Goran Ivanisevic Article

Ivanisevic still smiling after bumping heads
8 August 1998

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TORONTO, April 8 (Reuters) - Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia joked that he is looking for a new partner after bumping heads soccer-style with his Australian teammate Mark Philippoussis in a doubles match at the Canadian Open on Saturday.

'Yeah, somebody that is a little shorter, so when he hits me in the head it will be more in the chest,' Ivanisevic said, smiling despite the blood still dripping down his face during a news conference.

Ivanisevic, who was inconsolable after letting the Wimbledon final slip away to Pete Sampras last month, flashed his dry wit despite the latest in a series of mishaps.

Asked whether, since he was still bleeding, he needed more stitches, he replied that he did not: ``I'm Croatian, you know -- like, mean.''

When would he be back in action? ``Rocky's back Tuesday for more stitches,'' he said of his next tournament, in Cincinnati.

Ivanisevic and Philippoussis were forced to retire from a quarter-final doubles match against Bahamian Mark Knowles and Canadian Daniel Nestor because of their collision.

'I woke up this morning and I thought we might lose,' Ivanisevic said, 'but not this way.'

After the Croatian popped up a volley that would not have made it over the net, he and his partner both tried to playfully head the ball soccer-style.

'I was closer to the ball and Mark came like a train, a fast train, and I just felt unbelieveable pain,' Ivanisevic said.

'I saw the blood and as soon as he hit me I knew there were going to be stitches.'

Ivanisevic needed six stitches between his nose and left eyebrow. Philippoussis only bruised his forehead.

'I'm a little dizzy, like I was in the ring with (Mike) Tyson,' said Ivanisevic who at 6-foot-4 (1.94 metres) is the same height as Philippoussis.

'They told me I have to take one day off because it's going to get swollen and my head is hurting a little bit. I hope I can have a Tuesday start and stay away from playing doubles for a few weeks.'

The Croatian is no stranger to stitches.

'I had four stitches in Australia in January,' Ivanisevic said, 'but that's another story.'

'It was the players' party and I was in a boxing ring with huge gloves with (Spanish player) Jordi Burillo. In five years, nobody has ever gotten hurt. But he hit me with his elbow and I got four stitches here (indicating his left temple).' 'Nobody ever gets hurt but then I arrive and I get hurt for sure. It's never boring with me around.'