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Ivanisevic plans grand farewell

By Jonathan Overend
BBC Tennis reporter



Ivanisevic is enjoying his comeback

June 21, 2004, is potentially a busy day for Goran Ivanisevic.

He wants to be first on court at Wimbledon, before catching a flight to Lisbon to watch the big football match between England and Croatia.

Then, if Croatia beat England at Euro 2004, he promises to walk around London draped in his nation's colours before a possible second round-match at the All England Club.

"If we win, I am going to walk all day with the Croatian jersey and probably someone will kick my ass!"

It would be typical Ivanisevic.

This is the man who says, when he eventually retires, he will surprise everyone.

"My favourite song is My Way by Frank Sinatra and I am going to do it my way, a special way. I can assure you it is going to be different."

If I am healthy I can do something at Wimbledon, maybe not win but do some damage and spoil somebody's dreams!"

Goran Ivanisevic

The mind boggles. A match of naked beach tennis with a bevy of Baltic beauties?

Maybe not, but that would probably appeal to his slightly warped, schoolboy-like sense of humour.

Ivanisevic is embarking on what he describes as his final comeback attempt.

The 32-year-old wants to enjoy himself and play injury-free, although he doesn't know for how long.

Naturally he would love one final "crash bam wallop" through the Wimbledon draw.

"I am not just going to walk on like a model, wave and say 'bye'," says Ivanesevic, who beat Pat Rafter in the epic final in 2001.


Ivanisevic is a popular man on Wimbledon's Centre Court

"I'm a member so I can come anytime and have a cup of tea, but as a player I expect to do well.

"If I'm healthy I can do something there, maybe not win but do some damage and spoil somebody's dreams!"

Ivanesevic rarely does anything by the book.

In fact he isn't even in the book anymore - the ATP players' guide that is.

The governing body, clearly expecting him to retire at the end of last year, didn't devote their usual page of facts, photos and stats to the big Croat.

"They've lost my page, someone ripped it out," he grumbles sarcastically.

"I'm the main sponsor for the ATP, I'm the guy who pays the most fines, they should give me respect and have a page saying 'this is the guy who paid the most fines' and there's not even a little note."

Roger Federer is maybe the biggest talent ever, bigger for me than Sampras

Goran Ivanisevic

Before returning to the tour last week in Milan, Ivanesevic had been absent since June 2003 with a series of injuries.

He spent much of the time watching tennis on TV and is dazzled by the brilliance of one man.

"Roger Federer is maybe the biggest talent ever, bigger for me than Sampras. He is the guy who can win all four Grand Slams, great to watch, a genius."

Ivanesevic is going to enjoy these final few months of his career especially as according to the ATP - with their book omission - he doesn't exist.

"I am a ghost, they can't find me anymore," he says.

The fans still want to find him, however, and a Wimbledon farewell would be a magnificent treat. However bizarre.

Guest

Ah, Wimbledon..... wouldn't it be great! He doesn't have to win just reach the final and push Federer hard to 5 sets, right?... How many fairy tales is one person allowed? But if anyone Goran..........!
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