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View Full Version : Mirjana Lucic - what went wrong with her career?


markhingis
Jun 17th, 2010, 05:26 PM
Out of curiosity, I checked her profile @ WTA site and I'm so impressed with her beginnings:

1997 - Unranked and a WC qualifier, won first WTA Tour event she played, Bol; upset No. 10 Coetzer in SF; became fifth youngest player to win a title at age 15 years, 1 month and 25 days (Austin, Rinaldi, Jaeger and Capriati were younger); reached final of second career event on WTA Tour at Strasbourg; before even having a ranking and as a qualifier, d. seeds Wiesner (world No. 19) and Tauziat (world No. 22) en route to final, where she fell to Graf 62 75; following final, Graf said of Lucic, 'I was not nearly as good as she is at 15.'; in Fed Cup, led Croatia to a 4-1 win over Austria with wins over Wiesner and Schett and won the doubles match
1998 - Playing in first WTA Tour doubles event, became youngest player in history to win a title at Australian Open, capturing the doubles title at age 15 years, 10 months and 21 days; entered as a WC team with first-time partner Hingis, d. the No. 1, 2, 8 and 9 seeds and came back from down 0-3 in the third set in the final; the title was Lucic's first Grand Slam crown, and she became the first player to win both the first singles and first doubles events she played on the WTA Tour (first singles event was 1997 Bol); playing in second Tour doubles event at Tokyo [Pan Pacific], won second title with Hingis after playing through qualifying to reach the main draw; at 1998 Bol, became the youngest player ever to defend a title on the WTA Tour at age 16 years, 1 month and 24 days, picking up second career singles title; ousted top seed Kruger in the SF and No. 5 seed Morariu in final; also teamed with Kruger to reach doubles final; reached first Tier I SF on Tour at Italian Open, including a win over world No. 6 and defending champion Pierce; fell in SF to world No. 1 Hingis, ending an 11-match winning streak; reached mixed doubles final at Wimbledon; in Fed Cup, won both singles matches in Croatia's win over Japan in the 1r
1999 - As world No. 134, reached SF at Wimbledon with wins over No. 4 seed Seles (career-best win) and No. 8 seed Tauziat (came back from down 3-5 in third set) before falling to No. 2 seed Graf in 3s; lowest-ranked player to reach a Grand Slam SF since the start of computer rankings in 1975; ranking jumped 87 spots to No. 47 following Wimbledon; ousted No. 13 seed Schnyder en route to a 3r finish at Canadian Open, falling in 3s to No. 9-ranked Coetzer; upset No. 17 seed Van Roost to reach 3r at Miami

It looked like she would had a bright future ahead of her. But what happened? Only injuries?

Dav.
Jun 17th, 2010, 05:32 PM
Her dad was an extreme tennis father and was often abusive, to the point that Mirjana and the rest of her family were forced to escape through a hotel window in the middle of the night.

It's an awful story, similar to that of Linetskaya, but at least Miki has rebounded.

croat123
Jun 17th, 2010, 05:32 PM
it's a long story. the short version is that her dad abused her, she escaped to the states, she was depressed, she gained weight and lost all confidence, and it was just a downward spiral from there. you can probably google a good article on it

if i remember correctly, the french tennis federation also accused her of doping and banned her from playing in france for a while, but the wta reversed that decision because she had already gotten tour authorization to take the relevant anti-depression medication (not 100% on the facts)

Anabelcroft
Jun 17th, 2010, 05:44 PM
Her dad was an extreme tennis father and was often abusive, to the point that Mirjana and the rest of her family were forced to escape through a hotel window in the middle of the night.

The peak with her dad was after her loss to Graf in that Wimbledon SF...He has thrown all her trophies out of her room and all her stuff...just remember this awful story!

ajmo!
Jun 17th, 2010, 05:49 PM
The peak with her dad was after her loss to Graf in that Wimbledon SF...He has thrown all her trophies out of her room and all her stuff...just remember this awful story!

no, she escaped from her father in 1998

croat123
Jun 17th, 2010, 05:51 PM
yeah, that wasn't after the graf loss.
i do remember one about him beating her with a shoe is a bathtub after losing to a boy who was 2 years older than her :o

ajmo!
Jun 17th, 2010, 05:54 PM
yes she left Croatia with only 20 000$ and was in problems.
Also she had some injuries and never picked her game after 1999.
Also anti-depression medication took a lot.
It was hard for her to go trough everything with father and she fell in a depression. Also IMG didn't wanted to support her anymore after she fell in rankings and in a moment she was out for 5 years.

croat123
Jun 17th, 2010, 05:57 PM
there was also a lawsuit with IMG which i'm pretty sure she won...

ajmo!
Jun 17th, 2010, 06:03 PM
there was also a lawsuit with IMG which i'm pretty sure she won...

they settled on. she was asking for few milions or something.
on the end she can live at academy and the flat is hers, also can use everything there(courts, gym...)

