Tennis player Roger Federer has a new tennis coach, and that man has a very interesting background story. His new tennis coach, Ivan Ljubicic, started his career by fleeing from the war in the Balkans via a cargo plane and a bus ride and even lived in a refugee camp.

Ljubicic had been friends with Federer long before he was chosen as his new tennis coach. Ljubicic grew up in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina and lived in a dangerous region where he and his family often saw others disappear for no apparent reason.

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New tennis coach tells of his flight from Balkan war

Ljubicic says his family became extremely concerned about their safety, so they left on a flight out of the country, and then embarked on a long ride in a bus that ended up with them living in Croatia in a refugee camp. His family had to rebuild after that, and so Ljubicic trained in Italy at a tennis academy and became a top-ranked tennis player.

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While not as good as his new protégé Federer, Ljubicic had a good career in tennis and retired from the game in 2012. He was able to get to the level of number three in the world, as well as playing in a Grand Slam semifinals game at Roland Garros and helped Croatia to win a Davis Cup.

Ljubicic is a big influence in the game of tennis

Besides being an accomplished tennis player, and tennis coach, Ljubicic has been influential in other areas in the game.

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He previously served on the ATP Player Council, as well as being part of the ATP Board of Directors. That’s an accomplishment no other active tennis player has been able to do for about 20 years.

He was also coach to tennis player, Milos Raonic, a Canadian player who got to the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014, but Ljubicic’s new trainee, Federer, beat him out. In addition, Ljubicic has appeared on TV to give commentary and has managed Tomas Berdych.

Ljubicic has tough act to follow Edberg

As Federer’s new tennis coach, Ljubicic still will have a tough act to follow after the previous coach, Stefan Edberg, as Edberg was able to lead Federer to three Grand Slam finals, which included going to Wimbledon in both 2014 and in 2015, as well as going to the U.S. Open, which all came after he had a bad year in 2013.

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