The name of Serbian international Andrea Lekić became known through her years at Krim Ljubljana, where she was one of the main pillars of the team, both in attack, and defence. Nowadays she is considered to be one of the best playmakers in women´s handball, and is renowned for scoring after fast breaks and quick counter-attacks.
The 24 year-old has brought a breath of fresh air to her new club Győri Audi ETO, along with new colleagues Heidi Løke and Jovanka Radičević, and the club is probably
the favourite for winning this season’s EHF Champions League.
In this interview Lekić talks about her move to Hungary, the new club AUDI ETO, the Serbian national team, her studies, and lots more.
You left a very successful Krim club and signed for Győri Audi ETO, a team that reached the semi-final five consecutive times in the EHF Champions League. How do you feel about the move and what´s the differencebetween the two clubs?
– I played a long time for Krim and when I left Ljubljana, the reason was very simple: I wanted to join one of the best teams in the world, one that has the biggest chance of winning the CL. I feel good and well integrated in Hungary. We have a nice club and the team spirit is great as well.
So far you´ve won every single preparation and league game, so is Győri Audi ETO the favourite for winning the Champions League title?
– Győri Audi ETO is indeed one of the teams with the greatest chance of winning, and it´s true that each victory brings the team closer and closer together. These victories mean a lot to me and my team mates.
– However, for a CL title, a lot of factors can have an impact, such as team performance and injuries. I hope we can avoid injuries and that we´ll be able to fight for the title with the whole team.
Last week you played a practice match against the Brazilian National Team, the host for the World Championship in December 2011. It was a close game that you won by a single goal. Do you expect such tough opponents in the Champions League?
– Yes, absolutely. This is the strongest club championship and most of the clubs are of high quality, so it´ll be a tough challenge to progress far, but we are ready
At Krim you were a 60-minute player, whereas in Győri Audi ETO you play much less. Does this bother you?
– No, it doesn´t bother me, as in today´s handball it´s almost impossible, both mentally and physically, to play for the complete game. Fortunately, we have a great squad with players of equal quality. Our coach Csaba Konkoly can switch between different attacking and defensive formations, and therefore, he can rotate well.
Your opponents in the group are Randers, Metz and Hypo. What do you know about them?
– All of them are good teams. Randers came through the qualification tournament and we were expecting them to join the elite of European handball. They have several quality players and they played in the Danish final last year, which underlines their high quality.
– We played against Hypo, strengthened by several Brazilian internationals, in the preparations, so we know them very well. No surprises should happen, but even so, they are still not to be underestimated.
– We also played against Metz in Germany recently, so we´re aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They are also a good team, but as we have great ambition, we´ll
need to beat them all to progress further and achieve our dream.
As a young player did you have any role model in handball?
– Yes, I had some. They were playmakers and I tried to “steal” some good movements and tactics from them which I could adapt to my own style.
You play for the Serbian National Team. How did you feel when it was announced that Serbia will host the World Championship in 2013?
– I still remember that! Firstly I was not sure at that moment, whether our federation would manage to host this event, as it´s an enormous work to organize such a big tournament.
– Obviously great results are expected from the host nation, so we will try our utmost to achieve the best possible results at the World Championship.
Serbia recently won the EURO in men´s volleyball. Did you follow the championship? What does this success mean to you and your country?
– I followed it and I was among the spectators in the Final in Vienna! It was a great moment and I felt very proud for my country for winning this tournament.
– Our people like sport very much, so sometimes the expectations are way too high and we don´t meet the high expectations they set. This time it wasn’t expected that Serbia would win, but they did, and so, big celebrations followed afterwards in Belgrade.
You’re studying tourism and hotel management. Why these subjects, and how do you find time for your studies besides being a professional handball player?
– I like to be busy and occupied away from handball, so I took this faculty to develop myself. I need to go to Belgrade for the exams, and about 6-7 are left. I´m only one year behind the standard, so I´m doing quite well.
– Most people combine handball with sports management, but I decided to do something different. I wish to have my own business, whether it be an old-style cafe or hotel, after my career.
Because of your tourism interest, do you have any favourite cities or countries?
– I like Spain a lot, especially the calm atmosphere in the cities and the people in general. I was lucky to spend some days in Barcelona recently, and I was totally impressed with the country. I´m also a great fan of my former city, Ljubljana. It´s a lovely place, with lots of bars and restaurants.
You´re closely connected with your fans via two fan clubs, one in Romania and one in Hungary. What do your fans mean to you?
– The fans mean a lot to me. I always enjoy meeting and talking with them. Someone recently asked how I remain motivated when leading by 20+ goals against a team with still some time to be played in the match. I told him that I look around and see the audience that came to the hall to see us. This should be sufficient motivation for
us to perform at a continuously high level.
– I remember the Hungarian fan club that put up a poster at a Krim match when I was still playing there. First, it was a shock, and I was even a bit nervous during the warm-up!
– I’m delighted to have fans from abroad that appreciate my play. It was also very nice to see them again at the preparation tournament in Siófok, Hungary!
How about your shirt numbers – is your lucky number 7?
– Well, you could say that… Actually, I started as No.7 in the early phase of my career, but this number was already taken by my former team mate Maryna Vergeliuk-Strile when I joined Krim. Therefore, I went for No.77, and I also use this number for Győri Audi ETO, but I still use No.7 in the National Team.