Ivanisevic beaten again
27 April 2004
Goran Ivanisevic showed flashes of his famous temper on the way to defeat at the BMW Open on Tuesday.
The Croat went down 6-4 7-6 (7-0) to Germany's Alexander Waske on the clay courts in Munich.
Ivanisevic has won just two matches this year and is struggling for form ahead of a return to Wimbledon, scene of his greatest victory in 2001.
Top seed Rainer Schuettler eased through but second seed Paradorn Srichaphan lost out to Olivier Rochus.
Belgian Rochus had little trouble defating hard court specialist Srichaphan 6-3 62.
Schuettler beat Robin Soderling of Sweden 6-4 7-6 (7-5), while compatriot Tommy Haas saw off Germany's Bohdan Ulihrach 6-3 6-2 (7-1).
Haas has missed much of the last two years through injury but confirmed his return to the top of the game with victory in Houston earlier this month.
"I had doubts about whether I could play at this level again," said. "But I am on my way back to my best form again."
Goran Gets Wildcard For BMW Open
26 April 2004
Goran has been given a wildcard for BMW Open in Germany.
He will play on either Tuesday (27th) or Wednesday (28th)
Thanks to Kreso and Al Bundy @ Goran Online Forum
Qualifier Eliminates Ivanisevic in First Round of Monte Carlo
20 April 2004
MONACO, April 19 (AP) — Goran Ivanisevic lost in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters yesterday to the qualifier Nicolas Devilder, who is ranked 235th on the ATP Tour.
Nicolas Devilder of France upset Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, at the clay-court tournament. It was Devilder's first victory at a Tennis Masters Series event.
Monte Carlo also lost several other top players yesterday: Andy Roddick, James Blake and Mardy Fish withdrew, and the three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten was eliminated. Roger Federer and Andre Agassi had pulled out earlier.
Kuerten, who won the title here in 1999 and 2001, was beaten, 7-6 (3), 6-3, by Rainer Schuettler, a loser in seven of his eight previous opening matches this season.
Other seeded players who exited early were No. 11 Sjeng Schalken, No. 12 Jiri Novak and No. 13 Fernando Gonzalez. Agustin Calleri beat Schalken, 6-1, 6-3; Taylor Dent eliminated Novak 6-4, 7-5; and Max Mirnyi defeated Gonzalez 6-4, 6-3.
In other action, third-seeded Guillermo Coria, the runner-up last year, breezed past Thomas Enqvist, 6-0, 6-1, in just 48 minutes, while Tim Henman needed nearly three hours to beat Vince Spadea, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (5).
Ivanisevic has eyes on Wimbledon
14 April 2004
By Chris Jones, Evening Standard
Goran Ivanisevic has accepted a wild card into the Stella Artois Championships at the Queen's Club in London starting on 7 June and is promising to return to Wimbledon for the first time since he won the title three years ago.
The 32-year-old Croatian, a Stella Artois finalist in 1997, won the 2001 Wimbledon men's singles after 13 years of trying but persistent shoulder injuries prevented him from reappearing at the most famous centre court in the tennis world.
His only on-court appearance in England since then came when he played at the Stella Artois Championships last year. Ivanisevic lost to Jan Vacek in the first round but his injured left shoulder forced him to return home without playing at Wimbledon.
"This year I hope I can come to Wimbledon as well," Ivanisevic said. "There have been so many years when I have played at the Stella Artois. I made the final in 1997 but played terrible against Mark Philippoussis.
"He destroyed me in the final and I've lost to some crazy players there who I should never lose against. But I love the tournament. It has its own tradition."
Others already committed to appear at Queen's include Philippoussis, defending champion Andy Roddick, three-times winner Lleyton Hewitt and Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski.
13 April 2004
The eagerly awaited clash between former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia and Spanish teenager Rafael Nadal was postponed until Wednesday.
Ivanisevic Ready for Title Challenge
13 April 2004
First round action at the Estoril Open continues on Tuesday with top seed Rainer Schuettler and No. 8 seed Marat Safin both taking to center court, as well as the mouthwatering clash between former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic and Rafael Nadal.
Ivanisevic makes his first appearance on a clay court for nearly three years when he takes on rising Spanish sensation Nadal. Ivanisevic, the former World No. 2 who has been plagued with injuries in recent years, last played an ATP clay court match in the qualifying competition of the ATP Masters Series event in Rome in 2001.
