View Full Version : Nick Bollettieri: Serbia's run of aces a freak occurance

Jun 25th, 2008, 05:37 AM
The rise of Serbia as a powerhouse tennis nation is a freak. There is no logic to it, no rational explanation, no coherent programme that was put in place to produce fine young players like Ana Ivanovic whose smooth progress to the second round I followed yesterday and Jelena Jankovic and Novak Djokovic.

Nor do I buy into this thesis that Serbia is somehow uniquely poor, where the spur to play tennis as a means of escape was stronger than in any number of other places. With genuine respect and admiration for the players mentioned, their rise was not brought about by playing in an empty swimming pool, or having so little money that they had to eat their shoes and the only way to get another pair was becoming a pro.

It didn't happen like that. And when you examine how each of them developed the theme is the same: they had to get away. And credit to their parents and advisors that they did so, to places where they could develop their undoubted potential. Jelena came to us, at the academy in Florida. Novak went to Germany, Ana to Switzerland and Spain. Those are the places the potential was honed from hopefuls to realistic contenders.

So it's a freak, a geographical accident of talent, a cyclical swing that has led to a group of players emerging simultaneously. The effect of that will help Serbian tennis going forward. These guys are superstars back home now, and they will inspire a generation to pick up rackets, and we'll see the dividends of that later. But why it happened in the first place is a mystery.


Jun 25th, 2008, 10:41 AM
The effect of that will help Serbian tennis going forward. These guys are superstars back home now, and they will inspire a generation to pick up rackets, and we'll see the dividends of that later.
true, but the dude is acting as if this were the first generation of successful players from serbia/yugoslavia. taking 3 players born in former yugoslavia in top 100 right now (from "personal" section of their bios on wtatour.com):

Started playing tennis at age 5 after watching it on TV (in particular Monica Seles), remembering the phone number to a local tennis school and begging her parents to take her

Admires Monica Seles

marina erakovic
Tennis player most admired is Seles

i'm pretty sure success of players like monica seles and goran ivanisevic inspired a generation of kids from serbia and croatia to start playing tennis. and if you pay attention also to players born in yugoslavia but now playing for other countries i don't think there can be simply a coincidence. so, yes, this generation of players will inspire the next generation and this time around perhaps training conditions will improve in serbia as well, but the rise of serbia (and croatia) as successful tennis nations is not a coincidence, i don't think so. role models already were there before.

Oct 5th, 2013, 02:35 AM
It will be interesting if Serbia continues as a great tennis country when Ivanovic, Djokovic, and Jankovic retire. I mean by logic wouldnt Belgium which had Henin and Clijsters and Spain which had Nadal, Martinez, and Sanchez before even more a freak occurence than Serbia? Maybe it isnt a freak occurence and there is more to it.

Oct 5th, 2013, 09:58 AM
I wuld add Tipsarević on the list, and Zimonjić. Though Tipsy is miles behind them, he was still top 10 and Nenad is a great doubles champion.
Looking at the young players from Serbia, i see some top 50 potential, but nothing more. Bojana is maybe top 20 marterial, and there is a couple of good juniors that could be very good.
I agree it is not freakish. We had a doubles no1 and GS chmp in '80(Boba Živojinović), then Seleš and Ivanišević came and there were a few good players in SFRYugoslavia to. (Mima Jaušovec, Nikola Pilić...)so there were enogh players to be inspired by i gues.