When we met Matija Pecotic, director of capital markets for Wexford Capital, at a party at Jane Holzer’s Factory in West Palm Beach this fall, little did we know we’d next be seeing him on Tennis TV beating former top ten tennis star Jack Sock at the Delray Open!
Apparently, Matija signed-up as an alternate for the qualify rounds of the tournament, and not only received a spot, but reached his first ATP Tour main draw. What came next, was even more surprising; he upset Jack Sock to reach the second round. Not bad for a 33-year-old who works full time!
PALMER sat down with Matija to get the full story…
Where did you learn to play tennis?
I played with my dad in Malta until the age of 15, and then with a fellow countryman, Alfred Dimech, who was the father of another female tennis player in Malta from age 15-20, until I went to Princeton and connected with my college coach, Glenn Michibata, who was a former top five player in the world and really taught me a lot about the game.
How old were you when you moved to the US?
I was 20-years-old when I came to the U.S. to attend college.
Did you play college tennis? Where?
I played for 4 years at Princeton University, Class of 2013. I was Team Captain; 3-time Ivy League Player of the Year and played #1 singles and #1 doubles.
Where did you earn your MBA?
Harvard Business School, Class of 2019.
How did you end up living in Palm Beach?
I met Michelle & Joe Jacobs at a pro-am in Palm Beach in early 2021, and after spending a week together in Malta in the summer of 2021, I was asking for career advice and Joe offered me to spend some time in Palm Beach and learn about what they do at his investment firm, Wexford Capital.
Where do you play?
I play wherever courts are available locally: Phipps Park, South Ocean, Palm Beach Tennis Center, Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton and at Palm Beach Country Club as a guest of Joe Jacobs.
Whom did you practice with before playing in the Delray Open?
I played a pro-am with Joe Jacobs the weekend prior to Delray, and then trained twice at The Breakers with Mark Ein, the owner of the Washington ATP500 tennis event, who is 50-years-old. That’s it!
We know you missed playing in the Australian Open due to an injury and then Covid, have you played in any other big tournaments?
I have played Wimbledon, US Open and French Open, as well as the United Cup in Australia in 2023, and played on the Croatian Davis Cup Team in 2020, right before COVID-19 hit.
What did Jack Sock say when you beat him?
“You’re not quite ready for office life, my friend!”
Did you surprise yourself as much as everyone else?
I credit a huge part of my ability to stay close to the game and being fit enough to compete at the highest level of the game to being in Palm Beach. If I were living somewhere in the North East, I wouldn’t have been able to spend this much time playing tennis, being outside and focusing on my fitness. Were it not for my meeting with Joe and taking a corporate job in a big city, I probably would not have kept up with the game. He encouraged me to continue playing, invited me to many of his tennis games, and inspired me with his rigorous training regime. (He trains in the gym or on the tennis court seven days a week, and hasn’t taken one day off since I’ve met him).
Even though I haven’t been in Palm Beach for very long, I feel grateful to the Palm Beach community for welcoming me in the way that they have, recognizing my tennis abilities and inviting me to play in all sorts of tournaments, pro-ams, and morning hits before work over the past year. It has allowed me to spend lots of time on the court, and even though the level of tennis is not comparable to the pro level, it has kept me dialed-in with the game.
I’m not ready to make any announcements just yet, although, it’s very likely that this was not the last time you’ve seen me on a center court at a big tournament.