"I'm hitting the ball very well," said Ivanisevic. "I had a good practice at home on clay, but it's going to be very interesting against a guy who's tough and who's going to be one of the best players in the future. We will see. If I can play against him on clay then I'm okay. I hope that I can have a high percentage of first serves - that's what I need at the moment. Serve less hard but put more serves in."
The 32-year-old Croat has a 597-327 record career record and is hoping to reach a special milestone. "I am only three matches short of winning 600 matches," said Ivanisevic. "So this is also my goal, to try to win another three matches. I haven't played for almost three years, so there's not many players in the 600 club, so I'm trying to win three more matches somehow."
Ivanisevic and the 17-year-old Nadal played in the second round of the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami last month, when Ivanisevic had to retire after losing the first set 6-4 due to pain in his shoulder. "I pray that I don't have too much pain in my shoulder and that I can play a normal match," he said.
"My last clay court tournament was 2001 Rome qualies, so it's a long time. I just hope I can get through the match. I know that I can't play without pain, so I just have to go through like this. In Miami, it was hurting more, so I had to stop. Hopefully here it will hurt less, but it's always going to hurt."
Nadal, who like Ivanisevic is playing in Estoril for the first time, reached his first career final in Auckland earlier this year and made his Davis Cup debut for Spain in the first round victory over the Czech Republic. He is 14-8 so far this year.
Meanwhile. Safin is making his third appearance in Estoril and first since reaching the quarterfinals in 2002. The Russian, who reached the final at the Australian Open earlier this year, is 8-6 in 2004 and currently stands in fifth position in the INDESIT ATP 2004 Race.
"I just want to get off to a good start," said Safin. "I want to get some confidence, get used to the courts and then we will see. Once I win a couple of matches and I can play really good tennis, I can be very dangerous. I really need some confidence, I haven't won many matches recently but then I haven't had much luck with the draws. This time, I have to take advantage of the draw, which is very good for me."
Safin meets Cyril Saulnier in the first round having won their only previous meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2002. Safin also has won 13 of his last 15 matches against French opponents.
Top seeded Schuettler, who has lost both of his previous matches in Estoril, will be hoping to kick-start his 2004 season having gone 4-7 so far. Two of those wins came last weekend, when he helped Germany defeat Israel in the Davis Cup Euro/Africa Zone Group I. The German takes on Romania's Victor Hanescu in the first round.
Source: Marcus @ Goran Online Forum
Point Of No Return
26 March 2004
Goran Ivanisevic, hurting physically and mentally, said he regrettably will not return to the NASDAQ.
Ivanisevic's string of hard luck in Miami continued Friday, as the Croat retired with left-shoulder pain after falling 6-4 in the first set to Rafael Nadal.
Ivanisevic, 32, who underwent rotator cuff surgery in May 2002, pulled out of NASDAQ last year when he sliced his foot on a shell at the beach. In 2002, the former Wimbledon champion retired from Key Biscayne with a shoulder injury.
"It's pretty disappointing," he said, "because if I'm serving normally I don't see [that] I lose this match.
"It's just sad but I know that it's my last Key Biscayne for sure."
Goran Ivanisevic drops retirement hint
25 March 2004
MIAMI - Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic has hinted that he is contemplating retirement.
The Croatian, who has been out for most of the last two seasons with knee, shoulder and foot problems, was typically enigmatic about when he would quit after beating Frenchman Nicolas Escude 6-4 5-7 7-6 in the first round of the Nasdaq-100 Open.
"These last two years I have had a lot of time to think how I want to stop and in which way," Ivanisevic told reporters.
"I have had a lot of good and crazy thoughts. Especially over the last couple of months I thought which way I want to stop, so finally I decided, which I'm not going to tell you yet.
"I know the way and how I'm going to stop. I'm going to tell you in a couple of weeks when I find the right moment."
Ivanisevic, 32, has played only eight tournaments since the end of 2001, the year he won Wimbledon as a wildcard ranked 125th in the world.
"It's tough. Sometimes I feel a little bit lost. Sometimes I feel 'what am I doing here? You have a daughter, go home, stay home'. But then I'm happy again like a little kid.
"When you're two years outside something, it's tough to come back," said Ivanisevic. "It's not easy because these young guys, they're just too good.
"They hit the ball so hard that the only way you can keep up with them is go to the gym every day, practice every day hard. Otherwise you better stay home and watch TV and enjoy."
Despite having retirement on his mind, Ivanisevic has pledged to return to Wimbledon this year, providing he is fit.
