Teenager Coric is a man on a mission

Sat Nov 1, 2014 5:20am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Borna Coric's profile page on his Facebook account reads simply, "Croatian tennis player on a mission to the top!".

It is a lofty claim but the 17-year-old from Zagreb has already taken giant strides this year, collecting some notable scalps to crack the world's top 100 -- the youngest player to do so since Rafa Nadal burst through in 2003.

Coric's victory over 14-times grand slam champion Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Swiss Indoor tournament last week capped a remarkable 12 months for the latest player to roll off the Croatian production line.

In April he beat former Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz in five sets in a Davis Cup clash in Poland, in August he qualified for the U.S. Open before beating Lukas Rosol in the first round and a few weeks later he won his first ATP Challenger title in Turkey.

In reaching the semis in Basel his ranking rose to 93, a rise of more than 400 places from last year.

Yet, despite all that, the remarkably self-assured teenager took the bold decision to split with his coach of two years, Briton Ryan Jones, before the Swiss Indoors.

Asked why he had made the decision, Coric spoke with the authority of a player mapping out his destiny.

"It has been a very good two years but we had some small disagreements and when you are traveling for two years with the same guy you can get a bit stuck," Coric told Reuters in an interview.   Continued...

Borna Coric of Croatia reacts after winning his match against Spain's Rafael Nadal at the Swiss Indoors ATP tennis tournament in Basel October 24, 2014.    REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann