Jul 7, 1929 - Jun 10, 2005(75)

little Braco ball repair master

Brother and ping pong, with whom he will spend his whole life as a player, coach, journalist, referee, delegate of the world table tennis organization, and writer...

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Since Zdenko was a lively and curious boy, it was difficult for his parents to find something for the child to do for a long time. But then, one day, his mother took him by the hand to the nearby Čelap, where a new sport was played on the first floor, which was becoming more and more popular among the people of Zagreb - ping pong. Zdenek soon liked the sport and became a lover of a small racket and ball, and this will stick with him for the rest of his life. Older players like Žarko Dolinar, Lovra Ratković, Dolfi Heršković, Čiko already played there, and little Zdenko first absorbed the moves from the side, and then he dared to play at the big table. Dad told me how he was a master at repairing balls that were as valuable as gold because they were hard to come by, especially during the war years. Zdenko had his first performance when he was only 13 years old, and because he was smaller, but lively and fast, he was nicknamed Braco. Already at the age of 14, he became the youth champion of Zagreb at the war championship, and among the seniors he was an excellent 6, while in a pair with Blanka Pečnik he won the mixed doubles and thus became the main news in the sports columns, thereby announcing a great career that awaits him. In addition to table tennis, he also plays big tennis, reaching the finals of the Junior Championship of Yugoslavia. But tennis elbow prevented him from playing both sports at once. This story would end with his high school performance when he and his IV. Real Gymnasium fought in the championship of schools and lost in the finals to V. Real Gymnasium and its big competitor Kreša Horvat, but he got his revenge in a pair with Reno Vinek. Later in his professional career, he often competed with Vinko Krasić, Milan Štencl, Dunda, Jožo Vogrinec, Valković, Crnjak, Hudetz, but that's another story...

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