Miranda Tatari misses EHF EURO and requires surgery
Injuries to star players have plagued Croatia in their build up to the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia next month. Andrea Penezić got injured back at the London Olympics in August, and captain Miranda Tatari will undergo knee surgery.
It is not only a big loss for Croatia, but also Podravka, a team on the right track to reach the main round of the Women's EHF Champions League.
eurohandball.com spoke with the Croatian captain at home, preparing for her knee surgery.
eurohandball.com: What is the diagnosis and what is the doctor's opinion?
Miranda Tatari: The diagnosis is a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament, and smaller damage to meniscus.
A four to six month pause was the doctor's opinion. But I have got to say that Dr. Janković, who looked at my knee, said that the knee looks very tight and without an MRI it would not be possible to say that there is any problem.
That fills me with optimism. It is true that I had a similar problem at the end of the Olympics and I got back quite fast, it is hard to say if it was too fast. I simply felt good and ready to keep on playing handball but it has sadly happened again.
eurohandball.com: Will Podravka have a problem without you?
Miranda Tatari: Well, yes. But it does not mean that the problem would not have been there if I was playing against Györ. I believe that Györ's team is simply too strong for us at the moment and I am not sure that we could have done against them, even if we were all ready.
But I am an optimist no matter what. It is not true that we have no chance at all. Since last year we have improved our game and have made a big step ahead. I believe that everyone can see it.
This team has no stars but it has a big heart and a will to show in the best light. Our goalkeepers are at a very high level, we have Sanja Damjanović as our best shooter and our wingers are brilliant at high speed
eurohandball.com: You have never left Koprivnica, despite the offers.
Miranda Tatari: No, this is my club, my city, and here is my family. I have everything here. I don't regret anything, not even the offer I had from Viborg when the situation in Podravka was very hard.
Now everything is better, but no one knows what tomorrow brings but of course I would like to stay here.
eurohandball.com: Do you ever think about the Olympic Games in London?
Miranda Tatari: I thought about it every day until Champions League began. Now that it is underway, I forgot about it a little. Of course I'm sorry, we all are... I think that we were very good, and playing good handball.
We were very close to playing for a medal but we had bad luck with Andrea Penezić getting injured at a key moment, and with her injury went our chance of playing in the semi-final and winning that medal we wanted.
eurohandball.com: Croatia are still waiting for a medal on a big tournament.
Miranda Tatari: After winning twice against Denmark in the qualifiers, we realised what we were capable of. We lacked self-confidence until that point. And coming up to London, I was sure that we could play anyone, even Norway.
So after the Olympics, I told to myself that the EURO in Serbia is our tournament, but now there is a new problem. We will wait for the World Championships in Serbia next year, and I just hope for all of us to be ready and prepared.
eurohandball.com: What do you think of Croatia's chance in the EHF EURO 2012?
Miranda Tatari:I believe that we should look at it positively. We have a good atmosphere in the team and we are growing from year to year.
Each player is important, this is the reality. New girls should take our roles and I'm sure that Franić, Bašić or Žana Čović can surprise anyone. Each win will be a great success, I believe in them. This is a chance for many girls to shine on the big stage.
eurohandball.com: Who are the favorites of the EHF EURO 2012 and the Women's EHF Champions League?
Miranda Tatari: Norway is very strong and I believe that only France can stand up against them. It is a pity that we are not there in our full lineup, I think that it would be a good momentfor us. Regarding the Champions League, Györ have shown lots of quality, alongside them, I would highlight Oltchim.
eurohandball.com: Does Miranda Tatari think about playing in Rio in 2016?
The Olympic Games are something special and everyone who saw that would like to come back. I am fully dedicated to handball and I would like to come back. After all, the Lunde sisters, Breivang and some other Norwegians have won gold medals at 33 years-old and I will be 33 in Rio.
But I'm not planning anything yet, because it is too far away. Now I just want to come back after the surgey even better than before so that we can finally win that great medal, perhaps even before Rio, who knows.