WIMBLEDON CHAMP TO PLAY IN LIVERPOOL
27 February 2002
For Immediate Release
Monday 25 February 2002
Reigning Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic is to play in Liverpool.
The enigmatic Croat, who captured the hearts of the nation with his historic victory last year at SW19, is the top draw at The Liverpool International at Calderstones Park, in the leafy suburbs of South Liverpool.
Goran, who last year became the first wildcard to win Wimbledon, will be joined by players from the world's top 50 in the top class grass court event which begins on Sunday, June 16.
The 24 man event is the first major tennis tournament in Britain to be held in a public park. Organisers are currently preparing the courts and a tented village will be created for the event, complete with an 8,000 seater arena.
Event promoter Michael Ross, of Northern Vision Ltd, said: 'I've been touring the whole country looking for a location to host this event and one day I was passing Calderstones and thought hang on, nothing is going to beat this. I used to live near here and often played at the park and watched the tennis. So to bring this event to Liverpool is a dream come true.'
Councillor Mike Storey, Leader of Liverpool city council, said: 'We are delighted that Mike has chosen Calderstones for such a world class event. The fact that players of Goran's calibre are also coming is a major boost for the future of tennis not just in Liverpool but for the whole North of England.'
Councillor Storey added: 'This event is going to attract thousands of tennis fans from around the world to Liverpool and will provide a welcome boost for tourism and the local economy.'
Calderstones Park is one of the oldest parks in Liverpool. Opened in 1905 it's name derives from the 4,000 year old Calder Stones monument, which dates back further than Stonehenge. The park has been hosting the annual Liverpool Parks Tennis Tournament since the 1960's, which is now one of the biggest open grass tournaments in the North of England.
As part of the arrangement between the promoters and the city council a qualifying position will be open to a local player.
This tournament will begin on Friday, June 14 with the final on Saturday, June 16.
The park will also hold tennis clinics run by former Great Britain No 1 Jo Durie and top coach Alan Jones for local children on Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21.
Liverpool already has one of the best tennis development programmes in the world.
In 2000 the council won the Lawn Tennis Associations 'Local Authority of The Year' for it's tennis development programme - the only all year round inner city programme outside the USA and the third largest in the world.
Councillor Frank Doran, Executive Member for Leisure and Culture said: 'More than 7,000 children have already been through our tennis development programme and with this event we can expect to double that now.
'It's a fantastic coup for Liverpool to attract such a world class event. We cannot underestimate the long-term benefits this is going to have for future generations. To witness champions such as Goran in the flesh will leave a huge impression on many children. Now we can nurture their enthusiasm and hopefully one day produce champions of our own.'
Source: Liverpool City Council Newscentre Media Release
Ivanisevic dumped in Dubai
26 February 2002
Monday, 25 February, 2002, 18:26 GMT
Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic slumped to a 6-3 6-4 defeat by unseeded Nicolas Kiefer in the first round of the Dubai Open.
The seventh seeded Croat started strongly but appeared disinterested by the end.
Ivanisevic broke Kiefer at the first opportunity and sent down seven early aces.
But the German outsider, who had lost his previous 11 matches, then reeled off four games in succession before serving out the first set.
Ivanisevic, who will prepare for his Wimbledon defence at the new Liverpool International event in the city's Calderstones Park, looked likely to level when he broke to lead 4-2 in the second.
But he immediately dropped his own serve and received a code violation warning after hitting a ball out of court and throwing his racquet.
That seemed to affect Ivanisevic's mood and he slipped steadily to defeat.
He failed to win another game and over-ruled a call to hand Kiefer an ace.
Second seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov made a low-key start to his Dubai campaign, grinding out a lacklustre 6-4 7-5 win over qualifier Vasilis Mazarakis.
Kafelnikov lost his serve in the fifth game of the first set, but roused himself to break back immediately.
He stepped up a gear once more at 5-4, when he broke Mazarakis again, this time to love, to close out the set.
In the second set his 180th-ranked opponent continued to put up a spirited fight from the back of the court.
But he finally fell to Kafelnikov's fourth match point.
The Dubai crowd were better entertained by Younes El Aynaoui's marathon three-set victory over Andrei Pavel.
Last week's Qatar Open winner took two hours to see off his Romanian opponent, recovering from a nightmare second set to triumph 7-5 2-6 6-4.
Goran will prepare title defence on Merseyside
25 February 2002
Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic will warm up for the defence of his title at the new Liverpool International grass-court tournament.
