Men's World Team Championships 2009  Odense  

Sat 26th Sep:
Serbia looking forward to
World Teams debut ...

Daniel Zilic reports

Serbia are making their debut at this years Team World Championships - not bad for a country in which Squash has only been played since 2003. And guess how many squash courts you will find in Serbia? Yes, that is right - seven!

Despite its relatively miniature status in the country squash fans may have heard about the Balkan Cup - a regular tournament being played in Serbia, which was reported on on SquashSite .

Also, the name Ivan Djordjevic may ring a bell. And Ivan, chiefly responsible for making Squash happen in Serbia, has been the driving force behind Serbia's debut appearance at the World Championship (although we have taken part at the European's and Small Nation's Cup, too).

This year's team features not only Ivan, who will be playing at position three, but also Dennis Drenjovski and myself Daniel Zilic - both having learned their Squash in Germany. Dennis and Dan [who qualify by having Serbian parents] are playing at positions one and two, while Marko Matanovic, Serbia's resident Squash coach, will be the super-sub at position four. While none of us are professionals (well, we are, but not at squash) we have been training over the summer (in our respective locations - ranging from Dublin to Zurich).

Once we heard whom we will be playing in our group, I think all of us have put in an extra session. After all, we have the incredible honour of not only playing Kuwait and Hong Kong - but also one of the greatest teams in recent times: Egypt - featuring the world's number 1, 2 and 4!

What makes this even better, is that there is a nice little story to accompany this. Serbia's president, Boris Tadic, was visiting Egypt back in July of this year. Egypt and Serbia have shared a great friendship for years. Tadic brought a gift for the Egyptian president: a Squash racket with the Serbian emblem painted on the strings and a red, blue and white (Serbia's colours) grip-band. Mubarak, the Egyptian president and squash fan, was absolutely delighted. As it turns out one of Tadic's consultants is a very keen squash player, too. Unfortunately no photos were taken of the reception.

Anyway, we are hoping that we can turn more Serbians into keen squash players and represent our country with pride. We are very determined to put up a good fight and not fulfil our seeding (it seems we were seeded last). Testament to the determination is that funding has been difficult and all players are virtually paying for the trips and expenses themselves, though we got some great support from Dunlop, ASB and SquashLand, Serbia's squash club.

So look out for the players in red, blue and white - who have already received unprecedented squash coverage in local media and hope to make the World Team Championships a regular fixture. With the strongest team ever to wear the national jerseys, we are hoping to give the folks back in Serbia something great to write about.

Team USA Blog

Canada's Blog

Sweden's Blog

Kenya's Blog

Dan Zilic Blog

More blogs and contributions welcome ...


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