Ivanisevic puts his shoulder into Wimbledon bid
24 April 2002
Goran Ivanisevic remains determined to defend his Wimbledon crown this summer, despite being unsure whether his injured shoulder will hold up to the punishment.
Ivanisevic qualified for last year's tournament as a wild-card and went on to win the title in memorable fashion, beating Pat Rafter in a thrilling five-setter.
But Ivanisevic has missed a number of major tournaments this year and only last month was forced to pull out of the Pacific Open in Indian Wells.
The eccentric 30-year-old Croatian has refused surgery, sparking speculation that he was ready to quit the game.
But the chance to appear as champion at the All England Club is too good to miss.
Ivanisevic had claimed he would be prepared to take three months off just to appear on centre court for the opening match, but he is now targeting the inaugural Liverpool International grasscourt tournament in mid-June to make his comeback.
"I hope to be at Wimbledon," he said. "I am not practising at the moment but I hope to be fit in time. There is nothing much more I can do.
"I can just hope to be fit. I am looking to play at the Liverpool International.
"I do my exercises, but life is like a lottery. It can be good, it can be bad so we shall just have to wait and see."
Ivanisevic, who has undertaken a period of military service since his triumph, is willing to play through the pain to defend his title.
"It just depends on what period of time my shoulder can survive, it depends on how much pain I can take," he said.
"I hope to be there. I cannot say if I will win it again, we shall just have to wait and see."
ATP Stars, Tournaments Receive Awards
19 April 2002
Also eliciting enthusiastic cheers from the audience at Sporting Monte-Carlo was Goran Ivanisevic, who attended the ceremony but was unable to participate in the tournament this week due to injury. Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion who jumped from No. 129 on the ATP Entry System at the end of 2000 to No. 12 in 2001, was selected Most Improved Player by his fellow pros. He also won the ASAP Sports Most Quotable Player Award, an honor selected by the International Tennis Writers Association.
19 April 2002
Monte Carlo: Croatian Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic was honoured as his fellow players elected him the Most Improved Player, while international tennis writers additionally gave him the quirkier - but richly deserved - award of Most Quotable Player.
Source: The Star Online
Ivanisevic and Kuerten pull out of Monte Carlo Masters
11 April 2002
PARIS (Reuters) - Croat Goran Ivanisevic has pulled out of the Monte Carlo Masters Series and Brazilian title holder Gustavo Kuerten has confirmed he will not take part in the claycourt event starting on Monday, organisers said.
Ivanisevic, who played in the Davis Cup quarter-final in Argentina last weekend, is nursing a recurrent shoulder injury.
"As we feared, Ivanisevic has decided to pull out," a statement said. "The organisers have also received the official confirmation of something they had known for a long time, the absence of Gustavo Kuerten."
On Wednesday, Americans Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras announced their withdrawals.
"Watching Monte Carlo (Masters) which is one of my favourite event is not going to be easy," Kuerten wrote in a letter to the tournament chairman.
"I'm not able to play but I know that there are still some years left in front of me to play and, I should say, to win."
Kuerten is still recovering from surgery on his right hip in February.
Frenchman Nicolas Escude who helped France to qualify for the semifinals of the Davis Cup last weekend has confirmed he will be present while compatriot Jerome Golmard is out.
World number one and Wimbledon champion to play Queen's
8 April 2002
By Ossian Shine
LONDON (Reuters) - World number one Lleyton Hewitt and Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic will head a strong list of challengers in June's Stella Artois Championships, organisers have said.
Hewitt, champion in 2000 and 2001, aims to match John McEnroe's record of three consecutive crowns at London's Queen's Club from 1979-1981, while Ivanisevic is hoping for his first title in 11 appearances at the traditional Wimbledon warm-up.
"As soon as I pick up my racket and get on the grass at the Stella I feel match tough," Hewitt said of the Queen's Club's grass courts.
"I made the semis in 1999, and the next two years I won the title. In my opinion they are the best grass courts in the world -- the bounce is true and the ball really comes onto your racket."
Britain's top two players, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, will also be at Queen's for the event which traditionally marks the beginning of the British grasscourt season.
"There is always a strong field at the Stella because it's such a great event," said Henman, who lost to Hewitt in the final last year.
