Warning: The themes in this article may be distressing to some readers.
22-year-old Borna Coric, who helped Croatia win the final Davis Cup with a straight sets victory over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, has been caught waving a knife on social media.
The Croatian enjoyed a 6-2 7-5 6-4 over the World No.40 in the first rubber of the Davis Cup final, played at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille. The stakes were high for Coric as he was the higher-ranked player and was trying to help his country win only their second ever Davis Cup title. In addition, this is the final Davis Cup to be played in its current iconic format before we let Gerard Pique ruin the historic tournament starting next year. Despite this pressure, Coric put in an assured and unproblematic performance on the indoor clay court. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for his recent social media behaviour, as in the pictures below.
In these photos, from one of Coric’s Instagram stories in October, he can be seen holding a knife aggressively as he looks into the camera with the hashtag ninja attached, clearly proud of his actions. His lack of concern over his actions can be further seen after a tennis fan posted the video onto Twitter, replying “You have to take a risk from time to time.”
You have to take a risk from time to time
— borna coric (@borna_coric) October 4, 2018
This reckless behaviour is not what a player of Borna Coric’s quality needs to find himself involved in, especially after a breakthrough year. The Dubai resident ended the 2018 season on a career high ranking of No.12 with season highlights including winning his first ever ATP 500 title and reaching a first ATP Masters 1000 final. Now on the cusp of the Top 10, Coric is poised to become a player we expect to see near the top of the rankings and near the latter stages of all tournaments.
As a result, Coric will need to act with more responsibility due to the increasing public scrutiny on his life. With the increasing focus on the NextGen, the ATP clearly want to bring a younger audience into tennis and these actions do not set a good example to the world’s youth. In addition, this is not a persona that Borna Coric needs. He is not a Nick Kyrgios who has to force himself to be controversial at every possible moment in an attempt to distract us from how he is nowhere near as good as pundits hyped him up to be. This is a player who I believe could be a future Grand Slam winner.
However, whilst this isn’t a persona Coric needs it may be one that he wants. Tennis is severely lacking a character who is both villainous and successful. It is a big reason for why interest in the sport is going down, even in Grand Slams nations such as the UK where participation is down nearly 10% on last year. Therefore, this may be an opportunity for Coric to fill this gap, by running with this scandal and eventually grow into one of the most dastardly top tennis players of our generation. How Borna Coric responds to this incident remains to be seen, but it is another reason look forward to the ATP Tour in 2019.