Coming back at 37 years old
by ALICE CIMINO | VIEW 17225
Lucic-Baroni’s name might ring a bell to every tennis fan with an interest for peculiar facts. Semi-finalist of the 2017 Australian Open after beating fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, the Croatian registered her second Grand Slam round-of-four… after 18 years.
In 1999, Lucic-Baroni had made it to the penultimate match of Wimbledon at the age of 17, defeating then-World No. 4 Monica Seles right before falling in three sets against the second seed Steffi Graf—and earning herself some compliments from the American legend.
According to Graf, Lucic was much more advanced than her at the same age—a fact solidly based on the Croatian’s victory of the 1998 Australian Open doubles along with Martina Hingis, which installed Lucic as the youngest players to win a Melbourne title.
However, in her 20s, personal and financial struggles kept the promising Lucic away from the projectors, and she didn’t make any reappearance before 2010—zigzaging between injuries—, 2014 and 2015, years in which she advanced discreetly to the fourth round of the US Open and French Open respectively.
Because of her great results in the 2017 season, Lucic-Baroni's participation to the 2018 Australian Open was eagerly expected, but a shoulder injury kept her from advancing further than the round of 64. Despite not making an apparition at the 2019 edition of the Melbourne Slam, the Croatian still has hopes of coming back on the court this season.
“Just a quick update...been rehabbing my shoulder injury without the surgery and trying to get it as strong as possible and as pain-free as possible, even though I ran into a few setbacks. I can’t wait to be back on court!
Planning to make my return on grass”. The Facebook message, simply signed Mirjana, hints that Lucic-Baroni may take advantage of her protected ranking—she figured as World No. 30 at the time of her last match—to prolongate her peculiar career, and set for other interesting achievements.