Nikola Grbic

  • Video interview wtih: Nikola Grbic (SRB setter) by Andrea Zorzi

    to see interview click on the pic

    When and where were you born?
    When did you start playing Volleyball?
    In your family there are many successful sportsmen.
    …you are saying “US” because…
    What about your mother?
    Your father decided in which position you would have played. Is it right?
    Have you been always so calm or has your role changed your character?
    Would you describe Serbian people?
    Was the Sydney Olympic gold medal the most important victory?

    to see interview click on the pic

    The 2000 Olympic gold medal was the best victory, what about the worst defeat?
    Serbians are excellent in many team sports. Why?
    After the wonderful performance in the WL Finals, is Serbia favourite in Beijing Games?
    Could you give a comment about the new ball?
    You are married and you have a son. What about your future?
    Will you leave the national team after Beijing?
    Would you like to be a coach in the future?

  • Serbian setter Grbic looks back on past and forward to future as curtain falls on glittering international career

    After dedicating nearly a quarter of a century of his life to Volleyball, Nikola Grbic stands at a crossroads after retiring from the Serbian national team following the Beijing Olympics – not that he is in any hurry to set off on a new career path just yet. For now, spending time with his family is more important to him.

    “My son changed everything in the sense that now I cannot wait to finish my practices, my tournaments, my games, and to fly home and see him,” Grbic said just prior to his international retirement. “Even though I tell myself I am not the first father who is not seeing his son. But my son is one and a half years old and I will never have another opportunity to pass this time with him.”

    At some point, though, the 35-year-old Grbic will address what he plans to do next after his glittering career in Volleyball – he still plays club Volleyball for Italian side Itas Diatec Trentino at the moment – and the idea of coaching is something he hasn’t ruled out in the long term.

    “I think I would be a good coach, maybe if I have an ambitious club, but for now I don’t think so,” says Grbic. “I know myself, I am a perfectionist. If one practice is not done well I would think about what went wrong, what I need to change. When I am a player, when I finish with practice I don’t think about it and I have a pizza or watch a movie with my wife.”

    Grbic’s international career came to an end against USA in the quarter-finals of the recent Olympic Volleyball Tournament. It was his fourth Summer Games appearance. He toyed with the idea of bowing out after Serbia and Montenegro’s fourth-place finish at the 2006 FIVB World Championships in Japan before deciding the Beijing Games would be the perfect swan song.

    Grbic’s run of Olympic Games has given him some special memories, the highlight being Yugoslavia’s gold-medal triumph in 2000 when they beat Russia 3-0 in the final after overcoming Italy in the semi-finals.

    “Sydney most important? Absolutely,” says Grbic. “We were always there, semi-finals, finals, but we never won anything. We managed to beat every team on different occasions but we never did it in one tournament. The first step was to win against Italy – until that time we couldn’t beat them … that was the first time we won (3-0) and we reached the finals. After that, it was a dream come true.”

    This was the finest moment of Yugoslavia’s “golden” generation, although according to Grbic this group of players came together by accident: “Unlike Russia and Cuba there was never a systematic approach to developing generations of sportsmen with schools and coaches. It wasn’t as though the golden Serbian generation was planned in advance.”

    With so much upheaval in the country at the time, it isn’t surprising there was no master plan. The successes of Grbic and Co. brought relief, though, during a difficult time. Grbic fondly recalls the bronze medal Yugoslavia claimed at first Olympic appearance in Atlanta in 1996, not least for the outpouring of emotion from their countrymen on the team’s return to Belgrade.

    “After Atlanta, there were 150,000 waiting for us in the centre of Belgrade. One week of celebrations. It was not only our victory but for all of them … they were feeling the pressure from the outside world. Everybody won.”

    The Olympic medals and numerous other titles Grbic collected during his career were the culmination of a life that was pretty much destined from the start to be dominated by Volleyball. Grbic’s father, Miloš, was the captain of the Yugoslavia national team that won the bronze medal at the 1975 European Championships in Belgrade. Sadly, Miloš Grbic passed away last week, on the night of September 16-17.

    “Until (our) generation came that bronze medal was the best result the national team had ever had,” says Grbic. “My father was playing until 36-years-old and he was our first coach and he taught us very important things, especially about technique and it was very useful for us … I can see this now.”

    The “us” Grbic refers to, of course, includes his older brother Vladimir, with whom he won Olympic gold and other medals during more than 10 years side by side in the national team. Both were pushed hard by their father. The younger Grbic remembers starting playing Volleyball “around 11 or 12 years old” and in the last two years of high school left the family home to play for club team VC Vojvodina in Novi Sad.

