Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas is one of the most accomplished players in modern Counter-Strike, with tenure that goes back 16 years, to the earliest days of the game. A leader of the Virtus.pro powerhouse, TaZ has conquered half a dozen LAN stages, including ELEAGUE Season 1, ESEA Pro League and two DreamHacks: Bucharest in 2016 and Las Vegas in 2017. He’s a Major champion from ESL One Katowice 2014 and a Major silver medalist from ELEAGUE Major 2017.
Yet, there’s more to TaZ than just Counter-Strike. A family man and, since January this year, a father, the seasoned captain now has to juggle new responsibilities, all while staying on top of his game, but in these, he has found new motivations to succeed.
In an interview for Cybersport.com, TaZ talks about the importance of physical and mental health and what gives him the most fuel to continue leading one of Counter-Strike’s top tier teams.
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After proving to everyone who doubted that your age doesn’t matter and that VP can still win play at the best level, for how long do you think you can continue on the level that you are at now?
I don’t think age plays that big of a role in esports. I find your mental attitude, physical shape and skills / talent are the barriers which we need to train in order to stay competitive. I think we can easily play for the next 10 years with success. The main thing is sustaining the same natural motivation, not motivation for money. You need to have fun while you play games, competing on the highest level needs to drive you.
Even though I have a wife and a small child, I can play any number of hours per day, and I don't get tired of it. I want to be the best in the world, I know we can get to the top, and I know I can become a fierce power in the game as well. This is my drive: to achieve greatness, constantly challenge myself, win for passion, win for the family and to simply have fun!
Oh, and banter is important! Electronic sports has a lot in common with sports when it comes to the mental game. If you can get to someone’s head before the games, well then… good job! As long as it’s not distasteful.
Do you think keeping in a good physical shape helps you stay on point and perform your best in CS:GO?
I do believe that physical shape is important, especially if you want to stay in this game for a long time. As you get older, your body will show more of those problems that were developed during the years you were sitting in that awkward position when competing and playing games.
I think that players are already showing more attention to that issue. They try to eat healthier, work out and move around. There are two approaches to gaming: One, you can play games for fun, to just chill and relax. Or, be competitive. You get exhausted by constantly being in focus, working on getting better, and you need to find this "chill space". Working out is not only going to the gym and putting on weights, there are all sorts of workout. Find something that fits you. Move, relax and reload. This is the future. Athletes play games to relax and chill - gamers will work out to chill and reload.
I started working out four months ago. I have a trainer who works with me and as a result I already feel stronger mentally and it will make its way to my game very soon. On the bonus side, it's always good to be able to hold your child in your and not worry about your back after all these years of sitting in front of a computer.
How do you balance family life and being a professional CS:GO player on a daily basis?
I do have a great family. My wife is a big part of my success. She allows me to focus on my passion, work and love. Yes, I do love Counter-Strike, I love competing, I'm an addict to tournaments, big time events and games. But my child is what fuels me.
When Laura was born, it made me twice more dedicated to what I do. There is no distraction and it's more about sacrifice. I try to work better with the team, I try to be a better person, but I'm also a more motivated competitor. All of this wouldn't be possible without the support I get from my family and friends, who all accept me not being around that much.
Throughout my whole career, I had to sacrifice a lot to get to the place we are today. I don't regret anything and I'm grateful to all the people who believed in my dream and are have been with me up until now. Make no mistake, during the first 12 years of my gaming career, money wasn't there, it was a grind: Win or stop! Being a father and a husband gives you more perspective, it gives you that extra push to give all that you’ve got and then some. This makes me believe that we have the upper hand on other teams and will strike back with fierceness.