Мarko Miladinović (playing for TK Reket, born in 2000) won Serbian Tennis Association’s U-14 Masters yesterday. He’s had a fantastic year: he won 15 tournaments this year, and 8 of them were European tournaments! He won the Serbian Indoor U-14 Championship, Summer national U-14 championship, TE U-14 Christmas tournament, 2nd Jovan Kukaras Memorial tournament, thus holding all the most important titles in Serbia for his age. But, that’s not all: although Marko will turn 14 only on December 7, he is already winning some national and international tournaments for older players – TE U-16 Nikšić open 2014, U-18 Belgrade open (3rd category tournament)…
On the Tennis Europe Junior Tour list, Marko is in a fantastic sixth place!
He is the best-ranking young Serbian tennis player on European list for any of the ages (12, 14, 16 and 18), counting both boys and girls!
Marko, we would like to congratulate you on your great results! What are your impressions after winning the Serbian Tennis Association’s U-14 Masters?
I am very pleased that I won this tournament, because it boosted my confidence before leaving for tournaments in the USA.
Could you think of a final that was hardest for you to play, but the victory was sweet?
The most difficult one was in Nikšić, when I won in the finals by 7-6 in the third set. Тhat victory is very dear to me, because it was the first ТЕ U-16 title in my career. And the time when I felt best on the court was when I won the 1st-category tournament in Italy, because the finals were played in a packed central court, with a scoreboard, ball-boys, and Serbian anthem was played. It was really incredible.
When did you start practicing tennis and why did you choose an individual sport?
I started practicing tennis when I was 6 years old. I chose this sport because, as soon as I first held a racket in my hand when I was 3, I realized that this was the sport for me, because racket was my favorite toy.
Could you tell us more about your tennis club and your coach?
Atmosphere in the club is always great. In summer, we swim at the pool, we play football and basketball and have great time together. My coaches always suggest me to improve the things I am not good at. They alwasy try to provide quality practices, and I am very happy to work with them. I have two coaches: Тrifke (Aleksandar Trifunović) and Peša (Branko Pešić).
How much do you work on conditioning with your coach, and what does a conditioning practice look like?
I work for one hour three times a week with Kampi (Slobodan Vojinović). We work a lot on movements, speed, and, of course, stretching.
What do you consider to be your biggest strength in tennis, and what would you change or improve in your game?
I believe that my backhand, my mental strength and my desire to win are my biggest strengths. And I need to work on my footwork between the shots.
What brand of rackets do you use?
For several years now I’ve been under contract with Head.
What is the difference between national and international tournaments, and do you prepare yourself before tournaments in any special way?
The difference is that on international tournaments you play against best kids from Europe, and matches are difficult from round one. I try to play my best on every tournament.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
With God’s help, I see myself on Wimbledon and other Grand Slam tournaments.
Your club, TK Reket, has great little players in the U-10 category. What would be your message for kids who are just starting to practice?
To believe in themselves, to work hard, and success will come.
Video Marko Miladinović