by Chuck Pool (email@example.com) -
A native of Slovenia, Zlatkovic joins the five-time Conference USA Champions after serving in a similar role at the University of Pennsylvania, were he helped guide the Quakers to a 11-9 record, capped by an upset of 49th ranked Harvard in the season’s final match. In addition, senior Kana Daniel qualified for the NCAA singles championship and advanced to the Round of 32.
“We are excited to welcome Matej to Rice,” Schmidt said, “He not only brings a wealth of coaching and playing experience, but he also has a contagious positive energy. Matej has hit the ground running and I know he will have an immediate impact on our program.”
Zlatkovic joined the Quakers after two years at Yale, serving as the interim head coach for the 2015-16 campaign and compiling an 8-13 record. One of those eight wins was an upset of Schmidt’s Owls, 4-3 in New Haven.
Zlatkovic is no stranger to the national collegiate tennis scene, as he served for three years, from 2011 to 2014, as an assistant coach for Illinois State's men's tennis team. His duties at Illinois State ranged from coordinating fitness and weight exercises with players to providing tactical advice during match play. In 2013, he also served as a traveling coach, tactical adviser and hitting partner for Polona Hercog, Slovenia's top-ranked professional women's tennis player who has been ranked as high as No. 35 in the world in singles and No. 56 in doubles.
Most recently, Zlatkovic served as a tennis instructor at Moussa Drame Tennis Club in Shelter Island, N.Y., where he has provided one-on-one instruction to tennis players every summer since 2010. Zlatkovic also worked as a tennis professional at Tennis Club As Litija and SG Tennis Company, both in Slovenia, where he instructed players of all ages and skill levels.
In 2007 and 2008, Zlatkovic served as a hitting partner at the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Slovenian Open for top professional players, including former World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo, Maria Kirilenko, Katarina Srebotnik and Marina Erakovic.
Zlatkovic is also a decorated tennis player in his own right, having played on the Illinois State men's team. He served as team captain at Illinois State from 2010 to 2011, and received Missouri Valley All-Conference recognition in 2009 and 2010 in singles and doubles.
Zlatkovic holds a degree in marketing sales from Illinois State's College of Business.