Croatia Can Sleep Tight, Says Soldier Ivanisevic
29 November 2001
ZAGREB, Croatia (Reuters) - Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, who began his compulsory Croatian army service on Tuesday, says his country can relax now that he is part of its military defense.
"Now that I am in the army, you can all sleep peacefully," the Jutarnji List daily quoted Ivanisevic as saying near his coastal home town of Split, where he is about to start a two-week military training course.
"I know I have to undergo basic drill first. But, after that, they will probably send me to catch (Osama) bin Laden," joked the Croat, referring to the Saudi-born militant whose al Qaeda organization has been blamed by the United States for the attacks on New York and Washington.
Ivanisevic, who beat Patrick Rafter to win his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in July, will be officially sworn in on Dec. 15 in Zagreb as a member of a sports squad.
The 30-year-old passed a fitness test -- where only his eyesight caused him trouble -- and was formally drafted in September.
He will be allowed to train, travel and compete in tennis tournaments during his six-month service.
Ivanisevic, who ended the year as 13th in the world, has said he aims to quit tennis after playing for two more years.
Ferrero scrapes past Ivanisevic
16 November 2001
Juan Carlos Ferrero has captured the last semi-final place at the Masters Cup in Sydney.
But he needed two tie-breaks to beat Goran Ivanisevic.
Ferrero beat the Wimbledon champion 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) and now faces Lleyton Hewitt in the semi-finals.
Ferrero has enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2001, finishing in the world's Top 10 for the first time and taking over as the Spanish number one.
He was one of only two players making their debuts at the season-ending tournament, with fellow semi-finalist Sebastien Grosjean also in the event for the first time.
Ferrero lost his opening match against Yevgeny Kafelnikov but then bounced back to beat Gustavo Kuerten.
No Butts for Helpless Ivanisevic
15 November 2001
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Not even his split personality could stop Goran Ivanisevic crashing to a 6-3, 6-4 defeat by Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the Masters Cup on Thursday.
The erratic Wimbledon champion had no answer to Kafelnikov's game, slumping to defeat in just over an hour in their round robin encounter.
Never one to mince his words, the colorful Croatian said he had been soundly beaten and that there was nothing he could have done about it.
"I don't remember the last time someone kicked my arse so bad," said Ivanisevic, whose unpredictable off-the-cuff comments have made him a long-time favorite with the media.
"It was like he was the driver and I was the co-pilot and we were driving on a one-way street to Russia not Croatia."
Kafelnikov did not make a single unforced error as he raced through the first set in 27 minutes, then committed just five mistakes as he took the second set and booked his place in the semifinals.
"He was just too good, I didn't have a chance. Overall, he didn't give me anything," an admiring Ivanisevic said.
Kafelnikov marches to a different beat than the Croat, and his assessment of his performance was markedly toned down.
"I probably played one of my best ever matches against him," the Russian said. "I can't explain why but I thought that I was sharp, I played extremely well."
Kafelnikov into Sydney semis
15 November 2001
Yevgeny Kafelnikov secured a semi-final spot at the Masters Cup and eliminated defending champion Gustavo Kuerten in the process.
The Russian wrapped up a 6-3 6-4 win over Goran Ivanisevic that ended Kuerten's hopes of succesfully defending the title he won in Portugal last year.
His elimination also severely damaged the Brazilian's chances of finishing the season as world number one.
Kuerten lost earlier in the day in the Ken Rosewall group to Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Kuerten, who lost to Ivanisevic in his opening match, needed the Wimbledon champion to beat Kafelnikov to remain in contention at Sydney's SuperDome.
But Kafelnikov was too good, taking the first set in 27 minutes and finishing with an angled forehand volley on his second match point to close in 66 minutes.
Andre Agassi and Sebastien Grosjean meet later on Thursday to battle for a semi-final spot in the John Newcombe Group. Lleyton Hewitt clinched the first semi-final berth with two opening wins in the round-robin stage. Kuerten now meets Kafelnikov on Friday in his last round-robin match.
'Good' Goran Topples Kuerten in Masters
13 November 2001
By Paul Tait
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Goran Ivanisevic dented Gustavo Kuerten's hopes of claiming the year-end top ranking when he outlasted the French Open champion to win their Masters Cup round robin match, 6-2, 6-7, 6-4, Tuesday.
