12:27 PM GMT May 13, 2020
Success hasn’t come without sacrifice for #NextGenATP star Miomir Kecmanovic.
The Serbian, who is only 20, is at a career-high No. 47 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. It wasn’t easy getting there, though. When he was 13, Kecmanovic moved away from his parents in Serbia to train in Florida at the IMG Academy.
“It definitely was tough, especially for my parents. They had to make that call and I know it wasn’t easy for them, but I think they knew that it was the best thing for me at that time,” Kecmanovic told ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot. “I’m very happy that they let me go to pursue my dream… I didn’t really speak English that well, didn’t know anybody. At the beginning, it was really tough to get through. But eventually everything came together, and it was really enjoyable to be there.”
Tennis captivated the Serbian at a young age. One of his grandfathers took him to play the sport at Zlatibor Mountain, and he never looked back.
“We were always close, but I think that was definitely our thing. It was funny, because he was trying a bunch of different things, trying to see what would get me excited, and we finally found something that was working,” Kecmanovic said. “It was a happy time for us.”
In leaving for Florida as a teen, Kecmanovic was setting his sights high, hoping to become a professional. He knew he had to commit to his training to chase those goals.
“You have to be on the court every day, day in, day out. [You have to] give 100 per cent every time, even when you don’t want to, or you’re playing badly. It takes basically your whole life to commit to it, with the nutrition, with the mindset, with the way you behave, the way you act on the court,” Kecmanovic said. “I also think you need a ton of people around you that can help you, that can guide you through it, because obviously you don’t know a lot at that age. I think you do need to find that balance, and you just need to commit to it every day.”
Miro Hrvatin, Kecmanovic’s coach, has mentored him for more than a decade, and his aunt, Tanja Pavlov, accompanied the teen when he moved to Florida at a young age.
“My parents gave me everything that I needed so I’d have an opportunity to do it, and obviously my aunt too, she travels with me a lot. She’s a big help of course with everything outside of tennis,” Kecmanovic said. “I’ve had a lot of good coaches, physios and fitness guys, and I think I was very lucky to have a good group of people around me who wanted me to succeed for me, and just to help me in the journey.”
At the end of the day, through his highest highs — like making last year’s BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals and qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals later in the season — and his toughest moments, Kecmanovic is still that boy in the Serbian mountains who loves playing tennis.
“I just like to play. I enjoy being on the court,” Kecmanovic said. “I just want to prove to myself that I can do it in the end.”