"I always say I'm coming back to Wimbledon," he said. "Last year I came close, I was at Queens (Club in London), so at least I was in the neighbourhood, but I didn't play.
"Hopefully this year I'm going to step on that grass. I think I owe that to myself and to the English crowd who supported me so well.
"Hopefully I'm going to be fit because if I am fit during Wimbledon I can be very dangerous to a lot of guys there."
Ivanisevic's 11-month-old daughter Amber is now walking and her father, known for his volatile temperament on court, appears to have mellowed a little with her arrival.
"It's great. I don't sleep at night but it's fun. Now she is the boss, she is dictating the schedule around the house. You cannot plan anything but she's great," he said.
"Every day I don't see her I miss her a lot. But, still, that is my priority now, to try and finish my career in the good way, and then I'm going to have time for my daughter."
Ivanisevic Saves Match Point to Trump Escude in First Round
25 March 2004
Goran Ivanisevic moved into the second round of the NASDAQ-100 Open on Wednesday for the 12th time in 13 appearances at the event following his thrilling 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(7) win against Frenchman Nicole Escude. The 32-year-old Croatian saved one match point to improve his career mark in Miami to 19-12 by winning his first match at Crandon Park in three years.
Ivanisevic served for the match at 5-4 in the second set but Escude survived by breaking serve. The Frenchman went on to hold serve and steal another break from Ivanisevic to take the second set. The veteran Croatian again moved ahead a break in the early stages of the third set at 2-1, only to see Escude march back into the match and force a tie-break. Escude had a match point at 7-6 in the tie-break, but Ivanisevic fought back, winning the final three points of the match.
Ivanisevic was the runner-up to Andre Agassi in Miami in 1996. That year, Ivanisevic defeated Michael Chang and Pete Sampras to reach the final, but woke up on Sunday morning with a stiff neck and couldn't make it through the match, retiring from the match at 0-3 in the first set.
Bad luck struck Ivanisevic again prior to last year's event. While walking on a beach in Miami, Ivanisevic stepped on a shell and cut his foot. The cut forced Ivanisevic out of action for more than two months.
Escude, who reached the fourth round at the Pacific Life Open before losing to Andy Roddick, lost in the first round for only the second time this year (Marseille).
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID:
Ivanisevic: "I think I played well. I didn't serve well; there was a lot of wind and I didn't have any rhythm. But to beat (Nicolas) Escude, who is a great player, who won Qatar this year, I didn't expect to win, to be honest."
"I thought I'm playing good. I practice last six days very hard here, so I thought I can give a good match. But then suddenly I was a set and two breaks up. I already saw myself winning. But then 3-all in two seconds. Then another break, serve for the match, break in the third."
About the condition of his shoulder: "It's up and down. It depends. When I start to force, it hurts. At least I can hit the serve. Last year, I couldn't hit the serve."
Escude: On his sore arm: “Pain, big pain when I can take my racquet, just to keep it in my hand. I feel this pain when I arrive here and I hit with the ball. The balls here are more heavy because there is more humidity. So I don't know. I don't know exactly what the problem is. When I come back to France, I'm gonna have a lot of exam for sure. “I have to see my physiotherapist first and what he thinks about the pain because I was supposed to play doubles here and sign-in is Friday. But I don't know yet if I'm gonna play.”
Source: Thanks to Peter Bijvoet Junior
Injury-Plagued Ivanisevic Wins at Nasdaq
25 March 2004
Goran Ivanisevic double-faulted four times in one game, twice blew leads in the second set and threw a ball off his forehead in exasperation.
He's still the same ol' never-boring Goran _ even if he's perpetually battling injuries and contemplating retirement. With characteristic high-wire theatrics Wednesday, Ivanisevic edged Nicolas Escude 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (7) in the first round of the Nasdaq-100 Open.
The victory was just the second in five matches this year for Ivanisevic, and that's an improvement on 2003, when he went 0-3. He also turned 32 last year and became a father as his ranking tumbled to 654th.
"Sometimes I feel a little bit lost," he said. "Sometimes I feel, `What am I doing here? You have a daughter at home. Stay home.' But in the end I hit some good shots and I'm happy, like a little kid."
With all 64 seeded players receiving first-round byes, the 2001 Wimbledon champion provided some glitter on a windy, gray opening day.
In other men's play, American Robby Ginepri beat Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 6-2, 6-2, and Todd Martin rallied to beat Ivo Heuberger 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. Swedish teen Robin Soderling defeated David Ferrer 7-6 (5), 6-4, and 2002 Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson lost to Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
No. 8-seeded David Nalbandian withdrew because he's still recovering from an ankle injury sustained in a Davis Cup match last month.
