04. 07. 2019

INTERVIEW: Džaković for WoV - “I didn't want to slam her, I felt like someone stole my hand and did it“

Source: Photo: Josh Albelda/sports.abs-cbn.com, oscg.me

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Danijela Džaković, the Montenegrin volleyball player, found out how one reckless act on the court can make a problem to her professional career. She became an internet sensation, and not in a good way, after slamming her teammate in the 2019 Philippine Premier Volleyball League. Let us hear her side of the story...

 

Seconds after slamming her teammate from the BaliPure Purest Water Defenders, Jewelle Bermillo, Džaković realized what she has done and how bad it was. In a confession for our website, a 25-year-old Montenegrin national team opposite hitter explained the situation for which she is sure that will never happen to her again.

Volleyball world was appalled with your act against a teammate, which was understandable knowing that these things are rare in this sport. What is your point of view of the incident?

“It was the last game in the league. We had a 0-9 record, and regardless of the fact that our squad was filled with young players, there has to be the system to respect. It shouldn’t happen that every player goes, without order, after a ball. The one that says ’it’s mine’ is the one that should go after a ball. And if you look back to some of our games, you can see many communication flaws – players went for a ball when they shouldn’t and don’t go when they should. This would piss off every player with a winning mentality. It was a long rally in the first set of the last game in the league. We were ahead at some point in the set, everything was great, we thought we could win. Then, at 19-24, I yelled ’it’s mine’ and she bumps into me, hits me with her arms. I didn't want to slam her, I felt like someone stole my hand and did it. I instantly gave her a hug...“

How did you feel for the rest of the match having the image of slamming a teammate in your head?

“It was horrible. Whenever I thought of that... Whoever watched the second and the third set could see my behavior on the court. It wasn’t me. I quieted down, focused on the job purely as a professional. My teammates, the coach, they all begged me to keep on playing but I just wanted the match to over and to go to the locker room. I was disappointed with myself. These moments of weakness that happened to me shouldn’t happen, shouldn’t prevail. Of course, I got a lot of negative comments after that but there were positive ones as well, people were saying to me ’ these things happen, it’s sport, look at her how emotional she is, look with how much love she plays...’ Afterward, even the commentators of the match spoke in a TV show about what happened and stood in my defense in the way that these things happen in sports.“

Your team has issued a note after all this, stressing that you and Bermillo were closest of friends among the members of the team. What is your relationship with Bermillo after the incident?

“She was my best friend on the team! She consoled me for three days. I cried for three days after the incident. I felt bad, especially because I did that to her particularly. I would feel sorry for doing that to every teammate, but to her... I just couldn’t get over it. After the match we went for dinner as a team, nobody said a single bad word to me. The most important thing was that we sorted it out inside the club.“


 

Some media in the Philippines informed that you left for your home country Montenegro right after the match because of the incident and that you will not return to play for BaliPure. What is your status at the moment?

“The season here is over. No foreign player has a valid contract for another season. The season here lasts for two months, there are six teams and the best four teams play the Final Four. So, I went on a vacation right after the match. The official photo shoot and dinner are what is left from the obligations that I have to the team.“

How come that you played in the Philippines last season and how much were you familiar with the level of volleyball in the country before you arrived?

“Honestly, I was attracted to the exotic. I like to try everything new that is possible in terms of volleyball. In the Philippines, they always look to hire good foreigners, they offer serious money. As for the level of volleyball, I heard many commentaries but I never trust to anyone until I see it with my own eyes. I came to a new team and so many young players from the college play in the league. Teams have big budgets but if I compare the level of training with the one in Europe, I need to say that it would be low in the Philippines without foreign players. After finishing the season in Slovenia, I signed a contract with Sakhalin Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. After I finished my obligations with the national team on August 30, the Russian team terminated the contract with me, so I sued them. Later, I won the court case. Then, my manager asked me if I was interested to play in the Philippines and I agreed.“

Where will you play next season?

„Everything is on hold at the moment. I’m waiting for my manager. I received several offers and the name of the club for which I'll play will be known in the next few days.“

What competitions await Montenegro national team in the near future and will you play in case of being summoned?

„This year, we played Games of the Small States of Europe, but at that time I was obligated to show up in my team in the Philippines. As for other competitions, we completed them all for this season. It is yet unknown which competitions await us next year.“


Check out more interviews.


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