View Full Version : Article: Lucic rises from the ashes

Mar 30th, 2003, 11:44 AM
From the Herald Tribune:


On Saturday, two days before the official start of the Sarasota Clay Court Classic, Jelena Dokic warmed up and chilled out while Mirjana Lucic sweated and strove to salvage her tennis career.

Dokic is the tournament's defending champion, No. 1 seed and a top-10 player.

Lucic is a "qualie." The Bradenton resident believes she can be more.

Qualifying is the tournament just to play in the tournament. Win and you're in, lose and you have to buy a ticket just like everyone else.

While the stars rest their pampered bodies and psyches, the "qualies" play in anonymity and try to shed it. They struggle to eke out a living on pro tennis' periphery, where the goal is to earn enough points to climb the player rankings, nab main draw invitations and paddle out of the qualifying pool.

Hope floats. Good thing, too, because Lucic's trying to resurrect a career that's dipped like a sunset.

She was barely 15 when she won her first WTA event. She was a 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist two years later, and seemed poised to become a tennis princess. Like Venus. Serena. Martina. Jelena.

But there were injuries to her left knee and right shoulder in 2000, then to her right wrist in 2001. After tearing the meniscus in her knee, she didn't grip a racket for eight months. Depressed, she gained so much weight she became a one-shot player. A long shot. A "qualie."

She was depressed because she ate, and ate because she was depressed. She felt the financial burden of supporting her mother, two sisters and two brothers. She earned only $41,004 in 2002, before travel expenses. She wrestled with the alleged pattern of emotional and physical abuse by her father, Marinko. He's been out of her life for five years, but a father's hard to forget.

"He can go to the other end of the earth, but it's there," she said. "There are memories and you have to figure out that it wasn't your fault."

She's hit bottom, but guess what?

"I have reached a good rock bottom," she said. "I got to see how it is at the other end. I've never had to play qualies. I've never had to play for things, ask for things. I was Mirjana Lucic, 'What do you want?' "

She's lost 40 pounds since she started training at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton a year ago. She cut out sweets and stopped staying in bed until 1 p.m. Waking to play tennis is fun again.

Her best season-ending ranking the past three years is No. 191, in 2001. She'd lost four straight matches before beating No. 79 Marissa Irvin 6-0, 6-4 on Saturday.

Lucic covered the court like a blanket. She outmuscled and outhustled Irvin, whose unforced errors contributed, too.

"If she can break the barrier of mentally feeling she can do it, she can be a player again because she's only (21) years old," Bollettieri said. "That's not going to be easy."

Andre Agassi once rose from No. 141 on the Challenger circuit to No. 1 in the world. He toiled through the qualies, too.

"I felt like I just won Wimbledon," Lucic said after beating Irvin. "I think I finally found what the whole thing is about."


great article. She really looks great! I hope she goes far in this tournament!

Mar 30th, 2003, 11:50 AM
Aww what a sweet article! COME ON JANA

Mar 30th, 2003, 11:55 AM
POor Lucic, I remeber when she beat Graf, Morariu, Coetzer....

auntie janie
Mar 30th, 2003, 12:16 PM
Thanks, Meesh, Great article! I hope she can keep it up and become a force on the Tour. Stay happy and healthy, Mirjana! :kiss:

PS -- Note to family members of Mirjana -- please get jobs so the burden of supporting the family is not of Mirjana's shoulders alone! Sheesh :o

Mar 30th, 2003, 12:19 PM
ok...we need more great players on the tour.:)

Mar 30th, 2003, 12:36 PM
I honestly think she can do an Agassi. If she can ever learn to control those groundies:eek: ! She'd be beating Venus and Serena every time:eek: :eek: :eek: !

Mar 30th, 2003, 02:01 PM
Great article! I'm so proud of her, that was a "serena-like" victory against a very tough opponent. Good luck Mirjana :hearts:

Mar 30th, 2003, 02:13 PM
That's good! I really wish good luck to Mirjana, cause I love her game! I hope to see her playing soon!

GO MIRJANA!! KEEP GOING IN SARASOTA! Surprise everyone! :bounce:

Mar 30th, 2003, 02:14 PM
Hopefully she is back. I wish her well for this tourney and the year.

Mar 30th, 2003, 03:26 PM
I hope Mirjana turns it around. She has great potential.


Mar 30th, 2003, 03:28 PM
What a great article!!! Thanks for sharing it with us, Meesh!!! :D

I really wish Mirjana all the luck in the world - she seems like a lovely person and a true fighter! Anyone with that much determination deserves to do really well on the tour!!

