For his website ffilip10.com Filip Filipovic looked back at the recent Rio Olympics and past season. WaterPology.com had the opportunity of translating and publishing this big interview with the world’s best player. In this article, the second part of the interview is published, in which Filipovic reflects on the Rio 2016 quarterfinal and semifinal win, as well as the situation at his club Pro Recco in Italy.
Finally Serbia started to look good in the quarter final game against Spain. The score was 7:3 on half-time and it was obvious that the Dejan Savic team was back to its best?
From the beginning of that game we were in our rhythm, we had everything in our hands. The Spaniard’s were without an idea, I think that after the first quarter, we were aware that we were back in the saddle. We felt that we were back to our game, felt good and after that everything it was is much easier. The heads were cool, hands were still. The score after the second quarter confirmed that we were on the right path, but the game must be played until the end and despite our quality, everything was possible. After that game, the teams that were calculating were confused. They watched one Serbia and even trying to avoid that team, but then we showed our real strength and now they had to face Serbia at its best.
Serbia dominated the semifinal against Italy, who was better four years earlier in London?
The semifinal with Italy was a real pleasure. We failed against the Italians on many important occasions and we were always outplayed on many levels, not only in the pool. Dejan Savic prepared us for the game against Italy for four years, and I think when you are ready for that match, you are ready for any match. Who follows water polo knows what I am talking about, and I can only add that they are a team of top players with a couple of outstanding individuals like Stefano Tempesti, a great coach, and exceptional organisation. That organisation is what this sport is lacking on a general level, in Serbia as well. Especially Serbia can achieve more in that direction because we have had outstanding results and earned more space in the world and European organisation.
You won everything with the national team and you have been part of it from 2003. Are you the next captain of the team?
That depends on the coach. I talked with Dejan and we agreed on some things. There is still time for me to make the most important decision. Can I endure it psychologically to go for four years more? There is plenty of motivation, but I sacrificed a lot of things to get where I am today. I need to see if I can do it again in upcoming four years, and achieve again the results in which we believed and in which we should believe in the future. I will give myself a couple of weeks more and then I will know.
Captain Zivko Gocic and Slobodan Nikic have ended their national team careers. Can this team continue to achieve such results without them?
I am sure that we can, but if it will happen I cannot say. All I know is it will be very hard. ‘Zile’ and ‘Boba’ are among the best players that I had the opportunity to play with. They carried something special and created atmosphere. In that sense, I think it will not be easy without them. We are on the verge of a new start and within time the new team will build a new atmosphere. All our players are healthy, smart and humble, and those who join the national team will be part of building something new, like Zile and Boba did for many years.
Back to your role in the club. Pro Recco underachieved the past season finishing 4th in the Champions League?
That was a result that we did not expect. The Tempesti injury was really bad luck, so we practically were without a goalkeeper as young Fabio Viola had to step in without experience, especially in these sort of games. We were not ready psychologically for these games and we failed. Now we can do better this year with Vladimir Vujasinovic. The team is refreshed with new players, and although we are not that strong in sense of pure quality, I think we can attack the European crown.
New coach Vladimir Vujasinovic played for Recco for many years, so he is quite familiar with the team.
‘Vlada’ has an outstanding status in the club, as he gave so much for Recco, and set the example in the pool and outside. All players will be honoured and privileged to work with him. I believe that he is the right man to get where Pro Recco wants to be.
The original interview can be read here.