19 yearsago Yugoslavia won the Olympic gold after smashing the Russian team 3:0 in the big final. They have been led by players like Goran Vujevic, Ivan Miljkovic, Vladimir Grbic and of course – his brother, the legendary Nikola Grbic, maybe the greatest playmaker in the volleyball history of the Balkan country. Almost two decades later there is no Yugoslavia anymore, it transformed into Serbia and Montenegro in 2003. Another three years after that Serbia and Montenegro split up. Despite of two European titles and a bronze World Championship medal Serbia hasn’t won an Olympic medal since. The team didn’t even qualify for the Games in Rio de Janeiro (2016).
Nikola Grbic retired from the national team in 2010 and only five years later became a head coach of the side. Although Serbia won the European championship in 2011 with Vlado Petkovic as a main setter, another man was gradually pronounced the natural successor of Grbic. New Nikola. New number 9.
Nikola Jovovic was born 1992 in Novi Sad and started playing as a youngster for Vojvodina. He won a silver medal at the U17 European Championship in 2009 where he took the award for Best Setter and a gold medal at the U17 World Championship the same year. He got also another medal – a bronze during the U19 World Championship in 2011. Jovovic put the uniform with number 9 of his namesake and idol – Nikola Grbic. A uniform which gained a sacred status through the years not only in Serbian volleyball, but in Serbian sport as a whole.
With the men’s national team Jovovic obtained two bronze medals at the European championships in 2013 and 2017 and won the World League in 2016. What could we expect in the future? Would it be possible for Nikola Jovovic to repeat the successes of Grbic? In order to have a look into that, let’s examine the way in which Jovovic is playing.
What are the specifics of his game? Watch in the video below and for more videos and analysis – subscribe to “Volleyball Explained” YouTube Channel.