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'The Tennis Gods Have Spoken': Pecotic To Join Finance Job & Tennis Dream
Matija Pecotic’s run earlier this year in Delray Beach was an early contender for story of the season. The 33-year-old, who works full-time for a real estate investment company, entered the ATP 250 as an alternate in qualifying, reached the main draw and then eliminated former Top 10 star Jack Sock to reach the second round.
The Croatian’s tennis journey is not over yet. Pecotic has committed to the goal of playing 25 tournaments this year, beginning with the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship, where he received a qualifying wild card.
“I feel excited and pretty relaxed for now. I don’t know what my match is going to be like. I think it’s really cool that the tournament decided to give me a wild card. I’m not American, I’m not a junior, I’m not signed with some agency,” Pecotic told ATPTour.com. “I emailed the tournament director a couple of days ago and they were kind of excited to hear from me. They said, ‘We followed your story in Delray’, and for them to give me the wild card, big respect to them. So that’s really cool, I really can’t wait to go there.”
The lefty had accomplished plenty in tennis before becoming a finance titan, climbing as high as No. 206 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2015. Now he is excited to give professional tennis another shot.
“I took a couple of days [after Delray Beach] to put things into perspective and asked myself what I wanted to do. I said you know what, too many domino pieces came together for this to be just a giant coincidence,” Pecotic said. “I was looking for a reason to come back to the game and compete again while I still can, and the sequence of events for everything to happen the way it did was like a sign from the tennis gods. The tennis gods have spoken and it’s time to listen, so I’m going to play.”
That does not mean Pecotic is leaving his company. He will still be based in West Palm Beach, Florida, and work remotely while traveling to tournaments.
“The firm seems to be supportive, we certainly got a lot of exposure from Delray and people that I hadn’t spoken to, some of the guys at work, people were reaching out,” Pecotic said. “I have a bit of flexibility and I have two supportive mentors who say I should go for it.”
Pecotic explained that his new adventure is similar to what life was like as a student-athlete at Princeton University. Instead of completing homework and other assignments around training, he will work remotely.
“You train for two, three hours if you’re in between matches, in between tournaments. So I can get everything done. It’s not like I’m getting suffocated by work,” Pecotic said. “There’s enough time in the day to do a lot of stuff. You just spend less time on Instagram and more time with your laptop. You start checking off the things on your to-do list, you don’t stop until you get them done and then you go to bed.”
Before the Delray Beach tournament was over, Pecotic was already hungry for more action.
“I was like, ‘I want more’,” Pecotic recalled. “Taylor Fritz invited me for a practice session in Boca before he went to Acapulco. I had a great training session with him there and I said, ‘Okay come on’. I was pretty pumped.”
Pecotic, who enjoyed a hit with Fritz before the American's match in Miami Sunday, recently faced a tough moment when his grandfather passed away. He flew to Belgrade to attend the funeral and returned to the United States late last week.
“That was a big blow to the stomach after Delray. Trying to put things in perspective and draw from the lessons, use that as inspiration,” Pecotic said. “He watched it on TV and he called me up, we FaceTimed. It’s even more special knowing that he got to see me — I’m tearing up a little bit — do something on the ATP Tour.”
While in Belgrade, Pecotic visited Novak Djokovic’s academy, where he spoke to the 93-time tour-level titlist. The Serbian had made an Instagram post in support of Pecotic the week of Delray Beach.
“He said, ‘Business can be put on pause. You should go out, go play,’” Pecotic said. “I was in Belgrade last week in Serbia, so I went over there to his tennis club and he was very excited and he said, ‘Great story, I hope we get to play a real match.’”
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