Chilly Showers, Skydiving And A Little Assist From Novak

American Aleksandar Kovacevic began taking part in tennis in a singular means.

The 24-year-old, who was born in New York Metropolis, grew up studying to play tennis on the iconic Central Park.

“I used to be born and raised on the Higher West Facet in New York and educated at John McEnroe’s Academy for some time,” Kovacevic stated. “We lived at 97th and Central Park West, proper on the park. My mother and father would go on the weekend to hit on the courts and I went with them. It was a 5 minute stroll from our condominium. It’s a cool method to begin for positive. I by no means actually appreciated that till I bought older.”

Due to his mother and father, Milan and Milanka, who had been each desk tennis professionals, Kovacevic started his journey in the direction of making a profession in his personal proper as a professional athlete.


In July, Kovacevic reached his maiden ATP Challenger Tour ultimate in Indianapolis, Indiana, the place he relinquished six championship factors to China’s Wu Yibing, who prevailed 6-7(10), 7-6(13), 6-3. Within the semi-finals, Kovacevic beat #NextGenATP star Ben Shelton, who had reached the ultimate on the Rome (Georgia) Challenger the earlier week.

Kovacevic, who was ranked exterior the Prime 350 firstly of this season, additionally reached the semi-finals on the Little Rock and Lexington Challengers this summer time.

Now within the semi-finals on the ATP 250 occasion in Seoul, the place Kovacevic has upset three Prime-100 gamers (Kecmanovic, Tseng, McDonald), the teenager is at a career-high mark 166 within the Pepperstone ATP Reside Rankings.

Earlier than Kovacevic turned skilled in 2021, he had a standout collegiate profession on the College of Illinois, the place he was a two-time ITA All American and graduated with a Bachelor’s diploma in finance.

“In March 2021, I performed the Cleveland Challenger and went from qualies to the semi-finals,” Kovacevic stated. “I knew it was my time to show professional. My dad needed to persuade me, as a result of I used to be ranked 700 at the moment, however I’m completely happy I did.”

When Kovacevic made his Grand Slam qualifying debut on the 2021 US Open, he superior to the ultimate spherical earlier than falling brief to Argentine Marco Trungelliti. The next day, the American was set to do some stretching on the fitness center when a well-known face invited him to tag alongside for a health session: Novak Djokovic.

Kovacevic’s father, Milan, is Serbian and his mom hails from Bosnia. When ‘Aleks’ was youthful, the household would take an annual journey to Serbia. When Kovacevic met Djokovic at Flushing Meadows, he disregarded the rust of his Serbian-speaking skills to speak with the 21-time main champion.

“My ultimate spherical qualifying match in opposition to Trungelliti, I had seven or eight match factors. It was some of the heartbreaking losses I’ve ever had. The subsequent day, once I was within the fitness center, Novak instructed me he heard about my match and requested if I wished to affix his health session.

“I used to be shocked. He was chasing historical past that week and didn’t have to offer me his time. It was an unbelievable expertise. On the finish, Novak instructed me that I’ve bought a shiny future and I ought to prepare with him in Serbia.”


At coronary heart, Kovacevic is an adrenaline junkie. Whether or not it’s snowboarding, jet snowboarding, or skydiving, he’s prepared for a thrill. He credit his angle of getting exterior of his consolation zone as a part of why he’s discovered success on the courtroom.

“I stay by the philosophy that if I do one factor day by day that makes me uncomfortable, it can make me a harder individual in life,” Kovacevic stated. “I take chilly showers within the morning. These issues sharpen you as an individual. It makes you stronger on the courtroom while you face adversity on the market.

“In school, we performed the primary spherical of the NCAA Event in Oklahoma and after we received, our coach [Brad Dancer] pulled the van round and instructed us to get in. He instructed us that we had been going to get our present from a booster, which we obtained yearly. He instructed us to not put up something on social media or name our mother and father till after we get the present.

“We bought to a small airport with a skydiving signal. I stated, ‘No means!’. I wasn’t going. A couple of of us stayed on the bottom, however after three hours, we lastly determined to go. It was actually probably the greatest moments of my life. Often it’s 10,000 toes however this place had clearance to do 15,000 toes. It was a minute straight freefall. It bought us free for the matches the following day for positive.”

Kovacevic, who now lives and trains in Boca Raton, Florida, will subsequent play Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka within the semi-finals of the Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships.

ATP Challenger Tour 

from Tennis – ATP World Tour

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