"With the likes of Hewitt and Rusedski there will be a lot of guys capable of playing good tennis on grass. Hewitt has won the last two years but I've been to the final twice and I'll be looking to go one better this year."
Henman, currently second in the ATP Champions Race, has enjoyed the best start to a season in his nine-year career this year, winning a title in Adelaide and reaching finals at Indian Wells and Rotterdam.
Rusedski, a Stella Artois semifinalist in 1997, showed good form to win the Auckland crown in January and returns to Queen's for the ninth consecutive year.
Seven-times Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras has again requested that a wildcard place be reserved for him.
Widely regarded as the form guide for Wimbledon, 19 of the previous 21 Wimbledon champions have played the Stella Artois, and Sampras has taken a wildcard into the past five editions of the event.
French Open semifinalist and world number three Juan Carlos Ferrero has also asked for a wildcard.
Australian Open finalist Marat Safin of Russia, Americans Jan-Michael Gambill and James Blake along with Argentine Guillermo Canas, have joined 1997 Stella Artois champion Mark Philippoussis and 1992 winner Wayne Ferreira in also confirming their entries
Croatians fight back against Argentina
7 April 2002
By Javier Leira
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic and Ivan Ljubicic recovered to beat Guillermo Canas and Lucas Arnold 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-0 8-6 in the doubles and reduce Argentina's lead to 2-1 in their Davis Cup quarter-final.
The Argentines, having won both Friday's singles, looked set to cruise into the semifinals when Canas and Arnold took the first two sets at the Buenos Aires Lawen Tennis Club and seemed to be on course to settle the tie with a day to spare.
But Wimbledon champion Ivanisevic, who did not play in the singles because of a nagging shoulder injury, and Ljubicic found new strength after a two-hour rain interruption in the middle of the fourth set.
The Croatians won nine straight games to pull the match level at 2-2 and then won a hard-fought deciding set in the 14th game.
Croatia began cautiously, playing from the baseline while the Argentines, who won the opening set when Canas served to love in the 10th game, attacked the net.
Ljubicic made numerous unforced errors as Argentina romped away with the second set in half an hour.
But the Croatians gave the first signs they would not be easy to beat when they raced into a 3-0 lead in the third set.
The crowd, which had so far given their wildest cheers when the country's former women's number one Gabriela Sabatini took her seat, began to get behind their players.
Canas and Arnold pulled back to 3-3, breaking both Croatians, but it was a short-lived recovery.
As rain began to drizzle down, the visiting doubles pair took the set by winning the next three games.
Ivanisevic became stronger while Ljubicic improved, finding the form that helped him take the first set of his singles match against Gaston Gaudio on Friday, and the pair reeled off the fourth set to love.
The match was interrupted for two hours because of heavy rain midway through the set and both pairs came out refreshed for a titanic struggle in the deciding set, which lasted one minute short of an hour.
Argentina failed to capitalise on a match point when leading 5-4 and then handed Croatia the initiative when Canas lost his serve to hand them a 7-6 lead.
An Ivanisevic volley gave Croatia victory on their first set point to keep alive the country's hopes of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time.
Juan Ignacio Chela meets Ljubicic in Sunday's first reverse singles and Gaudio is scheduled to play Ivo Karlovic, who stood in for Ivanisevic on Friday, as Argentina seek their first semifinal berth since 1990.
The winners of the tie go on to meet Russia.
Injured Ivanisevic might still play Davis Cup doubles
2 April 2002
ZAGREB (Reuters) - Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic might still play in doubles in Croatia's Davis Cup tie against Argentina despite recently aggravating an old shoulder injury.
"So far he's (Ivanisevic) only been working out in the gym. He will pick up the racquet for the first time on Wednesday and we have to see how it goes," coach Niki Pilic was quoted as saying in the Vecernji List newspaper on Tuesday.
"He is definitely out for the singles, but at this moment I still figure he could play in the doubles."
Ivanisevic's suffered a recurrence of the injury during last month's Miami Masters and was told he must rest if he wants to defend his Wimbledon crown in June.
Ivanisevic had earlier said he was skipping the tie in Buenos Aires as he believed playing a long match on the slow clay would worsen the injury.
Pilic said if Ivanisevic decides to sit out the doubles, either Zeljko Krajan or Ivo Karlovic will be included in the squad.
The Davis Cup tie starts on Friday.