Women’s EuroLeague Basketball: Jelena Brooks’ home is Sopron
According to the Serbian national team player of Sopron Basket, their success was no longer as much of a surprise as reaching the Final Four 13 years ago. She highlighted that after the lost Hungarian Cup final, they had a particularly great urge to prove themselves.
|Jelena Brooks credits the trophy primarily to manager Zoltán Török (Photo: FIBA)|
– You were already a member of Sopron that reached the Final Four 13 years ago. Have you thought about how much work has been put into getting to the top?
– In 2009, we caused a big surprise by qualifying for it; we were the youngest team then. Considering the last five years since Roberto Íñiguez became our coach, today's success is no longer such a sensation. Since then, we have been training and fighting to be in the final four and win the EuroLeague. What we did on Sunday was unbelievable, but we aren't satisfied with getting into the top four only. After the lost Hungarian Cup final, we had a particularly great urge to prove ourselves.
– What was the master plan against Fenerbahçe? How could you stop a team that features a world-class line-up?
– You saw the result, no? We won 60-55, and our defense was fantastic from the first minute. Whoever was on the court on the opponent's side, we didn't give her a chance; we executed what we discussed after the game against Salamanca. Under the backboard. we didn't give Fener a chance, the key was block out, good defense of screens and fades, and not drawing enough energy from the encouragement of the 10000 fans who cheered for them, because if we also give extra energy to the Turkish team, then we are dead. We showed them strength and let them know that we came here to win!
– Did you see the rival having some pressure on themselves?
– Of course, this was the great chance for Fenerbahçe; they put a squad together with which they can win the EuroLeague. It is not enough to finish at the top of the domestic league, the EuroLeague is something else. There was a lot of pressure on the Turkish team, which was already evident in the first half of their first match against Prague. The fans helped them get energy after halftime, and the Czechs could not keep up with them with their remaining five players. Our goal in defense was not letting them do anything easily, not letting them be victorious with brilliant movements – which we did for 40 minutes. They had to work for every point, and it was the best thing in this match.
– You have achieved great results both with the Serbian national team and at club level. Where does this success take place in your career?
– I always separate the national team and Sopron Basket because the latter is my home, it is something else. At the end of the match, I went up to Briann January and asked her “what had we done here?!” I was also very happy that manager Zoltán Török could be with us and that he also could win the EuroLeague, for which he has been working for more than twenty-five years. He's doing an incredible amount of work at this small-town club. First of all, this trophy is his, followed by the professional staff and then us.
– Could you talk with your family?
– Only for a few short minutes after the final because I had to focus on something else... After I went to the hotel, I texted everyone and talked to them, but actually, my son Mateo never watches my matches on TV. He doesn't enjoy them because when he sees me on TV, it means I'm not with him. When we play in Sopron, it's great for him because he meets me the match, but it was a little different now.
Translated by Vanda Orosz