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Petkovic optimistic as Serbia prepare for World League

Experienced setter Vlado Petkovi? is optimistic as Serbia prepare for the World League

Belgrade, Serbia, May 7, 2014 - Vlado Petkovic spoke to the Volleyball Federation of Serbia ahead of the 25th edition of the FIVB Volleyball World League set to begin later this month.

The experienced Serbian setter has played 102 matches in the World League, winning silver medals in 2008 and 2009 and bronze in 2010, and is looking forward to his 10th participation in the competition. Serbia, who are in Pool B, will hope to improve on their eighth rank in 2013. They take on defending champions Russia, 2012 silver medallists USA and Bulgaria, who finished fourth last year.

Speaking about the young players in the new Serbian team, Petkovic said that he believes they will learn from the team's more experienced players, as he did when he played along players from Serbia’s golden generation, including the Grbic brothers, Slobodan Kovac, Slobodan Boskan and Igor Vusurevic. 

"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 did 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 in my opinion is the best volleyball federation in the world. We have all the right conditions to prepare well for this competition."

Petkovic believes Serbia’s chances of participating in the Final Round, which takes place in the run up to the FIVB Volleyball World Championships in Poland, are good, even if they will start the competition against Russia.

"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 final tournament. The problem is that if we do, we may not have enough time to rest before the World Championship."

Commenting on Serbia’s rivals in Pool B, Petkovic said he believes Serbia have what it takes to play on level terms with any team in the world.

"I hope we will start with two good matches against Russia in Serbia and then coach Kolakovi? will have the opportunity to try all the players. The most important thing is that we begin practice and have time to work hard on building our game. After that, hopefully, the victories will come."

Petkovic believes the fans in Nis, Belgrade and Novi Sad will be a great source of support for the Serbian team. 

"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 how to create. After all, volleyball as a sport deserves that."

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