Victorian Marinko Matosevic has become the new Australian No.1 male tennis player in the latest ATP rankings.
Also entering the top 50 for the first time in his career, Matosevic edged two spots ahead of youngster Bernard Tomic to claim the mantle of Australia’s best male player.
“There has been no short cut to Marinko’s success this season,” said Josh Eagle, Matosevic’s coach.
“He dedicated himself and has worked incredibly hard all year.
“He has tried to develop his forehand into a major weapon and be able to finish points with this shot. Along with this he has served better this year, a higher first serve percentage and a little extra power to compliment it.”
Eagle said they were now looking towards 2013 and “tidying up a few parts of his game”.
“2013 will be a huge challenge for Marinko. He will be under pressure to defend ranking points and stay ahead of the game.
“He is well aware of what is ahead of him, so again he will try to keep it very simple and just work hard every day,” said Eagle.
Matosevic now sits at world No.47, while Tomic scrapes into the top 50 at No.49. Lleyton Hewitt rounds out the top three at No.81, after an impressive showing at the recent ATP 500 event in Valencia where he upset world No.10 Juan Monaco.
This latest achievement caps off a remarkable year for Dandenong North local Matosevic, who has surged up the rankings from No.203 at the beginning of 2012.
Along the way, Matosevic reached the final of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships as a wildcard. He defeated the more fancied Ivo Karlovic, Alex Bogomolov Jr., Ernests Gulbis and Dudi Sela on his way to the final before eventually succumbing to South African Kevin Anderson.
He also reached the semifinal at Los Angeles and Nottingham and more recently made the quarterfinals in Vienna, where he lost to eventual winner and world No.8 Juan Martin Del Potro 6-2 6-2.
Tennis Australia’s Coach and Talent Development Manager Bernhard Goerlitz said 27 year-old Matosevic has been working hard for a number of years to achieve this result.
“His recent success on the tour is a credit to himself and his team,” Goerlitz said.
“Such success really does clarify the fact that the development of a tennis player is a marathon not a sprint.”