The Group Stage of the 2019 Rift Rivals: LCK/LPL/LMS/VCS closed its curtains with LCK heading straight to the Finals with a 7-1 record. SK Telecom T1 had lost to Invictus Gaming during the final match of Day 2.
"I want to apologize for having broken LCK's winning streak," Mata said in an interview after the match. "I want our team to win in the Finals and contribute to the LCK's victory."
The following is the full text of the interview with Mata.
SKT was in the middle of making a big comeback in the LCK. Were you at all concerned about halting that momentum to compete in the Rift Rivals?
Our team simply poured all of our focus onto performing better. Instead of feeling excited about competing at an international event, our team was worrying over our performance. However, that doesn't mean that we're taking Rift Rivals lightly. We're doing our best to be a help to the other LCK teams.
Although you lost to IG, you didn't go down without a fight. Looking back at the losing streak that SKT went through early this summer, do you feel at all relieved about SKT's gradually improving performance?
Back in the LCK, our team lost whenever we were at a disadvantage, and we couldn't snowball our leads. Although we lost to IG today, we didn't give up, and we remained focused for the remainder of the match. That was one positive aspect of our performance today. However, our team is still focusing on finding why we're making constant mistakes. Had we not made any mistake in the mid game today, we wouldn't have put ourselves at such a disadvatange in the first place.
Since you played in the LPL before, it must feel a bit special to play against them in the Rift Rivals.
When I made my comeback to the LCK, playing against my former LPL team made me feel happy yet a bit uncomfortable. However, that feeling is long gone now. I'm solely focused on improving my own performance. All 12 months of a year, I'm doing nothing but focusing on improving.
There are rumors that a large number of LCK players aren't in their best physical condition right now. How are the SKT players feeling?
Currently, no one on SKT is sick or anything of that sort. I did hear that some players from the other LCK teams are suffering from a cold or stomache infection.
SKT is currently in a struggle. However, they seem to be doing better than before. Do you perhaps believe that SKT will do better once they return to the LCK?
After our 5-game losing streak, everyone on SKT was in despair. We couldn't have been more disappointed with our performance. We're currently in the process of establishing a better footing, and we're slowly, but surely improving. We still aren't perfect, but we're gradually getting better. We're looking for the answer to our problems, and I believe that we'll eventually find it.
LCK will play in the Finals. Is there a specfic team that you want to face?
I want to play against a team that I haven't met before. Our team met IG at MSI... so I want to play against teams that we won't get another chance to meet again. JDG have both coach Homme and Imp, so I want to have a good game with them.
Any last words?
I want to apologize for having broken LCK's winning streak. I want our team to win in the Finals and contribute to the LCK's victory. All the Korean teams currently competing in the Rift Rivals are strong, so I have no doubts that we'll win. I'm also sincerely hoping that our team will further improve throughout this tournament and perform a lot better once we return to the LCK. Please cheer for us.