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Borna Coric Talks about Dreamy Dubai Experience

18-year-old Borna Coric became the youngest semifinalist in Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships history when he trounced Andy Murray in straight sets last Thursday, and while the rising Croatian has come to expect big wins from himself in the last year, he still admitted that it felt “like a dream” to be facing Roger Federer in the semifinals.

Djokovic: Playing with Borna Coric is Like Playing Myself

This is almost a dream come true,” said Coric, who rises to a career-high 61 in the ATP rankings today, despite suffering a 6-2, 6-1 loss to Federer. “I was watching [Roger Federer] since I was I think maybe six or seven. I was watching him play Wimbledon, playing all the slams. I was saying, ‘I wish I could play with him one day,’ you know. And today I was playing against him. Obviously I didn't do so well, but, you know, I wasn't expecting too much, so I'm just happy that I made the semifinal. I gave my best. My best wasn't even close enough, but what you can do.”

He may have stumbled while facing the 17-time major champion in Dubai, but Coric’s best has been pretty damn impressive over the last six months. He has defeated Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray en route to multiple 500-level semifinals, and has become the only player aged 18 years or younger inside the ATP’s top 100.

Murray, who defeated Coric easily the first time they met at Davis Cup in 2013, came away impressed with Coric’s form in their recent tussle. “He makes good decisions on the court,” Murray said. “He's stronger now. He serves a bit better. Defends better now, as well, because he's going to get stronger as he gets older.”

Coric said he knew he’d be in for a struggle against Federer at a tournament that he’s owned over the years, but the reality of facing him was quite different from what he’d imagined. “I knew that it's going to be very tough,” he said. “But when you come on the court and when you actually feel the ball and feel the pressure which he's making, it's actually been tougher than when you're watching it in the sofa in front of TV.”

Coric also admitted that he got a little too high after upsetting Murray and he had trouble getting grounded in time to face Federer. It’s something the 18-year-old hopes to improve in the future. “I was feeling yesterday like I won the Grand Slam,” he said, “and then today I need to go out again after 24 hours and play against a guy who is—we all know who he is. It's not easy, for sure. And also I was a little bit struggling with that, but I just need to—I need to be used to it.”

Photo Source: Dubai Duty Free Tennis