Donna Vekic is a tennis player from Croatia who was born on June 28, 1996. In her entire career, Vekic was able to take away one singles title on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour and four singles and one doubles on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Circuit. She achieved her best ranking in the singles category as World #62 on July 15, 2013 and in the doubles category as the World #310 on February 2, 2015. As a member of the Croatia Fed Cup team, she played three games on the rubber court at the tournament in February 2012, helping Croatia to win against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Personal Life and the Path to Tennis
When Donna Vekic saw the daylight for the first time at the maternity ward of a clinical hospital in Osijek, her mother, Brankica, definitely noticed that Donna’s first cry was stronger than those of other newborns. Maybe, this was already a sign of what she would become as a grown up.
When she was 2 years old, Vekic is already showing to her family members what she was up to. She was said to be a happy child, who was found playing all the time with all the energy she had as a playful child. After all, she was born into a family who provided both Osijek and Croatia a lot of gifted sportspersons. However, her talents not only came directly from the family, but were also the result of the hard work done by one of the Vekic family members—her grandmother Lidija—who was a teacher of physical education and raised generations of talented sportspeople, being especially proud of one of them, which is Donna of course.
Donna then knew Davor Suker, who introduced her into the world of football. Her late grandfather, Branko, was a gifted archer, but he had much more contributions to sports in Croatia by being a long-time head of the popular Youth School of the Football Club Osijek. Her mother, while still having her maiden name Spiranovic, was also an excellent athlete for track and field. Her father, Igor, also used to play football, and similar to his father and uncles, made the trademark of Osijek football. However, none of Donna’s family and relatives had any connection to tennis.
Living with people who had been in the area of sports, Donna made her entrance to athletics through gymnastics, but then she hurt her ankle. However, this did not discourage her to continue her passion in sports. Well, if she could not perform figures on the beam or jump over the buck, she had to find something else to do, thus leading her to ask her father to take her to practicing tennis. Though she was still feeling the pain of her injured ankle, it seemed that she immediately fell in love with the sport. At a young age of 6, where the racket was just a bit shorter than herself, she said to her parents, “Mum, mum! Dad, dad! This is it!” Since her parents trusted her choice, they paid for 20 lessons, and everything else is history!
Her story was enriched by important names in tennis coaching and training, such as Domagoj Lackovi, Damir Barisic, Dado Majoli, Davor Grgic, David Felgate and Dario Novak! She was also advised by some of the best in the field, like Chris Evert, Nick Bolletieri, Miljenko Rak and Sven Groeneveld.
Start of Professional Career
Vekic made her first appearance to play in the WTA finals in 2012, where she hailed from the major draw in the Tashkent Open. Though she was defeated in straight sets by Irina-Camelia Begu, taking away her chance to win the championship, she was regarded this time as the youngest player in 6 years to make it to a finals game in a WTA Tour.
More Struggles and Another Finals Appearance
Vekic then carried on to play in the 2013 Australian Open, where she won against Andrea Hlavackova in the first round, but eventually lost in the second round to former World #1 Caroline Wozniacki, who was the 10th seed in the tournament. At the Wimbledon Championships in the same year, she suffered a loss to Petra Cetkovska in the first round, of which result was similar to that at the French Open, where she also lost to Mallory Burdette in the first match. And though she defeated Mariana Duque in the first round at the US Open, she was stopped by Simona Halep in the second.
However, Vekic showed an impressive performance at the Aegon Classic, where she made it all the way to the finals. During this tournament, she defeated Urszula Radwanska in the second round, Sorana Cirstea in the quarterfinals and Magdalena Rybarikova, who was the 2009 Aegon Classic champion, in the semifinals. However, she failed to take away the championship against Daniela Hantuchova.
First WTA Title
Donna Vekic played at various tournaments in 2014, including the Australian Open, the Pattaya Open, the BNP Paribas Open and the Sony Open, where she played against players, such as Johanna Larsson, Alla Kudryavtseva, Kimiko Date-Krumm, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Petra Kvitova. In these occasions, she again suffered early-stage losses and seemed to struggle to again make it to a finals game.
However, at the 2014 Malaysian Open, she made it to the spot and even won her first WTA title in her career, marking one of her biggest wins by defeating the World #10, Dominika Cibulkova, in the finals by a third-set tie-breaker. On her way to the finals, she won 3 of her 4 matches against Chan Yung-jan, Kristyna Pliskova and Zhang Shuai.
Latest Tournaments Participated
As for her 2015 career, Vekic played at the Fed Cup – Europe/Africa Zone Group I, where she won against Israel’s Julia Glushko in the first match. However, the results of the next two matches were not that favorable for her, as she lost to Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko and Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic.
Involvement in Nick Kyrgios’ Controversial Slur
Last year, Vekic became the subject of the sledging controversy between Nick Kyrgios and Stan Wawrinka. Kyrgios provoked outrage in the tennis world when he was caught on camera at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, saying to Wawrinka that Vekic (Wawrinka’s girlfriend) is having sexual relationships with their fellow tennis player Thanasi Kokkinakis. Vekic had kept her opinion on the incident, but eventually spoke out to express her disappointment towards Kyrgios’ act, stating that it was not a very good image for the sport.