Goran Ivanisevic Article

Rob Bonnet ponders on the popularity of the new Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic
By Rob Bonnet, BBC Sport 2001


An emotional Goran Ivanisevic tries to take in his victory Ivanisevic’s passion, pride and personal charm have put Croatia firmly back on the tourist map
We've been moaning about the crass tedium of the men's serve-volley game for years, and here's Goran, the absolute personification of it.

He's a bully of a player, with a strategy that reduces the subtle rhythms and skills of the purest non-contact sport in the world to its crudest, most brutal form.

What's more, he offends with his Mad Goran behaviour.
How else to describe the stripped-to-the-waist-muscle flexing in victory that occurred not once but twice, with a third time only impossible because he was running out of shirts?

And that fourth set double fault in the final against Rafter prompted a tantrum of such vileness that even a young People's Monday crowd found unpalatable.

The nasty Goran throws a tantrum What's more he beat our Tim.

And yet we love him.
Men love him for his audacity and determination, women for the romance of his story and the ripple of his pecs.
Journalists love him for the craziness in his game and the colour of his quotes, he could never spend "a day at the office" and talk about it in the dull cliché-speak of the game's automatons elsewhere.
And I'll tell you why I love him. I love him for the sheer purity of his ambition, the wonderment and joy he feels at his success, and his message that sport can utterly and absolutely fulfil.
I love him for the contrast that he offers to Wimbledon and the stuffiness of its traditions.
I love him for the genuine passion of his personality, for the love he shows to his native Croatia and for the courage which allows him also to love a Serb.
I love him for his natural honesty.
And I love him because in absorbing his own very personal moment of triumph, he almost immediately shared it around again.
Wimbledon Winner - 2001 With his father, his family, the friend he lost in a road accident, the Centre Court crowd, and with you and me.

In other words, there's a fourth version beyond Nice Goran, Crazy Goran and 911 Goran.
It's Child Goran, the vulnerable Goran of naivety and innocence who believes in fairy-tales and isn't afraid to say so.
His life is so massively uncomplicated that he could simply and truthfully say that he didn't care if he never won another tennis match in his life...and mean it.
And then twelve hours later after a night out on the town he could say exactly the reverse, that he was determined to win Wimbledon again next year.

But children and Wimbledon Champions are allowed to change their minds!