Borna Gojo has never made it into the ATP top 200 yet. In 2021, until the last few days, this 23-year-old Croatian had not done better than two semi-finals in the Challengers, in Nur-Sultan and in Istanbul. 279th in the standings published this week, he has yet delivered, in the Davis Cup, with the national jersey, the three best matches of his life.
He who had never beaten an ATP top 80 had started, in pools, by dominating the Australian Alexei Popyrin (61st) then the Italian Lorenzo Sonego (27th). Without him Croatia would never have reached the semi-finals. And Friday, by adding a third big performance in a row, against Serbian Dusan Lajovic (33rd), dominated (4-6, 6-3, 6-2), he may have paved the way for the Davis Cup final to his teammates, despite the presence among the Serbs of Novak Djokovic …
Born in the magic cauldron of Split
Borna Gojo was born in Split and that’s anything but trivial. There is indeed a magical effect in Croatia linked to this city, where Goran Ivanisevic (winner of Wimbledon 2001), Mario Ancic (world No. 7 in 2006), Nikki Pilic (finalist at Roland-Garros 1973) are also from. ), Zeljko Franulovic (Roland-Garros 1970 finalist) and Mate Pavic (current world No. 1 in doubles).
Coming from a late and collective journey
He doesn’t have an early junior background. He didn’t start playing until around the age of twelve and then branched out into American college tennis before entering the professional circuit. With Wake Forest (the college in Winston Salem, North Carolina, where he studied from 2017 to 2019), he won the 2018 NCAA Championship, already proving his ability to perform well in team competitions. He much prefers to fight for a collective than for himself
Thank you for the Nadal effect
At the end of 2019, he had already had a very strong experience in the Davis Cup. He found himself in Madrid, on the huge Central of Caja Magica, facing Rafael Nadal in person. And had held the dragee high until 4-4. ” Then I was a little nervous, but in the end there was only one break per set and when you can resist Nadal then you tell yourself you can resist anyone. »
A spoiled first half of 2021
Injured in early February in Melbourne, after coming close to extricating himself from qualifying for the Australian Open, he had to juggle with a diminished physique throughout the first half of the season. ” I was emotionally touched, it was a very difficult year, but I continued to believe that I could play as an equal with these guys, and the Davis Cup gave me the opportunity to prove it. »
A little stiff but strong
Borna Gojo does not develop a technique of lightning fluidity. His backhand, played with outstretched arms, is quite stiff, but he has an explosive type of tennis, behind a service that does damage and, above all, he is offensive and enterprising. And particularly popular in the Davis Cup, of course.