„Udvaraću“ se svim igračima zbog reprezentacije, ali i zato što oni moraju da razumeju da je važno da igraju sa najboljima i protiv najboljih I will “court”all players because of the national team, but also because they must understand that it is important to play both with and against the best Basketball » Košarka | 109 ing to Belgium three days later… You are returning to the bench of our national team, but also to Serbia, after a break of almost two decades. What will be the greater tribulation? “I never return to Serbia, because I’ve always been, and will always be, part of Serbia. That has nothing to do with the fact that I was professionally linked to work in Germany or Spain, where I spent most of my life. I only physically left Serbia, while I continued to live with its problems and all beautiful things. I’ve always known what’s been happening here, because my family is here, my friends are here... The majority of those people come from the sporting world. I’m not new here, I’ll just be spending more time in Belgrade and Serbia, which will be my daily routine. I’m always given fresh energy andmotivation bymy schoolfriends from Pirot, people with whom I played basketball, but also new guys. We’re also lucky to have got that highway, so we don't have to traverse Sićevo Gorge, meaning that we’re connected with the world.” Can the generation that you led in 2002 be compared to the one that you will lead at the end of 2021? “That’s somethingwe’ve yet to see. Life is changing, priorities are changing, we are changing... And when that’s theway things are, we have to adapt to the changes. Some new guys are now arriving and there are new challenges ahead of them.The generation from Indianapolis, with Bodiroga, Divac, Peđa Stojaković, Gurović, Jarić et al., were in every way the inheritors of the Yugoslav school of basketball. After that, for various reasons, that all changed in a way. It is important to establish a modern system, not like the one that existed in Yugoslavia, because that state and that time no longer exist. We need to establish a system that will define us and make us recognisable. I know that it’s most important for the people whether you win or lose, but a system must nonetheless always exist.” You don’t have players who are “names”, while you say that you will “court” everyone if required. The first of those is, of course, Nikola Jokić, the MVP of the NBA, who last played for the national team in China back in 2019... “I “court” them because of the national team and, after that, also because they must understand that it is important to play both with and against the best. That’s the reason in the gut of every athlete. However, not everything depends on them, but rather also on the clubs, the overall situation and health. During the course of the season, I will train with them before and after training. I will watch their matches and try to visit most of them. Due to the situation with the pandemic, things are a bit different compared to 2000, when I really visited every player, especially those who were based abroad.” You often travel around the planet. What kind of experiences have you had with our Air Serbia? “For me, it’s always important to travel with our airline, which – if we’re talking about standards – ranks alongside the world’s biggest airlines. Those of us who travel a lot always rejoice when arriving in Serbia, and Air Serbia planes and the airport inBelgrade are the first things we encounter. I enjoy the comfort and pleasant surroundings that Air Serbia provides.” What do you tell your foreign friends about Serbia and what interests them the most when they come to visit you? “They are interested in sports, first and foremost. They come often and gladly for that. We are fortunate that Serbia regularly organises major competitions in various sports. We had the European Ladies Volleyball Championships and now the World Boxing Championships. Few foreigners know about Serbia, because we don’t talk about Serbia much. Somehow, we don't praise ourselves enough, and we should show everyone what we have a lot more. We should show them the tourism potential, familiarise them with it personally... They often ask me about Kopaonik and Zlatibor, but I’d like to talk more about Stara Planina [the Balkan Mountain], where I come from. The potential there is huge. And Serbia has the greatest advantage when it comes to our famous spas. If we don't have the sea, let the spas be our sea.”