Q.: When did you start to coach tennis and why? Did you attend special courses or college to become a tennis coach?
A.: It took me some time to respond because I was looking for accurate info regarding my coach’s history. It matters who teaches you, what was the ranking …and it was long time ago!
When I was 11.5 years old, my family moved from one part of Belgrade to the building across the street of Partizan’s sport center. Parents told me to choose what I want to train. All sports were there in front of me. I felt like a boy in a toy shop. Tennis attracted me as a magnet. I was just fast kid who didn’t know anything about any sport. Most of my schoolmates were into all other sports (Red Star was just 2 blocks away), but I remember watching some big guy in his 50s or 60s who was dancing on the court and beating much younger guy who was actually very good. That young guy was competition player and the older guy was Petko Milojkovic. I was fascinated with his grace in spite he was 100 kg. I became his pupil. He used to be top Yugoslav player but WWII stopped him. As a veteran player he was for many years top in Europe.
My next coach was Bane Vucetic, another top Yugoslav coach and amazing technician who, as a junior, used to beat Ilie Năstase.
Even Seles’s father used to bring Monica to Partizan for additional lessons while as I was as a sport college student assisting my coach. Technically I could say that Monica (she was about 8 years old) was on my lesson.
One summer Jelena Gencic, Yugoslav champion, also known as the first Novak Djokovic’s teacher, was coaching our junior team and in Split I joined their team to be coached from Niki Pilic (also Novak Djokovic’s coach)!
My point is – good coach inspires and means so much in developing kid’s personality.
I loved giving lessons and I started as a junior 17 years old even my coach forbid me because I played for the first Partizan’s team.
My first instructor’s certificate I got when I was 18 only. I became youngest coach with university (sport science) degree in Yugoslavia. I was considered as one of top talented junior players in Yugoslavia. Army was obligatory and then university for five years. So much about my professional career as a tennis player.