The final match of the night was suspended until Thursday because of a power outage on Key Biscayne. Nicolas Lapentti led Thomas Enqvist 7-5, 1-3 when the lights went out shortly after 11 p.m.
On the women's side, Ashley Harkleroad retired from her match because of a blister on her racket hand while trailing fellow American Jill Craybas 6-2, 3-0, and Alexandra Stevenson lost to Klara Koukalova 5-7, 7-5, 6-0.
Top-seeded Serena Williams, sidelined since undergoing knee surgery last August, will return Friday against Marta Marrero, who advanced by beating Angela Haynes 7-6 (3), 7-6 (1).
Ivanisevic flirted with defeat after blowing leads of 3-0 and 5-3 in the second set. He faced a match point in the tiebreaker but responded with a sharply angled ace, then closed out the victory two points later and gave the small crowd a jubilant wave.
"I didn't expect to win, to be honest," Ivanisevic said.
Escude complained of a sore elbow, but Ivanisevic has health concerns of his own.
A fragile left shoulder that required surgery in May 2002 has robbed the big Croatian of the thunderous serve that once ranked with the most feared in tennis. His top speed against Escude was a middling 123 mph, and he hit nearly as many double-faults as aces _ 11 to 13.
The volatile Ivanisevic has played so little that he remembers breaking just one racket in the past two years. He was slowed in 2003 by elbow and knee ailments, and he withdrew at Key Biscayne after cutting his left foot while wading in the ocean on Miami Beach.
"It could happen only to me, you know?" he said. "It's a 10-kilometer beach, one shell probably. And I found it."
A piece of shell remained imbedded in his foot three weeks later, requiring surgery, and it was another 2 1/2 months before he was able to walk.
This year, Ivanisevic said, he's staying away from the beach while trying to mount a comeback that will culminate with one last appearance at Wimbledon, the scene of his greatest triumph and most agonizing defeats.
Injuries have prevented him from playing there since he beat Pat Rafter in a dramatic final to win his only Grand Slam title.
"Hopefully this year I'm going to step on that grass," he said. "I owe that to myself and to the English crowd who supported me so well."
NASDAQ WILD CARDS
12 March 2004
Goran Ivansevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, was among the players granted wild cards Wednesday to the main draw of the NASDAQ-100 Open. Ivanisevic missed much of 2003 with injuries. Other wild cards are Tommy Haas, Brian Baker, Alexandra Stevenson, Tatiana Golovin, Shenay Perry, Angela Haynes, Daja Bedanova, Orange Bowl champion Nicole Vaidisova, and Viktoria Kutuzova.
Thanks to Debbie @ Goran Online Forum
New setback for Ivanisevic
10 March 2004
Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic has pulled out of this week's Indian Wells Masters with a back injury. The 32-year-old Ivanisevic has played sparingly due to a shoulder injury that required surgery since winning the Wimbledon crown in 2001.
Ivanisevic knocked out by Clement
25 February 2004
In other first-round matches Tuesday, seventh seed Arnaud Clement of France outlasted Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia, 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-4; Armenian Sargis Sargsian beat Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, 7-5, 7-6 (4); and Jarkko Nieminen of Finland edged Nicolas Escude of France, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champ, is 1-3 in a comeback attempt this year, having lost in the second round in Milan and the first round in Rotterdam.
"This is the best match I have played these three tournaments," Ivanisevic said. "I almost beat him, so I think I can play with anybody."
"I played a bad tiebreak, but I was happy with the rest of the match, serving well and varying the pace," said Clement, who is from nearby Aix-en-Provence. "His serve is as good as before, and I don't know how many aces he hit. Maybe he's more irregular from the baseline and not as sharp at the net."
Open 13 tournament
24 February 2004
Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic continues his come back when he faces French favorite Arnaud Clement at the Open 13 tournament in Marseille tonight.
Thanks to fellow Goran fans Al Bundy, Marcus, Tango and Andy for the news! :)
A dream that still drives Ivanisevic
18 February 2004
Rotterdam: Former champion Goran Ivanisevic said he was hoping to make another appearance at Wimbledon this summer.
The 32-year-old Croatian was far from discouraged after absorbing a 3-2, 2-6 first-round defeat against Dutch seventh-seed Sjeng Schalken in Round I of the Rotterdam world tennis.