The popular Croat, who beat Patrick Rafter to become the first wild-card to lift the trophy, spearheads a 24-man field in the invitational event at Calderstones Park in June.
It will be the first major tennis competition in Britain to be held in a public park - and provides players with an opportunity to gain grass-court practice before Wimbledon.
ATP ranking points will not be on offer.
The final is scheduled for June 22, leaving a day to spare before the start of Wimbledon.
Mike Storey, leader of Liverpool City Council, said: "We are delighted that Calderstones has been chosen to stage such a world-class event.
"The fact that players of Goran Ivanisevic's calibre will be competing is a major boost for the future of tennis - not just in Liverpool but for the whole of the north of England."
Ivo Heuberger (Swi)-Goran Ivanisevic (Cro, 8) 7-6 (3), 6-4
18 February 2002
Although Ivanisevic is the reigning Wimbledon Champion, it's a title that doesn't guarantee success on today's tour. Even Ivanisevic has to work for a living. During his match against Heuberger, the Croat seldom showed what he is capable of. He appeared to have the upper hand until 6-5 in the first set. However, he soon started bungling his shots. "My baseline strokes were OK' said Ivanisevic, who won the ABN AMRO tournament in 1996 'but my service lacked rhythm and nearly all my returns were out. I was in too much of a hurry".
Ivanisevic falls to qualifier
18 February 2002
Goran Ivanisevic became the first big-name casualty at the ABN/Amro tournament as he fell in the first round to qualifier Ivo Heuberger.
The Wimbledon champion, eighth seed in Rotterdam, lost to the Switzerland player 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.
Earlier, Czech Bohdan Ulihrach knocked out Michel Kratochvil of Switzerland 3-6 7-5 6-2. Frenchman Fabrice Santoro defeated Dutchman Martin Verkerk 1-6 6-3 6-4.
Third seed Marat Safin is due to taken on Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia and Dutchman Sjeng Schalken comes up against Briton Martin Lee.
The tournament on the indoor hard court of the Rotterdam Ahoy stadium also features ATP Champions race leader Thomas Johansson, top seed Juan Carlos Ferrero, defending champion Nicolas Escude, Thomas Enqvist, Sebastien Grosjean, Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski and Yevgeni Kafelnikov.
17 February 2002
Goran is actually playing Ivo Heuberger tomorrow, I was a bit on the tired side when I read the chart the first time. Also thanks to Dzoker who pointed out my error.
ABN/AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam
17 February 2002
The ABN/AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam starts tomorrow. Goran is scheduled to play against Safin. (see correction above)
LJUBICIC SEALS THE DEAL, CROATIA TO FACE ARGENTINA
10 February 2002
Niki Pilic refused to take the stage, from the day ago, the Croatian captain was more than discrete.
'You will see me, when Croatia or Germany gets the third point.'
Sunday was the day, Goran Ivanisevic won his single to seal the deal, and takes Croatia to the quarterfinals of the World Group, for the first time, and even though most of the German press, gave the impression, "this was the one man team", Goran Ivanisevic, the master of this weekend, did not buy the story.
"No, it was a team effort, me Ivan and Niki Pilic. It was a team win". Minutes before the last match, a German journalist told me: "If Schuettler won his match, Germany would come on top, there is no way for Ljubicic to beat Kiefer".
Ljubicic won his match 7-6 (1), 6-4, even though we will never find out what would have happened if the last match was a decider, Ljubicic never took the stapes back.
"I was ready, waiting for Goran to end the match. Ready in the locker room, I came back to the court when Goran was leading 4-2 in the third set tiebreak. On Saturday I said, it would be nice not to play the decider, it happened on Sunday."
But he believed in himself.
"I was ready to play the deciding rubber, I think I showed that I was ready, even though it was a match of no concern. I like playing Kiefer. I d id not expect Goran to lose, but if it happened I was ready to win it for Croatia".
Niki Pilic was the man of the match. Pilic was leading Germany for 16 years; Pilic was leading Germany to three Davis cup trophies.
"It was the same atmosphere, the same a atmosphere I had with Boris Becker, Carl-Uwe Steeb, Patrick Kuhnen, and Eric Jelen. Team effort, even though I was certain that Goran will win his singles. Rainer Schuettler played an unbelievable match, but Goran was serving, out of his mind, the best I have seen him for a long while.
Goran took Croatia to Argentina, Ljubicic made the Croatian Day, beating Kiefer. It was the best day in Croatian Davis cup history, quarterfinals of the World Group for the first time, Goran Ivanisevic made it possible, and Ivan Ljubicic is there. Donít cry for me Argentina. And donít sleep well. Croatia is going for a win. All the way.
