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Boskovic: A privilege to play for Serbia

 
Tijana Boskovic celebrates winning the 2018 World Championship with Serbia
Bileca, Bosnia and Herzegovina, April 21, 2020 – Currently one of the most successful players in women’s volleyball, Tijana Boskovic feels proud of her individual achievements, but also fortunate to be part of the Serbian national team.

Speaking in an online interview with the national federation of Serbia, the 23-year-old opposite said: “We did some amazing things that won’t be forgotten. They will be remembered forever and we are so proud of it.”

“I am proud of my achievements and I am not modest in that sense. I know I have many things to brag about, but I think I am fortunate with the chance to play for the national team of Serbia, one of the best teams in the world. I have the privilege to work with top-level players and experts and to learn from many role models.”


1.93m-tall Boskovic and her Serbian teammates are the reigning world champions from 2018. They were European champions in both 2017 and 2019 and silver medallists at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She says unity is the secret of the team’s success. 

“Over the years we’ve shown great team spirit. We spend lot of time together, we know each other well and we are always ready to help one another. And of course, coach Zoran Terzic and his staff know how to guide us.”

It is easy for Tijana to point to the Olympic semifinal against USA and the final of the World Championship against Italy as her favourite matches. 

“Yes, these are two matches that I hold dearly. Against USA it was an incredible match! In the fifth set we made a magnificent comeback from 9-12 and managed to turn the score in our favour. And, of course, the World Championship final - just to be there was something incredible!”

Boskovic added that China, USA, Italy, Brazil and Turkey were among the toughest opponents Serbia have played against and looks forward to meeting them again at the Olympic Games. 

“I am sure the Olympics will be very interesting and challenging. When I think of Rio 2016, I can hardly wait to play in Japan. I am disappointed (by the postponement), but we will only have more time to prepare. The most important thing is to be healthy and we’ll get out of this stronger.”

Boskovic was Serbia’s best scorer at the Tokyo Volleyball Qualification tournament in Poland

Her teams’ success has a lot to do with Boskovic’s individual qualities, which have been widely recognized through countless individual awards – MVP of the World Championship and of the last two European Championships, and European Female Volleyball Player of the Year for the past three years, to name a few. With her club, Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, the young Serbian has also won a full set of medals at the FIVB Volleyball Club World Championships and was named Dream Team opposite on each of the three occasions, and MVP in 2016.

“No individual award can be compared to a medal that we won all together,” Tijana said. “Of course, it feels nice. Especially when you win a gold medal. The MVP prize is like the perfect ending and gives me great motivation.”


Despite all the recognition and achievements, Boskovic thinks there is always room for improvement and new skills. 

“There is still a lot of future ahead and I can’t say that I am a complete player right now. Sure, I have far more experience than when I first appeared on the international volleyball stage, but I think even five years from now I will still be able to improve further,” she commented. “I know that behind all the medals and success there is a lot of hard work, and I am aware that if I continue to work like that, further success will come. It’s all about being focused, persistent, committed and disciplined. I am self-critical and after a match I always know if I played well or not and I always know I can do better.”

Boskovic is thankful for all the attention she gets from the fans and does not think her tremendous popularity has changed her as a person.

“I have a really good relationship with my fans. They are truly wonderful and support me, no matter if I win or lose. They send me messages, edit video clips, send me gifts... I try to thank them and to keep in touch as much as I can. It is not always easy and I hope they will not hold it against me if I fail to respond to every message. And I am glad to be a role model for them. This makes my success even more important,” she pointed out. 

“But I am the same old Tijana from the start of my career and if success changed me in any way, it was only for the better. Maybe I am more mature now, as an athlete and as a person, but deep down, I am the same. I don’t see any reason why I would be any different now. On the court, I like to show energy and strength, but off the court I am shy and withdrawn.”


After the Turkish league was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, her club allowed Boskovic to self-isolate at home in Bileca, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she was reached for the interview. “Honestly, it is much easier than I expected. I have a lot of free time, more than I have ever had in the last ten years. I try to make the most of my days here. My father and my sister are here with me so it is much more fun since we are together.”



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