Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Indifference St.
Goran having a ball on seniors tour
Goran having a ball on seniors tour
November 20 2004 at 02:30PM
Fiddling with the size and weight of tennis balls to slow down the game and make it more attractive to spectators is not the way to go.
This is the considered opinion of one of the hardest hitters of the ball, Goran Ivanisevic, who will be in action in a seniors event in Cape Town in February next year.
Hard-hitting Ivanisevic, Wimbledon singles champion in 2001, is now off the main circuit, but says he has seen evidence of more players battling with shoulder complaints as a result of heavier balls used in the game.
If he had his way he would not see the pace of the game slowed down. "You can go to Paris if you want to see rallies (on clay courts)," the Croat said in an interview this week.
"(In the early 1990s) you would have 126 out of the men's draw at Wimbledon coming to the net. Now it's the other way round: two come to the net and 126 stay back (and play from the baseline)," Ivanisevic added.
Fans who attend the tournament at the Cape Town International Convention Centre will see an Ivanisevic who is still as combative as ever, at 33. He rates indoor courts as his best surface, which augurs well for the Cape Town event.
Ivanisevic, who has had major shoulder surgery, won his first tournament on the seniors scene recently, and is currently playing in another in Braunschweig, near Hanover. "At the other tournament in Eindhoven I didn't lose my serve once in four matches."
Is he missing the demanding men's tour? "Not really. Now I'm practising once in two weeks, and playing more football with friends," said the mercurial tennis star who was once offered a contract by a Croatian professional soccer team.
"I'm a striker... I scored a goal once in a match which involved the national team," added Ivanisevic, who is a fan of Croatian team Hajduk Split. He lives in Split and Zagreb, as well as having a residence in Monte Carlo.
"I grew up in Split, which is a coastal city, so I'm looking forward to coming to Cape Town." Ivanisevic has family in the city and in Johannesburg, where he played in a tournament in 1993.
Ivanisevic still feels pain from his shoulder surgery, and has to take pain-killers often.
"If I could play (more) without practising, I would. But against the young guys it is very tough. The seniors tennis is much more fun, and I'm playing against old friends like Boris Becker and others."
Ivanisevic rates his bronze medals in singles and doubles at the 1992 Olympic Games highly, but his Wimbledon triumph is his greatest playing memory. In life, though, the greatest moment was the birth last year of his daughter Amber, who could be coming to Cape Town with him if she is deemed old enough to fly.
Ask Ivanisevic which of the current crop of men's players he likes the look of, and the two he selects are Swiss Roger Federer and Russian Marat Safin.
"I don't know if he will win more grand slams than Pete Sampras, but Federer is a bigger talent than Sampras," he said.
"When Safin wants to play, he can be good, but sometimes he's strange. I don't know if he's drinking vodka..."
Ivanisevic is a life member of the monster-serve club, and naturally does not subscribe to the view that booming servers who win matches kill the game as a spectacle.
"I'm proud of the fact that I had more than 1 000 aces a year five times, with a best of 1407. Andy Roddick comes closest of today's players.
"Somebody will break my record,, but it will take time," said the Croat.
"People criticise players who serve a lot of aces, but it's not easy.
"It's not as if you can guarantee that you will serve an ace when you need to at love-40 down. You still have to do it... it's a talent, like being able to hit good forehand winners."
Tickets for the Cape Town Grand Champions event are available from Computicket.
too bad he's not younger anymore i would have liked to follow his career if i caught up to him
Marat: Last question: what do you think of me? Dinara: You are my god! When you play, I love
to see you. When you lose, I am even sadder than when it is me. When you are wounded, I suffer.
When you speak to me, I drink your words. When you come to see me playing, I am with the angels.