybars1 
it will :))
2019-09-13 16:55
Russia zLex67 
2019-09-13 16:55
Much respect to you brother. It takes courage and a big pair of balls to step down when It's really needed.
2019-09-13 16:56
Germany grabke 
Respect !!!
2019-09-13 16:56
F and destroy the Blast
2019-09-13 16:57
F Legend <3
2019-09-13 17:03
Bulgaria kr9ptonn 
2019-09-13 17:04
Respect the legend
2019-09-13 17:06
Huge respect for our man!! He is not afraid to show his vulnerabilities, a great human being. F
2019-09-13 17:07
kennyS | 
Romania hardyca 
I didnt know about flamie's situation and how he helped him to grow up. Respect Zeus.
2019-09-13 17:08
Leaf | 
Canada ZHF 
2019-09-13 17:10
2019-09-13 17:10
North America xAriana 
:( sad
2019-09-13 17:12
f in the chat bois, GL zeus
2019-09-13 17:15
Philippines etalynx08 
GTR when? He's crying every time the cameras on him. Guess NIP are milking him dry lol.
2019-09-13 17:18
NiKo | 
Sweden Freddan69 
This was translated right? NO way he Said that in English hahahhaha
2019-09-13 17:21
Correct. The interview was conducted by our Russian-speaking journalist.
2019-09-13 18:05
You should put that in the article
2019-09-13 18:22
You can look at the authorship. Most (if not all) interviews published by Aleksei_L are originally in Russian. I have noticed a high increase in interviews with predominantly Russian speaking players after Aleksei_L joined sometime last year.
2019-09-14 11:39
The guy above me is right ^ It is a valuable information. Thanks MIRAA !
2019-09-13 18:42
Senegal arey0ufucky0u 
2019-09-13 17:24
fnx | 
Bulgaria Deaawullss 
2019-09-13 17:24
Zeus has a spot in the russian mafia
2019-09-13 17:24
NaVi will be worse without Zeus
2019-09-13 17:30
Nothing but pure respect for this legend.
2019-09-13 17:31
One of the biggest Legends in e-Sports.
2019-09-13 17:32
China SkywakerR 
Zeus is a man
2019-09-13 17:35
Big respect to Zeus for talking about the aspect of the game behind the scenes and the struggles they had to overcome, and having true passion for the game where there wasn't big sponsors present in the scene compared to these days. Didn't know about Flamie's story, really touching. This shows that not only hard work mentality is needed but also having a human side.
2019-09-13 17:40
zeus is just like zq - it is all always about him
2019-09-13 17:47
Denmark _baronen 
2019-09-13 17:47
Korea ecsta_s1 
great interview, Zeus. RESPECT
2019-09-13 17:48
Ukraine R0m4nus 
ZEUS 4 majors > Astaralis 4
2019-09-13 17:53
Turkey Thunderball 
Big respect
2019-09-13 17:54
This guy right here is a real man! Cant hate on him.
2019-09-13 18:00
And yet some are hating on him. This guy is a true captain and if he wasn't babysitting these kids all the time they would actually do something :/
2019-09-13 18:44
Europe Bakagan 
big respect to a legend<3
2019-09-13 18:48
respect for this guy. he sounds like a very good big brother.
2019-09-13 18:59
Respect , thanks ur devotion to NaVi , a live legend .
2019-09-13 18:59
Algeria W0r 
Zeus personal diary
2019-09-13 19:20
shox | 
Russia Schwa 
He is gonna comeback in a few years like zonic did and win 4 majors, watch
2019-09-13 20:20
India Pranav3112 
Respect for the legend. F
2019-09-13 20:51
Indonesia Exodd 
Respect, Good luck for the future
2019-09-13 20:55
France Axsii 
2019-09-13 21:59
2019-09-13 22:50
What a nice read!
2019-09-14 01:23
what a legend
2019-09-14 01:27
2019-09-14 01:41
France t3r4byt3 
will be sad to see such a great leader retire
2019-09-14 04:34
faveN | 
Bulgaria Ramky 
2019-09-14 08:44
" for me, all of the players on the team are very close to me. With flamie, I'd even say he's, maybe not my son, but something of a little brother. He grew up without parents, and, to a degree, I feel I'm responsible for him. I showed and taught him certain things in life" i thought flamie hated him, didn't he?
2019-09-14 16:47
Navi is dead
2019-09-15 00:45
Israel LaN1_ 
Big respect. Feels bad he didnt win a major before leaving..
2019-09-17 23:33
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