Croatian sports fans around the world – including me – are spoiled. Especially when it comes to football, we are absolutely spoiled. Yes, the Spain extra time loss last week still stings, but at the end of the day, the Vatreni have only missed two tournaments since 1996. That is absolutely bonkers if you think about it for more than five seconds. Look at Serbia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia. They haven’t done anything since the break up of Yugoslavia. On top of that, Croatia has been solid in tennis, water polo, and handball over that past three decades; and basketball in 1992.
We take it for granted and this week should be a reminder not too. The Croatian basketball team hosted an Olympic qualifying tournament in Split and was embarrassed. Even with Utah Jazz sharp shooter, Bojan Bogdanović, returning from an early NBA playoff exit, Croatia couldn’t beat Brazil on home soil before barely skimming by Tunisia in the 4th quarter of group play. In the semifinal round, Bogdanović and company blew a 10-point lead against Germany and lost 86-76. Croatia will not be heading to Tokyo later this summer for basketball. Granted, the team was without Ivica Zubac (Clippers) and Dario Šarić (Suns), due to their involvement in the NBA playoffs, but they should still get the job done against Brazil and Germany; especially with home cooking on their side.
Marin Čilić had a great chance to make a run at Wimbledon and move up the ATP rankings, but instead, blew a 2-0 set lead over #2 Daniil Medvedev. 32 year-old Čilić was in full control and won’t have many more chances to make the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. The Medvedev match took place in the 3rd Round and could have potentially set up a date with Federer in the quarters. It’s a shame Čilić couldn’t hang on as one more deep run at a Grand Slam would be nice to see. At the end of the day, the man has a US Open title to his name and has played in the Wimbledon and Australian Open Finals in an era which makes is nearly impossible to do so; having Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray to go up against the past 15 years.