SportsMain article: Sport in Serbia
The most popular sports in Serbia are football, basketball, volleyball, handball, water polo and tennis.
Since the breakup of SFR Yugoslavia, Serbia has developed a reputation as one of the world's biggest exporters of expat footballers. Serbia's national football team made their first appearance during the qualifying rounds for Euro 2008 although they did not qualify for the competition. During the qualifying tournament for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Serbia came first in its group, ahead of France and consequently qualified directly for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The three main football clubs in Serbia are Red Star and Partizan, both from the capital city of Belgrade, and Vojvodina from Novi Sad, the second largest city in Serbia. Red Star is the only Serbian and former Yugoslav club that has won a UEFA competition, winning the 1991 European Cup in Bari, Italy. The same year in Tokyo, Japan, the club won the Intercontinental Cup. Partizan is the first Eastern European football club which played in a European Cup final (in 1966). The matches between the two rival clubs are known as the "Eternal Derby". The Serbian SuperLiga is the highest professional league in the country. The 2011/2012 season champion was Partizan, followed by Red Star Belgrade in second place, and Vojvodina in third.
Serbia is one of the traditional powerhouses of world basketball, winning various FIBA World Championships, multiple EuroBasket and Olympic medals (albeit as FR Yugoslavia). Serbia's national basketball team is the successor to the successful Yugoslavia national basketball team.Serbs that have played in the NBA include: Vlade Divac (FIBA Hall of Fame), Predrag Stojaković, Željko Rebrača, Marko Jarić, Nenad Krstić, Darko Miličić and Vladimir Radmanović. In the domestic scene, the Basketball League of Serbia is the highest professional basketball league in Serbia. For the eighth consecutive year, KK Partizan is the reigning champion of the league, followed by rivals KK Crvena Zvezda. KK Partizan was the European champion in 1992.
Serbian tennis players Novak Đoković, Ana Ivanović, Jelena Janković, Nenad Zimonjić, Janko Tipsarević and Viktor Troicki are very successful and their success has led to a popularisation of tennis in Serbia. Đoković, in particular, is very popular and is currently the # 1 tennis player in the ATP Rankings. He was also the founder of the first ATP tennis tournament in the country, the Serbia Open. Other well-known Serbia-born players are Monika Seles, Jelena Dokić and Slobodan Živojinović. The Serbia men national team won the 2010 Davis Cup.
Serbia and Italy were host nations of the 2005 Men's European Volleyball Championship. The Serbia men's national volleyball team is the direct descendant of the Yugoslavia men's national volleyball team. Serbia won the bronze medal at the 2007 Men's European Volleyball Championship held in Moscow, Russia.
The Serbia men's national water polo team recently won the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Italy. Serbia has won four European Championships (2001, 2003, 2006 and 2012), finished as runner-up in 2008, won two World Championships (2005 and 2009) and won bronze medal at 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing.
Milorad Čavić and Nađa Higl in swimming, Olivera Jevtić, Dragutin Topić in athletics, Aleksandar Karakašević in table tennis, Jasna Šekarić in shooting are also very popular athletes in Serbia.
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Famous quotes containing the word sports:
“The whole idea of image is so confused. On the one hand, Madison Avenue is worried about the image of the players in a tennis tour. On the other hand, sports events are often sponsored by the makers of junk food, beer, and cigarettes. Whats the message when an athlete who works at keeping her body fit is sponsored by a sugar-filled snack that does more harm than good?”
—Martina Navratilova (b. 1956)
“In the past, it seemed to make sense for a sportswriter on sabbatical from the playpen to attend the quadrennial hawgkilling when Presidential candidates are chosen, to observe and report upon politicians at play. After all, national conventions are games of a sort, and sports offers few spectacles richer in low comedy.”
—Walter Wellesley (Red)
“It was so hard to pry this door open, and if I mess up I know the people behind me are going to have it that much harder. Because then theres living proof. They can sit around and say, See? It doesnt work. I dont want to be their living proof.”
—Gayle Gardner, U.S. sports reporter. As quoted in Sports Illustrated, p. 87 (June 17, 1991)