The sensation of the first round in Delray Beach was signed by Matija Pecotic, 784th world. The 33-year-old Croatian entered the qualifying draw by chance as he has a full-time job in a real estate investment fund. Formerly ranked 206th in the world in 2015 and a 10-time winner on the ITF circuit, he showed that he still loves the game by defeating Jack Sock, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. All under the eyes of his boss! The man who now plays tennis almost as a hobby and who graduated from Princeton and Harvard will try to keep the dream alive with a new feat against Marcos Giron.
“Right now, I have no words to describe how I feel. I didn’t expect to win this match at all, I managed not to be nervous and everything I prepared worked perfectly. I had to leave work early today,” joked Pecotic, whose boss was in his dressing room. “I had to send an email to the whole team. [My boss] left me alone. I’ll have to ask for another day off tomorrow,” he continued with a smile. As for a full-time return to the circuit? “I don’t know, maybe you have to ask the fans if I should come back to the ATP Tour to focus on tennis.” The question will come up.
The Croatian’s story is crazy. Pecotic turned pro in 2014 at the age of 24. He worked his way up to No. 206 in less than two years, but complications from stomach surgery left him bedridden for eight months, giving him plenty of time to think about his plans. “It changed the trajectory and timing of my career,” Pecotic told the media in Delray after qualifying. “I applied to business school with no real expectations, but I was accepted.” Quickly on the Harvard varsity tennis team, the American kept his love for tennis intact. “I rediscovered my love of the game playing with these guys six days a week. After business school, I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to give it 12 months (on the tour), hard, and if I get to 250th in a year, I’ll keep going. I got to 320th in six months, playing the best tennis of my life and then the Covid hit.”. Pecotic was forced to return home and went back to work at Wexford Capital, a hedge fund and real estate investment firm. In the end, tennis didn’t stay away and he was rewarded today. A beautiful story…
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