Sport in Serbia

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Sport in Serbia plays an important role, and the country has a strong sporting history. The most popular sports in Serbia are football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, water polo and handball.

Professional sports in Serbia are organized by sporting federations and leagues (in case of team sports). One of particularities of Serbian professional sports is existence of many multi-sport clubs (called "sports societies"), biggest and most successful of which are Red Star, Partizan, and Beograd in Belgrade, Vojvodina in Novi Sad, Radnički in Kragujevac, Spartak in Subotica.

Kombank Arena, one of the largest indoor arenas in Europe

Football is the most popular sport in Serbia, and the Football Association of Serbia with 146,845 registered players, is the largest sporting association in the country.[1] Dragan Džajić was officially recognized as "the best Serbian player of all times" by the Football Association of Serbia, and more recently the likes of Nemanja Vidić, Dejan Stanković and Branislav Ivanović play for the elite clubs of Europe, developing the nation's reputation as one of the world's biggest exporters of footballers.[2] The Serbia national football team lacks relative success although it qualified for three of the last four FIFA World Cups. Serbia national youth football teams have won 2013 U-19 European Championship and 2015 U-20 World Cup. The two main football clubs in Serbia are Red Star (winner of the 1991 European Cup) and Partizan (finalist of the 1966 European Cup), both from Belgrade. The rivalry between the two clubs is known as the "Eternal Derby", and is often cited as one of the most exciting sports rivalries in the world.[3]

Serbia is one of the traditional powerhouses of world basketball, as Serbia men's national basketball team have won two World Championships (in 1998 and 2002), three European Championships (1995, 1997, and 2001, respectively) and two Olympic silver medals (in 1996 and 2016) as well. The women's national basketball team won the European Championship in 2015 and Olympic bronze medal in 2016. A total of 22 Serbian players have played in the NBA in last two decades, including Predrag "Peja" Stojaković (three-time NBA All-Star) and Vlade Divac (2001 NBA All-Star and FIBA Hall of Famer). The renowned "Serbian coaching school" produced many of the most successful European basketball coaches of all times, such as Željko Obradović, who won a record 8 Euroleague titles as a coach. KK Partizan basketball club was the 1992 European champion.

Novak Djokovic won twelve Grand Slam singles titles and is currently ranked world No. 1

Recent success of Serbian tennis players has led to an immense growth in the popularity of tennis in Serbia. Novak Đoković, twelve-time Grand Slam champion, finished in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015 as No. 1 in the world and is also currently No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.[4] Ana Ivanovic (champion of 2008 French Open) and Jelena Janković were both ranked No. 1 in the WTA Rankings. There were two No. 1 ranked-tennis double players as well: Nenad Zimonjić (three-time men's double and four-time mixed double Grand Slam champion) and Slobodan Živojinović. The Serbia men's tennis national team won the 2010 Davis Cup while Serbia women's tennis national team reached the final at 2012 Fed Cup.[5]

Serbia is one of the leading volleyball countries in the world. Its men's national team won the gold medal at 2000 Olympics, and has won the European Championship twice. The women's national volleyball team won the European Championship in 2011 and Olympic silver medal in 2016.

The Serbia men's national water polo team is the second most successful national team after Hungary in the history of sport, having won Olympic gold medal in 2016, three World Championships (2005, 2009 and 2015), and six European Championships in 2001, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2014 and 2016 respectively.[6] VK Partizan has won a joint-record seven European champion titles.

Other noted Serbian athletes include: swimmers Milorad Čavić (2009 World champion on 50 meters butterfly and silver medalist on 100 meters butterfly as well as 2008 Olympic silver medalist on 100 meters butterfly in historic race with American swimmer Michael Phelps) and Nađa Higl (2009 World champion in 200 meters breaststroke – the first Serbian woman to become a world champion in swimming); track and field athlete Ivana Španović (long-jumper; 2016 European champion and bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics); wrestler Davor Štefanek (2016 Olympic gold medalist), and taekwondoist Milica Mandić (2012 Olympic gold medalist).

National Leagues[edit]

National sports teams[edit]





Water polo:


Rugby football:

Ice hockey:




UEFA Champions League
Intercontinental Cup


International (men)[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Olympic Games 0 2 0 2
World Cup 2 1 0 3
European Championship 3 1 1 5
Total 5 4 1 10

International (women)[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Olympic Games 0 0 1 1
European Championship 1 0 0 1
Total 1 0 1 2


EuroLeague Women
  • 1978-79 winners: ŽKK Crvena zvezda
ABA League


International (men)[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Olympic Games 1 0 1 2
World Championship 0 1 1 2
European Championship 2 1 5 8
Total 3 2 7 12

International (women)[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Olympic Games 0 1 0 1
World Championship 0 0 1 1
European Championship 1 1 1 3
Total 1 2 2 5


International (men)[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
World Championship 0 0 2 2
European Championship 0 1 1 2
Total 0 1 3 4

International (women)[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
World Championship 0 0 2 2
Total 0 0 2 2


EHF Champions League
EHF Women's Champions League

Water polo[edit]


Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Olympic Games 1 1 3 5
World Championship 3 2 2 7
European Championship 6 2 1 9
Total 10 5 6 21


LEN Champions League
  • 1963–64 Champions Ligue winners: Partizan
  • 1965–66 Champions Ligue winners: Partizan
  • 1966–67 Champions Ligue winners: Partizan
  • 1970–71 Champions Ligue winners: Partizan
  • 1974–75 Champions Ligue winners: Partizan
  • 1975–76 Champions Ligue winners: Partizan
  • 1999–00 Champions Ligue winners: Bečej
  • 2010–11 Champions Ligue winners: Partizan
  • 2012–13 Champions Ligue winners: Crvena zvezda



Davis Cup
Fed Cup

Sporting infrastructure[edit]

Sport events hosted in Serbia[edit]

Serbia's hosting sport events record:




  1. ^ "Football Association of Serbia – Official Web Site". Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  2. ^ [1] Soccerlens – 27 January 2010 – Serbia's Endless List of Wonderkids
  3. ^ Matt Fortune (27 November 2009). "THE LIST: The greatest rivalries in club football, Nos 10–1". Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Current ATP Rankings (singles)". Association of Tennis Professionals. 
  5. ^ "Serbia wins first Davis Cup title". ESPN. 5 December 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Osvojene medalje". Retrieved 20 March 2013. 

External links[edit]