A phone call from former Croatian football captain Zvonimir Boban to his good mate Goran Ivanišević over a decade ago, was to be the catalyst in the start of a partnership between the former Wimbledon champion and newly crowned US Open champion Marin Čilić…
Back in 2002, while Goran was in Zagreb recovering from shoulder surgery, he got a call from his good mate Boban. The former AC Milan midfielder invited Ivanišević for a coffee near tennis courts in the Zagreb suburb of Maksimir. The invite was two-fold, one – to catch up with his pal, the other is he wanted him to take a look at two teenage boys whom he thought were extremely talented. Goran went and took a look, and like Boban, who is a keen tennis fan and enjoys the odd hit with Ivanišević, was impressed with the teens, one of them being Marin Čilić.
Ivanišević and Boban were set to invest in the youngster.
“Boban and Goran were meant to invest back then in the project, but Goran’s obligations meant he could not, so he arranged that Marin could go to well-known coach Bob Brett,” Marin’s father Zdenko told daily 24sata.
Over a decade later and Ivanišević finally had the opportunity to coach the boy he first saw practicing on the Zagreb courts. Goran was not holding back emotions either after Čilić’s amazing win in New York this week.
“My Wimbledon win and Marin’s US Open I feel the same, both are a huge success. Marin has been 9th in the world before, but now I don’t think he will leave the top 10. People didn’t believe me when I said he is a top 5 player. We proved them wrong,” said a happy Ivanišević. (photo via flickr)