A remarkable turnaround that handed France their first defeat at the 2021 FIVB Men's Volleyball Nations League means that Serbia are now in the chase for a berth in the Final Four of the competition, which continues at Italy's Adriatic resort of Rimini.
Atanasijevic looks to VNL Final Four after France win
Serbia fighting 'for every ball, for every defence, for every touch'
Published 04:54, 04 Jun 2021
"It was a really important match because we knew that if we lost to France there might be a possibility that we would not be going to the final four - and that's our primary goal," said the 29-year-old immediately after the match.
"But we play again tomorrow another important match - this time against Brazil and for sure we have our chances, so we have to stay focused and prepare well for this. Our will is that we fight for every ball, for every defence, for every touch - and this is the reason why we beat France."
Atanasijevic, who switched from Italy's Sir Safety Conad Perugia to return to the Polish League next season with his former side of PGE Skra Belchatow, has led Serbia to two European Championship titles, but is looking now with confidence at the possibility to add a VNL gold to his medals cabinet.
However, it's not just about winning. The Serbians are a happy bunch and they enjoy their time in the Rimini 'bubble'.
"It's great to be back with the National Team," said Atanasijevic. "We all love to play for Serbia and to be together. We are not only teammates, but also good friends, so it's a pleasure to play together again. We really enjoy being together on the court and spending free time together."