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12/06/2019 10:50
Serbia’s star blocker Srećko Lisinac looks forward to EuroVolley 2019
News from the National Federations

Belgrade, Serbia, June 12, 2019. Serbian middle blocker Srećko Lisinac is one of the best players in the world in his role. A gold and silver medal winner from the 2016 and 2015 editions of the FIVB World League, as well as a runner-up from the 2013 Men’s U23 World Championship, Lisinac has two bronze medals from EuroVolley (2013 and 2017) to his name as well. Lisinac will be one of the star players due to compete at this year’s EuroVolley, with Serbia starting their campaign in Pool B in Belgium.

What makes yours an interesting story is that you were not a regular member of the national teams in younger age groups and that your skills developed quite late. How do you explain that?

I played football for a long time, so I skipped the youth category in Volleyball and went straight to the junior team. I had been playing Volleyball for just a couple of months, and I was fortunate to end up playing at the CEV U20 Men’s European Championship because one of the players on the roster, Ivan Petrović, suffered an injury. As a result, coaches Milan Žarković and Dragan Djordjević invited me to join the junior men’s national team, and at that time I was not so good, to be honest. However, I forgot about football slowly but surely and focused more and more on Volleyball.

In 2013, you won not only the bronze medal at the European Championship, but your first individual award as well.

Yes, this was my first major competition and my first medal. The whole team played great, and it helped me get this prize for the Best Blocker in the end. It was a complete sensation.

Everybody knows that you are too modest, but this was just the start of a series of individual awards that you have received while playing for the national team, but in the clubs as well.

I have had extremely good coaches, and when you work in such an environment, you can easily improve your game. I tried to learn as much as I could, also from my elder teammates, like Marko Podraščanin and Dragan Stanković. I was fortunate to play in good teams and in the national team of Serbia, and to compete at the highest level, so I could learn from the best. I used these circumstances in the best possible way. I was lucky, I guess, because luck is something that you need to achieve a breakthrough at the highest level.

Last year, you finished fourth at the World Championship in Italy and Bulgaria. This was a great result but on the other hand, there is always the feeling that you missed out on a medal.

We were so close. We played very well in our pools, and everybody thought that we would win a medal. Unfortunately, it was not the case. We had so many travels, by plane and by bus, more than 30 hours we spent transferring from one city to the next one and when I look back, I realise that we had an extremely tough time back there. Of course, I do not try to search for excuses, but that certainly did not help us, to say the least. After the match with Italy, we ran out of fuel. Overall, we played well so I cannot say that this was not a good result. We did not win a medal, but to be fourth in the world among such strong teams, it surely means a lot.

You will have many competitions with the national team this year, including EuroVolley…

The number one competition for us, for sure, is the qualifier to the Olympic Games, as we missed the ones played in 2016 in Rio. Back then, we won the World League and showed a very high level of performance on the court. We beat Brazil in that final, who later became the Olympic champions, so we were quite devastated for not being able to compete at the Olympics, and now we feel that we simply have to qualify and prove that we have our place among the best in the world. After that, we will focus on the European Championship. Last time we took the bronze medal, so we are preparing to defend it at least. The VNL this year for us is not so important, we agreed with the coach what are the priorities so many of us key players will have a chance to rest and regenerate. It will be great for Nikola Grbić to see the youngsters playing and to think maybe of including some of them in the main roster.

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