Nikola Grbic showed in last year's World League, where Yugoslavia gained its first podium place finishing third, how crucial he is to the performance of the European heavyweights. The 29-year-old was awarded the second Best Setter of the 2002 World League and was also among the best diggers of the final tournament and it seems the hopes of Serbia and Montenegro live on his very heartbeat.
The first podium was just another success of many for Grbic, who has been selected for his country almost 200 times and is one of its most experienced players.
Recognized for his grace and skill as one of the true setter artists on the international scene, Grbic was named in this role in the "Super Seven Selection" - a theoretical perfect team - at the conclusion of the 2002 World Championship.
The Yugoslav team was a strong unit during the '90s, despite being shut out of international competition for several seasons due to UN-imposed sanctions during the Balkan Wars, and Grbic was part of the bronze medal-winning team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the victorious side at Sydney 2000. The second place at the 1998 World Championship and the European title in 2001 are among his other big successes.
Like many of his teammates, Grbic has been competing in the elite Italian competition, playing currently for Asystel Milano. And while this year will be his sixth appearance in the World League since his debut in 1997, there's no letting up in terms of his role in a lethal squad.