He hasn't played a sanctioned match since spontaneously inserting himself into Bosnia's Davis Cup lineup in 2015—a retired team captain can do that—but Amer Delic will soon return to competition. Not at the tour level, mind you. No, that's firmly in the rear-view mirror for him, but rather for the Pearson Ford Open in Indianapolis, a city where he saw early promise and had some success at the RCA Championships during his ATP career.
In the impending Pearson event, Delic may encounter another American stalwart in the draw, 2015 Pearson Ford Open champ Robby Ginepri. Ahead of that, the Spin caught up with him to talk college days (super-successful, at the University of Illinois), career highlights (local and global), thoughts on today's TV commentators (he has them) and Wimbledon predictions (those, too).
What’s the best memory of your ATP playing days? Your favorite accomplishment on court?
In my professional career, there’s been a few. The first one, actually, does come from Indianapolis. In 2003, after I won the NCAAs, I won a Futures tournament in Peoria [Illinois]. Craig Tiley at the time was in touch with the [Indy] tournament directors, and they were kind enough to give me a wild card. So I made my ATP debut in 2003 and won my first-round match, beating Ricardo Mello in three sets. Then I played Paradorn Srichaphan. He was No. 9 at the time. I had a lot of friends from Champaign, Ill., friends from Indy, and friends from college who came in. I ended up, after having two match points, losing a tiebreak and lost the third set by one break. Thought maybe there is a little bit of hope for me out here.
My ultimate memory from professional days was playing at home [in Bosnia] in Davis Cup for the first time. After my first knee surgery, I went back there. I had been a practice partner for the U.S. team twice, but with [Andre] Agassi, the Bryan brothers, and [Andy] Roddick, I wasn’t seeing a sniff in that lineup. So I played in front of my grandparents and cousins, who hadn’t seen me play before, and 6,000 other people in my hometown arena.
You came out of the former Yugoslavia, as so many players did who represented that country, or later repped Bosnia or Serbia, or even the United States. Who did you look up to as a kid and then as a collegiate player?
I picked up a racquet in 1988. Goran Ivanisevic was making his run early, but believe it or not—a lot of people forget this—Monica Seles played for Yugoslavia. I grew up watching more of her than Goran or somebody else. The guys I was surrounded by—Todd Martin, MaliVai Washington—were just class acts. My idol growing up was Stefan Edberg. That was another guy I watched early on, and that was the mix of people I watched.