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07/05/2014 14:48
Petkovic comments on his milestone 10th World League
News from the national federations

Belgrade, Serbia, May 7, 2014.  This year, Vlado Petkovic, Serbia’s national team setter, will mark his 10th season in the FIVB World League.

Up to now, he played 102 matches (7th at the all-time list of Serbian players) in this competition and won two silver medals in 2008 and in 2009 and one bronze in 2010.  In addition, he won three medals at the CEV Volleyball European Championships - gold in 2011 and bronze in 2007 and 2013, as well as bronze at the 2010 FIVB Men's World Championship.  After many seasons abroad, playing in Korea, Slovenia, Italy and, for the last couple of seasons, in Iran, Vlado is one of the most experienced players coach Igor Kolakovic has in his team.  In an interview, Petkovic commented on this year’s World League.

What do you think about this new Serbia’s team?

We have many youngsters in our team this year and it is great because they will have the right kind of opportunity to learn from us, as we learned from the older guys who played in Serbia’s golden generation, like the Grbic brothers, Slobodan Kovac, Slobodan Boskan, Igor Vusurevic and so on.  It meant a lot for me to play with Nikola Grbic from whom I learned a great many things.  And this kind of team management always pays off, as it was back in 2011 when we won the European Championship.  There is a great atmosphere in the team right now, we are always together, there is no one sticking out from the group.  We are also backed up by our national federation, which is, according to my opinion, the best volleyball federation in the world, so we have all the right conditions to prepare well for this competition.

Serbia played four World League finals, and the last medal was won back in 2010.  What do you think about Serbia’s chances to qualify for the Finals after so many years?

I think our chances are good.  We are starting the competition in the cities of Nis and Belgrade against a very powerful Russian team.  It is up for discussion whether they will compete with their best team, and I think not, but nevertheless we have to approach every game very seriously.  It would be good for us to qualify for the Finals after three years, but on the other side, the problem is that in that case we would not have enough time to rest before the World Championship.

It is well known that the World League is always before some other great competition.  This year it is the World Championship in Poland, and you can evaluate your strength playing with some of the best teams in the world.  Serbia’s rivals in the elite 1st Group are the European champions Russia, the fourth team from the last European Championship Bulgaria and the USA, a team that played with you in the 2008 World League final match.

Generally, we can play on level terms with everyone.  I hope we will start with two good matches against Russia in Serbia, and then coach Kolakovic will have the opportunity to try all the players.  The most important thing is that we began to practice and we have to work hard to build our game.  After that, hopefully, the victories will come.

The fans in Nis are great, they love volleyball.  You already played there in January.  Would you like to invite them to come and see you once again?

Well, I would like the fans to come in great numbers not just to Cair sports hall in Nis, but also in Belgrade and Novi Sad.  We need their help, and they could see some really great volleyball because we will play with some of the best teams in the world.  Also, these young guys in our team need to feel that heavy and hot atmosphere our fans know to create. After all, volleyball as a sport deserves that.

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