Miomir Kecmanovic’s professional career began in January with a simple goal outlined by his coach: “Win some Futures,” Miro Hrvatin said.
At only 17, Kecmanovic has a chance to become one of the best tennis players in the world. To start his pro career, though, Hrvatin wanted to keep things simple.
Professional life began for the IMG Academy trainee when he traveled to Sunrise for his first ITF Men’s Circuit event of the year, the USA F4 Futures at Sunrise Tennis Club Park in late January.
After nine rounds — four in the qualifying draw and five in the main of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) event — Kecmanovic won his first Futures title.
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“It made it much easier,” Hrvatin said. “Then it was time to change our goals.”
Kecmanovic is making his third appearance in an ATP Challenger Tour event this week at the Sarasota Open, and he began his week Tuesday with a 6-1, 6-2 win against Mackenzie McDonald on James T. Driscoll Stadium Centre Court at United Tennis Academy. The win continues Kecmanovic’s recent play: He made a run to the semifinals at the San Luis Open Challenger Tour last week in Mexico.
Since the start of the year, he has risen more than 300 spots in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) singles rankings, from No. 802 on Jan. 2 to No. 476 on Monday.
326Spots Miomir Kecmanovic has jumped in the Association of Tennis Professionals’ singles rankings since the start of the year. The IMG Academy trainee is currently the No. 476 player in the world after making his professional debut in January.
The ascension is catching even Kecmanovic a bit off guard. His lopsided win Tuesday came after losing two matches to McDonald last year. On Thursday, he will have a chance for another big win when he faces Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonsen, the tournament’s seventh seed who is No. 114 in the world rankings. Kecmanovic beat Laaksonsen last month in the first round of qualifying at the Miami Open.
“I honestly didn’t think it was going to be like this,” Kecmanovic said, “but I played very well today.”
Kecmanovic projects as a potential hard-court star, but as his frame fills out he has found success on the green clay of United Tennis. The signs of a potentially overwhelming serve and powerful ground strokes are there, although his mobility is what allowed him to sweep the reigning NCAA singles and doubles champion Tuesday.
I honestly didn’t think it was going to be like this.
Miomir Kecmanovic, IMG Academy trainee
It was his clay-court comfort that let him close his ITF Junior Circuit career as well as possible. In November, the Serb won the Abierto Juvenil Mexicano in Mexico City. In December, he won the Eddie Herr in Bradenton and then became the third player in history to win back-to-back Orange Bowl titles. Immediately after, Kecmanovic’s professional career began.
“It’s difficult, but at the same time it’s nice to play all the big events, bigger events,” Kecmanovic said. “It’s been a very nice experience so far.”
Kecmanovic’s calendar for 2017 remains in flux because of the extreme jumps his ranking still has the potential to take. He plans to make his ATP World Tour 250 series debut next month at the Istanbul Open.
Kecmanovic’s goals haven’t changed to quite the extent where he or Hrvatin are thinking he should win in Turkey or even one of the Challenger tournaments, such as Sarasota, which will certainly be on his schedule — it’s just that they can’t rule anything out anymore.
“The goal is to make one step at a time, to become better every day and then we will see,” Hrvatin said. “If it’s enough to win more and more, that’s perfect for us.”
Frances Tiafoe def. Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 6-1.
Andrea Arnaboldi def. J. Sorgi 7-6, 1-6, 7-6.
F. Arguello def. Chris Harrison 4-6, 6-1, 7-6.
Jurgen Melzer def. Darian King, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.
Stefan Kozlov def. P. Plansky 6-4, 6-4.
Henri Laaksonen def. Tim Smyczek 6-2, 6-1.
Blaz Rola def. Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-2.
M. Gonzalez def. Marcelo Arevalo 6-3, 6-4.
Horacio Zeballos def. D. Galan 7-5, 6-1.
Miomir Mecmanovic def. Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-2.
Michael Mmoh vs. Peter Polansky, ppd.
Play begins at 10 a.m.
James McGee vs. Denis Kudla
not before 11:30 a.m.
Max Gonzalez vs. Vincent Millot
Julio Peralta/Horacio Zeballos vs. Brad Klahn/Denis Kulda
Stefan Kozlov/Peter Polansky vs. Leander Paes/Andrea Sa
not before 7 p.m.
Jared Donaldson vs. Blaz Rola
Adam Pavlasek vs. Tennys Sandgren
not before 11:30 a.m.
Guido Andreozzi/Marcelo Arevalo vs. Sebastian Korda/Patrick Kypson
Darian King/Mitchell Krueger vs. Santiago Gonzalez/Michael Venus
Scott Lipsky/Jurgen Melzer vs. Max Gonzalez/Leo Mayer
Elizabeth Moore Sarasota Open
When: Through April 23. Day sessions begin 10 a.m. Night sessions begin 5 p.m.
Where: United Tennis Club, 4511 Bay Club Drive.
Cost: $20 and up (individual tickets), $100 and up (ticket packages).
Parking: $5 per day (through April 21); $10 per day (April 22-23); $30 weekly pass.