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  Debate

Debate

Is Donna Vekic's resilience a testament to the power of a strong support system in sports?

The year 2021 was a torrid one for Donna Vekic. After the Australian Open that year, she suffered a serious knee injury that was a career-threatening blow. Subsequently, she underwent surgery and had to be away from tennis for months. The recovery wasn’t as well as she had expected and Vekic even thought of taking an early retirement due to persistent knee problems. Fast-forward to 2024, the Croatian tennis star has achieved a personal milestone at the ongoing Wimbledon Championships and felt grateful to her family and team.

The 28-year-old made it to her maiden Grand Slam semifinal after defeating Lulu Sun in the last eight. In a topsy-turvy match, Vekic got the better of Sun in three sets 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. Subsequently, during the post-match interview, she got emotional as memories of the horrific injuries resurfaced.

The interviewer asked her, “In 2021 you suffered a serious knee injury…There were times you admitted there were doubts about the future. How does it feel to be a Grand Slam semifinalist?” As the interviewer was about to complete the question, tears rolled down the eyes of Vekic and she put her hand on the face to cover her emotions. This increased the decibel levels in the crowd, who cheered her for making a wonderful comeback to the sport.

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Further, Vekic pointed out the reason behind her success as she thanked her team and family members for being a constant pillar of support. She revealed, “I have a full box of people there. Without them, I would not be here.” Vekic’s team comprises the legendary American player, Pam Shriver, who has accompanied Vekic at Wimbledon.

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Although Vekic achieved a personal milestone of reaching her first career Grand Slam semifinal, the Croatian has been quite realistic about her future prospects. A couple of days back, she made a shocking confession on why she didn’t want to continue playing for long.

‘Tennis isn’t everything’ for Donna Vekic

The Croatian star has managed to dig deep at Wimbledon this year after putting on some gutsy performances. At 28, Vekic feels that time is running out for her in tennis. After her three-set victory over Paula Badosa, she revealed that ‘tennis isn’t everything’ for her and that her retirement might come soon.

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During a podcast, Vekic confessed, “Yeah I am still pushing everyday but I know I’m not gonna be playing ten more years. I only have couple of more years left in me and I just want to really after my career not have in regrets about everything I have done, everything  that I can for my career to be the best I can.”

With this admission, Vekic will be going all-out at the ongoing Wimbledon Championships. It might be her final realistic chance of winning a Grand Slam title, having reached this stage for the first time. In the last four, Vekic will face the winner of the match between Emma Navarro and Jasmine Paolini.