Petkorazzi
Jun 17th, 2010, 06:06 PM
http://www.outsports.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=37569

Amazing article here. Must read. :worship:

croat123
Jun 17th, 2010, 06:07 PM
Mirjana says her father, who declined to answer questions about the alleged abuse, would typically beat her with a heavy Timberland shoe, around her head and back so that there would be visible marks. "Sometimes my head would hurt so much I couldn't brush my hair for a week," Mirjana says. He would throw trophies and racquets, but the most chilling moment, Lucic says, came when she was 14, after a junior clay-court tournament in Milan. Mirjana had fallen during a training session and suffered nasty scrapes on her knees and head. She was so banged up doctors suggested she skip the tournament, but she played and made it to the semis before losing.

She drove home with her father to the family's apartment in Zagreb, a few hours from the family's house in the seaside town of Makarska. When they arrived, she says her father - a former Olympic decathlete - hauled her into the bathroom, put her in the bathtub and beat her for 40 minutes with his shoe. When he was done, he gave her money.

"He told me to go out and buy an ice cream," Lucic says. She did.

Sammo
Jun 17th, 2010, 06:10 PM
OK, I didn't like her before but now I'm officialy a supporter! Wow what a monster I hope he dies :(

ajmo!
Jun 17th, 2010, 06:11 PM
OK, I didn't like her before but now I'm officialy a supporter! Wow what a horrible guy I hope he dies :(

http://www.jutarnji.hr/multimedia/dynamic/00278/Lucic_278435S1.jpg

GreenGrass
Jun 17th, 2010, 06:14 PM
omg thats a really sad story :sad: :sad:

ajmo!
Jun 17th, 2010, 06:18 PM
But that's all behind her. Today she's a postive person again and enjoys life.
Here is a part of a interview from last year, when she was not as good:

"I'm doing the right things. I have surrounded myself with positive people. The hard part is being patient and waiting for those results, but I missed tennis like you can't imagine. I would kill to be at Wimbledon again and feel that energy on that stage.
"This is about me now and no one else. If I didn't love it so much, I would have stayed away and lived my life and been fine. But I am so happy to be back. I am loving tennis again.
"I am loving life again."

She loves the sport, she cares a lot and every win is big for her.

Also what she said today:
“After so many years, every match was like winning Wimbledon for me. I was
so focussed. I have a couple of strained muscles but I was fighting....
I’m hard on myself so now I’m proud of myself to go from the smallest tournaments
all the way to Wimbledon, without getting any wild cards. I would
drive by the main site every day and tell myself ‘I’m getting there,
I’m getting there’, and now I’m going there!”

markhingis
Jun 17th, 2010, 07:01 PM
she qualified for Wimbledon MD and that's what matters the most. Good luck to her!

irma
Jun 17th, 2010, 07:02 PM
Didn't her father say once in an interview that he did it for her own good? Or was that Jim Pierce? :o

Jorn
Jun 17th, 2010, 07:04 PM
I saw her in Hamburg at the latest Tournament there (Latest ithink)

But Lucic was not playing there so I dunno what she was doing? Maybe been an ALT. Can that have been in 2003 or 4...

edificio
Jun 17th, 2010, 07:56 PM
Why not ask what is going right?

Didn't her father say once in an interview that he did it for her own good? Or was that Jim Pierce? :o

They probably all say this.

tennismaster8820
Jun 17th, 2010, 11:07 PM
Yeah this is very sad story, but still many tennis fans haven't forgoten her and wish her well.
Amazing achievement today for her, qualifying to MD! :worship:
She was at the bottom and now she is finding her way to the top.
Hopefully this is just a start!

Anabelcroft
Jun 17th, 2010, 11:36 PM
no, she escaped from her father in 1998

Maybe,don't know the year,but after that sf loss against Graf her father has thrown all her things including trophies from her (at that time still official)home in Croatia...

Matt01
Jun 17th, 2010, 11:43 PM
Such a promising, talented player.

Started her career with a BANG.

It's really a shame what happened then :sad:

Steffica Greles
Jun 17th, 2010, 11:51 PM
I know. I think the same thing. In fact, I honestly cannot think of so great a loss in all the years I've watched tennis. There was Hingis, Kournikova, the Williams sisters, LUCIC and then Henin - in 1997 they were all certain to be grandslam champions. In retrospect, perhaps we got carried away with Anna (although far more average players have won slams since) but Lucic was a wonder who a lot of people rated above ALL the others.

