Chat with Ivan Ljubicic
Aside from the human hurdle that is Roger Federer, Ivan Ljubicic is pretty much soaring free and clear in the world of tennis. And since Federer doesn't carry an American passport, Ljubicic spelled Davis Cup doom for the Yanks. By beating both Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi in Croatia's first-round upset, Ljubicic cemented his place as one of the game's rising stars.
He hits The Show on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET, so send in your questions and join us then!
THE SHOWGIRL : Hey everybody, welcome to The Show! The ATP tour's hottest player will be here Thursday afternoon. Send in your questions now, then join Ljuby right here at 3:30 ET!
IVAN LJUBICIC: Hello everyone!
Sophie (Dufour): Are you a star in Croatia?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I am, yes, especially now.
Timmy: Do you think that it's a coincidence that you and Ancic will (potentially) play each other in the third round, with the winner to (potentially) play Federer in the fourth? The odds of this happening by chance are less than 1 in 500. It seems a little fishy to me considering you guys just beat the US.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Of course it's a coincidence. What else. But it is a tough draw. It's not getting any easier.
d wayne(baltimore, md): The US used a slow hard court in Davis Cup, presumably to limit your serve. However, do you feel that the court helped you to establish a rythym while returning serve, allowing you to become aggressive on the return, especially against Agassi?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I think they made the slow court because of Andy. It's where he feels the best. I think all four of us have a pretty similar game, so it didn't help anyone.
Carmem, Brasil: What is your dream for 2005?
IVAN LJUBICIC: To reach Masters Cup.
Robert (San Jose, CA): Hey, out of all the players to ever play the game, who do u look up to more and who would u have loved to face(past or present)? when did u start playin tennis?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Sampras is, I think, No. 1 ever. I practiced with him many times but I never had a chance to play against him competively, which I would have loved. I was 9.
Lynn, New York, NY: Which player do you least like to face?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Roger. That's an easy one.
Beatriz(Lima, Peru): Hi, your tennis has a highest level by the last time, do you expect climb positions maybe 2 or 3? I think you´re good but Federer is the only whose separated from the other he plays a superior level. What think about the latinoamerican players?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I think they're all great players. Obviously Roger is the best. We all know that he's the one to beat but after that I think there's a lot of room in the top 10 for good players.
Bill - Tampa Fl: Ivan - congrats on Davis Cup - what tension and string do you use at low altitude for medium pace hard courts?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Around 30 kilos.
Guillermo: Hi Ivan ! Amazing run , congrats !!!. Aren´t you exhausted ? I mean , you´ve been playing so much recently , wouldn´t be smarter to get some rest ?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah, but not now. I would love to. Big tournaments coming on, so I can't rest but then it will be time to rest definitely.
dave(balt, md): From the time you came on tour, how long did it take to get comfortable with the pace and intensity of the pro tour?
IVAN LJUBICIC: 3-4 years. Especially with players like Andre and Andy and the guys who were hitting very hard.
Jason Fortier (manistee, MI): Would you compare your play to Boris Becker?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, he was going to the net much more than I am, but probably everything else is very similar.
karen: Who taught you your 1 handed backhand? Do you think it give you more options on the court?
IVAN LJUBICIC: My coach back home. When I was 11 I changed from 2-handed to 1-handed. It was great because I couldn't put a ball in with 2 hands.
Ulrich (Dresden): Will you be at the Nasdaq 100?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yes, yes.
Patrick Preston, Lexington, KY: Hi, Ivan! You're one of my two favorite players! Do you think it's more self-confidence that has enabled you to play such GREAT tennis lately, or could it be your personal life? (I read that you just got married last November.) Good luck the rest of the year! We want you in the TOP FIVE! =)
IVAN LJUBICIC: It is a combination of things. A lot of things came together now. My game just clicked winning some close matches that in the past I would have lost, so it's a combination of many things.
stacy: Did you get to work with Goran as assistant coach? Is he fun to be around?
IVAN LJUBICIC: He is not going to be around. He's not looking forward to travel. But definitley we talk a lot and he is trying to pump me up.
joe: Does it feel a little sad at all to beat a legend like Andre?
IVAN LJUBICIC: It's not sad. But it is sad that he's going to quit soon. That's sad.
Denise (Dallas, TX): You've played Roger Federer 3 times already this year and a couple have been close (but he won all of them). What do you see that's very difficult for you in playing him? What's the difference between him (whom you haven't beaten this year) and the rest of the players that you have beaten?
IVAN LJUBICIC: He's the best. That's it, I think. I don't think I'm too far away from beating him, hopefully already this week.
