Goran Ivanisevic Article


Ivanisevic plans crazy exit
By Mark Hodgkinson in Rotterdam
The Telegraph
18 February 2004

Three years ago at Wimbledon, as wild-card Goran Ivanisevic neared that glorious title, the question was not whether his serve would hold up but how his digestive system was coping, choosing as he had to eat the same three-course dinner in the same restaurant for an entire fortnight.

The Croat continues to ignore the mainstream. Those who believe that the 32-year-old, on the comeback from injury, wants to close his career with one more appearance on the Centre Court, have a surprise waiting. Tennis's shock-jock plans to stun the sport with the manner of his departure.

"My favourite song is 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra so we will do it my way, a special way," he said after losing in the first round here. "All my career, I've been doing crazy things so I can't stop now. When I do it everyone will be shocked."

Ivanisevic will only return to the All England Club this summer if he feels that he can do some "damage". Gushing sentiment is not his style.

"I'm a member so I can come again and have a cup of tea, but I'm not going to go there as a model, just walk on the court and wave as if it was a fashion show. I had my show in Split after I won Wimbledon - I had 150,000 people and I did a striptease," he said.

If Ivanisevic is there as "defending champion" on the opening Monday - no one, he said, has beaten him there since - he will ask the order of play committee to ensure that his match does not clash with the Euro 2004 group fixture that night between Croatia and England.

"I think that is the group decider. If we win I will walk through London all day wearing the Croatian jersey," he promised.

In Milan last week, Ivanisevic played his first match for eight months. He has been sidelined with shoulder, knee and elbow problems that have had his patience at breaking point.

The left-hander was away so long that the Association of Tennis Professionals scrubbed him from the players' guide."They've lost my page - somebody ripped it out," he said. "But I'm the main sponsor for the tour, I'm the guy who paid the most fines. So they should give me respect.

"There should be a page saying - this is the guy who paid the most fines. I don't exist now - I'm a ghost - so I can do whatever I want."

Alex Corretja suggested last night that if Greg Rusedski - who is still waiting for the Montreal tribunal to reach its verdict - is banned for two years then there could be far-reaching consequences. However, the Spaniard, twice a finalist at Roland Garros, later conceded that "a boycott" was unlikely. "This is tennis, everyone does what he wants," he said. "It's an individual sport."