Ivanisevic expects to play doubles vs. United States
9 December 2002
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) - Goran Ivanisevic expects to play doubles for Croatia against the United States in February's opening round of the Davis Cup. "It's not certain that I'd be ready in time for singles, so I'll most likely play just in the doubles match," the 2001 Wimbledon champion told Croatian monthly Tennis Review in an interview to be published next week.
The left-handed Ivanisevic has been off the tour since having left shoulder surgery in May. He began training in October and is unsure whether he'll play in any tournaments before the Feb. 7-9 Davis Cup matches in Zagreb.
Croatia said Monday it had chosen a fast, indoor carpet surface for the best-of-five series.
Mario Ancic, who upset Roger Federer in Wimbledon's first round this year, and Ivan Ljubicic are expected to play singles for Croatia.
James Blake and Andy Roddick probably will play singles for the Uni
ted States. They were on the team that lost 3-2 to France in this year's semifinals. The U.S.-Croatia winner will face Spain or Belgium in the quarterfinals in April.
Thanks to Lara for the news.
Goran says sorry for 'insulting' comment
30 November 2002
Goran Ivanisevic has apologised to half his own country after insulting northern Croatians over their dialect.
The former Wimbledon champ, who lives in the Adriatic port town of Split, made a public apology in the local press after saying he "hated" the northern Croat word 'kaj', meaning 'what'.
The standard Croatian word for 'what' is 'sto'.
He told the daily Jutarnji List: "I did not say seriously that I hate the word 'kaj'. But still I made a mistake, and I apologise for it."
A Croat political party, the Democratic Party of Zagorje, had demanded an apology from the star after his comments over the dialect on national TV last week caused outrage in the capital Zagreb and the surrounding north Croatian Zagorje region.
Friends of the tennis great said they thought the affair had been blown out of proportion in the run-up to the Croat first division match between championship rivals Dinamo Zagreb and Ivanisevic's favourite team, Hajduk Split this weekend.
A friend told Central European News: "He did not mean anything bad. It could also be that the entire 'scandal' was blown out of proportion with the big match this weekend."
The Patter Of Tiny Ivanisevic Feet
1 November 2002
Congratulations are in order to Goran, who is due to become a father in the Spring of next year! :)
Ivanisevic, Croats have home-court advantage against U.S.
8 October 2002
By Jerry Magee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Croatia in February is not celebrated on posters meant to appeal to tourists. It cannot be popular, either, with teams assigned, as the U.S. team has been, to play a Davis Cup tie there.
Goran Ivanisevic is a Croat. He's a Wimbledon champion. He's tall. He's left-handed. He serves bullets. When he is bearded, he resembles how Jesus Christ is portrayed. He also is not playing tennis at the moment, having submitted his left shoulder to surgery on May 16, but his intention is to join his countrymen for a first-round match against the United States from Feb. 7-9 in Croatia.
Ivanisevic, 31, is a whimsical fellow who doesn't always approach matters with the utmost seriousness. Hardly ever, it can seem. But he must be taking an all-business tack concerning the February tie because he has indicated he plans to pass up the Australian Open in January.
"He says he doesn't want to make the long trip down there," said Greg Sharko, the ATP Tour's director of communications.
Ivanisevic will be staying home in Split, Croatia, his home (when he isn't in Monte Carlo), preparing to take on the Americans, whose draw for the 2003 eliminations is most testing. Should the U.S. representatives be successful in Croatia, no cinch, they must oppose the Spain-Belgium winner, almost certainly Spain, on foreign soil in the second round.
Home teams arguably have a greater advantage in Davis Cup tennis than in any other sport because they choose on what surface the match is to be played. An analogy can be made to an NFL team winning the coin toss and being able to dictate whether the game should be played on grass or an artificial surface.
Spain, with an armada of clay-clay specialists that includes Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alex Corretja and Carlos Moya, without question would determine to oppose the U.S. on clay. Of the 22 clay-court events on the ATP Tour's calendar this year, only two were won by Americans, Andy Roddick prevailing in Houston and Andre Agassi in Rome.
Expectations are that Croatia will choose a fast surface for its test against the U.S., the better to take advantage of Ivanisevic's serve. Grass is out. It doesn't grow in Croatia in the middle of winter. Clay can be dismissed. Ivanisevic's record at the French Open, offered on clay, is abysmal. He has lost in the first round at Roland Garros five times, including four straight from 1997-2000.
On a hardcourt, Ivanisevic and whoever would be selected to support him would be formidable. The leading Croatian as measured by the ATP Tour's entry system is Ivan Ljubicic, 23, ranked No. 37, but Split also is the home of one of the world's most promising young players, Mario Ancic, 18, heralded as "a younger Goran."
At 6-4, Ancic has Ivanisevic's height and he must relish playing on grass. He removed Roger Federer at Wimbledon this year. His ranking has improved from No. 300 at the close of 2001 to No. 109.
