Maturing for Returning to the Top
It is true that the number of children involved in sports is reducing throughout the world. Marketing machineries show that sports are attractive only due to the money spinning in it. The disturbance and consequences are far-reaching. In spite of all problems, the situation in Serbia is better than in many other countries. The essence and true nature of sport is still familiar to us. It is not easy to be a supreme sportsman, it is a great obligation, but the satisfaction is enormous. Sport is a culture of living, a view of the world, so it should be introduced to young people. The Serbian national volleyball team has quality, and the continuity of results will come with the maturing of the team

By: Aleksa Komet
Photo: Guest’s Archive

Currently one of the most impressive phenomena in Serbian volleyball. Leader of the new generation, which we expect will reach the previous golden heights. In the meantime, we watch him successfully play in the Italian championship, for
– I am very satisfied with the development of my career. I play in Italian ”Perugia”, one of the best clubs in the world, with constantly high ambitions. We have an excellent team this season as well, we are rushing for the trophies in all competitions we participate in. I believe we will succeed in it, if we don’t suffer from injuries and if we’re lucky. Furthermore, this is a good environment for my personal maturing, and I’m sure it will motivate me to give my best.
He has already achieved brilliant results in club competition. At the national team level, he is part of a perspective generation, which, it seems to us, still hasn’t shown everything it can do.
– Many share that impression, but it seems that the cause is not only in us, but also in the general trend of the rise of volleyball on world level. I can definitely say that there is serious work in many countries of the world, which weren’t considered serious competitors up to now. So it happens that we have huge problems in a match with a national team no one seriously counts on, we are even defeated in it, and already the next day win one of the favorites. This should be taken into consideration in all future competitions and we should prepare for every opponent in the same way.
How should we observe the real possibilities of our national team?
– I often emphasize that we have one of the highest quality teams in the world. It is confirmed by the fact that our players have a prominent place in the strongest European clubs. When we summarize all that, we have enough reasons to enter any future competition with optimism, but, unfortunately, we are witnessing a lack of continuity, which is our biggest problem. It happens that we lose qualification games for the Olympics and immediately after win the World League. That is what we should work on and what, I hope, will be overcome with the maturing of the team.
How do we recognize essential quality and the weaknesses of our team?
– It is a question our coach has to answer. I can say that each of us comes very motivated to the preparations of the national team, however tired or burdened with injuries we might be. We have a great wish to play for our country, it makes us proud. The atmosphere is excellent, we understand each other well and that makes us believe that we will achieve results. However, we should always keep in mind that others have similar expectations as well.


The draw made for the groups of the European Championship brought Poland, Finland and Estonia as our opponents. What can we expect?
– During my work with coach Nikola Grbić, I learned that we should think only about ourselves and how to prepare as well as possible and raise the form in the right moment. It is a recipe we will continue using. The opponents are as they are. The group is a bit harder than the others, but perhaps it’s not so bad, because it could open an easier road to the semifinals. In any case, we must be our own objective, because, finally, it will depend only on us how far we reach at this competition.
Serbian volleyball has been achieving excellent results, despite the difficult situation in clubs and the low quality league. How do you explain that?
– I believe that the foundation of everything is the excellent system of working, mainly with young categories, which has been lasting for more than 20 years. Players for the first team were recruited from that level, so we got results above any expectations and the real situation in our volleyball. However, the question is how long it will be able to last. The system has to be enriched with new trends, through training conditions, the process of recovering from physical exertion and after injuries. Besides, some research show that the number of boys training volleyball in Serbia is decreasing, and that could be a serious problem to which the Association has to react urgently.
The decreasing number of boys and girls in sports in general is a kind of a civilizational problem, resulting in insufficiently physically active generations and many other problems.
– It is really a big problem, and not only in Serbia. It even seems to me that there is a bigger wish to become engaged in sports in our country than in many others. Sports are becoming attractive only because of the money spinning in them, but the essential encounter with it easily demoralizes many. Being a supreme sportsman is not easy, it imposes great obligations and sacrifices, but the satisfaction is enormous. The pleasure with the achieved results is immeasurable, the fact that you are maturing in a healthy environment, which helps you get to know life better, is a privilege of a small number of people. Sport is a culture of living and has to be introduced to younger generations, to motivate them to become engaged in it.


