Croat Coric's Chennai comeback

I have been working and practising for the last 30-35 days. After my knee surgery, I am playing very good. This is my first tournament (Chennai Open) after my surgery.

Borna Coric has realised the importance of taking care of one's body and remaining injury-free.   -  K. V. Srinivasan

Borna Coric faced a crisis in the form of an injury to his knee in September this year. And it taught him quite a few lessons of life. He says he’s the wiser for it.

The 20-year-old Croat, who was labelled ‘The ATP Star of Tomorrow’ in 2014, has grown in stature since then, defeating the likes of Andy Murray (in 2015) and Rafael Nadal twice (in ‘14 & ‘16).

Ranked 48 in the world, Coric, finalist at the last edition of the Aircel Chennai Open, said the knee injury has made him realise the importance of an injury-free body. “I have not been injured for the last 6-7 years maybe. I didn’t know the feeling of how it was when you cannot play, when you have pain. So the main goal is to take care of my body and enter the top 20 by the end next year,” he said, after practising at the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium ahead of the Chennai Open, watched by his new coach Ivica Ancic and dad Damir.

Excerpts from an interview:

Question: How have your preparations been for the Chennai Open?

Answer: I have been working and practising for the last 30-35 days. After my knee surgery, I am playing very good. This is my first tournament after my surgery.

This is your third appearance in the Chennai Open. Your expectations?

I have very good memories. There are no expectations as I haven’t played for 3-4 months. I don’t know what to expect.

Your thoughts on the Davis Cup journey this year and not being able to play in the final against Argentina due to the knee injury...

It was a very good journey. We had a very good run. Unfortunately , we didn’t come out as winners. I was disappointed at not being able to play in the final, This is tennis, this is life. I just need to bounce back.

You have changed three coaches in the span of three years. Why did you choose your current coach Ivica Ancic?

I spoke to Ivica and we started working (together) after the US Open. We had some problems with Miles (MacLagan). We didn’t agree on some things. So it just didn’t work out. I am not going to stay with a coach just because I had changed two (previous) coaches. And I am not going to stay with a coach just because the media says something bad about me. If I am not happy with someone I am going to always try for (a) better (one). Unfortunately, it didn’t work with the last couple of coaches. Ivica has been pushing me very hard.

How do you look back at 2016?

There have been ups and downs. I started the year very well making the final of the Chennai Open. I played the final in Morocco. In the summer it was very good. I was very happy with my tennis. It (the injury) was unfortunate. Like I said that is life.

Your goal for 2017?

The main goal is to stay healthy. I wasn’t injured for the last 6-7 years maybe. I didn’t know the feeling of how it was when you cannot play when you have pain. So the most important thing is I need to take care of my body. And try to make the top 20.