Ivanisevic described the win as his best since his extraordinary Wimbledon victory last June because he overcame Kuerten by playing his natural serve and volley game instead of being lured into a baseline battle with the Brazilian.
"Yeah, it was, especially because of the way I played, I know I don't have a chance if I stay back and rally with him so every chance I had I tried to hit a winner or come in, don't give him any rhythm," Ivanisevic said.
Ivanisevic's win came after Olympic champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov produced a blistering seven-game blitz to beat Juan Carlos Ferrero, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6, in a much scrappier opening match of the Ken Rosewall Group.
Ivanisevic is only 13th in the Champions' Race which Kuerten heads and made it into the elite eight-man tournament by virtue of his Wimbledon victory, which he achieved as a wild card.
But it was as if Ivanisevic was atop the Champions' Race and not Kuerten as he raced through the first set in only 25 minutes.
"Maybe it's the lucky wildcard thing again," Ivanisevic said.
The eighth-seeded Croatian completely dominated the early stages of the match, pounding Kuerten with heavy serves and unplayable forehands.
He stumbled as he closed in on an unlikely victory but regained his composure, serving his 28th ace to set up match point and then punching a backhand volley crosscourt on the next point to finish an intense match in one hour and 51 minutes.
It was one of those days when the "good Goran" turned up to play -- the Croatian's way of explaining the two sides of his volatile nature.
Ivanisevic's power game helped him to break Kuerten's serve in the second game of the first set and he claimed another break six games later when he rifled a backhand service return past a bewildered Kuerten.
Kuerten served solidly in the second set but was never able to settle into his baseline routine against Ivanisevic, whose serve regularly topped 118 mph.
The Brazilian kept plugging away and at least managed to keep his own serve on track during the second set to force the tiebreak, which he won 7-2.
Ivanisevic later said he was suffering from a sore toe, which he stubbed in the shower of his Sydney hotel last week, but he put the pain aside much as he has with the shoulder injury that has dogged the latter stages of his enigmatic career.
Despite being upset by a handful of line calls which threatened to bring out "bad Goran," Ivanisevic held his nerve to close out the match in front of a disappointingly small crowd of about 3,000 in the 17,800 capacity SuperDome.
Kuerten came into the tournament with indifferent form, losing six of his eight matches since the U.S. Open. Kuerten said Ivanisevic's serve was the difference but admitted that he is becoming frustrated with his slump.
"It just shows the way I've been playing. It's tough for me when I'm not playing well," he said.
Kuerten's loss opens the way for challengers Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi.
The Brazilian leads the Champions' Race by 48 points from Hewitt, with Agassi another 39 points adrift in third.
Hewitt and Agassi meet in a crucial round robin match on Wednesday. Either player can afford to drop one round robin match and still have the chance to beat Kuerten for the top spot.
Australia's Hewitt beat Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean in the John Newcombe Group Monday, while Agassi downed Hewitt's Davis Cup team mate Pat Rafter.
Kafelnikov appeared to be headed for a heavy defeat in an error-prone opening to his first round robin match, gifting Spanish baseliner Ferrero a succession of easy points.
Kafelnikov complained about the height of the net at the start of the second set. Match officials found it to be five centimeters too high and the net was adjusted during a short delay.
From that point on Kafelnikov's serve and forehand began finding their range and he strung together a match-turning sequence of seven straight games against fourth seed Ferrero, who is playing in the $3.7 million tournament for the first time.
Ivanisevic Upsets Kuerten at Masters
13 November 2001
By JOHN PYE, Associated Press Writer
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic proved the perfect wild card again, extending top-ranked Gustavo Kuerten's rough stretch with a 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4 victory Tuesday at the season-ending Masters Cup.
With his No. 1 ranking on the line in the ATP Champions Race, Kuerten needed a round-robin victory to build his lead on No. 2 Lleyton Hewitt and No. 3 Andre Agassi, both winners Monday in the $3.7 million event.
Kuerten, the three-time French Open champion, has won six of his 16 career titles in 2001 but is only 1-5 since the U.S. Open in September.
Earlier, Yevgeny Kafelnikov blamed his erratic start on a high net and jet lag before rallying to beat Masters Cup rookie Juan Carlos Ferrero 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5).
Ivanisevic, who after three failed finals appearances at the All England Club became the first wild card to win Wimbledon this year, raced through the first set in 25 minutes on six aces and 15 winners.
