Thursday, June 30, 2011


Goran Ivanišević (Croatian pronunciation: born 13 September 1971) is a retired Croatian professional tennis player. He is best remembered for being the only person to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon as a wildcard. He achieved this in 2001, having previously been runner-up at the championships in 1992, 1994 and 1998. Ivanišević is famous for his strong serve, which is considered among the greatest to date.His career-high singles ranking was World No. 2 (behind Pete Sampras) in 1994. He is the current reigning Legends under 45 French Open doubles Champion.
Ivanišević was born in Split, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), to Srđan and Gorana née Škaričić.He turned professional in 1988 and later that year, with Rüdiger Haas, won his first career doubles title in Frankfurt, but he focused more on his singles career, yet had some success in doubles, winning nine titles and reaching a career high ranking of 20.
Ivanišević made his first significant impact on the tour in 1990, knocking Boris Becker out of the first round of the French Open men's singles; he went on to reach the quarter-finals. He was also, with Petr Korda, the runner-up in the French Open men's doubles. At that year's Wimbledon, Ivanišević reached the semi-finals, where he lost to Becker in four sets. Ivanišević also won his first tour singles title in 1990 at Stuttgart and helped Yugoslavia win the World Team Cup. He played in eight ties for Yugoslavia in the Davis Cup before quitting the team after the Croatian declaration of independence in 1991.Yugoslavia lost its subsequent tie against France 5–0.
Ivanišević quickly became known on the tour for his strong, attacking style of play and for an extremely powerful serve. For several years, he had more aces than anyone else on the tour. Capable of beating anyone in the world when at his very best, he was also known for occasional on-court temper tantrums—usually directed towards himself—and the volatility of the standard of his play. Ivanišević received death threats at the 1992 Australian Men's Hardcourt Championships.He went on to win the tournament.
In 1992, Ivanišević steamrolled his way to reach his first Wimbledon singles final, having defeated Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, and Pete Sampras in succession. In the final he faced Andre Agassi and was heavily favored to win; both players were attempting to win their first Grand Slam title. Agassi eventually won 6–7, 6–4, 6–4, 1–6, 6–4. In the 5th set, Ivanišević had a break point on Agassi's serve at 3 all, but did not convert it. In the final game of the match, he served 2 double faults to start the game, even though he had 5 for the entire match before that. His ace count for the tournament (200+) at the time was the highest in the history of ATP. He served 39 aces that day, while Agassi had 37 for the entire tournament. It was a tough loss, but as he was only 20 years old, a bright future was predicted. Later that summer at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Ivanišević won bronze medals in both singles and doubles representing Croatia, a state that had only recently declared independence. He also won four singles titles that year.
In 1996 he won a career-best five singles titles. He reached the Grand Slam Cup final again, but this time lost to Becker in straight sets. Ivanišević also teamed with Iva Majoli to win the 1996 Hopman Cup for Croatia. That year Ivanišević also defeated Stefan Edberg to reach the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, his first Grand Slam semi-final away from Wimbledon; the match was the last Grand Slam match of Edberg's career. In the semifinals, Ivanišević he fell again to Sampras, in four sets; Sampras would go on to defeat Michael Chang to win his fourth U.S. Open championship.
By the summer of 2001, Ivanišević was ranked the World No. 125. This was not sufficient to earn him an automatic place in the main draw at Wimbledon but, given his past record as a three-time runner-up, he was awarded a wildcard for entry into the singles draw. He defeated former and future World #1 players Carlos Moyá, Andy Roddick and Marat Safin to reach the semi-final, beating home favourite Tim Henman in a five set, rain-affected semi-final, setting-up a match with the previous year's runner-up and former US Open champion Patrick Rafter. It was Ivanišević's first singles final since 1998. In a match lasting just over three hours, Ivanišević defeated Rafter 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 2–6, 9–7. Two months shy of his 30th birthday, Ivanišević became the lowest-ranked player and the first wildcard entry to win Wimbledon.To date, he is the only male entrant to have won a Grand Slam as a wildcard. His Wimbledon success was rated sixteenth at the list of 100 Greatest Sporting Moments by a British television programme.

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