Happy to have joined the French team in Jakarta after missing preparation due to a left ankle injury, the interior confided.
Having joined the Blues at the last moment, opposed to Canada on Friday for their first match, does it make you even hungrier?
Mathias Lessort: The priority is to adapt to the team, to fit well into the system, I must not let my excitement, my energy and my desire to play take over and make me become + foufou +. I have to stay calm and understand that I’m coming to a group that’s already in place: the guys have been playing together for a while, have automatisms, so it’s up to me to see where I can bring something and that I understand the role I can have.
It should still be nice to know you’re expected, coach Vincent Collet having highlighted your unique profile among the interiors?
It’s clear that it’s nice to see that the coach took risks for me to be there, that the players and everyone pushed for me to be there. Everyone was hearing from me and excited about me joining the band. It’s nice to know you’re expected and desired.
Did you believe that Panathinaikos, your new club, was not going to release you?
No, otherwise I wouldn’t have worked so hard. If I gave myself so much and made so much effort for a month to be able to come back, it’s because I firmly believed that I was going to be ready for the World Cup. Even if it is true that it was stressful until the last second. I said to myself: I hope I didn’t do all this for nothing. I made a lot of round trips to Athens (to consult the sports and medical supervision of Panathinaikos, editor’s note). I also really wanted to be there because participating in the World Cup is the icing on the cake after the season I had with (Partizan) Belgrade, rich in emotions and which brought me a lot. We performed well collectively (Euroleague quarter-finals, editor’s note) and I individually (elected in the competition’s five majors). Being able to show my progress on the international stage makes me happy.