Everything is risky with me: Ivanisevic
By Robin Chatterjee
When athletes retire, it is only natural that those who have written about them make an attempt to put their careers into perspective. At that point, years of work can be encapsulated into one single sentence. Funny who in case of Goran Ivanisevic the reveiw of his career is complete, even before retirement. A great player who never dilivered. Finishing out of the top 10 for first time since 1991, Ivanisevic is now talking a more philosophical view towards his career. He is beginning to accept his shortcomings.
"My main goal is to try to win a Grand Slam and get back to the top 10, where I think I deserve to be," he said. When I asked which goal would be more difficult to attain, he replied candidly, " The first one". For the moment, Ivanisevic consoles himself by hoping to emulate 30-years-old Grand Slam winners, more recently Petr Korda, and making a dig at hiomself. The effect is painful to watch. "I think I still have a chance," he confessed. "See Korda, 30 years old, nobody expected him to win the Australian and he gave everybody a tennis lesson. So itīs never over. Boris did it at 29 ( the Australian Open) Andrez Gomez. Probably, I donīt play any more Grand Slams till Iīm 30, and then I arrive and say ÓK, Iīm here`." It has never been easy to fathom Ivanisevicīs brand of tennis. He doesnīt understand it himself.
How to review a player who fired 46 aces against Magnus Norman at Wimbledon, in 1997, and went on to lose the match (14-12). Or who saved four match points from Richard Krajicek, in the semifinal at Vienna, going to beat him ? A tournament win in Croatia and a first exit at the Dubai Open are also points to ponder over. But Ivanisevic is a paradox. Heīs also highly injury prone during certain stretches of the year. As he confirmed, "Everything is risky with me. My father always telling me, donīt play basketball, donīt play football, donīt play tennis, and donīt play this, and then last year I am going out of my apartment and I close the door over my finger and break it three places. I was home for six weeks. With me everything is dangerous. A walk is dangerous. In Austraila I was in the boxing ring having fun and a guy hit me with the elbow and i got four stitches. With me itīs dangerous even when I sleep. I can fall out off the bed. I have some parts of the years when Iīm dangerous to myself. Itīs boring for me to stay without injury."
Today, Ivanisevic is famous just for being famous. As Jimmy Connors once said, " When most players get rich they lose just enough of their drive that they canīt take it to the next level." Perhaps, Ivanisevic isnīt driving enough. Which is why in tennis terms, he is best described by one word: almost.