It was Friday, the 28th day of the June 1996 when she saw the day light for the first time. Her mum Brankica is of a strong opinion, that Donna’s premiere cry was stronger than that of other newborns on the Maternity ward of the Clinical hospital in Osijek.
Who knows, maybe the reason for that cry was the fact that only a few kilometres further, across the river Drava (by which the Maternity was placed) the cannons were directed towards the heart of her birth town, which was the centre of the eastern region called Slavonia. It took two more years until the war threat finally ended in this part of Croatia!
Until then she was already sure to show her family members what she was up to! She was such a merry child, playing all the time, with all that energy that only happily playful children can have. But, it must have been God who wanted her to be born in a family which gave so many giftet sportspersons to Osijek and Croatia. The talents came not only from the family directly, but they were also the results of the hard-work of someone from the Vekić family.
Her grandmother Lidija, her dad Igor’s mum, was the teacher of Physical Education, and she raised the generations of the talented sportspeople, but she is specially proud of one of them. She discovered Davor Šuker, who she launched into the world of football. And he definetely never denied that fact! Her late grandfather Branko was a gifted archer – which suits the real warrior that he was, doesn’t it – but to the Croatian sport he gave much more contribution as a longtime head of the famous Youth School of the Football Club Osijek. While she still had her maiden name Špiranović, her mum was an excellent athlete: 100m, 100m hurdle and 400m. Her dad Igor used to play football, the sport that made his grandfathers and uncles the trademark of Osijek, but noone in that large sports family had any, even the slightest connection to tennis! Her younger brother Bruno proves that rule, too. He chose football and continued the centenary tradition of many other male members of Vekić family. People say, he is very talented.
Having in mind the environment she was growing up in, she entered the world of sport through gymnastics, as the physical culture would require! But then she hurt her ancle, which didn’t mean she wanted to be at rest.
‘Il’ me ženi il’ tamburu kupi, ja u nešto udarati moram (‘Either find me a wife, or buy me a guitar, I must beat something! – a humorous verse from a Slavonian rakish song) – those were the words of son to his father which very clearly show the character of a person who neither can, or wants to stop doing something. Well, if she couldn’t jump over the buck or do figures on the beam, she had to find something else. She asked her father to take her to tennis practice. It was the love at first sight, exactly as the true love can be – extremely painful! With her leg hurt and regardless of the fact that the racket was just a bit shorter than herself, and she was only six years old, she said to her parents: ‘Mum, mum! Dad, dad! This is it!’ They trusted her choice, paid for 20 lessons – everything else is the history! This history was enriched by the important names of her trainers: Damir Barišić, Domagoj Lacković, Davor Grgić, Dado Majoli and David Felgate! Only those whose names begin in D! Even her condition trainer’s name starts in D – Dario Novak! Donna deserves that! Ok, there was some space for several advisers who were allowed not to have D at the beginning of their names: Nick Bolletieri, Chris Evert, Sven Groeneveld and Miljenko Rak! Can you imagine that such names could be unsuccessful? I definetely can’t.