National Teams

Nikola Janovic surprises with immediate retirement

Vojislav Petrovic

His initial thought was to quit his playing career after the upcoming 2016 Olympics after guiding his Montenegro national team to it. After completing the first task in Belgrade reaching the final of the European Championships, a little shock went through (mainly) European water polo as Janovic announced his retirement from the sport with immediate effect, to be confirmed at a press conference on Friday. The high level of daily training has become too much for the 35-year old Montenegrin who needs time off from water polo and will think about future steps.

Nikola Janovic is a Yugoslavia, Serbia & Montenegro and Montenegro international, world champion (2005), two-time European champion (2001, 2008) and two-time World League winner (2005, 2009). The silver medals however bugged the born competitor. Most recently Janovic had to settle for 2nd place falling to Serbia in the final of the 2016 European Championships 10-8, where the Montenegro team, and Janovic in particular, were very unhappy with the refereeing. In 2013 Montenegro lost the world championships final in Barcelona to Hungary while the year before Serbia proved too strong in a thrilling final of the 2012 European Championships in Eindhoven.

In two tries at the Olympic Games the semifinals could not be past. In 2008 fresh European champions Montenegro lost to later winners Hungary 11-9 and 4 years later eventuel gold medallists Croatia came out victorious 7-5.Janovic, Montenegrin Sportperson of the Year in 2013, had a respectable club career that led him from local Primorac, to Red Star Belgrade, VK Becej, Primorac again, to close by Jadran Herceg Novi, CN Posillipo, Jadran again, via Jug Dubrovnik, to Jadran this season where he now finishes his career. Numerous prices Janovic won with each time being an important player to his team.

Photo: Johan Opperman

Photo: Johan Opperman

Janovic was part of the squad, along with Peter Biros who also announced his retirement this week, of Becej that won the Serbia & Montenegrin championship and national cup in 2001. The winger and centre-forward won it again with Jadran Herceg Novi in 2005 and 2006 and collected prices in Montenegro while playing for Jadran in the 2009-2010 season when the championship and Adriatic League were won, the latter being repeated the following season.

In the 4 years spent in Dubrovnik playing for local powerhouse Jug Janovic celebrated 2 Croatian championships (2012, 2013) and came the closest to international success. Absolutely leading a star-struck Jug side in Belgrade during the Euro League Final Four, the team just fell short to Red Star Belgrade 8-7 in the 2012 final.

Other memorable performances include the 2014 European Championships semifinals and most recently in Belgrade where Janovic proved he was the difference maker of the Montenegro team that, playing without him at the 2015 World Championships (Janovic took a summer break to rest), finished in 5th place, but now got carried into the final where Janovic contributed 2 goals in the loss to Serbia while scoring 13 overall.

Now the Montengrin side will have to work towards and perform at the 2016 Olympics without the respected veteran.

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