Good Luck Mirjana!!! :worship:

Mar 30th, 2003, 03:32 PM
great article - I really hope she's back now :)

Mar 30th, 2003, 03:34 PM
That brings a tear to my eye.... :sad: Go Mirjana! :kiss:

Tennis Fool
Mar 30th, 2003, 04:08 PM
Two comments:

1. Physical abuse! :eek:
2. Why doesn't her mother and siblings do what everyone else needs to do to survive. Get a job! :o

Mar 30th, 2003, 04:28 PM
Why not be happy for Lucic?? She's come a long way for crying out loud...Was it necessary to bring Venus and Serena into it mboyle ?? UGH!!! :eek: :mad: :fiery:

Mar 30th, 2003, 04:35 PM
Hopefully she can come back.. I saw her play at the US Open a few years.. Very good and shit the ball real hard.

King Aaron
Mar 30th, 2003, 04:40 PM
Thanks for sharing. :)

Good luck in resurecting your career Mirjana. :)

Lol janie!

Mar 30th, 2003, 05:58 PM
Good luck Mirjana - on the court....and off it.

Mar 30th, 2003, 06:05 PM
Thanks, Meesh, Great article! I hope she can keep it up and become a force on the Tour. Stay happy and healthy, Mirjana! :kiss:

PS -- Note to family members of Mirjana -- please get jobs so the burden of supporting the family is not of Mirjana's shoulders alone! Sheesh :o

her family is near Mirjana because they love her and not because of MONEY!!! :mad:

Mar 30th, 2003, 07:10 PM
Good Luck Mirjana :bounce: I really hope she can do well again.

Mar 30th, 2003, 07:57 PM
Was it necessary to bring Venus and Serena into it mboyle ??

When one desires to see "their" sport restored back to it's "good old days"... absolutely.

Mar 30th, 2003, 08:05 PM
hehe simone you must be kinda relieved that Lucic is getting her confidence back... let's hope for the best in her throughout this tourney ;) it's also sad to hear what she's gone through especially knowing what her dad did to her...

Mar 30th, 2003, 08:11 PM
Why not be happy for Lucic?? She's come a long way for crying out loud...Was it necessary to bring Venus and Serena into it mboyle ?? UGH!!! :eek: :mad: :fiery:

Exactly Infiniti, I don't know why they even came up. :rolleyes:

Also, this story made me feel so sad. I'm so happy that Lucic is getting herself together again. :sad: :)

Mar 30th, 2003, 08:31 PM
Very good and shit the ball real hard.
That sounds sore! :p

Mar 30th, 2003, 10:16 PM
Go Mirjana.

I really hope that you can rise back and watch your powerful groundies in Wimby semis again:)

Mar 30th, 2003, 10:21 PM
She smacks the ball harder then any woman i have ever seen, so i hope she can rise up the rankings so i can watch her again :)

Mar 30th, 2003, 10:24 PM
I Love You Mirjana!!!! Get Back To The Top Girl!!!! I Know You Can!!!!

Mar 30th, 2003, 10:43 PM
mirjana lost today 6-4 6-4 to jidkova
not a bad loss tho, alina lost to meghan last week in 3 and we all know how well meghan was playing

Mar 30th, 2003, 10:52 PM
Thanks for the article Meesh! :D Sad that Mirjana lost today, but I wish her good luck for the future!

Mar 31st, 2003, 01:20 AM
I know mirjana,she is a friend of mine,i guess we are friends
i just wanned to tell you on your comments about her family
both of her sisters go to college and work and suport them selfs
both of her brothers pley tennis at nick bollettieri tennis academy
where they earned schoolarships
Mirjanas family has nothing to do with her money AT ALL.and they dont care about the money they love her coz what she and them went throu alot.They all do have life and a job.
i know them and they are a great family
i just didnt want their names and hard work to get bad/
thanks :wavey:

Mar 31st, 2003, 02:32 AM
a three-setter against Alina really isn't bad.
but she will need to work harder if she really wants to step up back.

Mar 31st, 2003, 05:04 AM
good luck mirjana!!

Dawn Marie
Mar 31st, 2003, 05:34 AM
Mirjana Good luck! and great to see that you're getting help for your depression! Congrats on that win!

Here's to you climbing back up those ranks girl!:)

Mar 31st, 2003, 03:01 PM
i think if she really is moving as well as it says in the article (dropped 40 pounds) and judging byt he new perspective she has it seems she will rise from the ashes capriati-like. It will take time, but i can see her finishing this year in the top 100 if she remains healthy throughout the season.

crack those winners mirjana! :)