After losing in 53 minutes, the Croatian admitted that a return to the All England Club, where he spectacularly beat Australian Patrick Rafter in 2001, was a long way off but still on his mind. “Every time I say I’m gonna play Wimbledon, I don’t play it.
“Last year, I played Queen’s and then I had to leave (injured),” said Ivanisevic, who has spent the past two years enduring a series of injuries.
“My goal right now is to play next week in Marseille and then I’ll see — Wimbledon is far away.”
Last week in Milan he advanced to the second round with a win over Bohdan Ulirach before bowing out of the tournament.
“The most important thing now is to stay healthy and enjoy it,” said the man who found his biography page missing from the 2004 ATP media guide, an oversight likely caused by his temporary inactivity.
Ivanisevic admits the fierce serve that once struck fear into his opponents is now almost history — although he takes pride whenever he hits an ace.
“My serve will never be at the level it was before,” he added. “I still have some pain, but I can also still hit aces. I had something like 47 in two matches last week, that’s fine.
“The serve is still there, it’s just the little things after the serve. Putting it together in practice and then in a match is a completely different story.”
Ivanisevic sunk by Schalken
17 February 2004
Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic suffered a 6-3 6-2 first round defeat at the hands of seventh seed Sjeng Schalken in Rotterdam. Ivanisevic made constant errors and was only briefly spared by trademark aces.
Schalken broke him in the first set and twice more in the second to complete his victory in 53 minutes.
Since returning from a seven-month break following surgery, Ivanisevic, 32, beat Bohdan Ulihrach in Milan last week but lost in the second round.
"The most important thing now is to stay healthy and enjoy it," said Ivanisevic.
"My serve will never be at the level it was before. I still have some pain, but I can also still hit aces.
"I had something like 47 in two matches last week, that's fine. The serve is still there, it's just the little things after the serve. Putting it together in practise and then in a match is a completely different story."
Ivanisevic beaten in Milan
13 February 2004
Goran Ivanisevic's second match since returning from injury ended in defeat to Tommy Robredo in Milan.
Ivanisevic served well against the third seed but was narrowly beaten 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7/4) after nearly two hours.
The 32-year-old former Wimbledon champion was playing his first tournament for eight months after shoulder, elbow and knee problems.
Ivanisevic is hoping to play at Wimbledon this year for the first time since he won in 2001.
Thanks also to nikemac for the news.
Ivanisevic Wins on Return
11 February 2004
Goran Ivanisevic made a successful return to the court while top-seeded Jiri Novak made an unexpected exit at the Milan Indoors.
A wild card entrant who was playing in his first singles match in nearly eight months, Ivanisevic fired 25 aces in a hard-fought 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 7-6 (7-3) victory over Bohdan Ulihrach of the Czech Republic.
“I have to say I’m surprised with the quality of tennis I played today,” said Ivanisevic, who won the event in 1996 and 1997.
“I didn’t expect it. I know I’ve been practising and working hard, but I didn’t know I was going to play this way.”
While Ivanisevic made a triumphant return, Novak pulled out of his first-round match due to a strained calf. He was scheduled to play Raemon Sluiter of the Netherlands on Wednesday.
Ivanisevic Wins on Doubles Comeback
10 February 2004
Seppi made it a day to remember as he teamed up with Goran Ivanisevic to reach the second round of the doubles main draw. Ivanisevic and Seppi came through 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 against Dutch pairing Raemon Sluiter and Martin Verkerk. It was Ivanisevic's first competitive match since losing in the first round of the Stella Artois Championship at Queen's last June. He last played doubles in the first round of the Davis Cup in 2003 with Ivan Ljubicic, helping Croatia defeat the U.S.A. in Zagreb in February with a five-set victory over James Blake and Mardy Fish. Ivanisevic makes his singles return on Tuesday when he takes on Bohdan Ulihrach of the Czech Republic.
Thanks also to nikemac for the news.
Ivanisevic gets wild card to abn amro world tennis tournament
09 February 2004
Croatian Goran Ivanisevic has been granted the third and final wild card to the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament 2004. Tournament Director Richard Krajicek: "I didn't need much time to make up my mind when Goran called to ask for a wild card. He is a fantastic player and a great personality, both on and off court. He will add even more dynamism to the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, and I hope he makes a highly successful comeback here in Rotterdam."
