Matija Pecotic is twice on the verge of establishing himself as a professional in the shadow of the really big tennis business. The Croatian is slowed down twice. He declares his profit dream to be over. But fate gives the 33-year-old a great opportunity – and he uses it.

Jack Sock has earned around twelve million dollars in his tennis career, the American won four tournaments in singles on the ATP tour, in doubles he triumphed in three Grand Slam tournaments, in 2016 he won bronze in doubles and gold in mixed the Olympic Games. The 30-year-old ended 2017 in eighth place in the world rankings, after which it went downhill in the world rankings due to numerous injuries, and it was only in 2020 that Sock was able to win an ATP match again. The Olympic champion is currently ranked 143 in the world.

And although Sock is already playing his 13th professional season and has experienced so much, the reigning Laver Cup winner (with Team Welt) is still making new experiences: At the Delray Beach Open he will be part of a small tennis miracle. Because the former top star loses to someone nobody knew. 6: 4, 2: 6, 2: 6 was defeated by Sock Matija Pecotic, who is now a full-time professional after work. The Croatian, who has lived and worked in the United States for many years, won a match at ATP level for the first time at the age of 33. Only hours after he was allowed to call it a day. “I had to stop work earlier today. My boss released me,” said the overjoyed Pecotic after the match. “I’m speechless, and that doesn’t happen often.”

Pecotic was once on the way to becoming a tennis pro: At the end of 2015, the Croatian had fought his way up to 206th place in the world rankings, collecting his points on the slog through the lower leagues of world tennis. But that was a long time ago: injuries slowed Pecotic down, the tennis pro began studying at Harvard Business School and completed it.

After that, with the degree in his pocket, he wanted to know it again: “I had this great degree, the economy was good, so I said: I’ll give myself twelve months, full focus on tennis, all in. If I If I make it to 250, I’ll keep going, otherwise that’s it.” But then came the pandemic. “I played the best tennis of my life, worked my way up to 320 or so in six months – and then Covid came. Touring came to a standstill, I was 32 years old and stuck in Europe. That was a tough moment . Today I play whenever I have time – and my job allows it.”

The former college player is now “Director of Capital Markets”, a full-time job at an investment company in Florida. Sure, Pecotic, who is currently ranked 784th in the world, trains a little before work and afterwards he keeps fit with runs. To be ready for a big moment. It came and Pecotic used it.

Matija Pecotic’s story at the Delray Beach Open, a tournament with numerous top players in the field, should have ended before it even started: he wanted to take part in the qualification, he reported on the tournament’s YouTube channel, “but My ranking isn’t good enough, I don’t play on the tour anymore, I have a full-time job, so on Friday night I registered as an alternate (player who can slip into the field if someone else withdraws – editor’s note). .) registered, but that didn’t help either.”

He then left three racquets on the course for stringing – and when he wanted to pick them up on Saturday morning, the supervisor “signaled half an hour before the first match that there might be a chance that I would be there after all.” That’s how it happened – so quickly that not everyone noticed: “When I was on my way to the pitch, the stadium announcer called out the player I came for in the tournament.” In the first round of qualifying, Pecotic beat Stefan Kozlov (No. 239 in the world), then Tennys Sandgren, who was previously No. 41 in the world. “It was totally unexpected, beating Tennys was a lot of fun,” said Pecotic, who had made it into the main draw of an ATP tournament for the first time in his life – and added with a laugh: “I’m enjoying it now and we’ll see where that leads. And if it doesn’t lead anywhere, I’m going back to work on Monday.”

Now it’s going on, because the big coup succeeded against Jack Sock. “During the week I usually work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” said the financial professional before his coup against Sock. “Sometimes I train with my 70-year-old boss. You have to find creative ways to combine tennis and work.” He will now ask his boss, who was sitting in the underdog’s box during the match in Delray Beach, for another day off. This time for the round of 16, where Marcus Giron is number 55 in the world rankings. The match does not start until 6 p.m. local time tonight. Half a day off would easily be enough for a new tennis miracle.