Against the Croatians, U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe likely will go with the same singles players who were outmaneuvered by France in a recent 2002 semifinal tie, Roddick and James Blake. That, remember, was on clay. The Roddick-Blake tandem should be more effective on a hardcourt. Another possibility: Jan-Michael Gambill, who prefers competing on fast courts, although his recent results have not been that rewarding.
This is the first U.S.-Croatia match. When countries are opposing one another for the first time, the site of the match is determined by lot. Otherwise, the match is conducted in the nation that was not the site of the last match between the participants. Had the U.S. drawn an opening home match, a U.S. Tennis Association spokesman said Southern California would have been considered as the site, with San Diego in the equation.
Another possibility, according to the USTA source: a grass surface in the Palm Springs area.
In this year's final from Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Russia is opposing France in France. In Europe, France is a slight 8-11 favorite (wager $11 to win $8), with Russia held at even-money. Should Russia win, Yevgeny Kafelnikov has indicated he will retire.
We shall see. Kafelnikov also has made similar promises in other years. Nothing is certain concerning him, including what sort of an effort he will make in a particular match.
The possible retirement of most interest is that of Pete Sampras, who has the tennis community guessing. My guess: that he will retire.
Sampras would like to win Wimbledon again, but what's the point? He already has won it seven times. He would not want to go into Wimbledon stone cold, which means he would have to compete for an extended period before the London event, and by then he will be a father.
It's the best of times for him to step aside. He will do it, I'm sure, gracefully, which is how he always has conducted himself.
A word, finally, about Alex Waske, the former San Diego State star from Germany. Waske held three match points against Kafelnikov in Tashkent and he last week outplayed Moya.
Waske can serve with anybody. His ranking has improved to No. 131 - and that was before his conquest of Moya.
Goran gets a goal as Croatia's Boban quits in style
7 October 2002
ZAGREB, Oct 7 (AFP) - Croatia's legendary captain Zvonimir Boban left professional football in style Monday, surrounded by top names in a World Star XI facing Croatia's 1998 World Cup squad in a gala match played a day before his 34th birthday.
Some 40,000 fans cheered Boban into retirement at the Dinamo Zagreb stadium as the 1990 squads of Dinamo and former club AC Milan opened the event with a short match of 45 minutes.
Boban changed sides at the half-time and then scored two goals for AC Milan as they won 3-1.
The Milan delegation included former Dutch international Marco van Basten but he could not play due to injury.
The real spectacle followed as the Croatian squad which came third at the 1998 World Cup with Boban as captain entered the field to face the World Stars
French striker Jean-Pierre Papin and Brazilian Leonardo scored as the World Stars won 2-1. The Croatians thnked a tennis player for their goal as 2001 Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic netted.
Ivanisevic surprised the fans as he replaced Boban in the second half-time of the short match after which Boban was given a rousing send-off with fireworks and huge applause.
"Thanks to everybody, my friends, family and my Croatia. All this time I was in some kind of emotional shock ... and I struggled with tears. It was the end of a career one could only ask for," Boban said.
Boban started his career in 1985 as a midfielder with Dinamo. In 1992 he signed for AC Milan and stayed with the club until 2001 before finishing his career at Spain's Celta Vigo.
Commenting on his goal Ivanisevic said: "I got lucky, it is a beautiful feeling to be cheered by 40,000 people. Thanks, Boban, for inviting me."
Rivaldo, Fernardo Redondo, Oliver Bierhoff, Lotthar Matthaus, Dejan Savicevic, Daniele Massaro, Roberto Donadoni, Sebastiano Rossi, Paolo Maldini, Andrei Shevchenko, Mauro Tassoti, George Weah, Mark Viduka, Frank Rijkaard and Alessandro Costacurta were among those who bade Boban farewell.
The Croatian side, containing veterans such as Igor Stimac, Davor Suker and Alen Boksic, was again led by their 1998 coach Miroslav Blazevic.
U.S. to Open Davis Cup at Croatia
3 October 2002
Don't look for old pals Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi on the United States Davis Cup team when America resumes competition for the tennis trophy next February.
That era is over, U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said.
"It's time to put that in the rear view mirror," McEnroe said Thursday after the United States drew Croatia in next year's opening round.
"It's time to pass the baton completely. It's time for all of us to go forward and stop asking if these guys are going to play. It's time to move on."
It's likely that McEnroe will select young players like James Blake and Andy Roddick, who shared the singles responsibilities when the United States lost 3-2 to France in this year's Cup semifinals at Paris. Roddick lost both his matches, while Blake split his singles matches and won the doubles with Todd Martin.
Also on McEnroe's list of possible players are youngsters like Taylor Dent and Mardy Fish. He could tap twins Bill and Mike Bryan for doubles duties.
