The 17-year-old was top scorer in her team and ranked sixth in the tournament overall
Verona, Italy, October 5, 2014 - Serbia have had a solid World Championship and still have finals qualification in their own hands, with a winner-takes-all match against Russia at 17:00 CET on Sunday. Teenager Tijana Boskovic has strongly contributed to the result.
The 17-year-old has been one of the major assets to the European team, with top scoring performances in most matches and a total of 129 points in eight games, ranking sixth in the tournament overall. Boskovic had played 14 times for Serbia before the World Championship and joined the team only shortly before the beginning of the tournament.
“She only practiced with the Serbian national team three or four days before the World Championship,” said Serbia coach Zoran Terzic. “Before that she was at the European Championship so there was no time.”
As one of the most inexperienced players at Italy 2014, Boskovic came into the event off the back of winning this year’s Women's Junior European Volleyball Championship in Estonia and Finland. Not only did Serbia take the gold medal, Boskovic was also named the most valuable player of the tournament.
“I didn't expect to be called for playing there,” Boskovic said. “I was so surprised when they nominated me as the most valuable player.”
The opposite spiker was seven when she started playing volleyball and it has been quite a rise to prominence for the Trebinje-born player who plays in the Serbian capital for Vizura Beograd.
“I did not imagine that I would play at the World Championship,” Boskovic added. “I'm very happy just for the fact that I'm here. It's for sure a wonderful experience for me and for my future.”
“I was the best scorer of the match (Serbia v the Netherlands). I'm surprised, because I know that there were a lot of valuable players in both teams.”
As one of the rookies in the Serbian squad, Boskovic had only just been born when some of her teammates were making their domestic debuts. However, she says the age gap does not bother her.
“I'm the youngest in the team, but it's not a problem for me. I get on well with all my teammates, and I know that the coach believes in me.”
Terzic confirmed: “She’s a very young player and still a junior. She’s still not at a high level, but I’m sure she will become one of the best players in the world. I expect her to play for Serbia for a long time.”
In addition, despite a busy summer for Boskovic, Terzic said including her here was always in his mind: “It was my plan to play with her at this Championship. For everybody it was important to win the European Championship, so all summer she was with the junior team."
“I want to give her a chance because she deserves it and I want to prepare her for the European Championship next season and also the Olympic Games in 2016.”
Terzic is not the only one to have been impressed by the youngster. Legendary USA player and now coach Karch Kiraly also believes Boskovic is set for big things.
“I’m still trying to understand how she’s still only 17 years old. She’s far beyond her years and if she’s only 17 she’s got an incredibly bright future. She’s going to be a big and important player for Serbia for many years to come.
“We hadn’t really seen her (before the World Championship). We didn’t see Serbia at Grand Prix because we were never in their group. She understands the game well, she can take these high swings and she’s a handful.”