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“I’m actually speechless and that doesn’t happen very often” – elated Pecotic, world No 784, stuns Sock in Delray Beach

Matija Pecotic made a lifelong dream come true on Tuesday, as the 33-year-old finance professional won on his ATP Tour debut.

Matija Pecotic Delray Beach | Icon SMI Matija Pecotic Delray Beach | Icon SMI
Delray Beach Open •Third round • completed
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Matija Pecotic is 33 years old and the full-time director of capital markets at Wexford Capital LP. Not your typical ATP tennis player in other words, but the finance whiz is also a tennis whiz and he proved it on Tuesday night in Delray Beach has he made his long awaited ATP Tour debut and shocked American Jack Sock 4-6 6-2 6-2.

“I’m actually speechless and that doesn’t happen very often,” Pecotic said on court after his improbable triumph.

Pecotic, a former NCAA tennis player at Princeton, and later a graduate of Harvard Business school, has spent many years on the challenger circuit and reached a career-high ranking of 206 in 2015. But a stomach surgery and complications in the aftermath slowed his progress on tour and led to his eventual decision to focus on a career in finance.

“Maybe we should ask the crowd. Should I give it another go on the tour?”

Matija Pecotic to the crowd at Delray Beach

Finance by day, tennis by night

A change in career path didn’t kill Pecotic’s passion for the sport, however.

While at Harvard Business School he became a volunteer assistant coach for the men’s team and continued to let the dream of playing professional tennis flicker, as he trained six days a week. After graduating Harvard Pecotic gave himself a year to take a shot at the tour, and made progress before the the pandemic closed that door for him.

In Delray Beach, he used his protected ranking to get into qualifying as an alternate and took his place in the main draw with impressive wins over Stefan Kozlov and Tennys Sandgren.

On Tuesday night he was cool, calm and collected as he dominated the final two sets against the former world No 8.

A steady comeback against Sock

After dropping the first four games of the match Pecotic kept his eyes on the prize.

“I started down four love, but I was close in those two games that I lost,” he said. “So even though the score looked like I was really down, I just told myself, you know, two points – if I’d won those two points, I’d be two-all and I felt like I still had a chance and when I got that first game on the board, I felt like: ‘I’m gonna show good tennis today.'”

Pecotic turned the tables on Sock and saved the only break point he faced across sets two and three as he broke the world No 143 four times on six opportunities.

Will Pecotic consider leaving his job in finance for another run at the ATP Tour in light of his win?

“Maybe we should ask the crowd. Should I give it another go on the tour?” he told the crowd.

Matija Pecotic will play the winner of the match between No 8 seed Ben Shelton and Marcos Giron next at Delray Beach.

Delray Beach ATP250, other first-round results (Delray Beach Stadium and Tennis Center, hard, USD 642.735, most recent results first):

  • Ben Shelton vs. Marcos Giron : Tuesday in Delray Beach
  • Aleksandar Vukic (LL) beat Christopher Eubanks (Q): 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4
  • Radu Albot beat Fernando Verdasco (WC): 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1)
  • Mackenzie McDonald beat Taro Daniel: 6-2, 6-2
  • J.J. Wolf (9) beat Ilya Ivashka: 7-5, 6-3
  • Adrian Mannarino beat Daniel Altmaier: 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
  • Michael Mmoh beat Aleksandar Kovacevic (WC): 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
  • Yoshihito Nishioka (5) beat Oscar Otte: 6-3, 0-6, 6-4
  • Nuno Borges (Q) beat Steve Johnson (LL): 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
  • Emilio Gomez beat Tung-lin Wu (Q): 7-6 (3), 6-4
  • Denis Kudla beat Jordan Thompson: 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2)

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