Croatia’s Ivan Dodig had a chance today to win his second Grand Slam tennis title and his country’s 7th overall when he played in the mixed doubles final at the 2017 Australian Open.
Dodig and his Indian partner Sania Mirza however were beaten in straight sets by Abigail Spears and Juan Sebastian Cabal.
Croatia however still has 6 Grand Slam tennis champions since the country declared its independence in the early 1990s. With a population of only around 4 million people, that is a great achievement in what is one of the most competitive sports in the world.
Here is a look back at all of Croatia’s Grand Slam winners.
French Open – 1997
Winner: Iva Majoli – Women’s Singles
Majoli won the 1997 French Open singles title, upsetting 16-year-old Martina Hingis in the final in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. On her way to the final Majoli also beat Sandra Kleinová, Alexandra Fusai, Ann Grossman, Lindsay Davenport, Ruxandra Dragomir and Amanda Coetzer.
The tournament was notable for Majoli ending Hingis’s 37-match winning streak and handing Hingis her first sound defeat in a final of a Grand Slam.
Australian Open – 1998
Winner: Mirjana Lučić – Women’s Doubles
Mirjana Lučić, who enjoyed a dream run at the 2017 Australian Open making it though to the semfinal, won the women’s title in Melbourne in 1998 with Martina Hingis.
The pair were not seeded and upset the tournament’s No.1 seeds, Natasha Zvereva and Lindsay Davenport, in the final 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
Wimbledon – 2001
Winner: Goran Ivanišević – Men’s Singles
The most famous of all Croatia’s Grand Slam titles. Ivanišević beat Australian Patrick Rafter 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7 in a tense final.
Goran became the first wild card to win a major and was ranked 125th in the world at the start of the tournament. Ivanišević had reached the final three times before (in 1992, 1994 and 1998) but lost each (to Agassi, and Sampras twice, respectively).
US Open – 2014
Winner: Marin Čilić – Men’s Singles
Coached by Croatia’s last Grand Slam winner Goran Ivanišević, Marin Čilić won his first major when he beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the final.
Čilić and Nishikori were the two lowest-ranked seeds to reach the US Open final since Pete Sampras won the title in 2002 as 17th seed. Čilić was the tournament’s 14th seed.
French Open – 2015
Winner: Ivan Dodig – Men’s Doubles
Ivan Dodig become the first Croatian men’s tennis player to win a title at Roland Garros. Dodig, and his Brazilian partner Marcelo Melo, were too good for the world No.1 pairing of the Bryan brothers, winning 6-7, 7-6, 7-5.
US Open – 2016
Winner: Mate Pavić – Mixed Doubles
Mate Pavić won the US Open mixed doubles title with his German partner Laura Siegemund in New York in 2016. The Croatian-German pairing were too good for their American opponents Coco Vandeweghe and Rajeev Ram in the final, winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
Pavić and Siegemund did not lose a set all tournament leading up to the final.