Serbia although a small country is famous for its athletes. The successes of our athletes is very important for the overall image of Serbia and is proof that even though they live in a country where they dont have the best conditions,manage to achieve great results. Their successe raise the morale of the nation and give the people a much-needed dose of optimism. Many of them claim that the medals are not as important as the knowledge that they are makeing people happy. See the most popular Serbian athletes, more precisely seven of them.
An interesting fact is that the first sport Vlade played was not basketball, but football. He played at the goalkeeper position, a turning point occurred when he did not want to get his new gloves dirty by throwing him self on a ground. He started training basketball at the club KK Elan, in his hometown of Prijepolje. In 1986 he joined Partian and became the most tallked about player in that transfer period. He was only 18 years old he made his debut for the senior national team of Yugoslavia, which participated in the World Championships in Madrid in 1986 and won his first medal. With Serbian national team he won 6 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze medals.
After only four professional seasons in Europe Divac became one of the best European centers.Having achieved good results in Europe, he decided to try his hand in the famous NBA league. He did not speak english language in his first season with the Lakers, but he mastered american style of basketball and he became a great teammates. The very next season he became the starting center for Los Angeles Lakers. The whole of Yugoslavia stayed awake whole night just so they can watch Vlade Divac. When he moved to the Sacramento Kings he became the teammate with Peja Stojakovic. If anyone until then did not watch the NBA, he’s definitely start doing it because Divac and Stojakovic become a true duo and it was really nice to watch them play. After only a few professional seasons in NBA Divac became one of the best centers and he was a part off All Star game. A few more seasons in a row Divac managed to reach playoffs with the Kings, but they couldn’t win a champions. After a few years with Sacramento, he returned to the Lakers in 2004 but after a back injury he missed most of the season and 14th of July 2005 he ended his 16 year long NBA career. Vlade is not only known for its basketball success, but also humanitarian. He is one of the founders of humanitarian organizations Group 7, and founded the Foundation “Ana and Vlade Divac.”
Novak started playing tennis when hi was only 4 years in the Kopaonik tennis camp. When he was 6 years old his talent was recognized by Yugoslavia tennis legen Jelena Genčić and she started training him. He wanted to raise his game to a higher level and at age 12 moved to Munich to work on himself in the tennis academy of Nikola Pilic. After a few years at the academy in 2001 he was only 14 years old he became the triple European champion in singles, doubles and team. At age of 16 he won 5 ITF tournamentand he was the 40th best junior world. His first ATP Challenger title he won in Budapest in 2004. The following year he qualified for Wimbledon and reached the third round and by reaching third round he got to the list of Top 100 players.
In addition to being the best Serbian tennis player Novak is a great showman, loves to joke on the field, and off the field. He sure knows how to make a good atmosphere and the tennis world was missing such a player. He quickly became a favorite in Serbia and beyond. In 2011 Nole won 43 consecutive matches and victories at the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open and he seized the title of best player in the world. The mere fact that the first plane of Nacional airline Air Serbian carries Novaks name indicates how important Novak Djokovic is for Serbian sport and Serbia in general. He founded the Foundation “Novak Djokovic” helps children in Serbia. He was awarded the Order of St. Sava, the Karadjordje Star and the Order of the Republic of Serbian. Since 2005 he is in realationship with his current wife Jelena Ristic, on 21th of October 2014 they got a son Stefan.
A woman who is not afraid of guns. In elementary school she started to play handball, but after a teacher randomly chosen her to participate in a school competition in shooting, she started treaining every Saturday for the competition. Ever Saturday she was better. When she noticed her gitf, she enrolled in the shooting school and shortly after she started wining medals. The first two year she was shooting with the rifle, and then she started shooting with the gun. Jasnas won first gold medal at the European Championships in Espoo in 1986, the first gold medal from the World Cup next year in Budapest, and in 1988 a gold medal at the Olympics in Seoul. Her daughter Leah and son Luke were born between the Olympic Games in 1998 and 2002.
Ivana started training athletics when shee was seven years old in his home town of Zrenjanin. The best results were achieved in the long jump discipline, which was her mothers discipline , and she allso compete in the sprint at 60 and 100 meters. Her first major result was recorded in 2007 at the World Championships in Ostrava, when she jumped 6.41 meters and won a silver medal. After that medal she starts to progress more and. Ivana broke the national record at the World Championships in Beijing 2015, with a jump of 7.01 meters. She draws attention to her attractive appearance and interesting tattoos, but does not like what the public is seening her as model, not as an athlete. She become popular on social media where she is constantly posting interesting photos, some of the private life and some with hard training.
One of the best Serbian waterpolo players, Šapic was the best scorer in every team for which he played, as well as the top scorer in each league in which he played, for 11 consecutive seasons. No wonder he became the highest paid waterpolo player in the world. After the end of his career he became interested in politics. He starred in a popular Serbian film, a local bully, a role he probably received because of his temperament.
Vladimir Vanja Grbić i Nikola Grbić (Braća Grbić)
The brothers were born in the village of Klek near Zajecar, grew up in the countryside and are proud of it. When they were in elementary school they started to train, beside volleyball Vanja trained football, basketball, handball and tennis but his father saw his potential in volleyball. Vanja was so talented for basketball, great Željko Obradović urged him to devote himself to basketball, but hi was dedicated to volleyball and had no regrets about that.They saw there father Miloš as a superhero because he was always there for them when it mattered, he was the authority and they respected him. After nearly two decades of playing volleyball professionaly brothers, each in its own way, work to help young Serbian volleyball players. Vanja is president of a women’s volleyball club and general manager of the men’s volleyball club Klek. Nikola is currently coach for national Serbian team.