She was a 14 year-old junior champion, won her debut tournament at just turned 15, defeating top-5 ranked Coetzer. Steffi Graf tipped her as a future great and many others raved about her physique. She had possibly the hardest-hit groundstrokes I've seen in women's tennis.

What went wrong?

She never developed a less risky game. Sometimes I saw her play and it was just terrible. She sprayed the ball like a mad woman and I'd think to myself how strange it was that a girl who came across as so intelligent and articulate in her interviews was so awful a match player that she was prepared to hit 100 errors just to nail one rasping winner. She played like a lunatic!

In 2001, aged 19, I think that was her last chance. There was a brief resurgence at the French Open when, despite looking out of shape, she blitzed her way to round 3 before hitting herself wildly to defeat against a sheepish Capriati who knew she was often on the back foot, but just sat back and watched the ball hit the wall behind her most of the time. But rather than carry that momentum, she lost in the qualifying at Wimbledon. That was the last time she was ever serious about being a top player.

In 2002 she qualified for the US Open, but she lost 0 and 0 to Venus Williams, the type of player she had the ability to match shot for shot (and very few at that time had the ability to match Venus Williams, if anyone at all!). Venus almost apologised afterwards in the press conference, reminding the press "Well, she's not actually a BAD player".

It's all very sad. Heaven knows what went wrong. I mean, people can go on and on about her father and her home life, but look at Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati even Jelena Dokic - they all had their moments that justified their pedigree, even if it's arguable all of them underachieved, especially Dokic. But Lucic? She never reached higher than 32, which was only for a week. It's just an inexplicable disaster of a career.

madlove
Jun 18th, 2010, 04:46 AM
her family screwed her up. simple.

irma
Jun 18th, 2010, 05:19 AM
I know. I think the same thing. In fact, I honestly cannot think of so great a loss in all the years I've watched tennis. There was Hingis, Kournikova, the Williams sisters, LUCIC and then Henin - in 1997 they were all certain to be grandslam champions. In retrospect, perhaps we got carried away with Anna (although far more average players have won slams since) but Lucic was a wonder who a lot of people rated above ALL the others.

She was a 14 year-old junior champion, won her debut tournament at just turned 15, defeating top-5 ranked Coetzer. Steffi Graf tipped her as a future great and many others raved about her physique. She had possibly the hardest-hit groundstrokes I've seen in women's tennis.

What went wrong?

She never developed a less risky game. Sometimes I saw her play and it was just terrible. She sprayed the ball like a mad woman and I'd think to myself how strange it was that a girl who came across as so intelligent and articulate in her interviews was so awful a match player that she was prepared to hit 100 errors just to nail one rasping winner. She played like a lunatic!

In 2001, aged 19, I think that was her last chance. There was a brief resurgence at the French Open when, despite looking out of shape, she blitzed her way to round 3 before hitting herself wildly to defeat against a sheepish Capriati who knew she was often on the back foot, but just sat back and watched the ball hit the wall behind her most of the time. But rather than carry that momentum, she lost in the qualifying at Wimbledon. That was the last time she was ever serious about being a top player.

In 2002 she qualified for the US Open, but she lost 0 and 0 to Venus Williams, the type of player she had the ability to match shot for shot (and very few at that time had the ability to match Venus Williams, if anyone at all!). Venus almost apologised afterwards in the press conference, reminding the press "Well, she's not actually a BAD player".

It's all very sad. Heaven knows what went wrong. I mean, people can go on and on about her father and her home life, but look at Mary Pierce, Jennifer Capriati even Jelena Dokic - they all had their moments that justified their pedigree, even if it's arguable all of them underachieved, especially Dokic. But Lucic? She never reached higher than 32, which was only for a week. It's just an inexplicable disaster of a career.

In wimbledon 1999 she was playing smarter though. Maybe the pressure got to high for her after the tournament to continue that level.

Steffica Greles
Jun 18th, 2010, 07:41 AM
In wimbledon 1999 she was playing smarter though. Maybe the pressure got to high for her after the tournament to continue that level.

It was still a problem at Wimbledon 1999, else she'd have beaten Graf. There were moments in that match when she had too much power for Steffi from the back of the court, but as it wore on she sprayed and sprayed.


Another lunatic thing she did was stand practically on the service line to receive first serves. It was madness. People can go on about her father, but this is the bottom line: she played crazy tennis and never developed.

