Currently ranked at 248 in the ATP singles list, the 25-year old topped the men's 2012 ITF Pro Circuit chart for most titles won with seven. Fresh from making his debut appearance at a Grand Slam, the Bosnian Davis Cup player took time to answer our questions.
ITF Pro Circuit: Can you tell us where were you born and maybe describe the area where you grew up?
Aldin Setkic: I was born in Sarajevo on 21 December 1987. The biggest part of my childhood was spent in Sarajevo during the war.
Do any other members of your family play sport?
Unfortunately not. My father is a Mathematic University Professor and my mother is as Doctor of Economist.
So how did you get started in tennis?
That was dad’s idea, to move me from the street. I was 5 years old and began playing on the courts near my flat in Sarajevo. During the war I started to play tennis, during and after the war it was very hard to practice in Sarajevo and when I was 17 years old I moved to Belgrade to practice there. In 2004 I started to play ITF Futures tournaments and in 2009 I won my first title in Sarajevo.
What can you tell us about your current coach?
Currently, I do not have a coach. I think if I had a professional coach in past years, now I would be in ATP Top 100 for sure!
Who were/are your tennis idols?
I really do not have an idol, and I never have had one. But a player who I really respect is Rafael Nadal.
What is your greatest tennis memory either as a player or as a fan?
One of my greatest memories is my win in the Davis Cup against Morocco. I played more than four hours and I won. That was a great experience and also an important win for our national team.
Who has been the toughest opponent you have faced on court?
Filippo Volandri was one of the toughest, that was 2 years ago at a Challenger tournament in Italy. Also I beat Rui Machado in a Davis Cup match in Portugal 2010.
In your opinion, what would you say are the best and worst aspects of being a professional tennis player?
The best aspects of playing tennis are meeting new people and creating new friendships, traveling around the world and competing with many players. The worst aspects are the constant absence from family and friends and high financial costs.
So far in your career, what has been the nicest venue that you played at?
The nicest venue that I played is in Australia. In Australia I played my first Grand Slam [2013 qualifying event], it was a great experience for me and that is one of the reasons why I choose Australia, besides the beauty of the country.
Have there been any funny moments on court that you can share?
There were so many funny moments on court that I cannot even remember all of them. Most of them happened during the Davis Cup matches, once we played football on the tennis court during the warm up!
What is the best experience that you had on the ITF Pro Circuit?
It was in a Portugal Futures series in the Algarve, people at all three tournaments were unbelievable kind and it was my first time there and with all people supporting me.
Which player(s) are you friends with?
I am friends with many of them, mostly with those who come from Balkan. Because we know each other a long time and we were playing Junior tournaments and ITF together.
How do players relationships with each other compare on the ITF Pro Circuit to other tennis Circuits you may have played?
It depends, but mostly we are all long known [to each other], and on the tournament we are all in the same circumstances. Most of us are friends, but on the court we should forget about friends and give our best, and again after the match we are still friends, or become it. Almost it is the same everywhere.
How has playing on the ITF Pro Circuit helped you as a player?
It has helped me to mature as a player, to gain the necessary experience and to score points that I need for further progress. On the ITF Pro Circuit I’ve met many people and I have visited almost every continent.
Would you recommend that top juniors play the ITF Pro Circuit?
It depends on their plans, but I would recommend them to play on the ITF Pro Circuit, it will help them in the future to adapt in competition, game and tournament [environments]. Playing the ITF Pro Circuit they will be a step nearer to their dream.
What aspect of another player’s game do you most envy?
Probably [those with a] constant and fast serve. That is something on what I am working and what I want to improve in my game.
If you could only have one Grand Slam title, which would you choose?
US Open because it was, I think, most visited slam and I like New York.
What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?
That with effort and hard work you can achieve everything, you have to be persistent and patient.
Away from the tennis court do you have any other interests?
Playing football! I like it so much. Also I read books, watch movies and hang out with my dear people.
Do you have a favourite holiday destination?
Honestly I do not have enough time to have long holidays. For example, this year I played around 100 matches, my free time I spend in Sarajevo. Sometimes I like to climb mountains (especially with my girlfriend).
If you had not become a tennis player what career path would you have liked to have followed?
Soccer. I think I will achieve good results in football. Because I really like it.
Finally, have you set yourself any goals for 2013?
To be ranked around 100 on ATP, to play and to win some Challengers and to begin playing some of ATP Tour tournaments. Inevitably it is also the playing of Grand Slam qualifications and to fight for main draw.
Thanks for your time and all the best for 2013