The second set went with serve until Kuerten got the better of a serving slugfest in the tiebreaker, earning a mini break on the fifth point and reeling off five consecutive points to force a deciding set.
Ivanisevic saved five break points and held serve to go 1-1 in the third set and then broke at love in the next game. He fought back from 15-40 with five aces in the sixth game to maintain his break. His 28th ace gave him match point, and he won with a backhand, crosscourt volley .
Ivanisevic was 13th in the ATP's Champions Race but gained a wild card for the eight-man Masters Cup, which contains the winners of the 2001 Grand Slam events.
Kafelnikov dropped two service games in the first set and sent ground strokes long, wide and high. The Russian complained to court officials about the net. He said a subsequent inspection showed the net had been set 2 inches too high.
A slight adjustment sparked Kafelnikov's seven-game winning stretch. That allowed him to even the match at a set apiece and go a break up early in the decider.
"I was 1-1 in the second and my service percentage was in the 20s when, all of a sudden, I woke up and saw the size of the net was unusual," he said. "I told (the umpire), "How incompetent can you be if we are playing such a match in this condition?"
"I usually like to play really low over the net, that's why I was struggling with my range. Once it went to normal, I started to play a bit looser."
The No. 5-ranked Kafelnikov is the Sydney Olympic gold medalist and 1999 Australian Open champ. He has reached this season-ending event the last seven years and is aiming for his fifth consecutive top-five finish.
Fewer than 5,000 spectators sat through the error-ridden match at the 17,500-seat SuperDome, although there were some flashes of brilliance.
The crowd swelled to almost 8,000 for Kuerten vs. Kafelnikov, with Brazilian and Croatian fans chanting and beating drums.
In opening matches Monday, Hewitt, the U.S. Open champ, rallied past No. 7 Sebastien Grosjean 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, and Agassi downed No. 6 Patrick Rafter 6-2, 6-4.
Hewitt and Agassi, who finished No. 1 in 1999, are the only players with a chance of overtaking Kuerten and preventing the Brazilian from finishing back-to-back seasons at No. 1.
Kuerten had 771 points going into the seven-day event while Hewitt had 723 and Agassi 684. Hewitt and Agassi meet in a round-robin match Wednesday, and Rafter takes on Grosjean in Wednesday's other match.
Players get 20 points for a win in each of their three round-robin matches, 40 points for a semifinal victory and 50 if they win the tournament.
Round Table Interviews From Sydney
11 November 2001
The stars talk about their chances on the Sunday before the Tennis Masters Cup.
It's a long article. This is the relevant Goran part;)
"I'm not so confident when you lose in the qualies of the Australian Open in the beginning of the year, I thought I might stop, I didn't know what to do. Then I said, I'm going to try for the year. If I leave the sport at least I should leave happy and to say that I tried everything and then Wimbledon came out of the blue. I took a month off, I stay home, I had a great time and I won Wimbledon after that everything changed. Now I'm here. I was actually laughing at the beginning of the year, saying poor guys that have to come here to fly all the way at the end of the year to play Masters, but I'm one of those guys and I'm very honored to be here."
"It is always great support from Croatian supporters because a lot of them live here, so I felt like I'm home here."
You can read the full article here: atptour.com
Ivanisevic Ready to Play at Tennis Masters Cup
8 November 2001
Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic has declared himself a definite starter at the prestigious Tennis Masters Cup at the Sydney SuperDome, 12 to 18 November.
Ivanisevic had stubbed him toe while in the shower but the Croat says it is not a matter for concern. He said it was a "little bit sore but no problem". Ivanisevic made it clear "there is no need" for him to even see a doctor.
"I'll be playing on Tuesday night," said Ivanisevic who takes on defending champion and world number one Gustavo Kuerten in his first match of the round robin series. "I just want all Croatians in Sydney to come out on Tuesday night and help me. I am playing world number one and I need them out there. This is a big match."
Ivanisevic has been practicing on the match court and has a few more sessions booked. The head-to-head between him and Kuerten is 5-1 to the Brazilian.
To provide their support the Croatian community will need to buy their tickets quickly because the Brazilian fans are just as eager to support Guga, their hero. It is going to create an electric atmosphere at the Tennis Masters Cup as the red, white and blue colours of Croatia offset the yellow and green of Brazil.