Renalicious
Jun 18th, 2010, 07:59 AM
Lucic :awww:

Pops Maellard
Jun 18th, 2010, 08:15 AM
I loved watching her highlights on Youtube from late-90s. She was monstrous.

It's in the past now though. Let's see how Wimbly goes.

FleetSeb
Jun 18th, 2010, 09:22 AM
Poor Mirjana, really hope the Wimbledon draw goes well for her and she can get a few victories.

tommystar
Jun 18th, 2010, 07:02 PM
playing in second Tour doubles event at Tokyo [Pan Pacific], won second title with Hingis after playing through qualifying to reach the main draw;
How could they play the qualifying at Tokyo PPC, if they played a 2 days earlier at the Australian Open on the other side of the globe?
There are zero information of those qually match on the wtatour ot ITF homepage.

croat123
Jun 18th, 2010, 07:06 PM
i thought they were a WC into Tokyo

CoryAnnAvants#1
Jun 18th, 2010, 09:41 PM
In wimbledon 1999 she was playing smarter though. Maybe the pressure got to high for her after the tournament to continue that level.

She had been struggling for quite a while before that, almost immediately after her family escaped from her father. People often forget that going into Wimbledon '99, she was ranked well outside of the top 100, and she had only won a total five matches in the previous 12 months. After that Wimbledon run, she has only won a handful of main draw WTA matches since then.

The one good thing that Mirjana does have going for her is that until a couple of years ago, she barely played any tournaments even when she was active on tour. She never played more than 13 events in any given year, and lost in the first round of a lot of those tournaments. Only six tournaments in 2003, one in 2004/2005, none in 2006, and four in 2007. She might be 28, but she's still got plenty of energy left to burn, and the kind of first strike tennis she plays will allow her to compete well into her 30s if she chooses.

Steffica Greles
Jun 18th, 2010, 11:27 PM
She might be 28, but she's still got plenty of energy left to burn, and the kind of first strike tennis she plays will allow her to compete well into her 30s if she chooses.

Why would it work better now than it did in 1998-2001, before the scrap heap? She didn't compete back then most often - she 'struck' herself to 0&0 losses in grandslams. Nobody outhit Lucic - they didn't need to.

beforeangelsfall
Jun 18th, 2010, 11:35 PM
i feel kinda bad wanting Vika to win after hearing her story
its amazing how she has come back from that

babsi
Jun 19th, 2010, 01:24 AM
I think it is fair to say that Mirjana will never reach her potential (which I believe/d is a multiple GS winner on all surfaces).

But I do think she could get back into the top 50 which for me is an achievement in itself, just a big shame about getting Vika in the 1st round at Wimbledon, there were quite a few winnable draws there.

WhatTheDeuce
Jun 19th, 2010, 01:39 AM
Why would it work better now than it did in 1998-2001, before the scrap heap? She didn't compete back then most often - she 'struck' herself to 0&0 losses in grandslams. Nobody outhit Lucic - they didn't need to.
You're seriously the most annoying poster on the board. :o

Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and hope she's not playing quite as recklessly now, k? Considering what she's been through and how hard she's worked to build her ranking to what it is now, she's an inspiration to say the least. She's qualified for her first GS main draw in 8 years, on her own ranking, and through her own grit and determination. In her late 20's, she's now happier and more content than she's ever been, both on and off the court. Not to mention fitter, and I'm sure a little wiser.

You can't deny that despite her inconsistencies, she's overflowing with talent. Now stop being such a negative nancy.

InsideOut.
Jun 19th, 2010, 01:57 AM
How could they play the qualifying at Tokyo PPC, if they played a 2 days earlier at the Australian Open on the other side of the globe?
There are zero information of those qually match on the wtatour ot ITF homepage.

2 days is enough for qualifying :shrug:

babsi
Jun 19th, 2010, 02:42 AM
Off-topic but Hingis playing qualifying in doubles is just laughable. The tournament would give her whatever she wanted and that includes a doubles wildcard. There is no way she would go from winning a GS in singles and doubles to qualifying doubles in a tier 1.

Steffica Greles
Jun 19th, 2010, 10:24 AM
You're seriously the most annoying poster on the board. :o

Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and hope she's not playing quite as recklessly now, k? Considering what she's been through and how hard she's worked to build her ranking to what it is now, she's an inspiration to say the least. She's qualified for her first GS main draw in 8 years, on her own ranking, and through her own grit and determination. In her late 20's, she's now happier and more content than she's ever been, both on and off the court. Not to mention fitter, and I'm sure a little wiser.

You can't deny that despite her inconsistencies, she's overflowing with talent. Now stop being such a negative nancy.

So it took her 11 years to work out that hitting a ball out repeatedly is going to lose her a match?


