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Dabovic And Serbia Focus on Having Fun

15 June 2015
EUROBASKET WOMEN 2015
Team Serbia
Having fun is a big part of Serbia's formula

By Paul Nilsen

Merely watching Serbia get off the team bus when arriving at the Arena in Szombathely can be an experience as several players indulge themselves in bit of impromptu singing and dancing

And, who can blame them?

Serbia have plenty to be relaxed about and it has become clear that living for the moment is very much the ethos which permeates throughout everything they do - both on and off the court.

Even if that might sometimes leave head coach Marina Maljkovic occasionally exasperated.

You could barely meet a more lively, excitable or indeed talented group of players.

Whether it is taking ‘selfies' courtside, the wave after wave of hugs, high fives and smiles, the focus on having fun is what stands head and shoulders above everything else.

Even ahead of their most important game yet, against Russia, you could hear Serbia arriving before you saw them hit the court - as the music and some dubious karaoke style singing echoed around the empty Arena.

"Winning games is important - of course it is. But even more important is enjoying life, the situation and always having fun together," smiles one of those who loves to take centre stage in the process - none other than Ana Dabovic.

"I always have fun when I am playing with the national team because we are all friends.

"I think you can't fail to see that come out on the court, because we all have so much joy before, during and also after the games.

"I think this is what everyone can see every time we come to the Arena."

The introduction of Sonja Petrovic back into the fold after her six year sabbatical from major tournaments, along with the addition of a first ever naturalised player in Danielle Page had been seen as a potential threat to somehow upset the equilibrium.

But such a notion is an alien concept to Dabovic.

Her eye brows respond by moving upwards in exasperation, then with a shake of her head and yet another smile, she declares, "Honestly? I was really very happy Sonja came back to the team.

5. Sonja Petrovic (Serbia)
Sonja Petrovic's return to the national team has been met with open arms from her teammates

"I am also very happy that Danielle (Page) joined us too, but especially Sonja because it gives us all such joy to have a player alongside us who can give so much to the team.

"She has already shown that she is here to work very, very hard and everyone knows the quality she has."

Having fun at every opportunity seems to also be an effective release valve to relieve any pressure the team feels - now they are being touted as potential medalists and perhaps even winners of the competition.

Yet even the sceptre of pressure barely registers on the mind of Dabovic.

"No, we don't feel pressure," she insisted.

"We only focus on doing our best and that will always be enough - because that is what we always go out and give.

"After this, we see what happens and will enjoy the experience."

Serbia play Russia in their final game in Group C and have already secured safe passage to the second phase of the competition.

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