Wednesday, 27 August 2014


Marinko Matosevic has a playing profile akin to a heavy weight boxer, a list of matches against the absolute best that the game has to offer, not just a few times but many. He has gone many rounds with some heavy weight's and it's beginning to pay dividends . Matosevic has been made to play at a level that perhaps many fellow pro's around his ranking haven't and it's why his prize money has gone from $122,000 in 2011 to nearly $1.7 million in 2014. He has been forced to make a choice, sink or swim and the Aussie is now swimming like all time great Michael Phelps.
Marinko's 'good fortune' in Grand Slam matches began in 2011 when he qualified for Wimbledon and drew World number 20 , Argentinian Davis Cup star Juan Ignacia Chela. He lost in 4 close sets but picked up a much needed $20,000 to help pay for the expenses of a struggling player ranked 150. What's the chances of drawing the same player at the next Slam in the first round ? The US Open of 2011 handed him just that but Marinko was injured after just 4 games against Chela and retired.
The Australian Open to kick the 2012 season off had the Aussie up against World number 15 Gael Monfils and he went down rather easily but another $20,000 softened the blow. Delray Beach however in February of 2012 was his break through tournament and he made it all the way through to the final losing to Kevin Anderson. A pay day of $39,000 plus 162 ranking points saw his bank account and ranking head further in the right direction as he went from 173 to 129.
Marinko did not qualify for Paris then lost in the first round of Wimbledon to former top 20 player Xavier Malisse in straight sets. He drew World number 13 Maran Cilic in the first round at the US Open and remarkably won the first two sets before losing in 5. His game however was improving with a ranking of 47 and the reputation of a player to be respected.
What's the chances of meeting the player he lost to at the last Slam of 2012 in the first round of the very next Slam of the following year ? He drew Cilic at the Australian Open of 2013, this time losing in straight sets. Many players would have asked for divine intervention , not Marinko, he simply 'asked' for more of the same. He qualified for Paris but drew World number 5 David Ferrer , losing in straight sets before finally gaining a kind draw at Wimbledon. He drew World number 85 Guillaume Rufin of France, surely this was Marinko's big chance ? No, he wasn't used to playing 'average' players in Grand Slams, he lost in 4 sets. 
The US Open of 2013 saw him play World number 22 Tommy Robredo, more Marinko's 'style' of opponent , he lost in 4 but pushed the Spaniard all the way. A first round loser's prize of $32,000 would no doubt have made him feel a little better . 
So finally to 2014, surely this year would be the year Marinko would win a match in a Grand Slam tournament, surely he had paid his dues. Oh yeah , you betcha, Marinko was battle hardened by now, it was merely a formality......
With just a slight hiccup at the Australian Open where he drew World number 17 Kei Nishikori and lost in 5 sets the 'heavy weight' from Down Under finally had a win in a Slam. It came in the form of a 4 set victory over Dustin Brown and he celebrated in style. The 'rolly polly' type of celebration made headlines around the World , some said it was over the top, others knew the story behind it and paid Marinko the respect he deserved. He lost in round two but went on to beat Verdasco in his first match at Wimbledon before losing a tight 5 setter in the second round.
So to this year's US Open and only Marinko Matosevic can draw the big guns like no other and they don't come much bigger than Roger. Was the Aussie overawed ? You tell me if a 3-6, 4-6, 6-7 loss to arguably the greatest of all time was an opponent that he felt intimidated by......
Marinko Matosevic's heart is as big as his ever growing bank balance and one day he will share his stories of playing the World's best tennis players with his own kids i am certain. He may not consider his regular tough draws as 'lucky' at the moment, but one day I guarantee you.......
he will.......

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