GORAN WINS FOR CROATIA
10 February 2002
Goran Ivanisevic beat Rainer Schuettler for the first time in three career meetings, to lead Croatia for the first time, to the quarterfinals of the World Group. Ivanisevic defeated German number one, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) to give Croatia 3-1 lead, and the quarterfinal showdown with Argentina who defeated Australia, to set the first meeting with Croatia.
Ivanisevic played a great match to beat Schuettler, this was the best Davis cup weekend of his career, and Goran was the first to recognise the truth.
'You right, I can't remember the days, three days when I was so calm. Definitely, one of the best days in my career.'
Ivanisevic took the first set, with a forehand that was on the line, or a millimetre over the line to take a crucial 5-4 lead in the first set, serving for the set at love. Schuettler had his chances in the second, taking a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak. Goran Came back with a service winner, and a volley that found the line, and taking the next two points, with two unforced errors of Schuettler.
'I played to defensive in the end of the match, my shoulder was not great, but I managed to win the important points when it mattered.'
Third set tiebreak was the different story. Schuettler was leading 4-1 in the second set tie-break, Goran won six points in a row, Goran went up 4-2 in the third set tie-break after a double fault by the German, and held his own, firing an ace, 27th ace, Schuettler saved two match points before.
10 February 2002
I've heard a rumour that Goran has been filming a new McDonalds advert in the UK but I can't find anything to back that up at the moment...
Croatia - Germany 3-1
10 February 2002
Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic secured victory for Croatia in the tie against Germany after beating Rainer Schuettler 6-4, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in two hours and 30 minutes. Goran concluded the match with his 26th ace. For the first in its history Croatia will play in the second round of Davis Cup. Argentina will host Croatia in April.
CROATIA TAKES THE LEAD
9 February 2002
Goran Ivanisevic and Ivan Ljubicic took Croatia one step closer to the first quarterfinal of the World Group in history. Croatian pair beat Michael Kohlmann and David Prinosil 6:4, 6:4, 7:5, to give the home team a crucial 2:1 advantage, on the second day of the firs round tie against Germany.
"We never played a better Davis cup match together. It was perfect from the word go".
Goran Ivanisevic felt the shoulder, but at the end of the day, it was never an issue. German pair had only one break point in the match; latter it proved to be the costly mistake. It was the point they should have won, but a relatively easy smash for Kohlmann gave the Croatian pair the second chance, and Ivanisevic took it in the 9th game of the first set.
"It took a lot of wind from my players. Who knows what would have happened if we made the break. From than on the Croatians took their chances, my players just kept thinking about the opportunity lost".
Ivanisevic and Ljubicic saved the only break point they faced, and went on to break for the first set. From then on, it was mostly one-way traffic; Croatian team looked better and better. Sam scenario happened in the second set, break in the tenth game. With a two set couching, the road for the Germans was long, and hard to follow, from then on, it was just the matter of time. Ivan Ljubicic who made some great returns for the breaks in first two sets, made it simple.
- It's easy playing with Goran. If I make a good point, great, if I miss; donít worry; we will win the next one. Simple as that. Returns. Niki Pilic told me, leave the backhand side. If they ace you on the backhand side, all-right. Stay on the forehand side and go for it".
Niki was not done. He gave some more advice. Ljubicic and Ivanisevic were listening.
"Niki told us, just win the first point of the 12th game, third set, and we win the match".
He was right on target. Croats broke for love, to take a 2:1 lead, before the crucial reverse singles on Sunday. Michael Stich feels they still have a good chance.
"We are still positive, we still can win the match. Otherwise we would be out of here".
Croatian team enjoyed the moment, but just for one night.
"Nothing is certain in Davis cup, we still have a hard task ahead of us".
Goran Ivanisevic played to great matches, hopping he still has enough for one more.
"Rainer Schuttler beat me twice, but this is different circumstances. I hope, Ivan will play the exhibition on Sunday".
How close is Croatia to the second round, and a possible match with Argentina. Goran was on his game.
"Lets see. If the flight to Argentina is 12 hours, now we are closer. Lets say, 8 hours".
Reverse singles are on Sunday. Goran Ivanisevic will play Rainer Schuttler, and Ivan Ljubicic will take on Nicolas Kiefer.
GORAN GETS CROATIA BACK ON TRACK
9 February 2002
Goran Ivanisevic beat Nicolas Kiefer 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4, to put Croatia back on track, and square things up first day of the World Group Davis Cup tie Croatia - Germany. Earlier in the day, Rainer Schuttler gave Germany the lead when he got the better of Ivan Ljubicic 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (5). First day results made both sides happy.
