Donna Vekic, 28, makes stunning revelation amid career-best Slam run at Wimbledon

Vekic had a revelation to make after making her first Slam semifinal at Wimbledon.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Donna Vekic, 28, makes stunning revelation amid career-best Slam run at Wimbledon
© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

World No. 37 Donna Vekic made a pretty stunning revelation amid her best-ever Grand Slam run at Wimbledon as the 28-year-old Croatian was just recently seriously contemplating to walk away from pro tennis for an extended period. 

Vekic, who turned 28 in late June, pulled off a very impressive comeback on Monday after she beat Wimbledon sensation Lulu Sun 5-7 6-4 6-1 to reach her first Slam semifinal at The Championships and set up a meeting against recent French Open runner-up Jasmine Paolini. 

After earning one of the most important wins of her career and entering the press room to speak with the reporters, Vekic had a confession to make - just two months earlier she was thinking to abruptly withdraw from the French Open and go home because she felt mentally and physically drained. 

"There were a couple of times in my career where I didn’t want to play tennis anymore. Most of you know that it was after my surgeries, but actually there was one recent one... It was the Thursday before Roland Garros this year. I had scheduled practice and I arrived to the club. I told Nick I want to pull out of the French Open. I want to go home. I want to take a longer break, because I don’t have any energy or any motivation to keep practicing or keep pushing," Vekic said.

Vekic: It's crazy how things work...

Donna Vekic
Donna Vekic© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt
 

In the end, Vekic decided against withdrawing from the French Open and taking a break but it didn't lead to some fairytale run at Roland Garros. Instead, it led to a heartbreaking third-round loss to Olga Danilovic - in a match where the Croatian had a 6-2 lead in the super tie-break before the Serbian stormed back to win 0-6 7-5 7-6 (8). 

But ironically, that devastating loss actually led to Vekic rediscovering her motivation to return to the practice court and work hard. And the last month has been outstanding for the 28-year-old, who finished as runner-up at a WTA 500 tournament in Bad Homburg before putting up this huge Wimbledon run. 

Also, Vekic - a former world No. 19 - has secured returning to the top-20 and if she beats Paolini, she will reach a new career-high ranking. 

"I felt like the last couple months I had given everything for tennis. I wasn’t getting the results that I kind of expected. So it was a very tough moment. But they were all there for me. That loss in Paris was so, so painful. But it motivated me again to keep working, to keep pushing," Vekic added. 

"It’s crazy how in tennis things can turn so fast. One of my best friends who’s here with me and was with me in Rome... I was talking to her... I was like ‘Do you remember Rome?’ After the match. And she was like ‘Yeah... And now you’re in the semifinals.’ Not just in tennis but in life, things can turn pretty fast.”

Donna Vekic
Donna Vekic© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Vekic on what she has learned from this experience 

When Vekic returned to action after the French Open, good results didn't instantly come since she picked up back-to-back round-of-16 exits in 's-Hertogenbosch and Berlin at the start of the grass season. But since then, Vekic is 9-1 in her last two tournaments and is now preparing for the biggest match of her career. 

“To never give up. It’s not easy at times but I think I had to really dig deep inside and push myself. If I didn’t have the team of people around me, I don’t know how I would find the strength in me," Vekic said when asked what's the lesson to be learned from this situation. 

Meanwhile, Vekic is being helped out by a former Grand Slam champion during this year's Wimbledon as she is working with Pam Shriver, who won 22 Slam titles in doubles during her career. And the 28-year-old Croatian admits she loves having such a voice in her box. 

Donna Vekic
Donna Vekic© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt
 

"Well, Pam is, first of all, a great person off the court. She's had an amazing career. She has so much experience, especially because playing, and then the last couple of years she's been commentating. She knows all the players really well. Like I said, she has all the experience, so she can help me in some crucial moments. She's great fun. I'm really proud to have her in my team," Vekic said.

Against Paolini, Vekic has one win and two losses. However, they have never played on grass before and since Vekic is playing the tennis of her life, her negative head-to-head versus Paolini probably won't impact her much going into the match.

Donna Vekic Wimbledon
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