One of the best stories of the tennis season began on Tuesday at the Delray Beach Open, as 33-year-old Matija Pecotic defeated Jack Sock to earn the first ever ATP Tour victory of his career.
“I certainly didn't expect to win, but certainly didn't come into the match thinking that I'm definitely going to lose," he said afterwards.
Pecotic works full-time as a real estate investor but came through the qualifying to earn a spot in the Delray Beach Open main draw. The remarkable win didn’t get off to the greatest start, however, as Sock raced out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set before going on to win the set.
The Croat then had to fight off a break point early in the second set, and the comeback was on. He would hit 10 aces and 30 winners overall in his comeback, including saving six of eight break points in the match.
“You've got to be realistic. This is a former Top 10 guy with an incredible amount of tennis experience, with a huge serve. He came out serving 134 [mph] on the first serve. It would be arrogant to think that I'm going to come out and expect to win,” admitted Pecotic. “But I certainly figured if I could sink my teeth into the match and work on the two or three patterns that I prepared before, that I'm going to have a chance. And then let's see... if I was going to fall under pressure or not be able to serve it out at some point. But I didn't and I got the win."
After coming through qualifying, Pecotic joked afterwards that he had to leave work early in order to make it to the stadium on time for his match. His boss was in his player’s box during Tuesday night’s match.
“I had to leave work early today. I had to send an e-mail to the whole team. [My boss] let me off,” he said. “I’m going to have to ask for another day off tomorrow.”
Up next for Pecotic is American Marcos Giron, who ousted compatriot Ben Shelton on Tuesday night.
Also advancing on Tuesday were Americans J.J. Wolf and Mackenzie McDonald, as well as Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.