Nikola Pilić

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Nikola Pilić
Nikola Pilić 1975.jpg
Pilić at the Dutch Open in Hilversum in July 1975.
Country  Yugoslavia
Residence Munich, Germany
Born (1939-08-27) 27 August 1939 (age 74)
Split, Croatian Banovina, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Turned pro 1968 (amateur tour from 1960)
Retired 1978
Plays Left-handed (1-handed backhand)
Singles
Career record 211–168 (Open era)
Career titles 9
Highest ranking No. 6 (1968, Lance Tingay)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 3R (1970)
French Open F (1973)
Wimbledon SF (1967)
US Open QF (1973)
Professional majors
US Pro QF (1968)
Wembley Pro QF (1968)
French Pro QF (1968)
Doubles
Career record 143–134 (Open era)
Career titles 6
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open QF (1970)
French Open 4R (1969)
Wimbledon SF (1975)
US Open W (1970)
Nikola Pilić
Medal record
Competitor for  Yugoslavia
Tennis
Mediterranean Games
Gold 1963 Naples Doubles
Universiade
Gold 1961 Sofia Doubles
Silver 1961 Sofia Singles

Nikola "Niki" Pilić (born 27 August 1939) is a retired Croatian professional tennis player who competed for SFR Yugoslavia.

He was one of the Handsome Eight.[2] Pilić was ranked World No. 6 in January 1968 and World No. 7 for 1967 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph.[1][3]

Biography[edit]

Pilić was born in Split, Croatian Banovina, Kingdom of Yugoslavia to Krsto Pilić and Danica Tomić-Ferić year and a half before the outbreak of World War II.

The youngster took up tennis during the summer of 1952.[4] Thirteen years of age at this point, he began practicing on the Firule tennis club clay courts in parallel to studying shipbuilding at the streamlined high school in Split. Upon graduating he attempted to enroll at a community college (viša škola) in Zagreb, but due to not meeting the entrance criteria ended up in Novi Sad where he studied administration (viša upravna škola).

He was one of the Handsome Eight, a group of players signed by Lamar Hunt in 1968 for the newly formed professional World Championship Tennis (WCT) group.[5]

In 1970 Pilić won the men's doubles title at the US Open together with his French partner Pierre Barthès by defeating the Australians John Newcombe and Rod Laver in four sets. His best singles performance at a Grand Slam tournament came in 1973 when he reached the final of the French Open but lost to Ilie Năstase in three straight sets.[6]

Pilić was the catalyst to the 1973 Wimbledon Boycott. In May of that year the Yugoslav tennis federation alleged that Pilić had refused to represent them in a Davis Cup tie against New Zealand earlier that month. Pilić denied the charge, but was suspended by the federation, and the suspension was upheld by the ILTF, albeit decreased from nine months to one month, meaning that he could not enter the Wimbledon Championships. In protest at the suspension, 81 of Pilić's fellow professionals, organized in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and including 13 of the 16 seeds, withdrew from the 1973 Wimbledon championship.[7][8][9]

After retiring, Pilić began coaching and became the first captain to win the Davis Cup trophy for three different nations: Germany in 1988, 1989 and 1993, Croatia in 2005 and Serbia in 2010. He's been working with Serbia Davis Cup team in the advisor role since 2007, and have one Davis Cup title 2010.

He runs a tennis academy in Oberschleißheim near Munich where he resides, working with young professional players like Ernests Gulbis. In the past players such as Michael Stich and Novak Djokovic came through the Pilic academy.[10]

In 1970, Pilić married Serbian actress Mija Adamović.[11] The couple have children together.[12]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 1 (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Opponent Score
Runner-up 1973 French Open Romania Ilie Năstase 3–6, 3–6, 0–6

Doubles: 1 (1 title)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1970 US Open France Pierre Barthès Australia Roy Emerson
Australia Rod Laver
6–3, 7–6, 4–6, 7–6

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Top Players Go For Cup", St. Petersburg Times, 31 January 1968.
  2. ^ Deutsche Welle Croatian language service 19 July 2010 Nikola Pilić – 'Prus sa Balkana'
  3. ^ United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 428.
  4. ^ Nikola Pilić: Krao sam novac od majke da kupim reket;Blic, 29 May 2011
  5. ^ Wind, Herbert Warren (1979). Game, Set, and Match : The Tennis Boom of the 1960s and 70s (1. ed. ed.). New York: Dutton. pp. 65–70. ISBN 0525111409. 
  6. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed. ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. pp. 389, 478. ISBN 978-0942257700. 
  7. ^ John Barrett, ed. (1974). World of Tennis '74. London: Queen Anne. pp. 15–17, 45–47. ISBN 978-0362001686. 
  8. ^ "The History of the Championships". AELTC. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Dark Fortnight For Wimbledon...". SI. 2 July 1973. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Grasso, John. Historical Dictionary of Tennis. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 225. ISBN 978-0810872370. 
  11. ^ Mija Adamović @ IMDb.com
  12. ^ Četiri decenije sa Nikolom; Blic, 25 September 2010

External links[edit]