We were too busy absorbing the recent achievements of Serbian fellas Nenad Zimonjic, Novak Djokovic, and Janko Tipsarevic that we couldn’t read up on the fourth dude, Viktor Troicki. (He reminds me of Ryan Donowho.)
But with some time online, we found out more about Troicki, who fell to Nadal in the first round of this year’s, but kicked ass in Moscow when he took down Dmitry Tursunov 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-3 in a Davis Cup (dead) rubber. He even took Kolya to five in the second singles match of the tie.
By the way, plenty has been written about how the Serbians physically fell apart in the hands of the Russians (i.e., “poisoning”, “tampering”, etc.) — but we should give the Russians a pat on the back for their work. Especially Kolya, who needed a win this weekend after being weak link in last year’s final against the U.S.
Take that, Nike! An article in the Christian Science Monitor shed some light on how he came to partner with Diadora for his on-court clothing:
“In 2003, Troicki was in the locker room before a top juniors tournament when a representative from Nike arrived to hand out gear to young players the company sponsored. When the rep saw Troicki — not on his list — wearing Nike clothes, he offered the young player a contract on the spot. But when he heard Troicki was from the poor and internationally vilified Yugoslavia — which Serbia was then still part of — it didn’t exactly strike the rep as fertile ground for brand exposure. He took back the contract and said they’d wait to see how Troicki did at the tournament. The young Serbian tennis player never heard from him again.
“‘I think he’s regretting it now,’ laughs Troicki, who now has deals with Prince and [Diadora]. ‘In Serbia, tennis is the most popular sport now.’
Oops. I guess Nike has their hands full now with Masha, Roger, and Rafa. But who knows what could have been if they sponsored these then Yugoslavians?
>> TSF’s davis cup coverage