Atanasijevic upbeat ahead of promising season for Serbia

Lausanne, Switzerland, February 19, 2018 - Speaking in an exclusive FIVB interview, Aleksandar Atanasijevic discussed the importance of the new Volleyball Nations League, his successes to date and his goals for the future. A key player for club and country, the Serbian international helped Sir Safety Conad Perugia to victory in the Italian Cup at the end of January.

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How important is the new Volleyball Nations League to you and your team this year?
Aleksandar Atanasijevic: The Volleyball Nations League is really important to all the teams and all the participants, because you have a great chance to play against the strongest teams in the world and to see where you can improve your game. It will be the first edition of the Volleyball Nations League, which makes it even more important.

What do you think about the new format of the Volleyball Nations League? Is it a good next step for global volleyball?
Atanasijevic: As I said before, it is a new competition for all the players and all the national teams, so it needs time to see how things will work. A lot of trips will give young players a chance to show their potential. I would like to call on fans around the world to come and support the new competition format.

What are your goals for the Volleyball Nations League? Which teams will be the toughest opponents?

Atanasijevic: As always, the goal is to do our best in every match and to fight for each point. Only in this way will we have a chance of beating the strongest teams, like Brazil, USA, France, Poland...

How important is the Volleyball Nations League as preparation for the 2018 FIVB Volleyball World Championships?
Atanasijevic: The World Championship is the most important competition this year, which makes the Volleyball Nations League very important. Only by playing against the best teams in the world can you arrive at the World Championships prepared. It allows you to see what you need to work on.

What are your goals for the FIVB World Championships?
Atanasijevic: It is still early to speak about goals for the World Championships. We will try to take it step by step. Last time we had a bad result, so we want to show everyone that this was only a bad moment for our national team.

What do you think about technical innovations in volleyball?
Atanasijevic: I think that having a video check at every match is big progress. It was important for us players to implement some innovations like that. We are more relaxed, knowing that every point can be checked and there is no room for mistakes.

Which of your many successes do you rate as the biggest?
Atanasijevic: Winning the European Championship in 2011 is my best memory. It was proof that team spirit and a good atmosphere in the team can beat even the strongest teams. Two bronze medals at European Championships, a World League silver medal...a lot of great things behind us, but we have to look to the future.

What dreams and goals do you still have as a volleyball player?
Atanasijevic: The biggest success would be winning the Olympic Games. It is the dream of every player, and what we work towards. Today’s competition in volleyball is really tough. That’s what makes this sport so interesting. There are no easy matches, no time to relax...

How important is volleyball in your home country, Serbia?
Atanasijevic: Volleyball in Serbia has great importance, due to the results that the national team has achieved over the past 20 years. Everything started with the biggest result in our history, when Ivan Miljkovic and the team won the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. People in Serbia still talk about that success.

Do you feel a lot of pressure, as everybody expects you to score a lot of points in each match?
Atanasijevic: I do not think about that anymore. Doing my best is the only thing that you can guarantee in every match. It is a big pleasure to wear the colours of the Serbian flag, and it will be an honour for all of us as long as we play this sport. We have to enjoy playing, and the results will come naturally.


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