'It was a good day for us. My players gave what was asked, they gave everything they had. Rainer played a very good match, very tight match, Nicolas Kiefer also, even though he lost, but Goran Ivanisevic was on top of his game, playing great, serving great.'
Ivanisevic took two hours and 15 minute to break back for Croatia. It was their third career meeting, Ivanisevic won all three. Croat won in straight sets, even though he had problems outside tennis. Contact lenses that were falling out. Latter, Goran admitted that he was lucky to win the first set.
'I was having problems seeing the ball. Especially in the tiebreak. I played on instinct, made same good first serves, and guessing on his. First set I was definitely lucky, I had problems with the contact lenses from early morning. They fell of at least ten times. The rest was great; this was the best match of the year for me, and one of the best matches I played in Davis cup. One of the best ever.'
First set tiebreak made things easier for Goran Ivanisevic, the road was easier the rest of the way, even though, in ideal world, Goran could have made things little easier. He had early breaks in first and second set, but lost his immediately. But this was not one of those days to get, as he puts it in his own words "mad". Ivanisevic kept his cool throughout the match, serving 26 aces for a straight set victory. After all, this is his favourite carpet, Goran Ivanisevic never lost a match on this greenset. He won three Croatian Indoors, two in Zagreb, one in Split, and all six Davis cup matches. Ivanisevic won 20 straight matches on this carpet.
Kiefer played a god first set, but could not keep the pace, serving some double faults in the crucial stages in the match, but even though he lost for the fourth time this season, failing to, so far, win the match, he was not put back.
'I felt it was a good performance. I had some chances but Goran served great, every time he needed an ace, he made it, but it was the lost opportunities on my serve that hurt.'
Especially in the sixth game of the second set, Kiefer was up 40-0, only to lose five points in a row. Once he got the second set, it was, mostly, one-way traffic. Ivanisevic dominated the third set, racing to 5-2, double break up, but he needed more time to win the match. Goran dropped his serve, at 5-2 two double faults did not help his cause, but he made amends in the tenth game, serving it out to love.
Many feel that Saturday could be the day of the tie. Doubles. Goran Ivanisevic and Ivan Ljubicic for Croatia, Michael Kohlmann and David Prinosil for Germany. Croats feel the pressure is on Germans. Ljubicic said it all.
'I feel we have a better chance in singles on Sunday, so we can play more freely, but it's a tough task.'
Contact lens crisis fails to halt Ivanisevic
9 February 2002
Goran Ivanisevic beat Nicolas Kiefer in a Davis Cup tie, despite having to change his contact lenses four times during the first set.
The Croatian beat the German 7-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Earlier in the day, Rainer Schuettler of Germany defeated Ivan Ljubicic, 5-7, 7-6, 6-3, 7-6.
Ivanisevic said: "I couldn't see a thing. I was playing almost half-blind. I was scared a little, but I put in new contact lenses and won.''
In the first set, Ivanisevic had a break advantage and left no chance for Kiefer in a tiebreaker. The other two sets were no problem for the Croat.
Croatia faces Germany in rare Davis Cup appearance
7 February 2002
ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) -- Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic will face Nicolas Kiefer and Ivan Ljubicic will challenge Rainer Schuettler in first-round Davis Cup World Group singles matches between Croatia and Germany, according to Thursday's draw.
The Ljubicic-Schuettler match opens the Cup on Friday in Croatia's first World Cup appearance in seven years.
In doubles Saturday, Ivanisevic and Ljubicic will play Germany's David Prenosil and Michael Kohlmann.
Both team captains, Croatia's Nikola Pilic and Germany's Michael Stich, said no one was a clear winner and said they believed Sunday's reverse singles will most likely determine the results.
Germany, however, suffered a blow last week, when its No. 1 player, Tommy Haas, withdrew from his initial agreement to play in Zagreb. He said a dispute with the German Tennis Federation, which refuses to pay for his personal physiotherapist, was a "mental and psychical" burden for him.
"We accepted that and we no longer think what could have been if Haas was with us here," Stich told reporters in Zagreb.
Ivanisevic was in his good mood Thursday, joking with reporters that he hoped Kiefer, who has a number of defeats this year, "will record no victories this week either."
"As of the next week, he can have as much victories as he wants," he said.
Croatia is hoping to reach its first World Cup quarterfinals since country gained independence in 1991 independence. Croatia was ousted by Germany 4-1 in its last World Cup appearance in 1995.