    “Like any other kid, I tried soccer and tennis a little bit, so when it was time to decide where to go, which sport to continue to practice a little bit more seriously my father took that decision for me,” Grbic says smiling.

    Another decision Grbic’s father made was what position his son would play. Grbic had begun his junior career in reception until one day he stood in as a setter.

    “Nikola, from now on you will play as a setter,” ordered Grbic Senior.

    The young Grbic ran to his mother: “Come on, I don’t want to do that. It’s the most annoying role in Volleyball. Everybody wants to spike. If I do a great combination and leave the spike without a block everybody applauds the spiker and not me.”

    There was always going to be just the one outcome following that difference of opinion. From that day on, Grbic was a setter.

    “Now I am really grateful to him that he did that,” says Grbic. “In the end that is the role that suits me the best.”

    Indeed it does. Grbic admits he is a little reserved in all aspects of his life and likes to stay in control. The role of setter, he says, has made him even more so.

    “A lot of journalists said I seemed very cold and I’m calculating all the time during a match and I really like to do that,” says Grbic. “I don’t like looking at the gym or the referee. Just thinking about what is best for my team at that specific moment. And if something happens in the game that maybe can put me out of my way, then it’s not good if the setter loses his head. A spiker can do that and I don’t give him the ball and maybe he can cool down, (but) if I lose my head I can compromise the game.”

    It is this unshakeable discipline that won Grbic 315 caps for Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro and Serbia. Along with the Olympic medals, he also won silver at the 1998 FIVB World Championships and gold at the 2001 European Championships.

    It has also seen him progress from the second team of GIK Banat in his hometown of Zrenjnanin via VC Vojvodina and military service to Italian clubs Gabeca Galatron Montichiari, TNT Traco Catania, Gabeca Fad Montichiari, TNT Alpitour Cuneo, Sisley Treviso, Asystel Milano, Copra Piacenza and currently Itas Diatec Trentino, where he won the Italian “scudetto” last season for the first time.

    There is little room for regret after a career such as the one outlined above. Grbic has bowed out at the absolute pinnacle of his sport, as captain of his national team, with three of the last handful of international games including an Olympic quarter-final, an FIVB World League gold-medal match and, memorably, his last home game in front 9,100 fans at Pionir Hall in Belgrade when Serbia clinched a place in the World League Final Round against France.

    It was a fantastic way to say goodbye for someone whom playing for their country meant so much: “My father gave us that feeling of patriotism and love for the national team and love for my country,” says Grbic.

    Who knows? This devotion to his country may see Grbic return one day to coach the national team. That is, of course, after devoting time to his family. And if Grbic is anything like his dear father, he’ll also soon be deciding on the best position for his son on the Volleyball court.

    source: FIVB

  • Grbic will give up the national team - bad for serbia, good for the others. ;)


    "I'm so proud that the fans still sing my name. But I fear tomorrow they will stop. And I fear it because I love it. And everything you love you fear you will lose" - Eric Cantona

  • His father died a couple of days ago. :(

    It's unfortunate that the Sydney Olympics coincided with the mass protests against Slobodan Milosevic and the chaos in the country, so they didn't get the proper reception at home... Although, of course, everyone was thrilled when they won the gold.

  • Nikola Grbic revises his thoughts, he'll play the World League with the Serbian national team
    Nikola Grbic, captain of the Serbian national team, has officially stated that we will be playing the 2009 FIVB World League, whose final tournament is set to take place in Belgrade next July 22-26, 2009. After the talks held with Mr. Aleksandar Boricic, President of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia and FIVB Excecutive Vice-President, the celebrated champion has decided to play this year along with the Serbian national team, at least for the World League.

    “I decided to quit and finish my career with the national team after the Olympics. However, I must say that this became a great challenge when it was officially announced that the Final Tournament of the World League will be played in the Belgrade “Arena”. Many wonderful memories are linked to this magnificent hall and I believe that it will be again totally packed this coming July. So, I decided to play in the World League. As for the rest… we’ll see” stated Grbic.
    “These are indeed very positive news for all the people belonging to the Serbian volleyball community. We all know that the presence of Nikola Grbic is very worthy for the event and even for the ambitions of our own national team. Thanks to his contribution our team we’ll be for sure more solid and compact. We will have to negotiate about his engagement in the World League events as his season in Italy finishes in May” stressed Igor Kolakovic, head coach of the Serbian national team.
    Nikola Grbic, captain of the Serbian national team, seized gold medals both at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and the 2001 European Championships; having been named Europe’s Best Player back in 1997, he counts a total of 17 medals in international events, including gold and bronze at the Olympic Games, silver at the World Championships, three silver and two bronze medals in the FIVB World League, plus an impressive record at the European Championships, consisting of one gold, one silver and four bronzes.

    source: CEV