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FAU Alumnus Velickovic Wins Silver at his First APP Event

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Vuk Velickovic, a Florida Atlantic University alumnus and former FAU men's tennis volunteer assistant coach, earned a silver medal in the 2023 Boca Raton/New York City Open. The event was played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, and hosted by the Association of Pickleball Players (APP).
The second annual event drew more than 1,102 amateurs and professionals and served as a "golden ticket qualifier" to the USAP Nationals and featured the largest APP pros purse of the season.
Velickovic began his collegiate tennis career at VCU and completed his degree and three collegiate seasons at Coastal Carolina, where he held the team's highest winning percentage (12-5) as a senior and was named second team All-Sun Belt in singles play (2017) and was a first team All-Big South honoree in (2016). In three seasons at Coastal, Velickovic was 45-13 in singles play.
Following earning his undergraduate management degree, in December of 2017, Velickovic wanted to continue both his education and his tennis career, something he had done at the highest levels from an early age. While teaching tennis at the Boca Resort and Club, Velickovic met resort guest Harry Kent. Kent had just opened Pickleball Plus, a state-of-the-art indoor pickleball facility in in West Hempstead, New York, and more importantly was a long-time friend of Dr. Charlie Hennekens, the First Sir Richard Doll Professor and senior academic advisor of Medicine in the Schmidt College of Medicine at FAU.
Through Hennekens' mentorship, Velickovic entered the Florida Atlantic MBA program with a focus on sports management, served as a volunteer men's tennis coach in 2019-20, and was a dormitory leader. But more importantly, he was introduced to pickleball, a sport where his tennis knowledge and skills could translate. Velickovic made that transition and most recently displayed his pro skills with the APP tournament in New York.
The pro singles draw to the quarterfinals looked like a regular APP draw, with seven of the top-eight seeds advancing as expected. However, Velickovic, who won five quarterfinal matches, defeated #8 seed Eduardo Irizarry 12-10 in the third in the first-round match and then upset the top-seed Hunter Johnson, the No. 8 player in the world, who had medaled in every previous match he played during this year. Velickovic continued by defeating singles stalwart John Cincola to advance to the finals. Velickovi, who was playing in his first APP event and second pro pickleball tournament, fell to No. 15 ranked William Sobek 16-14, in a 15-point tiebreaker, to earn the silver medal.

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