Serbian Petar Conkic comes from a family with a strong history in tennis.
His father, Milan, was the Davis Cup captain for Yugoslavia before that country was broken up into separate countries.
His brother, Boris, played as a pro, and now along with their dad and Robert Belak, are the three guys that Petar calls his coaches. He’s here at Wimbledon with Balek.
Nonetheless, while Conkic was practically born with a tennis racket in his hand, it’s totally his choice to pursue a career in tennis.
“My whole family is playing tennis,” Conkic said. “It was usual for me to start playing tennis. I had a choice but I chose to play tennis. They didn’t push me to play tennis.
“I like tennis because I’m alone on the court and everything depends on me,’ Conkic added. “I like that.”
On Monday afternoon, he won his first Grand Slam junior match, although it came as a gift from his opponent, 16th seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia. Medvedev was hindered by a back ache and eventually was forced to depart in the third set, thereby giving Conkic the 36 76 (5) 21 retired victory.
“It’s not the best way to win it, but a win is a win,” “said Conkic. “He felt pain in his back and retired.”
This is only the 18-year-old Conkic’s second Grand Slam appearance — he played at the recent Roland Garros and lost in the first round.
Conkic is looking forward to playing at the Youth Olympic Games in China, and the European Championships. After those events he plans on setting out on his professional career.
“I hope to play more Slams as a senior, hopefully,” Conkic said.
Although he’s ready to start his pro career in the next few months, he has another year to complete his high school degree at a private gymnasium in Novi Sad. And whenever possible he gets up in the morning and goes to school like most teenagers.
“They really help me a lot when I’m traveling all the time,” Conkic said of his school. “But I’m trying to go to school whenever it is possible and I am at home.”
This is the first year that Conkic’s experienced playing on grass, but he likes the fact that the ball bounces low on the court and he can be aggressive.
The match featured a bit of controversy when the umpire called the second set tiebreaker score 2-1 in favor of Medvedev instead of Conkic.
“The umpire said it was 2-1 for him and it was 2-1 for me so I corrected him, but he didn’t want to change the score,” Conkic said. “Then Medvedev came and he told the umpire it was 2-1 for me. It was really nice of him to do that.”
Joining Conkic in the second round is recent Roland Garros champion and Wimbledon junior boys’ top seed Andrey Rublev of Russia.
Rublev needed three sets to discourage American Henrik Wiersholm 61 46 64 in the first round.
Following his Roland Garros victory, Rublev said he celebrated with friends and family in Paris, but it wasn’t at a famous French restaurant. Instead the group went out to a Chinese restaurant. It had been a great few months for Rublev, who was a finalist at the Grade A Trofeo Bonfiglio even in Milan in May, the Grade 1 Trofeo Juan Carlos Ferrero in Spain in April.
Rublev then returned home to Moscow where he started preparing for Wimbledon. It wasn’t exactly the best preparation as there isn’t any grass courts in Russia.
“This is my second tournament on grass,” said Rublev, who practiced on clay courts before coming to London. “I’m not a big fan of grass, but I don’t hate it. You can lose to everybody here.”
He believes grass isn’t a perfect fit for his game, saying, “The hardest part for me is to move here.”
Nevertheless, Rublev arrived out Wimbledon having won the junior Wimbledon tuneup event at Roehampton.
The first set was routine for Rublev, but Wiersholm became more pesky in the second set, requiring Rublev to figh for the match.
“In the first set I came on the court with energy and I was so focused,” Rublev said. “In the second set I just maybe didn’t focus that good because he played much better and then I made two mistakes on serve to lose the set.”
In other boys’ action, Tim Van Rijthoven of the Netherlands upset 15th seed Jumpei Yamasaki of Japan 61 62; and 12th seed Kamil Majchrzak of Poland defeated Joao Menezes of Brazil 63 64.
In girls’ action, Katie Boulter of Great Britain upset 13th sed Priscilla Hon of Australia 63 63; ninth seed Anhelina klinina of Ukraine defeated British wildcard recipient Harriet Dart 26 76 (2) 63; and 12th seed Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic defeated British wildcard recipient Freya Christie 76 (5) 62;