Adrenaline Junkie Kovacevic Making Challenger Tour Rise | ATP Tour | Tennis

If you possibly can’t discover Aleksandar Kovacevic on the tennis courtroom or on a aircraft, maybe you must look to the mountain slopes to seek out the American who’s making fast progress on the ATP Challenger Tour.

“My favourite thing to do in the world is snowboard,” Kovacevic stated when sharing his love for thrill-seeking actions akin to jet-skiing and skydiving. “In 2021, I went and snowboarded with my buddy who lives in Lake Tahoe, California. I used to be there for like 4 days in the course of the Australian Open as a result of I didn’t qualify. But this yr I went to Australia, so I missed out on snowboarding.

“I grew up in New York City, so I’d go to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, it’s about a 90-minute drive from where I lived. I sustained some injuries from snowboarding when I was younger because all my friends were regular people, they didn’t play sports like I did. All they wanted to do was try tricks at the terrain park and I was a little kid trying all these tricks. I wasn’t very good so I hurt myself a lot. Now, I’m a little smarter.”

The 24-year-old, who’s competing at this week’s Monterrey Challenger, misses the times when he had extra spare time to pack his gear and head out for a getaway, however now he’s centered on a special mountain: climbing the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Earlier this month, the previous University of Illinois standout earned his maiden Challenger title in Cleveland, Ohio earlier than rising to a career-high 122. En path to the title, the two-time ITA All-American wanted a deciding set in 4 of his 5 matches and took out the highest three seeds: Emilio Gomez, Steve Johnson, and Wu Yibing, whom the American defeated in a highly-contested championship match.

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“To win my first Challenger there was special, it feels great,” Kovacevic stated. “It’s something I wanted to check off my list before moving into ATP. Not something that I had to check off or that it was necessary to get into the Top 100 or 50, but definitely a plus. It’s something I’m happy to put behind me.”

The Cleveland Challenger wasn’t the primary time Kovacevic and Wu met in a good battle. In July, the Chinese star fended off Kovacevic’s six championship factors to seize the Indianapolis Challenger title. Per week after Kovacevic was topped champion in Ohio, the 23-year-old Wu accomplished a dream run on the Dallas Open. Despite falling quick in Indianapolis, Kovacevic saved his head excessive and waited for a rematch.

“It was definitely tough,” Kovacevic stated. “I don’t suppose I essentially choked that closing. I didn’t really feel as down about it as perhaps I’d be if I had the match on my racquet or one thing. But it was positively robust, I had six match factors. What I discovered from that closing is I’ve to be able to play with that man. When I first performed him in Indianapolis, I introduced a fairly good degree however I used to be fairly impressed with him.

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Aleksandar Kovacevic in motion on the 2023 Cleveland Challenger.” />
Aleksandar Kovacevic in motion on the 2023 Cleveland Challenger. Credit: Ben Peskar

“In the first set of the Cleveland final I remember thinking, ‘This guy is the best tennis player I’ve ever seen in my life.’ Then seeing him beat Top-10 players was a little eye-opening for me because not only did I beat him recently, it was just a few days before. Me and him are good friends too and a lot of the guys that are coming up that have made some breakthroughs, I’m good friends with. Trying to be part of that crew is cool.”

Kovacevic made his Tour-level debut finally yr’s ATP 250 occasion in Seoul, the place as a fortunate loser he defeated the-then World No. 32 Miomir Kecmanovic and accomplished a semi-final run earlier than falling to eventual champion Yoshihito Nishioka.

The New York City native, who now lives and trains in Boca Raton, Florida, has his sights set on extra ATP Tour breakthroughs. Still early in his profession, Kovacevic is set for a robust exhibiting in 2023.

“I’d like to finish the year Top 50, that’d be nice. Obviously Top 100 is the immediate, short-term goal. Given the opportunities coming up, if I can make the Top 100, I think I can make a push to the Top 50. Ultimately, my goal is to be Top 10 one day but that’s far away as of now.”

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