A couple of weeks ago unless you were a hardcore tennis fan, many of you wouldn't of head of Damir Dzumhur. Now following his unexpected run to the third round of the Australian Open in which made him the first Bosnian in history to complete in a Grand Slam, he had shot in to the spotlight.
Coached by his Farther Nerfid Dzumhur, he was born a month after the Bosnian war began. He was separated from his father at 1 day old for 8 months as the hospital he was staying at was evacuated. Fortunately they were both reunited and as Damir grew older, his farther started him in tennis with a local tennis club. At that time Nerfid said he endured a series of death threats in a interview with nytimes.com.
At a younger age it wasn't just tennis that Dzumhur had a focus on, he was also a child actor that starred in two movies including the award winning Grbavica (at least that is one thing he has in common with Oliver Goulding). As a junior Dzumhur had a win-loss of 95-30 including wining the Canadian Open Championships, European Junior Championships and a bronze medal at the Youth Olympic Games, all of which was in 2010.
Moving onto the senior circuit he achieved a his first significant win over Portugal's Joao Sousa in the 2010 Davis cup . Further more he has done well on the Futures circuit since 2011, winning 12 tittles (4 in 2011, 5 in 2012 and 3 in 2013). In addition to this he has reached the final of two Challenger tournaments in 2013. These win's has enabled the Bosnian to gradually go up in the rankings in to the 180's at the end of December in 2013.
Then two weeks ago something in the Qualifying draw happened. In the first round he faced Dustin Brown, the top seed who produced very impressive form in Qatar the week before by reaching the quarter finals as a qualifier. Brown was however shocked by Dzumhur who dismissed him in straight sets. Then he beat a duo of Belgian's in order to become the first Bosnian player in Grand Slam main draw history. In the main draw he faced Jan Hajek, a player 9 years older than him with 7 years experience of completing in grand slams. Despite this being against the Bosnian he beat Hajek in straight sets (64 62 61). This then lead him to face Ivan Dodig who unfortunately retied, giving Dzumhur the dream route to the third round. That was where it ended when he was beaten by Thomas Berdych. Just to demonstrate the significance of this. Dzumhur total career earnings has so far been $93,796 however now he reached the third round he will get a additional $75,000 just for this single achievement.
One player who has been taking note of the Bosnians career is Novak Djokovic who told sport.co.uk:-
"It's fantastic. I never seen him play actually. But I know him, he's a young player,"
"He qualified and he won a couple rounds, which is incredible success for him and for his country.
"It gives our people who are going through tough times in all these countries in our region hope and also encouragement in life. I congratulate him and I hope he can go far."
While this story won't be the main headine from the tournament, it does however show the significance Grand Slams can have on a young players career. Dzumhur ranking is set to rise by 40 places on Monday. Myself as well as others will be keeping an eye on him during the rest of the season. He has potential to reach the top 100 this year at least if all goes well.