This is a national trait. Somebody more knowledgable (and more interested in the subject) than me could probably write volumes about the Croatian National Football Team (yeah, I do mean soccer!) and their adventures in never actually ending on the very top. There are many instances of this in Croatia, it’s just that the sports ones are more visible.
For me, this curious mentality? trait? is best exemplified by Goran Ivaniševi?. You know, the extremely talented Croatian tennis player that made all the world familiar with the sound, if not the entire meaning, of Croatian curses as he lost his cool on the court.
The buckling under pressure made his highest career achievement being ranked as World No. 2, Pete Sampras in 1994. Ivaniševi? was runner-up at Wimbledon in 1992, 1994 and 1998. In 2001 he had to actually get an invitation to play as he did not rank high enough to actually get in. And then he did the Croatian thing. He won. And became is the only person to win the men’s singles title at Wimbeldon who got into the tournament by invitation.
I like to remind myself of this on this day. And whenever I need to keep my cool. I don’t want to be a wildcard. I want my hard work to pay off. Not luck.