No easy ride for Goran on Senior Tour
29 June 2004
By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - Goran Ivanisevic is welcome on the Senior Tour but should not expect an easy ride, according to multiple grand slam champions John McEnroe and Boris Becker.
Croatian Ivanisevic, who retired from tennis after bowing out in the third round at Wimbledon last week, has already hinted he wants to join the tour in due course.
"When younger players join in, like Goran Ivanisevic and Richard Krajicek, they will be a great asset to our tour but they have to be aware that we do want to kick their asses," three-times Wimbledon winner Becker said on Tuesday.
"I thought a few years ago that these old guys wouldn't have a chance against me but guess what, I was beaten the whole time."
Becker, now aged 37, and McEnroe compete regularly on the senior circuit, which stages up to nine events a year for former professionals.
"Ivanisevic would be a formidable opposition, he's quite dangerous to put it mildly," said McEnroe, who was one of the founders of the tour seven years ago.
"He'd make a great addition, he's unpredictable and shoots from the hips. I don't welcome his serve but I welcome his presence."
Becker was enticed to enter the arena of the golden oldies three years ago by McEnroe.
However, having called it quits on the main ATP circuit in 1999, the German admits life isn't that much easier on the Senior Tour.
"For us to play four or five matches in a row, it's not that simple. It's one of the reasons why we are not participating in the regular tour any more," said Becker
"So for us to do that, we really have to prepare, we have to get into shape, we have to practice like we used to.
"But now there's a small problem, we're around 40 and it's certainly much more difficult to recover on the next day.
"We joke about it but once we get on court, it's dead serious as nobody wants to lose. This is something people forget that it's the seniors tour.
"We cannot play 15, 20 events a year because of our age but the ones we do play we want to win them."
Despite being the oldest competitor on the tour at 45, McEnroe won four titles last year and is in no mood to hang up his racket.
"Competition is in my blood, so I can never expect not to have the competitive juices flowing even in 20 years time," the American said.
This year, former French Open champions Jim Courier and Sergi Bruguera will be making their debuts on the tour along with 1996 Wimbledon winner Krajicek.