Can we recognize any of the characteristics of our nation through sports?
– Of course we can. Both the good and the bad ones. We tend to be too critical in sports, showing how little we understand it. The last example with Novak Đoković shows it. The man who celebrated Serbia with tennis is confronted with vilification in the moment he felt the first weakness. It is very ugly. On the other hand, such excessive criticality can make individuals overcome themselves and finally surpass the most daring expectations.
Do we have sufficient respect for our national being, our culture and tradition?
– There are many segments which will give both positive and negative answers. For me, it’s easiest to compare it with others, and then it seems that we respect ourselves more. I believe our feeling of pride for our country is stronger, and comes into play only when you leave Serbia. Perhaps that is one of the causes of numerous sports successes.
Do we, as a nation, know ourselves?
– By getting to know ourselves, each of us is on a good way to discover our own nation, and vice versa. The image of us as individuals is upgraded with discovering who we are and how we are as a whole. We have the perception of our history in front of us and that is immeasurable richness. This is us, in some different times, in more difficult and more tragic situations. The encounter with the names shining in our history can help us reveal the role of our generation and each of us separately. And what is especially important, particularly with us sportsmen, it can motivate us to become winners.
Aleksandar has been living abroad for a long time. Would he apply any of the gained experiences in Serbia?
– Considering that I’m still young and that many new experiences are still awaiting me, I will wait to collect them first and then one day perhaps apply them in my country. Otherwise, I’m very closely connected to Serbia, and I’m ready to do a lot, not only through sports, to make it more beautiful and better. Nowhere do I feel as good as I do in Belgrade, with my family, friends and dear people, and I almost can’t see myself living anywhere but in my homeland.


The question about free time in the life of a sportsman always leads to similar replies.
– It’s something we have to accept when we decide to become engaged in sports. Of course I don’t have free time, at least not as much as I’d like to. My obligations are such that I only know I will have two free days around New Year and then everything goes back to normal. It means that I simply don’t have time even for meeting people dear to me, let alone some other things besides sports, however much I’d like to. I am aware of my job and I have no right to lament, because sport has multiply returned everything I have invested in it. I am doing something which I don’t consider an obligation, but pleasure, and what, finally, lasts for a limited period of time.
If, by chance, he didn’t become a sportsman, what would attract Aleksandar?
– My constant aspiration is to advance. Perhaps the words of my parents contributed to it, since they always suggested I have to be good in what I’m doing. I was an A student in elementary school, in high school as well. I am currently third year student of the ”Union” University Law School and I will soon finish it. If I hadn’t decided for sports, I would probably have taken that road. The university would take me to law or perhaps medicine, which was also one of my options before. Whatever it would be, I would approach it with the same enthusiasm and ambitions, as the case is with volleyball.
Recommendation for future champions.
– The ”Play Volley Camp” project we started in Ivanjica showed me that the children who want to be engaged in volleyball are determined and persistent. I encouraged them to be themselves, to work hard and without reserve, because it will surely pay off sooner or later. Invested efforts never remain without effect. On the other hand, there is immeasurable richness in the very presence in a sports group and friendships coming from it. Unique experiences are gained, very significant for the rest of their life.


The Phenomenon of Serbian Sport
– Many people around the world asked me about it, wondering how such a small country has so many successful supreme sportsmen. I believe the thing is in our mentality. We tend to invest all our forces into something and the maximum of efforts to achieve it. We don’t settle for defeats easily, and the fact is that sport serves many as a way to prove themselves and jump above averageness. Thus we come to one of the possible answers.


– It is the foundation of my life. It is most important to me and has always been my greatest support. When I was going through difficult times, my family encouraged me and gave me constant support. When I did well, they warned and kept me awake. They are a part of my life without which I wouldn’t be complete, and only with them I feel fulfilled and satisfied.


– After my family, one of the most important elements in my life are friends. They mean a lot to me, because they made many moments of my life especially valuable. Besides, friends, like the family, also keep you firmly on the ground and help you really understand where we are, what we are part of, and what is truly valuable in our lives.


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