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Borna Gojo: The Croatian US Open sensation

He arrived in New York for the US Open qualifiers, aiming to qualify for a Grand Slam, and he will leave it as one of the biggest sensations, regardless of the outcome from here on in. 

Croatian tennis player Borna Gojo (25) secured his sixth consecutive victory at the US Open overnight, including qualifiers, to earn a spot in the round of 16, where he will face the world’s number one tennis player, Novak Djoković, at Arthur Ashe stadium on Sunday.

Gojo won his first and second round matches at the US Open against  Mackenzie McDonald and Hugo Dellien in straight sets, and on Friday won in  straight sets again in third round match against Jiri Vesely, winning 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in just over two hours.

Gojo has experienced a revival in New York. The United States is a country he loves to play in. His career on American soil began in 2018 in Winston-Salem, where he received a wildcard for his ATP tour debut. He attended Wake Forest University in that city from 2017 to 2019, studying business management.

Borna Gojo: The Croatian sensation at the US Open 

Borna Gojo (Photo credit: si.robi/(CC BY-SA 2.0)

“It’s been a while since then; I spent the best years of my life in Winston-Salem, and it was good. Coaches and the program gave me a lot in life and in my career. Without that, I wouldn’t be here, or maybe I wouldn’t even be playing, so I’m really grateful for that time. I miss school and all the people there,” he said after defeating the Czech player.

“When you’re at a tournament, you don’t have much time to enjoy it; you’re just preparing for the next match. I can’t say I’ve been enjoying the last 10 days, but of course, it’s still nice to be here and win,” Gojo added.

Gojo, who is another Croatian tennis player born in the city of Split, like Goran Ivanišević, Mario Ančić and Mate Pavić to name a few, arrived at Flushing Meadows with a new hair colour, turning his brown hair into blond, and he revealed the reason behind it was a bet with his coach, Dujom Delic, 24sata reported.

“My coach and I made a bet at the beginning of the year that I would dye my hair when I enter the top 100. I was always just a little short, 102nd, 103rd, and I got frustrated, as usual. I made an unreasonable decision and said, ‘I’ll do it before the US Open, and maybe it will happen.’ And here I am,” he laughed.

With this career-best ranking, he has risen from 102nd to 76th on the live rankings, jumping 29 positions. He’s playing brilliantly, and his serve is on point.

“I always try to focus on my serve and things that work well for me. It’s nice that I’ve maintained this level this week and that I’m concentrated for the best-of-three-set matches. I’ve finished all three matches quite convincingly, and I’m happy about that,” Gojo, who has been a regular in recent years in Croatia’s Davis Cup team, said.

He finished his match before Novak Djokovic and Laslo Djere started theirs. The world’s number one was in big trouble, but after being down 0-2, he eventually made it to the round of 16 and will face Gojo for the first time. 

Borna offered his prediction before the Serbians took the court.

“Whatever happens in that match, it will be tough. I played against Laslo once, never against Novak. All these guys are favorites against me, but I’ll prepare myself and my game as best as I can. We’ll see what happens on Sunday,” Gojo said.

His previous best performabce at a Grand Slam was last year at the French Open where he reached the second round. 

The odds are heavily in Djokovic’s favor, with a coefficient of 1.01, while Borna stands at 13, which means he has a 7.7% chance. It’s time for Borna to give it his all on the center court and who knows, maybe something more will happen… Who knows.

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