INTERVIEW | 11/10/2019"It’s an honor to represent this institution", said the Tunisian pivot.
Salah Mejri spoke to the Realmadrid TV cameras in his first interview after his return to the Whites. The pivot showed his happiness at returning to the club where he previously played two seasons: “I’m very happy to be here again and I want to thank Real Madrid for giving me the opportunity to come back. I will give one hundred percent”.
After playing more than 200 games in the NBA, how have you changed?
I’m a different player than I was before. I have a lot more experience and I know a lot more about basketball now. I have grown as a player and I hope to prove it when I start playing. I have worked hard on the three-pointers.
How has such a high-level player improved so much on the trey?
It all started in Dallas when the coach told me: “Salah, if you want to stay in the NBA the game of the big players has changed and you have to start shooting from there". I started training lots of shots every day. This summer I've spent two months throwing 400-500 shots every day. I did my daily work and then I stayed in the pavilion practicing, and thus everything is improved.
You were the third highest valued player at the World Cup. Are you at the best moment in your career?
The World Cup was a success for me and for the Tunisian national team although we didn’t qualify for the Olympic Games or progress to the second round. But it was a great World Cup. I'm 33 years old, I've played a lot of basketball and I think I'm in very good shape.
En el campeonato del Mundo igualaste a Yao Ming con 8 tapones en un partido.
Es mi trabajo. Taponar, ayudar en defensa y proteger el aro es mi trabajo. A veces haré 5 tapones y otros menos. Para igualar ese récord en ese partido tuve algo de suerte.
Have you kept contact with your Real Madrid teammates?
Yes, yes. I had contact with Llull, with Reyes,...I always follow the team and their results and I watched the last Final Four. The team is very good and I’m happy to be here to help. I have received congratulatory messages from many places. A few days ago, in Dallas, I was with Doncic and Florentino wrote to tell him that I had signed for Real Madrid.
You come back to a team where you have won six titles. What are your memories and what is the recipe for success?
In my two years here I played eight finals and won six. We could have won but it was a perfect season with four titles and another with two. The recipe is long to achieve that, but the work and continuity of many players is very important. And a coach like Laso, who is one of the architects of the success of the basketball team.
What does it mean for a player to represent an institution like Real Madrid?
I’m the only Arab player who has played here at the club I have been since I was a child and I’m very happy to have this honor again.
And finally, do you have a message for the Real Madrid fans.
Thank you very much to everyone for the love before and now, and I hope to work as hard as possible to give everything.