Croatia is likely to have former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic back for the matches against the United States, set for Feb. 7-9. Ivanisevic, who had left shoulder surgery last May and has not played any tennis since April, began training this week.
Ivanisevic called the United States a "very attractive rival - and also a very good and dangerous rival," and said he hoped to play, at least in doubles. "However, with or without me, it will be very hard to beat" the Americans, he said.
Also expected to play for Croatia are Ivan Ljubcic, ranked No. 37 in the world, and Mario Ancic, who defeated Roger Federer in the first round at Wimbledon this year.
McEnroe said it would be good to have Ivanisevic return for the Cup matches.
"I'd love to see him back," he said. "It would be great for the game. It will be huge, regardless."
The draw places the United States on the road throughout the Cup quest, and McEnroe thought the experience gained by playing the semifinals in Paris would help his young team.
"Going to anywhere is tough, especially now in Davis Cup because there are so many great players and a lot more strong countries out there," he said.
The United States-Croatia winner faces Spain or Belgium in the quarterfinals set for April 4-6. The semifinals will be played Sept. 19-21 and the 2003 finals on Nov. 28-30.
France, which will face Russia on Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in this year's final, will play at Romania in the opening round next year.
The other pairings from Thursday's draw with the home team listed first:
Romania vs. France; Netherlands vs. Switzerland; Australia vs. Britain; Sweden vs. Brazil; Spain vs. Belgium; Argentina vs. Germany; Czech Republic vs. Russia.
The United States, the winner of a record 31 Davis Cup titles, last reached the final in 1997 and has not won the event since 1995.
Ivanisevic back in training
22 September 2002
Goran Ivanisevic has returned to light training after undergoing shoulder surgery in May. But the former Wimbledon champion has ruled himself out of the Australian Open at the start of next year.
Ivanisevic played a 20-minute hit-and-return session in Split with coach Mario Tudor. But the 31-year-old Croatian did not practise his renowned big serve.
"The racket felt like it weighed a ton, but I guess that's normal," Ivanisevic said on Sunday.
"Nothing hurt me and I could hit the ball without any problems."
But the left-hander revealed he will skip the Australian Open in January because he would not be able to raise his game in time.
"There is no point in flying 25 hours just to exit in the first round," he said.
Instead, Croatian newspapers report that Ivanisevic is planning a return to top-level action as leader of the country's Davis Cup team later in 2003.
Ivanisevic was a popular winner at Wimbledon in 2001 but has struggled with his left shoulder ever since.
He underwent surgery in May at a private clinic in Germany.
9 September 2002
I'm going to make up a page similar to the messages of support page (which can be seen here ) for Gorans birthday, I'm looking for messages from his fans for the page. Aiming to have it ready for the end of Thursday to send on Friday - be quick people!
Email them to me or leave a message on the board
Goran gives Ful warning
31 August 2002
By SHAUN CUSTIS
WIMBLEDON tennis hero Goran Ivanisevic is planning an emotional return to west London next month to cheer on his beloved Hadjuk Split.
Ivanisevic, last year's men's singles champion, was delighted when Split were paired with Fulham in the first round of the UEFA Cup yesterday.
And he warned: "Croatians always do well in London. Just look at me."
Ivanisevic, in Monaco for the draw as Split's representative, has been a passionate supporter since he was a child. He even signed a contract with them last season to play a match, only for his tennis schedule to prevent it.
He admitted: "Football is my first love, more so than tennis. Tennis is my job. I'm delighted we've got a London club, especially one like Fulham with so many good players.
"I know their owner, Mr Fayed, has a lot of money and the club has a lot of ambition.
"Hopefully we can get a good start in Split and then I can come and cheer them on in London, which has so many happy memories for me."
Goran rues crashed yacht and Porsche
30 August 2002
Goran Ivanisevic has been told his dad has crashed his £2 million yacht, not long after a friend wrote off his £100,000 Porsche.
Srdjan Ivanisevic ran aground in the Croatian port of Vela Luka, demolishing a jetty and careering into the harbour wall.
The 70ft vessel needs repairs in a dry dock.
Goran is already riding around on a scooter after his friend Jozo Dumanic crashed his Porsche at 100mph.
The former Wimbledon champ, who lives in Split, is well-known for his generosity to friends and family. He had just returned from a cruise with girlfriend Tanja Dragovic when he offered the yacht named after his gran to his dad.
He was at Split airport when told of the yacht accident by phone.
A close family friend said: "Mr Ivanisevic couldn't do much. It seems that the damage is going to run into the thousands. The yacht will need to be taken onto dry land and have its hull repaired and carefully checked."
Goran had thrown Jozo the keys to his Porsche after a pool party.
The crash happened at the same time as Goran was presented with a brand new scooter organised by fans at a local bike dealership.
29 August 2002
Goran is currently resting after his shoulder surgery.