Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, June 29, 2017 – Davide Gardini
is one of the main outside hitters of the Italian team at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship. His last name might ring a bell: his father Andrea Gardini is a former Italian volleyball player and Olympic medallist.
With such a famous last name, you would expect the first sport he ever played was volleyball, but for Gardini it was football. “I played football for eight years, I loved it. But four years ago I picked the sport my family lives for: volleyball.”
He doesn’t feel the pressure of wearing a famous last name on the back of his shirt. “I am proud to be my father's son. My mother also played volleyball at a very high level. It is an important part of my life but I hope to be remembered as Davide in the future because when I play, it is me, Davide Gardini who tries everything I can to play a good match.”
After each match, the young player has a ritual. He phones both his parents to review the match and ask for their feedback.
“I ask my parents for advice and we review together what went wrong and how I can improve from there.”
Gardini has big plans for the future. He played at UCLA in the past and he hasn’t finished his own American Dream yet.
“This year I will play another year in Italy. I have plans to go to the United States after that. It is a good place to play volleyball, improve my skills and study at the same time.”
The Italian team did not make it to a top eight placement to advance into the semifinals.
“We played against strong teams here - Argentina and Iran. It was difficult to accept our loss against those two teams but now we are doing everything we can for that ninth place.”
Gardini was added to the team a bit later than everyone else, but that is not making any difference in the way he supports his teammates.
“I am the youngest one in this group and arrived later than everyone else. But that is not making any difference. When I am on the bench I try to support as much as I can, when I am on the court I give everything.”
Gardini knows what he wants after this tournament. “My main goal is to come back to Italy after university in the United States. I want to play at the highest level and fight for it. In Italy, there are great championships I can play in!”