The 10 Best Croatian Tennis Players of All-Time
Generally speaking, Croatia doesn’t get much mention in the English-speaking world. To an extent, that is because it didn’t become an independent country until 1991, though Britannica points out that it can trace its roots to the 6th and 7th centuries.
Despite this, Croatia seems to be quite good at tennis, as shown by the number of Croatian tennis players who have managed to secure high world rankings.
Here are ten of the best Croatian tennis players to play so far:
10. Petra Martić
Petra Martić was born in Split, the biggest city on the Croatian coast. She has won two WTA titles and one WTA Challenger title. Thanks to that, Martić peaked at number 14 in January 2020. She remains active as a professional tennis player. As a result, there is still a chance for her to reach a higher peak at some point.
9. Ivo Karlović
Ivo Karlović was notable in several ways as a professional tennis player. For example, he has a height of 6 feet 11 inches, meaning he is tied for being the tallest professional tennis player.
Similarly, he had one of the fastest serves ever recorded, though he has since been surpassed in this regard. Besides these things, Karlović’s strengths enabled him to win eight career titles, thus resulting in a peak at the number 14 position in August 2008.
8. Borna Ćorić
Borna Ćorić is another individual who remains active as a professional tennis player. As such, he is still adding accomplishments to his career record. For instance, Ćorić won the Cincinnati Masters in August 2022, which made him the lowest-ranking individual to win a Masters 1000 tournament. For now, his highest ranking is number 12. However, he could climb even higher in the future.
7. Mario Ančić
Nowadays, Mario Ančić works in private equity. There was a time when he was one of the Top 10 tennis players in the world. Specifically, Ančić was number seven in July 2006. Unfortunately, ESPN reports that he suffered a combination of illness and injuries that made it difficult for him to compete in 2007 and 2008. He wasn’t able to give his best performance.
Indeed, he was in such a bad condition that he had to miss numerous events in that period, which is why he slid to the number 135 position. Still, Ančić claimed three singles career titles and five doubles career titles, meaning he was still quite successful. For further proof, consider his $4 million+ in prize money.
6. Iva Majoli
Iva Majoli peaked at number four because of her eight singles career titles and other victories. In particular, she is famous because she won the French Open in 1997. Moreover, Majoli went up against Martina Hingis in the finals, which was notable because Hingis is one of the greatest professional tennis players of recent decades.
Besides this, Majoli also competed in doubles with less impressive results. She won one doubles career title, thus enabling her to peak at number 24.
5. Nikola Mektić
Nikola Mektić’s singles career is unimpressive. He peaked at number 213 in May 2013. Otherwise, his singles career wasn’t noteworthy. In contrast, Mektić’s doubles career was incredible. For starters, he won 22 doubles career titles. One was a doubles win at Wimbledon, while another was a mixed doubles win at the Australian Open.
Unsurprisingly, Mektić has held the number one position for doubles tennis, which happened in October 2021. On top of these things, it should be mentioned that he even has a gold medal from the 2020 Summer Olympics.
4. Mate Pavić
Mate Pavić has a similar career record. In his case, he peaked even lower at number 259 for singles tennis. However, Pavić’s career in doubles tennis has been even more impressive than Mektić’s. He has won 32 career titles.
Out of those, five of them have been Grand Slams. He has won the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open, meaning he still needs to win the French Open to complete the set. Frustratingly, he has played in the finals on two separate occasions, but he finished second in both cases.
Pavić also has a gold medal from the 2020 Summer Olympics, which is no coincidence because he was Mektić’s partner in that competition. It will be interesting to see whether Pavić and Mektić will continue to add to their tally in the times to come. That is particularly true for Pavić, who presumably has more time because he is younger by several years.
3. Ivan Ljubičić
Ivan Ljubičić was a professional tennis player from 1998 to 2012. However, he exerted influence beyond that period because he served as a coach to Milos Raonic and Roger Federer. Ljubičić’s career record isn’t as impressive as those of his students. Still, it is remarkable in its own right.
He won 10 career titles, which enabled him to peak at the number 3 position in May 2006. Alas, Ljubičić never won a Grand Slam single. The closest he ever came was the semifinals at the French Open in 2006.
2. Marin Čilić
Marin Čilić is considered one of the best professional tennis players to ever emerge from Croatia. That is because he has won 20 singles career titles, which include the U.S. Open in 2014. Thanks to that, Čilić has reached as high as the number three position in the world. His performance in doubles tennis is less impressive but still noteworthy.
The man has never won any titles in this regard. Even so, he has a silver medal. Indeed, Reuters points out that he won that at the 2020 Summer Olympics because both of the pairs competing in the finals were Croatian.
1. Goran Ivanišević
With that said, Goran Ivanišević is even more notable. First, he reached the number two position in singles tennis. He managed that because he won 22 singles career titles, which included Wimbledon in 2001.
That victory was particularly notable because he was a wildcard, thus making him the only one to ever win the tournament after entering through that route. Second, he reached the number 20 position in doubles tennis because he won nine doubles career titles. Ivanišević has also been quite successful as a coach.
He coached Čilić during the period when the latter won the U.S. Open. Furthermore, he has been coaching Novak Djokovic since 2019, which says much about the regard in which he is held.
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