"Even before this time, basketball was my life, love, happiness, but it gets richer for a new, bigger, better dimension, when in the basketball enters - MY SONJKO" said Sonja's father Rade Petrovic ."My Sonjko" is a basketball story about Sonja Petrovic (189-F-89) , written by her father. Sonja Petrovic (189-F-89) is Serbian National Player who is currently playing for Spartak Moscow and Chicago Sky (WNBA). Take a closer look to this exclusive interview with Sonja Petrovic (189-F-89) about life, success, failures, joy, education ...
1. Can you tell us more about you book and your father? How long it took for your father to write this book? Did he write any other books? After watching our man national team on several championships, my sister and me asked our father if we can start practicing basketball. For first six years, my father was our coach in BC Cukaricki from Belgrade. Simply, he made me as a player therefore he knows everything about me. He has already written four books for basketball referees, both for FIBA and ULEB. So he decided to write a book about me. It took him about half of the year of intensive work to write it.
2. What audience this book attracts? Book consists all sixteen years of my basketball journey so it is interesting to all people who took any part in that journey. Also, since book shows my whole basketball journey it could be a good example for younger players how to succeed. That is the main reason why this book is distributed for free.
3. What basic philosophy is expressed in your book? Book expresses all factors that occurred on my journey from C to C, from Cukaricki to Chicago, or you can say from Belgrade league to WNBA. Also, since it is written by my father I think he was able to stay impartial as much as possible, showing all aspects: successes, failures, joy, injuries, education, accomplishments...
4. How would you categorize your book? Personally, I don't have expertise to evaluate or categorize the book. I can only say that it is really dear to me and also represents a big accomplishment for me. As my dad said on the promotion of the book: "If Sonja hasnt done all of this, I wouldn't have anything to write about".
5. What has been the driving force in your life? The inscription of my book is "You inspired basketball in my life. Immensely, thank you." When I was growing up I was a great pupil, had talent for other sports, and wrote poems... Still seven years ago I chose to go abroad (Barcelona) even though I was only seventeen because of my love for basketball. Since then basketball also became my profession but in all moments of big decisions, hard times, struggles... love for basketball has won it all. 6. How do you describe your book? Book begins with me starting the elementary school and finishes with "to be continued". It is not part of me, the book is me. Me showed by the eyes of my biggest support but also my toughest crowd and judge, my dad. Book is written on Serbian and English. I, personally, did the translation on English without any proofreading afterwards. 7. What was the hardest part for your father of writing about you? While writing the book, we have spent a lot of time together. I think it was hard for him to write about me and still be realistic. Also, when he already finished the book he admitted to me that there were some parts, about war, injuries, injustice..., while he was writing about all this, he was crying. The hardest thing was definitely that he blames himself for my big injuries. 8. What advice do you have for someone just starting basketball career? From my experience I can give two advices. First, that it is really important to have support from parents. Second, harder, insistently and more difficult you work it will be harder to give up on the game. Believing in victory is half way there. 9. What part of the book is special to you? Before the book was published I read it and my dad checked everything with me. Every single part represents me, but if I would have to point something out then "Others about Sonja" and "Thoughts for the mind". 10. Do you think that the parents/coaches should read it and why? Off course. Bad side of sport is that everybody thinks that they know it all and best. Also today parents consider themselves to be experts. Throughout my career I had 23 different coaches so some of theirs philosophies you can find in book. For something I am good example, for something bad, so I think it is worth to read it. 11. What does it take for successful athletes to be great student? How did you manage that? In my family there isn't a person without a degree. If I have to thank my dad for making me a basketball player, than I would have to thank my mom when it comes to school. From the begging she made me realize how important is education. It isn't easy to manage school with professional basketball but when I see results it makes me happy and gives me confidence. 12. What would be your advice to younger kids? Play any sport because you enjoy it, do not burden yourself with success or profit. If you want to succeed you have to believe in it. But be careful, there is a life after the professional career. Make sure you don't overload your body and make sure you invest in yourself in every aspect: health, sport, education, relationships... 13. What are mistake that coaches and parents makes about their kids? What would be your advice to them? Goals that are set for children must be realistic, attractive and supported by parents. Also, parents have to realize that too much pressure will sometimes drive away children from them and the sport. Coaches have to be really cautious while working with kids because at that age children develop winners mentality but only if you make them believe it is possible. 14. What would you tell a player coming back after an injury? Almost two years I have spent in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, gyms, weight rooms... I've torn my ACL twice, broken fingers, sprained ankles... Still every time I believed I can recover and come back even stronger. If you want to succeed you have to be able to push yourself even when it gets hard. 15. How do you see yourself in near future? I am currently under the contract with Spartak Moscow and Chicago Sky. After that I have to estimate if I want to slow it down. One is for sure, I would have to listen to my body. Also, I want to finish my university. 16. For fans that are interested to read your book on English, where they can find it? The book is done for noncommercial purpose. It means we give it for free. The book has already been distributed to USA, Spain, Russia, France... you just need to get in touch with me or my dad.
After Sundays game in Premier Russian League, Sonja took the plane straight to Belgrade. In just 24h, Sonja has traveled 4.000km, she has passed important exam at her University with the highest grade A and came back on time for practice. When you take into account the complexity of basketball rules and regulations, and the necessary high level of intelligence of all participants, it is clear that Sonja exceeds all the expectations. Her hard work, passion and dedication exemplifies a great winner!
Thank you Sonja for the interview, Eurobasket and Tamara Ruzic wishes you good luck for the rest of the season and a lot of success in your career.
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