The popular Croatian (32), who once ranked second in the word, has been plagued by injuries for a long time. He has hardly played tennis since his victory over Patrick Rafter at the Wimbledon final in 2001. His last court appearance was in June 2003, when he lost to Jan Vacek at Queen's Club. Ivanisevic, who underwent a shoulder operation in 2002, spent most of 2003 on the sidelines as a result of a knee injury. Not having played competitive tennis for some time, he is very keen to return to the professional circuit. Ivanisevic will make his comeback at next week's ATP tournament in Milan. And his next stop is Rotterdam and the ABN AMRO World tennis Tournament.
Ivanisevic has won 22 titles, including the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in 1996. This will be the first opportunity for the Dutch public to see Ivanisevic since his Wimbledon victory. The Croatian, who lives in Monte Carlo, is well-known for his striking remarks, including "I'm a genius" and, having broken a tennis racket, "I was pretty nice to the racket all last week. I was surprised how easily it broke. Maybe there is something wrong with it, or maybe I'm too strong."
Thanks to Petra for this news.
Goran to return in Milan
07 February 2004
Goran Ivanisevic will compete for the first time in 10 months at the ATP tournament in Milan on Monday. Provided his shoulder, which let him down when he returned at Queen's Club last June, holds up, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, 32, also plans to play in Indian Wells and Key Biscayne.
Goran has been drawn against Bohdan Ulirach in the first round.
Thanks to Corina777 for the information.
Ivanisevic hoping for one final hurrah
06 Februray 2004
GORAN IVANISEVIC, who embodies the spirit of the great tennis warrior, intends to have a last crack at the sport that has made him an idol in his homeland of Croatia. Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, has said yes to an invitation to the Milan Indoor Championship next week in the hope that he may yet have the strength for a tilt at former glories.
Ivanisevic has barely laid a hand on a racket for the past two years after surgery on his left shoulder in May 2002; last year he played three matches on the ATP Tour, in Dubai, Indian Wells and at the Stella Artois Championships at Queen’s Club, West London, and lost them all. His hope of returning to Wimbledon, having missed the chance to defend his title in 2002, was also dashed as his shoulder gave way under the strain.
The 32-year-old had wanted to be considered for Croatia’s World Group Davis Cup tie against France, in Metz this weekend, but he was not selected, with Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic chosen instead. As such, his hopes rest on what has to be considered a final roll of the dice. He has accepted a wild card into Milan and we all know what wild cards can do for him.
Ivanisevic would have loved to have led his country to triumph in the Davis Cup, which resumes today less than a week after the first grand-slam championship of the year ended. The most intriguing choice is that of Rafael Nadal, 17, for his singles debut for Spain — runners-up to Australia two months ago — in their first-round tie against the Czech Republic in Brno.
Nadal, who burst on to the professional scene by defeating Albert Costa, his compatriot and then French Open champion, in Monte Carlo last year, has risen to No 49 in the world rankings and made Lleyton Hewitt’s hair stand on end before the former No 1 beat him in four sets in the third round of the Australian Open last month.
Australia have chosen the same four-man team that lifted the cup to delirious scenes for the start of their defence against Sweden in Adelaide: Hewitt, Mark Philippoussis, Todd Woodbridge and Wayne Arthurs.
The tie that interests Great Britain most takes place in an indoor arena in Luxembourg that seats 1,500 spectators. The home nation faces Finland for the right to meet Britain at Easter in a tie that will decide who plays for promotion to the 2005 World Group.
Goran to return in Milan
16 January 2004
Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic will return to the men's tour for the first time since June 2003, when he takes up a wildcard to play in the Milan clay-court tournament beginning on February 9th.
The 2001 SW19 winner's last match was against Jiri Vacek of the Czech Republic at Queen's Club.
Ivan hails Goran's green light
11 January 2004
Ivan Ljubicic has backed his hero Goran Ivanisevic to make a success of his long-awaited comeback and has claimed that his fellow Croatian should be back on the ATP tour in the near future.
Since winning an over-running Wimbledon in 2001, defeating Pat Rafter on the third Monday of the grand slam tournament, Ivanisevic has hardly played any tennis due to injury.
He is determined to reappear and play again at Wimbledon, his favourite tournament, but a succession of injuries have prevented him from doing so to date.
Ivanisevic, now 32, underwent a shoulder operation in 2002 and suffered a knee injury in 2003.
Ljubicic makes no attempt to hide admiration for his compatriot and carries with him a photo of Ivanisevic with the Wimbledon trophy.
"He is not going to come back just to come back," reasoned Ljubicic on Saturday, after losing in the Qatar Open final to Nicolas Escude.
"He is going to come back to do well. I think he is close to coming back."