The nickname of the Serbian national beach volleyball player Djordje Klasnic is “DJ”. He is playing in beach team Klasnic/Milic as a defender, and he has many years of experience in both indoor and beach volley. We asked him a few questions and we had the pleasure to get quite interesting answers from him. Continue reading, and you’ll see what DJ told us about the beach and the beat of his heart.
1. Why did you decide to become a professional beach volleyball player?
Well I think a big factor was my family. Both of my parents were professional volleyball players, and now they have their own club, where both of my sisters play. Since I was the youngest kid, I just follow the lead of my sisters and tried to play this sport. This was just the beginning. I learned the appropriate techniques and the rules of the game in indoor. But very fast my heart was taken by fresh air, travels and sand. I started playing beach volleyball with my family on vacations when I was 8 years old. Since then I have the dream to play this sport professionally, represent my country on the World Championship, European Championship and Olympic Games.
In 2012 I got to chance to play for Serbia on the youth World Championship in Larnaca, Cyprus. That is where I saw this sport on its best. Every year I liked it more and more. Every new tournament, every new experience was just growing my passion for this sport. Warm, sunny destinations, being outside, usually close to the ocean, friendly people and a lot of games. No coach to put you on the bench. No people to tell you that you are not good enough. It’s all in your hands. You can prove your quality just by winning. These are some things that affected my decision. What can I say, try it and you will see!
2. Tell us about your country, food, drinks, people, culture etc.
Serbia is a small country situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe and the central Balkans. Like all the other Balkan countries Serbian cuisine is the reason why people love to come to our country. The national dishes include Gibanica (egg and cheese pie made with filo dough), Pljeskavica (a ground beef/pork patty, looks like hamburger but bigger), Cevapi (grilled ground meat) and Karadjordjeva Snicla (Karadjordje’s Schnitzel). The national drink is plum brandy Sljivovica or homemade Rakija. People are really friendly and Serbian students are considered one of the best in the world in IT and Robotics. Also we have really successful athletes in variety of Sports, most famous is definitely Novak Djokovic – tennis player, Volleyball teams are European Champions in both gender, a lot of successful basketball, water polo players and a many more.
3.What you get excited about?
I’m excited about the opportunities I have in my life. I have a chance to succeed in anything I want and anything I dream of. I’m excited about the journey that is in front of me. To succeed in something that no one did before in this sport from my country. I’m excited to teach others what I learn. To share knowledge. To have family. To live.
4. Which was the most memorable tournament? How did you feel, what was your experience?
There were few tournaments that just mean more to me than others. One is definitely first youth World Championship that I participated in. It was all new for me. I remember the parade at the opening ceremony where we carried a big flag and walked through the city. Also it was first time for me to fly on a plane so that made a huge impression.
Other tournament that I would highlight is CEV Satelite in Mersin Turkey in 2017 where me and my partner won bronze medal, first medal ever on tour for our country. That feeling was something I will remember forever. That feeling is why we play sports professionally. When all the practices, sacrifices, videos, gym sessions, talks, fights, wins, losses and everything else is worth it. This tournament just showed me I can compete on the high level and made my goals even more clear. From that moment I know what I want.
5.Tips for people who are thinking to play beach volleyball professionally?
First and most important is ‘Do what makes you happy and something you think about every day’. No matter how hard it gets and all the problems you face, if you love what you do, if you dream about it and if it motivates you to get up every morning and do what it’s necessary to succeed you will know you have chosen the right thing. Beach volleyball is not an easy sport and the lifestyle is totally different then all the other sports out there. We spend not more than 2 months in total back home. It requires a lot traveling on camps and tournaments all around the Globe. It’s not easy to be far from home, far from family and friends. But if you have a goal, it’s all worth it. Finally the whole point of professional sport is not to win a game, a tournament or a championship. Because no one can win all the time. In reality there are way more losses than wins in the career and only few wins that we will remember and that will become a great memory. But the key is to love the journey. Everyday grinding to get better, to be a better version of yourself and a better athlete. To find joy in these travels, time on and off the court with your partner, coach and other players. To meet new people and create new friendships. To explore the World and new cultures. To improve as a person. To learn.
6. What are your expectations and objectives for this season and the near future?
Last year I started playing with Milos, my partner, and it was our test season. We wanted to see if we can play together, connect as individuals and create a team. After a year we decided to continue what we started and commit together to achieve our short-term and long-term goals. World tour tournaments, European and World Championship, Olympics. Clear goals, a lot of work in front of us. To do all that we started working with a new coach, the best ever female beach player from Serbia, Milena Matic. Now already as a team, we are looking to make plans for the winter and prepare for the upcoming season. Right now our plan is to go to Florida, USA and start our winter preps there. As I was there already two times during the winter in Europe, I know a lot of players, coaches and people who can help us with practice, games and of course life in America. But to be honest I have no expectations for the season, I’m just super excited to learn new things about the game and improve my skills in the upcoming months, mentored by our new coach. I’m excited to become a better player.
You can support them on Sport Funder here.
And last, but not least – you can find more stories on our blog over here.