Goran Ivanisevic Article

BBC Online - 25 June 1999


Face Goran Ivanisevic on a tennis court and you are facing up to life in the fast lane.

Australian Sandon Stolle found out the hard way as 32 aces flew past him during their second round men's singles match, which Ivanisevic won 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 4-6 6-4.

The Croatian left-hander is arguably the most penetrative server of the modern era and he is unimpressed by International Tennis Federation plans to put on the brakes by experimenting with bigger balls.

"There'ís the French Open if you want lots of rallies - Wimbledon is different," he said.

"You can't have people serving slower at Wimbledon. This is the biggest tournament ever and you can't bring a ballon here."

Ivanisevic, whose beard and bandana give him the appearance of a pirate planning a voyage in search of buried treasure, rejected the notion that points of only one or two strokes are unpopular with spectators.

"You see all the people queuing to get in - I don't think it's unpopular. They love it. Apart from Agassi, only serve and volleyers have won here recently and that's the way it will always be."

Ivanisevic has proved that his serve is a potent weapon whatever the surface, with ATP Tour statistics showing that he topped the aces count in five of the last seven years. His best year was 1996 when 1,477 aces flew from his racquet.

He sent down 206 during Wimbledon fortnight in 1992 - his best return at the Championships - but the title continues to elude him.

"Some others say it's about time that I won it and I agree. I just hope so much that everyone is right this time. I put everything into coming to Wimbledon and I honestly believe I have another great chance again," he said.

"The crowd give me a lot of support every time, as well. If Tim (Henman) or Greg (Rusedski) don't win it, maybe I'm the one they would like to see win it. I haven't given up hope."

Whatever the outcome of the ITF experiment, Ivanisevic is confident it will have no effect on his potency.

"I'm always going to hit my portion of aces with big or small balls," he added.