Zurich, Switzerland, May 8, 2015 – Silvija Popovic is without a doubt no greenhorn at the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship; the Serbian national player has already scooped some of the most important trophies in international volleyball: two of the most prestigious are the gold medals in the jersey of the Serbian national team at the European Championship in Italy and Serbia in 2011 as well as at the 2009 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship with Rabita Baku in Doha.
The Serbian top libero is sure that Volero Zurich has got the chance to get the gold medal this year: “We’ve got an incredibly good chemistry in the team; there’s a mutual understanding and a great team spirit. We’ve prepared the whole year and now are ready to give everything to delight our supporters.” The 29 years old knows that her experience is very important for the team: “I know how it is to play in a gold medal game – and I’m eager to help our younger players out with my experience. I was in the same situation back then when I won my gold medals: I was one of the youngest players – now it’s my turn to give something back.”
The Serbian national player is willing to clinch her next gold medal at an international competition – even if she has to make sacrifices: “I’m ready to give 100% for my team, to save every ball I can. I’m keen to do my bit for our dream of the gold medal in front of our home crowd.”
However, Silvija Popovic is also a big team player off the court: The 29 years old helps out Volero Zurich teammate, Cuban-born Rachel Sanchez, whenever there are communication problems in Zurich. “Rachel is really making big efforts to improve her English and German – but whenever she doesn’t understand something in our training sessions, I translate it into Spanish for her; she’s a teammate and a friend and so I’m glad to help her whenever I can.” Volero’s star libero has been admiring Spanish and Latin Culture since she fell in love with the language of Cervantes and Mario Vargas Llosa some years ago: “Spanish is such a beautiful language. I came into touch with it because I used to watch some famous Spanish telenovelas on television. So I decided to learn the language.”
Popovic has never regretted her decision until today since Spanish has a special place in her heart: “I love Spanish and South American culture; not only the food, but also Latin dances and music – most of all the music made by Enrique Iglesias. I listen to his songs to relax or even to prepare for a big game. He’s my favourite singer”
Nevertheless, Popovic will never forget her Serbian origins since she practices her mother tongue at home: “My son is now two years old and even though I really appreciate Spanish, I speak in Serbian to him. I want him to speak my mother tongue and, in addition, English since it’s a really important language – he might learn Spanish afterwards.”
Her child is also the reason why the libero from the Serbian capital Belgrade has no time to watch telenovelas anymore: “When I come back home after a training session or a game, I want to spend time with my little boy. To play with him – my son and volleyball are my life.”
This week, however, Silvija Popovic wants to focus on the big games at the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship in Zurich: “It’s always special to play at such an important tournament like the Club World Championship. I enjoy every minute with my team on the court – that’s the reason why I’m so enthusiastic and why I celebrate every point and every save; I know that I can motivate my teammates with it. That might be a little bit the “Latino” mentality.”