Dayankee (Mexico): Ivan, saw you in the US open against Roddick when an umpire stole you the match, What did you feel about it?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I was disappointed definitely. That's the past and I don't like to look back.
Saumon: Do you like fishing?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No. I don't any kind of killing animals things.
Borko: Ivan, I am traveling to croatia in the summer when you play Romania. Do you have any idea where the match is going to be? Also, what animal makes the best pet for a tennis player? Thanks.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Probably going to be on the coast. Or maybe on one of the islands. As for pets, I like any animal, fishes, dogs, cats. Any animal. I just love animals.
Dayankee (Mexico): Which Grand Slam do you think you have the best chances to win it all?
IVAN LJUBICIC: U.S. Open, I feel like is where I play my best tennis.
skippy: How do you keep going when you're @ 2 sets all after you played your best tennis?
IVAN LJUBICIC: You just try to win next point and don't think about how many points are left to go. Especially if you're tired.
Joe (Philly): Are you a vegan? Do you change your diet in the off-seasonj?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, I change my diet during the year depending on the tournaments whether it's a long rally or short points. But offseason, I just keep eating what I eat during the year.
Charlie, St. Louis: Hi Ivan. Great Davis Cup play. Congratulations. Any plans to play doubles? What are your feelings about the pending change to the clay court season? Will the change of surface help or hurt you?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yes. I play with Mario this week and probably next week, too. I think it will help me because I had some good results last year on clay.
joe: How many languages do you speak? Why is your English so good?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I don't know why my English is so good. I speak fluently three languages and I understand many others.
jazz: Do you think Mario's drive to win the doubles pumped you up?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I tried actually to calm him down. He was quite nervous.
jake: Some people think 5 set matches should be eliminated. What do you think?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, I don't think so. Maybe we should try to get some more rest between two five setters but not to eliminate.
Melissa (Atlanta, GA): Do you dislike Andy Roddick off the court? It seems as though you guys do not like each other.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Off the court, he's pretty normal person.
Bogoss: Do you think that Mario Ancic can win Wimbledon someday?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I think he can definitely. He definitely has the game for it.
karin: Do you think Davis Cup format needs to change? Is it too much for you guys because of your busy schedule?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I'm sure there is better format out there. But because we don't know what is that, we're going to keep this one.
jake: What's your favorite shot?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Backhand down the line.
Josh (NY): Pleasure to chat with you Ivan, you are one of my favorite players and I only dream to be as good as you. When you end your career (which hopefully isn't very soon), what goals do you wish to accomplish by then.
IVAN LJUBICIC: By then I want to win something big like Grand Slam or a Masters Cup.
Guillermo ( Madrid ): Considering your current level and they way you´re playing from the back ( with that backhand Gaudio type and that top-spined forehand, great for clay ) don´t you think that you´re a bit underrated on clay ? I saw you playing against Coria in TMS Hamburg and there you showed that you can win something on clay !!!
IVAN LJUBICIC: I definitely feel comfortable playing on clay and I think the clay will be good for me.
allen: Do you mind answering questions right after a match. It looks mean to stick a microphone in players faces right when they finish.
IVAN LJUBICIC: You don't mind if you win.
Mark: Ivan do you like any Amercian sports like football or baseball...any favorite teams
IVAN LJUBICIC: I like everything. I like St. Louis Cardinals in baseball and St. Louis Rams in football. My grandma lives in that city, so I'm following these teams.
Lorik: Which other sports do you like? What is your favorite soccer team?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Favorite soccer team is AC Milan. I love Italian soccer.
Goran: When will you go back to Croatia?
IVAN LJUBICIC: After my career.
andre - brasil: do you think you need to improve your NET GAME ?Do you think that Roger will be improving his serve/vollwy game ?
IVAN LJUBICIC: It would be better if I improved that. That's not something I need to win big matches.
Ulrich (Dresden): Any predictions in Champs League, Ivan (Europe) ?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I hope AC Milan is going to win. I think they have the best team.
Katia B,: What do you usually do during your free time in a tournament? Do you have time to visit?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I don't like to really leave the hotel if I can. I just like to rest, read a book or watch some moveis.
kerry: Do you feel sorry for fans who can't watch tennis every week even though you guys knock yourselves out playing?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I think we should definitely do something about it. I think tennis is not on TV because we are playing every week for fans to follow us, it's not easy, I understand that.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Goodbye. I hope you'll support me if you're out there in the stands. I'm usually playing against the crowd, so I'd like to change that.