This match promises to be quite sensational.
Ivanisevic Toes Masters Cup Line
8 November 2001
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Goran Ivanisevic, who battled past a shoulder injury to win Wimbledon, will play in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup despite a freak accident in the shower.
The Croatian, who takes daily painkillers for his damaged left shoulder, stubbed his toe in the shower of his Sydney hotel on Wednesday.
The minor but painful injury forced him to miss a practice session later that day.
Tournament officials however said Ivanisevic trained on Thursday and would not need scans of the injury.
"There's no problem, he's ready to play," a tournament spokesman told Reuters.
Ivanisevic has been drawn in a four-man group with top seed Gustavo Kuerten, clay court specialist Juan Carlos Ferrero and Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the season-ending event.
The second group features Australians Lleyton Hewitt and Pat Rafter, the United States' Andre Agassi and Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean.
Germany's Tommy Haas is on standby as an alternate should any players be unable to make the $3.7 million tournament's elite eight-man field.
Ivanisevic fights the pain barrier
7 November 2001
Goran Ivanisevic has admitted he is taking pain killers every day to dull the ache from a long-term shoulder injury.
He compounded his injury worries when he banged his toe in the shower of his hotel room, as he prepares for the Masters Cup in Sydney.
"Hopefully it is not bad, but it hurts a lot now," he said, adding that it forced him to cancel his Wednesday morning practice session at Sydney's Superdome.
Tennis Masters Cup Sydney
7 November 2001
The Draw Is Out
As the eight players gear up for action on Monday, the draw put together some mouth-watering match-ups.
The eight players who have qualified for the prestigious season-ending championship were placed in two groups, the Ken Rosewall Group and the John Newcombe Group, for the Round Robin competition.
THE KEN ROSEWALL GROUP
1. Gustavo Kuerten (FRA)
4. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP)
5. Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS)
8. Goran Ivanisevic (CRO)
THE JOHN NEWCOMBE GROUP
2. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
3. Andre Agassi (USA)
6. Patrick Rafter (AUS)
7. Sebastien Grosjean (FRA)
The draw was conducted by ITF Supervisor Bill Gilmour and Goran Ivanisevic and Ken Rosewall were invited to select the player chips to determine who went to which group.
Tournament organisers convened after the draw and issued the order of play for the first two days of the Tennis Masters Cup.
MONDAY 12 NOVEMBER
Lleyton Hewitt v Sebastien Grosjean
Patrick Rafter v Andre Agassi
TUESDAY 13 NOVEMBER
Juan Carlos Ferrero v Yevgeny Kafelnikov
Gustavo Kuerten v Goran Ivanisevic
The Tennis Masters Cup is jointly owned by the ATP, ITF and the Grand Slams. Lateral Marketing is the promoter of the Tennis Masters Cup 2001 Sydney. Visit the tournament website www.masters-cup.com.
Tickets for the Tennis Masters Cup are available through Ticketek ph: + (61-2) 92664020 or www.ticketek.com.
Aussie duo drawn in same Masters group
7 November 2001
Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt have been drawn together in a tough qualifying group for the season-ending Masters Cup in Sydney.
Rafter, who is considering retirement, could be playing his last singles tournament, while Hewitt could replace top seed Gustavo Kuerten at the top of the world rankings if he wins the event.
The Australians are joined in their four-man group by Andre Agassi and Sebastien Grosjean, winner of last week's Paris Masters.
The other group consists of Goran Ivanisevic, Kuerten, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Yevgeny Kafelnikov.
Ivanisevic conceded the group made up of Hewitt, Agassi, Rafter and Grosjean "looks easier," but added he would still have to be on his best form to qualify for the semi-finals.
"It doesn't matter which group you are in," he said. "If you play good you can lose all four matches. If you play bad, for sure you will lose all four matches."
The players in each group play one another in the qualifying round and the winner of each group plays the runner-up of the other group in the semi-finals.
All group matches and semi-finals are best-of-three sets while the final is best of five.
6 November 2001
There is a news article at Yahoo.com on the Masters Cup, this is the Goran related part =)
Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic said it was difficult to single out a clear favorite from a field that also includes Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero, Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov, France's Sebastien Grosjean and popular Australian Pat Rafter.
"You can play bad and you can come here and you can just suddenly start to play well, so everybody has an equal chance," the Croat said.
To read the full article click here