29. 10. 2019

INTERVIEW: Maja Ognjenovic for WoV - "The Russian league is physically demanding, I couldn't do everything all over again"

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One of the best setters in the world Maja Ognjenovic is playing again in the Turkish championship.


After spending the season in the Russian Dinamo Moscow, she has decided to return to the Turkish championship and to finish her mission - to win the championship title since she has never done it before.

For the first time in her career, she is wearing a jersey of the Turkish powerhouse Vakifbank. In the final of the Turkish Super Cup, she met her former team Eczacibasi. 

You’ve been part of a big game in Turkey again. This time, you played in a jersey of Vakifbank – What are your impressions about the Super cup game?

Well, I can’t say that it was the beginning of the season but I can say that we were incomplete two days before the game when Gabi Guimaraes arrived. Eczacibasi spent more time together and they had more time to prepare for a clash. Also, Vakifbank were not burdened with a trophy of this Super Cup, so we moved forward after the game. We knew that we are not in shape but anyway we had some good moments in this game, however, it was not enough to win the trophy,” says the captain of the Serbian national team at the beginning of the interview, Maja Ognjenovic.

How do you like the roster of Vakifbank? What are the chances of repeating the last season’s success?

We have great chances to win the Turkish championship, of course. This team is younger compared to the last season, while the other teams signed some quality players, which proves that our task won’t be easy to make. We are not paying much attention to the rivals, we have Giovanni Guidetti, a great coach, so we just need to work hard to achieve it. Sticking to the plan will keep our chances high to win the trophies. My ambitions are to finally win the Turkish Championship. That’s why I came here.”

There’s another successful season in the Serbian national team behind you. Do you still recall the moments from the Eurovolley?

It’s been almost two months but we still talk a bit about it. There are still emotions because the way we won EuroVolley was really amazing. It was not the atmosphere characteristic for a volleyball game, especially in the women’s volleyball. It was, of course, a great atmosphere for the home team, but not for us. The whole tournament was somehow too long. One game, then another in two or three days, then traveling to another city, etc. We had to find the motivation to play some matches and to keep the shape which was not that easy. It’s always much more difficult to retain the trophy than to win it for the first time. That’s why this trophy gains in importance.”


Did you make some jokes with your teammates in the locker room and what did Guidetti say to you?

We didn’t have that much time to joke around but there were some comments about this final game with my teammates. Guidetti has a winning mentality so it was not easy for him. He gave his best to defeat us, but we were better at that moment.”

The next topic – trending topic, Dinamo Moscow. First of all, what happened there, why did you decide to leave the team?

First of all, I have to say all the best about them. They welcomed me in a good way, I was treated well, I had a great season, the people and the fans were very kind. I can’t say anything bad about them. On the other hand, their league is very physically demanding, I barely withstand it. While we were approaching the end of the season, I realized that I won’t be able to repeat everything, I decided to leave the team and to ask for contract termination. Even at that moment, when the rumor showed up, Vakifbank were not interested since they had two young setters and they wanted to start the season with them in the roster. However, when I officially left the club, Vakifbank contacted me offering me a contract. It was a huge honor for me and I accepted it. The people from Dinamo thought that I signed a contract much earlier and that’s why they got mad. They didn’t pay the last one-third of my contract so I decided to make a milder version of a lawsuit. I had a great time there and hope everything will be finished in a good way. I remember that I demanded a contract termination on May 6 and that was a moment when they didn’t pay the rest of the contract so that proves that I really didn’t hide anything. I’ve never experienced such kind of issue in my career and hope we will end it humanly.”

Your former teammate Nataliya Goncharova called your move as treason.

I am sorry if she sees it in that way. I can’t say anything bad about her, we spent a lot of time together. On the other hand, I understand her, she got used to the Russian league, 8-hour flights and everything that is physically demanding. I am sorry if I made her feel that way but we have to move on,” says Maja Ognjenovic for WorldofVolley.


Check out more interviews.



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