Mod can you also move this to the other thread...i would just edit the title and post this but my thread was merged with Jez's and i cant edit...just use tis title and move this post to the last one.
Today let me say a few words about my friend and countryman Ivo Karlovic, who has been playing some incredible tennis this year, winning three titles, serving more than 1,000 aces and climbing to within reach of the Top 20.
I've always said that he had the potential to be a really, really high-ranked player. His serve is by far the best in the world and arguably the best ever. Even on an average day he's still not dropping serve and he can expect to make it to a tie-break, where one or two points can change everything. He's winning 93 or 94 percent of service games and the number of tie-breaks he plays is just ridiculous.
He's already topped 1,000 aces this year and he's a good chance to finish second all-time for most aces served in a season. Goran served 1400 and something in the mid '90s but back then the courts and balls were faster and it was easier to hit aces. At 6' 10'' Ivo has a natural physical advantage and he uses it as much as he can, which he absolutely should. But he's also really improved his all-round game, and that's a big reason for his jump up the rankings.
He has 230 Race points and he's still a chance to make it to the Masters Cup. I can tell you with certainty that there is not one player in the locker room who wants to play him.
Ivo and I grew up together in Croatia. I remember at 16 we were given a wild card into the tour event in Umag and we won our first-round doubles against Berasategui and Clavet. That kicked off our careers. And in 1996 Zeljko Franulovic selected us to spend time with the Davis Cup team and experience the atmosphere.
Ivo had a good win today over Safin and with the weapon he's got, he's going to be hard to beat indoors this week.
Today in my role as Player Council President I met with ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers and Gayle Bradshaw, who is the head of Rules and Competition. I was interested to talk with Gayle about how chair umpires are evaluated and how you know when one is really good.
I also had a deep discussion with him about Stefan Koubek, who ironically enough, I play tomorrow. Stefan was defaulted in Metz and was hit with a pretty big fine. He thought the fine was excessive and asked me, as his representative on the Player Council, to raise the issue.
I talked to Gayle, who is reviewing the Supervisor's report of the incident, and explained Stefan's point of view. Stefan will appeal the fine. Sometimes players don't know who to talk to about these issues and if I can help out I'm happy to do so. If I can write a brief email or give some support to the player and maybe help to reduce a fine, then it's worth it. Young players may not know a lot about the structure of the ATP and any of them reading this blog will hopefully now know that the Player Council is there to help them and give them a voice.
I reviewed the 2009 calendar with Etienne. He wanted to know the players' side. Overall it's good; there are just a couple of issues here and there. The new Asian swing is very important for tennis and for the players, but it does involve some extra travel.
We'll keep trying to work it out. The calendar has to be announced in Shanghai.
Thanks for reading and check back tomorrow for my post after the match with Koubek.