s1mple: "We're hungry for a second in a row"
The Ukrainian star says Natus Vincere's players still see themselves as the best team in the world.
NAVI have confirmed a spot in the grand final of PGL Major Antwerp after a dominant showing over ENCE, a series that was one-sided from start to finish as Aleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev laid waste to the European combine with a 1.76 rating across the two maps.
As Natus Vincere now prepare to take on FaZe in the grand final on Sunday for the Major title and following the decisive series win, s1mple spoke to HLTV about their semi-final match against ENCE, the readiness of the NAVI players to win back-to-back Majors, and the high stakes of such a prized title bout between the top two teams in the world.
You came out really strong against ENCE, were you expecting a Nuke pick from them?
Yeah, we expected Nuke or Overpass. Like 80% of our team said it would be Nuke, B1ad3 said yesterday that it would be Overpass, but today he said it would be Nuke, and it was. I think it was because of our win rate on the map. Maybe it was 33%, but just two losses in three games because we didn't play it or pick it in the past three months.
It was a really good pick for us because we started CT and we knew how they play. This is the map we practiced the most before the Major because we lost win percentage on it.
You also started quite strong on Dust2, although they were able to mount a bit of a comeback at the end. Were you confident in closing it out?
Yes, yes. In the end it was some B contact and we just told our guys that it's 'OK, it was a mistake, you're gonna finish them and we just stay three A, maybe they just decide to fake.' They did it in the last round, so yeah, our game plan on this map was super good against ENCE.
There's been some talk about not having as many hours as you used to, maybe not seeing the best s1mple, but today we did. Are you back and here for the grand final?
Yeah, definitely, YEKINDAR said that I had 35 hours before this Major but it's not true, I had it before the RMR but before this tournament I was playing 24/7. Me and my team are fully prepared.
We're seeing everyone have moments stepping up, b1t had an amazing Legends stage, Boombl4 also had a great game today. What's the feeling in the team, is this yours to win?
We have really good chances to win back-to-back Majors and I think the whole team understands this and are 100% focused. All of them spent time preparing to win this Major, but we're facing a strong team. karrigan and rain haven't won a Major, as well, so they're really hungry for this Major, but we're hungry for a second in a row. The team who deserves it more is going to win.
This is the dream final, the top two teams in the world. FaZe are first in the ranking, but I've heard many say they believe NAVI is still the best. What do you expect from a match like that at a Major final with a great crowd?
I hope more fans will cheer for us because when FaZe played Spirit today I heard a lot of FaZe fans and I hope we'll decide soon who the real number one is.
Will this settle who is the best team in the world right now?
Yeah, yeah. A lot of people ask this question, who is actually the best? Because of course we had some issues in the world and FaZe took over our place, but we want to prove that we're still capable to beat any team.
How do you feel about it, do you see yourselves as the best?
Yes, I feel that we're number one. We're between number one and number two after they won ESL Pro League because they won two tournaments in a row and we lost some points from previous tournaments...
Without counting the rankings, though, do you see yourselves still as the best in the world?
Yeah, yeah. We always feel like this, we always remind ourselves that we're the best. You see a lot of teams stealing some rounds or set-ups from us. We understand that it's hard to stay at the top and that we need to give 100% to get that number one spot back.