Tennis giant a stammering role model
Standing 6ft 10ins in height and with a serve regularly measuring more than 140mph, Croatian Ivo Karlovic may be the biggest challenge facing tennis's top stars at Wimbledon this summer.
But for Karlovic himself, his biggest test comes off-court.
For someone who has struggled to overcome a stammer, dealing with media attention and having to answer probing questions in his second language always proves an extremely tough challenge.
The past two weeks have been the most successful of the 26-year-old's career, with him reaching the finals of the Surbiton and Stella Artois tournaments and establishing the man ranked 59th in the world as a real contender for Wimbledon when it starts on 20 June.
But Karlovic was so worried he would not be able to properly thank the crowd in the traditional post-match interview after his defeat by Andy Roddick in the Stella Artois final, he approached BBC presenter Sue Barker beforehand and asked if she make his on-court speech.
At a news conference the evening beforehand, Karlovic had looked incredibly nervous as he addressed journalists following his semi-final victory over former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson.
After he fielded those dozen questions, he was asked to record a TV interview with BBC tennis presenter Andrew Castle.
It proved to be a perfect match-up. In his other role as a host on GMTV, Castle has had experience of interviewing stammering pop singer Gareth Gates.
STAMMERING QUICK FACTS
Stammering is estimated to affect nearly 500,000 adults in Britain
Significantly more men than women stammer
Stammering usually, but not always, develops between the ages of three and five
Rowan Atkinson, Bruce Willis and Marilyn Monroe showed that stammering should be no handicap to building a successful screen career
Some stammerers find it easier to express themselves if they whisper or partly sing their words
Castle had a glass of water at the ready, encouraged Karlovic to relax and was thus able to capture the tennis player's true character in an interview screened on BBC Two just before his final.
Castle said: "At first I found it a little uncomfortable to speak to him. He was trying so hard to speak but his teeth were chattering.
"But after a while when you realise that he's not embarrassed by it and he has to cope with this obstacle in every conversation, you warm to him.
"Then his real character emerges and he comes across as a very charming, really gentle and very intelligent bloke.
"But he should smile more. He obviously finds the whole media thing a bit of an ordeal but as soon as he smiles, he has one of those expressions that would make the whole world smile with him.
Former Wimbledon champion and now BBC commentator John McEnroe was impressed by what he saw in Karlovic's media appearances.
He confessed that, despite his own "Mac the Mouth" reputation, he too used to get more nervous about his early encounters with the media than the matches which preceded them - and he did not have to cope with a foreign language or a stammer.
McEnroe, who works closely with the players on the ATP Tour around the year, said: "Ivo's actually improved quite a bit and we will keep encouraging him to keep expressing his thoughts."
For the British Stammering Association, there is real interest in this year's Wimbledon, as members hope they have found a new role model for youngsters who fear their problems with speaking will forever blight their lives.
Gareth Gates overcame his stammer in the public eye
The association's chief executive Norbert Lieckfeldt said: "Sometimes, it is quite hard reassuring teenagers with a stammer, particularly teenage boys. So many fear 'I will never have a girlfriend, I won't have a job, I won't have a career'.
"But someone like Ivo, particularly when he speaks, shows them that you can learn to live with it and then to control it."
Mr Lieckfeldt also sees positive benefits from having one of the most imposing stars in sport as a positive example for young stammerers who fear bullying.
He is hoping Karlovic's success may have a similar impact to the emergence of Gates as a chart-topping star.
He said: "Our organisation definitely saw a 'Gareth effect'. We had a lot more people who felt able to come to us and ask for help and advice.
The problem is often a misplaced sense of urgency. Just concentrate on what you want to say at your own speed. It's the message that counts, not how you say it
Mr Lieckfeldt said: "It becomes easier for people like Ivo when they realise that people are interested in what you are saying and not how you stammer."
His advice to any stammerer, famous or not, who suddenly find himself having to face the media or any other public speaking situation is: "The problem is often a misplaced sense of urgency. Just concentrate on what you want to say at your own speed. It's the message that counts, not how you say it."