Emilija Kojčić (playing for Dinamo Pančevo, born in 2001) played in final of Summer Championship of Serbia, in June 2015. in TC Spartak, Subotica. This year she won U-14 Belgrade Open, a 1st category tournament, held at TK Sa&Ni. This year she also played in semifinals of Indoor Championship of Serbia, an A category U-14 tournament held at TK Trim, and last year she was a finalist of Serbian Tennis Association’s U-14 Masters! During 2014 she won U-14 Požarevac Open, a 1st category tournament, and won 2nd place in U-14 National championship for teams, along with her girlfriends from TK Dinarmo. She also played in semifinals of Čović memorial, an U-14 1st category tournament in Palić. She also had a very good achievement in U-16 category, playing in semifinals of Novi Sad Open held at TK Elite.
In 2011 she won 3rd place at Smirkva Bowl in Pula and won Belgrade Tennis Association’s U-10 Masters. In 2013 she won Indoor championship of Vojvodina, and played in semifinals of Summer Championship of Serbia held in Subotica. At the beginning of 2014, she played in semifinals of U-14 Winter Championship of Serbia.
For all these reasons, get to know more about this talented, left-handed tennis player:
Which achievements would you single out as the most important ones in your career so far?
My dearest tournament is Smirkva Bowl in Pula, because I did pretty well there, and it was also an unofficial world championship. I was happy that Olga, Ksenija and myself won first three places. It was very nice in Pula.
Beside Smirkva Bowl, that year I won U-10 Masters held at TK Partizan and then I got sponsorship from Head. That made me very happy, because I really enjoyed using their equipment. I still play in Head, and I am satisfied.
In 2013 I won Indoor Championship of Vojvodina, and that was also very important achievement.
I am also happy that I played in semifinals of National championships three times in a row, and I was very close to getting into finals, but it always slipped somehow.
I would also mention the U-12 tournament in Umag in 2013, where I lost in quarterfinals from Croatian champion Iva Zelić. Just when I started turning the match around, it started raining, which suited Iva.
Also in 2013, I played semifinals of ETA tournament in Timisoara against Romanian champion Roxana Manu, who is now one of the best players in Europe and plays for Romanian national team. I lost in straight sets, but all the games were long, and I played very well.
That year I won many important tournaments in Serbia.
In 2014 I won several tournaments in Serbia, but my biggest achievement was getting into semifinals of the 1st category U-16 tournament at TK Elite in Novi Sad. I played very well back then, and I lost in a close game to Hristina Đokić, who became U-16 Champion of Serbia and who is two years older than I am. I really played well at that tournament. In 2014 I did not have any major results at ETA tournaments, but I played only in few.
In January this year I played in tournament named Les Petits in Tarbes, France, and this is the best tournament I ever participated in, although I did not do much there. Still, I qualified for the tournament based on my ETA rankings, and this tournament is an unofficial U-14 world championship, and all the best players were there.
When did you start practicing tennis, and who are your tennis idols?
I started practicing when I was six. I do not have idols. I like Sharapova and Nole.
Could you tell us more about your tennis club, your coach and your teammates with whom you won 2nd place in National championship for teams?
My club is Dinamo Pančevo, and that is one of the best and nicest clubs in Serbia. I keep hearing kids say that they like to play in tournaments organized by our club. We have 6 courts and running lane. The entire complex is very nice. There are many kids in Dinamo, but not as much as before. In 2014, my teammates and I won 2nd place in National championship for teams. We played 3:3 against Red Star, and it was one set in the doubles that decided the duel. Beside me, Milana Vulin, Nevena Kićović, Ana Vilček, Natalija Đukić and Jovana Čavić played for our team. Boys lost in the semifinals.
How much do you work on conditioning with your coach, and how important is conditioning for success in tennis?
Lately, I have been working on conditioning 5-6 times a week for one hour. Sometimes a bit longer. I have a great coach in Nebojša Zlatković, and I get along with him very well. Conditioning is very important for me, and I believe that I am one of the most durable players. I noticed that many girls, although much stronger than me, get tired quickly during matches, while I am still OK and I can play more. That gives me a lot of self-confidence.
What do you consider to be your biggest strength in tennis, and what would you change or improve in your game?
Durability is my biggest strength. It gives me a lot of self-confidence. I am good at building points, and I quickly realize what tactics should I use against my opponent, what are her strengths and weaknesses. My technique is not so bad, but could be improved, especially my backhand, because my arms are a bit stiff and I do not have a good spin like I have with my forehand. With my forehand I really have good spin. I think that my forehand is very good. I also need to improve going to the net and my volleys. Also my drive. All these elements are not that bad, but have to be much better, especially when I see girls who play on ETA tournaments. My serve is excellent, but I still do not have enough strength for powerful serves. I am really good at deep spin balls, and I am excellent at short diagonals, and I like playing them. Everybody says that. I am afraid of girls who play „balloons“. Those matches are always difficult for me and I often lose them. I am not perfect in any element, which gives me a lot of room for improvement. And I should put on some weight and become stronger.
Does the fact that you are left-handed give you any advantage over your opponents?
Being left-handed gives me a lot of advantage, and lately I started using that advantage in the right way. With my forehand I keep sending deep balls to my opponents’ backhand, and also when I send a short diagonal to their backhand, they are rarely able to return it. Sometimes I make a mistake, so they win the point. I began controlling my serve better, and now from the deuce side I serve a parallel to their backhand, and from the advantage side I serve a diagonal, which my opponents don’t like.
Does tennis leave you enough time for hanging out with your friends and/or for a hobby?
I do not have much time left after tennis, conditioning and school. I have a lot of catching up to do for school after tournaments. I somehow manage to be an A-student, with only few Bs. One can always find time, but it is not like with the kids who do not have this sort of activities. I ride my bike, rollerskate, watch movies and some series. I sometimes go to birthday parties, but I usually hang out with other players during tournaments. I travel a lot, and I like it very much.
What are your plans for the coming season? Will you be playing more on national or on international tournaments?
In the coming season, if possible, it would be good to play as many ETA tournaments as possible. I like them most, and they are very important. I wish I could win an ETA tournament, even if it is a 3rd category one. I believe I can make it to at least 50th – 100th place in ETA rankings, and that is enough for the time being. It all depends on how many tournaments I play and on level of my game at that moment. In Serbia, I plan to play in the national U-14 championship, and I believe that I have quality to finally make it to the finals, and even to win it. And it all depend on my form, and on what kind of day do my opponent and I have. There are six-seven of us girls who can beat each other. Only Olga is far ahead of us all. Beside national U-14 championship, in Serbia I will play only U-16 and even U-18 tournaments.
I wish to go to Orange Bowl this year, I heard from other players that it is much like Tarbes, and I hope I would be able to go.
What sort of music do you listen, and what songs would you recommend to our readers?
I prefer foreign music. Very rarely it happens that I like a Serbian song. I can not point a single song that I like more than the others. I am not one of those girls who always have their headphones on and follow charts with latest hits. In our car we always listen to Index radio, they play some great music, and since I ride in the car often, that is what I mostly listen.