Brisbane, Australia , 30 June 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Pavle Marinkov is one of Australia’s most promising junior talents.

The 17-year-old from Sydney was a standout performer over the Australian summer.

He won the singles title at the 18-and-under Australian Championships without dropping a set. That effort him earned an Australian Open 2023 wildcard, where he progressed to the third round in the boys’ singles competition.

Marinkov is currently ranked world No.76 in the ITF junior rankings and captured his biggest career doubles title in Germany last week.

In our series profiling Tennis Australia’s National Tennis Academy athletes, Marinkov details his love of competing and his future goals …

How did you get started in tennis?

My sister, Bojana, started taking lessons at the local club when she was around 11. I was five and I went down once and just started hitting the ball and took an immediate liking to it. I’ve never looked back since, it’s been my life for the past few years.

What do you enjoy most about tennis?

I’d say just the grind, the training every day. Day in, day out. Also, the travelling aspect as well. To see different parts of the world is an additional bonus. Sometimes it’s tough, but for the most part it’s good and I enjoy it.

Where’s the best place you’ve travelled so far?

I would say it’s Serbia or Croatia, because my family is from there. The last few times I went there, it was to play tennis and see family as well. A two in one.

What has been the highlight of your tennis journey so far?

I’d say probably playing juniors at the Australian Open. It was an awesome experience to play on the Grand Slam courts and being around all the professional players and facilities. There were quite a lot of people watching my matches and getting some home support was definitely the coolest experience so far in my career.

You made the third round in the boys’ singles competition at AO 2023. You must have been pleased with that result?

It was good. I was the last remaining Aussie there, so that was a huge effort and I was really, really proud of myself for getting that far.

What are your goals in tennis?

The pinnacle would be to make it to the top of the game, I think that’s the ultimate goal for everyone. But if I’m able to make a decent living from the sport, I’ll consider that a huge success. That’s my main goal.

Who are your tennis idols?

It’s always been Novak Djokovic for me. He’s been my main idol ever since I was young. I just admire how he’s gone about it and his game.

Who have you modelled your game style on?

I wouldn’t say I’ve modelled it on anyone. I haven’t really ever looked at anyone’s game and wanted to try and play like them. I like to play my own style and be myself on court.

Can you describe your playing style in one sentence?

I’d say flat and aggressive. I like to step into the court and be aggressive as much as I can.

What is your favourite shot to play?

I’d say probably my backhand. I think my backhand has always been one of my strongest shots. I always feel confident and love to hit backhands.

What is your favourite surface to play on?

Definitely hard court. Being from Australia, it’s always mainly hard courts to play on. I’ve had my best results on hard courts as well.

Pavle Marinkov celebrates winning the 18/u Australian Championships in December 2022. Picture: Tennis Australia

Pavle Marinkov celebrates winning the 18/u Australian Championships in December 2022. Picture: Tennis Australia

Your older sister played tennis professionally and your younger siblings are also very talented. What is the secret to your family’s success in the sport?

My parents were never really into tennis. They never really played when they were younger, so it’s a bit random that we all got into it. But that’s just how it happened.

If you weren’t hoping to become a professional tennis player, what other career would you pursue?

I think it would definitely still be something in sport. I’m not really interested in anything else to be honest. Maybe it would be sports journalism or being a coach.

What other sports do you enjoy?

I’m into basketball. I love the NBA. I love rugby league as well. I watch a bit of soccer here and there when it’s big games and tournaments. I’m into American football as well.

Did you play any of these sports growing up?

Just at school with friends, I never really joined a team or anything, which I kind of regret now. I think it would have been good to be able to play another sport.

What advice would you share with other young players wanting to pursue a professional tennis career?

I’d say embrace the journey, because as you get older, it’s just going to get tougher and tougher. You need to find enjoyment wherever you can, because it’s going to be a really tough road. Also take no shortcuts.

Are you enjoying your time at the National Tennis Academy?

It’s been good to be around the best players in the country and to train with them. It’s a great environment, with great facilities and great coaches as well.

Pavle Marinkov training at the National Tennis Academy in Brisbane. Picture: Tennis Australia

Pavle Marinkov training at the National Tennis Academy in Brisbane. Picture: Tennis Australia

Has your game improved since joining the National Tennis Academy?

I’ve taken a lot of good strides forward. Last year I didn’t really have a coach, so having a coach has just opened my eyes to a few different things that I didn’t really see before in my game. This is helping me massively, which is good.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

I’ve cracked the top 100 in juniors, which was one of my goals. Hopefully I can keep getting my ranking a bit more up and play some more of the junior Grand Slams.

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