Look, I was the one saying in 2001 that she was finished. People lambasted me, but ultimately I was right. And it was because of her erratic style that she was finished. No abusive father makes a player hit like a lunatic - that was a choice. What she went through was awful, but that's beside the point. Like I said, other tennis players have gone through similar with less talent and carved better careers. She is where she is primarily because of her errors to winners ratio.


Now, if you really expect me to believe that having now started to emerge from the ITF tournaments by winning the odd match against players mostly outside of the top 100, after over 3 years playing on the ITF circuit, she is going to be any different from before, I think you are sadly mistaken.

WhatTheDeuce
Jun 19th, 2010, 03:47 PM
So it took her 11 years to work out that hitting a ball out repeatedly is going to lose her a match?


Look, I was the one saying in 2001 that she was finished. People lambasted me, but ultimately I was right. And it was because of her erratic style that she was finished. No abusive father makes a player hit like a lunatic - that was a choice. What she went through was awful, but that's beside the point. Like I said, other tennis players have gone through similar with less talent and carved better careers. She is where she is primarily because of her errors to winners ratio.


Now, if you really expect me to believe that having now started to emerge from the ITF tournaments by winning the odd match against players mostly outside of the top 100, after over 3 years playing on the ITF circuit, she is going to be any different from before, I think you are sadly mistaken.
Okay, thanks for your input. Although you're disgustingly narrow-minded.

Done responding to you...

darkchild
Jun 20th, 2010, 03:39 PM
Off-topic but Hingis playing qualifying in doubles is just laughable. The tournament would give her whatever she wanted and that includes a doubles wildcard. There is no way she would go from winning a GS in singles and doubles to qualifying doubles in a tier 1.

I think she played the singles qualifying.

JonBcn
Jun 20th, 2010, 03:49 PM
Off-topic but Hingis playing qualifying in doubles is just laughable. The tournament would give her whatever she wanted and that includes a doubles wildcard. There is no way she would go from winning a GS in singles and doubles to qualifying doubles in a tier 1.

I think what happened was probably that they didn't originally enter the doubles, but decided to play it after winning in Melbourne. The wild cards would have been given out by then, but they would have been able to sign in for qualifying. I honestly can't remember which WTA events had doubles qualifying in those days, so few ITFs do nowadays...

croat123
Jun 20th, 2010, 04:05 PM
they didn't play Q. i just checked on the itf website (which lists lucic as playing doubles qualies in moscow in 1997, meaning it would also show tokyo qualies).
they also played IW where they made the semis, beating the williams sisters before falling to davenport/zvereva

MakarovaFan
Jun 20th, 2010, 04:51 PM
So it took her 11 years to work out that hitting a ball out repeatedly is going to lose her a match?


Look, I was the one saying in 2001 that she was finished. People lambasted me, but ultimately I was right. And it was because of her erratic style that she was finished. No abusive father makes a player hit like a lunatic - that was a choice. What she went through was awful, but that's beside the point. Like I said, other tennis players have gone through similar with less talent and carved better careers. She is where she is primarily because of her errors to winners ratio.


Now, if you really expect me to believe that having now started to emerge from the ITF tournaments by winning the odd match against players mostly outside of the top 100, after over 3 years playing on the ITF circuit, she is going to be any different from before, I think you are sadly mistaken.
Ummm,she has only been on the ITF circuit for about 2 years now lol. Hmm i think it would help if people KNEW what they where talking about before posting:lol:. Anyways and as for the 11 year thing,i dont exactly know what you are refering to as after 2003 until 2008 she played a grand total of 12 events. And finally i cant believe you really said "no abusive father can make you hit like a lunatic"....first of all do you have ANY idea what they can do to your mental state?? In some cases it could be a miracle that one could even step on court and hit a ball. She has gone from getting beat,running away from family,sponsor demands,injuries, leaving the tour....so you cant hardly expect one to come back and with a snap of the finger they are right back at the top.

Dave.
Jun 20th, 2010, 05:09 PM
they didn't play Q. i just checked on the itf website (which lists lucic as playing doubles qualies in moscow in 1997, meaning it would also show tokyo qualies).
they also played IW where they made the semis, beating the williams sisters before falling to davenport/zvereva

They did. :confused: There is a "Q" next to their name in the draw.

lynxy
Jun 21st, 2010, 06:48 AM
I don't understand the legal position of having to take Wellbutrin/Bupropion "against her will". Seems to imply she was hospitalised.

ArturoAce.
Jun 21st, 2010, 08:27 AM
I wish her the best :hug: I never really knew her entire story. :awww: