Borna Coric, the No. 1 player from Croatia, helped his country qualify for the inaugural ATP Cup, to take place from 3-12 January. Croatia, one of the first 18 countries to qualify, was drawn into Group E, and is set to face Austria, Argentina and Poland in Sydney.
Coric has enjoyed recent success in Australia, reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open this year. The two-time ATP Tour titlist spoke to ATPTour.com about which Croatians he admired growing up, what it’s like to play on a team and why he is excited for this first-year 24-team event.
Why are you excited about competing in the ATP Cup?
It is going to be something different. We never had that and I am just really looking forward to seeing how it is going to look and how the courts are going to be. There are not many tournaments which I haven’t played on the calendar, to be honest, so I am always looking forward when I have something new. Especially now, with this new format as well.
When you come to the US Open for the seventh time, eighth time or 10th time, you know everything, you have some routine and you know how things are going. There it is going to be new. It is going to be again with a team, so that is also very exciting.
You don’t get to play much on a team, so what will be special about playing on a team with your countrymen?
It is great. It is a special feeling, for sure. You don’t get many chances to do it. For the whole team it is a bit different because we are used to being alone all the time, not having too much company, just with our team which is small, maybe one or two people. So it is definitely different.
You have much more fun, but also when you play I think you give even more of yourself [when] you play for a team, you play for a country and so automatically you are going to push a little more.
Which countrymen did you watch growing up and what did you admire about them?
That was Goran Ivanisevic. Obviously, he was a Croatian legend. I was watching also Ivan Ljubicic and also Mario Ancic… Those three I was watching.
What were your early memories of playing tennis in Croatia as a kid?
Just playing every week in some tournament in some other city in Croatia. I remember we all wanted to go to the final, because the final was always on a Monday, so you wouldn’t need to go to school. That was great. That was awesome. That was one of the memories which I had back then.
I did not want to go to school and that was something cool. You could just play the match on a Monday and it was a final, so that was great.
Who is the funniest player from your country and why?
Mate Delic. He stopped playing one year ago.
What are three things you love about Croatia?
Sea, food and wine.
What is a phrase, word or sentence that reminds you of home?
It is my favourite song, [a Croatian song]: ‘Malo mi za srecu triba’.
What percentage of the Croatian national anthem can you sing?
I think 100 per cent, but I am going to need some melody.