She is only 24, but she has been on top of the volleyball world for several years already. Reigning world champion Tijana Boskovic has piled up so much success on the courts of major international competitions that she is deservedly considered one of the best players on the planet.
Boskovic - born to play volleyball
As Daniele Santarelli replaces Zoran Terzic as head coach of the Serbian women's team, we look at the career of an athlete who will play a key role when the world champions play to defend their title in 2022.
Published 01:02, 21 Jan 2022
“She is very special, one in a million...” said Serbian teammate Maja Ognjenovic. “Born to play volleyball!”
Tijana took her first steps in volleyball in Bosnia and Herzegovina, before moving to Serbia and joining one of the big clubs in the capital, Partizan Belgrade, in 2011. By 2015, the young hopeful had already earned five national trophies in Serbia.
In the meantime, the rising star of Serbian volleyball left her mark with the junior national team claiming continental gold, accompanied by an MVP award, in 2014.
That same year, at the age of 17, she made her debut with the women’s national team at the highest level, the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship, and immediately took the role of Serbia’s leading scorer.
“I remember the 2014 World Championship very well. I was 17 years old and I got the opportunity to compete among the best players in the world. Just a month earlier I couldn’t even imagine it was possible. I was a bit confused, but also overjoyed to be where I was and to have used that opportunity in the right way. This is where my journey began,” the 1.93m-tall opposite told Volleyball World.
Boskovic’s first medals with the national team came in 2015, when Serbia took bronze at the CEV European Championship and followed that up with a silver at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup.
2016 was a big year for the talented leftie. She made her Olympic debut, but also crowned it with a historic silver medal at the Games in Rio.
Starting her second season with Turkish powerhouse Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, the young Serbian climbed to the top of the podium at the 2016 FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship and was named MVP of the tournament. She was awarded as Best Opposite on the Dream Team, receiving that honour at the next two editions of the Club World Championship as well.
Back to her success story with the national team of Serbia, what Boskovic achieved alongside her teammates over the following three years, from 2017 through 2019, rightfully placed her among the world’s best volleyballers. The Balkan nation celebrated with two European Championship titles in 2017 and 2019, highlighted by a 2018 World Championship crown in between. On all three occasions, Tijana Boskovic was honoured as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, also deserving the European Female Volleyball Player of the Year title three times in a row.
“All major international competitions I had the opportunity to compete in were exciting and interesting, but there is definitely one I would single out and that is the 2018 World Championship,” said Boskovic.
“The whole competition was an incredible journey, with a lot of matches and challenges. We will definitely remember the semifinal against the Netherlands and the final against Italy as something very special, because in those games we wrote the history of our volleyball in the most beautiful way. It was the most beautiful feeling for me. Being the best in the world at what you do feels incredible.”
Club World Championship silver and bronze, FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix bronze, CEV Champions League bronze, CEV Cup gold – these continue the list of international-level achievements on Boskovic’s impressive resume, which continues to get longer. And last year, Boskovic further extended that list of successes with bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, leading all scorers on 192 points, and silver at EuroVolley 2021.
“Since 2014 I’ve been through many experiences, competitions and successes that have shaped me into the player that I am today. I had the opportunity to compete in many countries around the world and it is a great feeling to see how many fans I have outside Serbia and Europe. What I have always aspired to do and what I still strive to do today is to promote volleyball in its full splendour, making it more popular and attractive for sports fans via both my team and individual performances,” Boskovic said.
“Volleyball taught me how to fight and never give up, how to be a team player and help my teammates when they need it. The great advantage of playing volleyball - for me - is that I do what I love a lot and I am grateful that the work and effort invested so far have returned through the phenomenal results that I am proud of.”