Matija Pecotic, the part-time tennis player who followed Djokovic’s advice


The story of Matija Pecotic has thrilled all tennis fans. The 33-year-old made it through qualifying at the ATP 250 tournament in Delray Beach, which he took part in due to the retirement of Yosuke Watanuki, and pushed himself to the round of 16 after winning his first match at the ATP level.

For the Croatian, tennis has never been a real job: he belongs to the world of finance and has two degrees. There are two events that blocked his growth path. In 2015, during the Australian Open qualifying tournament, a serious staphylococcus infection resulting in stomach surgery forced him to take more than eight months off.

Adversity never stopped Pecotic, who decided to try again in 2019 and returned close to the top 300. Just when things seemed to work, the pandemic hit and Pecotic found a job at a real estate investment company. The dream, however, has rekindled this year and could still reserve him several surprises.

Pecotic, the dream continues: he will play the qualifiers in Houston

The organizers of the ATP 250 event in Houston have decided to grant him a precious wild card in the qualifying tournament: an opportunity that the Croatian will try to exploit in the best possible way.

“I’m motivated and quite relaxed now. I don’t know how my matches will go, but it’s nice that the organizers have decided to give me a wild card. I’m not American, I’m not young and I have no sponsors.

I sent them an email a couple of days ago and they were very happy. I can’t wait to play. I took a few days after the tournament in Delray to ask myself what I wanted to do.

I said to myself: Too many dominoes have come together for this to be just one giant coincidence. I was waiting for a reason to play again, and the sequence of events that occurred was a sign from the tennis Gods. They’ve talked and it’s time to listen to them, so I’ll play.”

Pecotic had the opportunity to meet Novak Djokovic in Belgrade: “He told me: Business can be paused, you should play. I was in Belgrade last week so I joined his circle and he was really happy and excited. He explained to me that mine is a great story and that he hopes he can play a real match against me.”

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