In a new series starting on December 18, 2015, TCN’s Ashley Colburn meets some of the more influential Croats in America, starting with tennis legend turned businessman Mario Ančić in New York City, whose thoughts are never far from his native Split.
Whether its tennis or investment banking, Mario Ančić has devoted long hours and hard work into his career – no matter where he has been in the world. Currently residing in New York City, the tennis superstar has achieved success in America since retiring from the sport in 2011. In May 2015, Ančić graduated from prestigious Columbia University with a JD (Juris Doctor) degree, a university that only accepts the world’s leading individuals. While attending university, he worked part time with the NBA (Brooklyn Nets). It’s clear Ančić is multi-talented and has the resume to prove it, which has landed him a job at Credit Suisse in the heart of New York City. I had the opportunity to meet up with Ančić in the big city to talk about Croatia, the pace of NYC, and what its like to be a successful business man in America.
New York wasn’t a foreign place for Ančić as he had traveled to the city many times to compete in the U.S. Open. Today he has lived in the city for four years and loves that there is always something going on. “Whatever you like to do you can do in NY,” he said, but going to NBA games and concerts are some of his favorites. “Growing up I remember waking up at 3 a.m. to watch Michael Jordan play games in Madison Square Garden,” but now Ančić overlooks this square each and every day from his current office.
While his home will always be Split, Ančić knows NYC is the best fit for the moment. “I think for this period in my life, it’s great to be here. I can’t complain because I am working in one of the best banks and having that experience.”
Sometimes Ančić misses Croatia, speaking the language and especially the jokes, but he knows his home is always going to be there. Ančić returns home twice a year for Christmas and of course in the summertime to enjoy the sun and sea. When it comes to food, while New York City is a restaurant mecca, Ančić says there is nothing better than his country’s olive oil, prosciutto and paški sir.
Ančić jokes about the fast paced life in New York and how if you want to get a coffee with a friend in the city, you may need to schedule it two weeks in advance. This contradicts the Dalmatians “fjaka” mentality, but there’s nothing relaxed about investment banking either. In the past, Ančić spent long hours each day on the court mastering his skills, now tennis is his recreational hobby- only to be played after a full day of work or on the weekends. While sports and investment banking are two different worlds, in both fields, Ančić has achieved greatness. His ability to be a team player has been a part of his character since his early years in tennis.
It’s not every day you meet someone who has accomplished as much as Mario Ančić, but America is very thankful to have such a successful and inspirational figure here in our country. “I’ve traveled the world and I know the values I have and I know where I came from. Split will always be my home.”