22 years of Wimbledon success by Djokovic’s ‘partner’ who dreamed of becoming a street sweeper


Novak Djokovic seeks in this edition of Wimbledon to continue making history. The Serbian, who this Sunday seeks his passage to the quarterfinals against the Pole Hubert Hurkacz, is aiming on the London grass to match the eight titles of the great Roger Federer, who will achieve his 24th Grand Slam title.

He will try with the invaluable help of his coach Goran Ivanisevicwhich in recent years has been one of the pillars on which Nole consolidates his dominance in current tennis thanks to his experience on the circuit.

And this Croatian was one of the most famous players of the nineties, though his greatest success came in the 21st centurywhen no one gave hard for him.

This Sunday This is the 22nd anniversary of July 9, 2001the day Goran Ivanisevic was finally crowned Wimbledon champion.

The truth is that he has everything to be crowned in the ‘cathedral’ of tennis. A fearsome serve and a ‘passing shots’ proof game at the net made him one of the great favorites year after year, but the truth was very painful for him.

He lost three finals in seven years: one in 1992 against Andre Agassi, and those in 1994 and 1998 against Pete Samprasthe reigning king of Wimbledon at the time who also defeated him in the semifinals in 1995.

Years passed and everyone indicated that the train was too long for him. Physical problems and a significant decline in his game led him to drop in the rankings until he fell out of the top 100 in 2001. That ranking (125th in mid-June) did not give him access to the Wimbledon big draw, but the organization decided to give him one of the invitations because of his impressive record at the tournament.

And just like that good old Goran showed up in London, rebounding and having no chance of doing anything big… in theory.. But tennis has something special, and the Croatian showed it by holding an anthological tournament. He made his debut with a comfortable victory over Swede Fredik Johnson (197th), which he won by triple 6-4, to return to a set against Carlos Moyá in the second round (6-7, 6- 3, 6). -4, 6- 4). He closed the first week with a level victory against the great Andy Roddick (7-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3), another grass specialist.

boat race

The second week started with a cannonball duel against Greg Rusedski (7-6, 6-4, 6-4), one of the most dangerous players in the world on this type of court. In the quarters, one of the kings of the time was waiting for him: Marat Safin. All forecasts had the Russian, number 3 in the world at the time, as a heavy favourite. But the experience is a level, and that was noticed in the main moments of the game. Goran took all the even sets (7-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6) to enter a historic semifinal.

There waiting for him was the great local idol, Tim Henman. The Englishman tried to break the curse weighing on British tennis, who had not seen one of his own crowned at the All England Tennis Club since 1936, and was about to achieve it. He got two sets to one in his favor and had his chances in the fourth, which the Croatian finished in a tiebreak (7-5, 6-7, 0-6, 7-6). The fifth set was almost uneventful (6-3) and Ivanisevic confirmed his passage to the grand final.

The appointment is historic. His rival is another great specialist, Patrick Rafter, who lost in last year’s final to Pete Sampras., and to give it an even more epic touch, the game had to be played on a Monday (July 9) due to rain, something that had not happened since 1922. The rivalry was anthological. More than three hours of high school tennis that culminated in a spectacular fifth round, before the delirium of a dedicated audience that filled the stands with color that day.

At 7-7 on the scoreboard came the long-awaited break for the Croatian. All front: 8-7 and serve, but things were complicated by three double faults, two of them with match points. Finally, in the fourth, a shot from the net by Rafter closed the game. The Croatian fell to the ground and cried. He cried because he’d made history (he’s still the lowest-ranked player to win Wimbledon and the first to win as a wild card), and he cried because he’d closed a wound that was still bleeding.

When I was young, I wanted to be a street sweeper. I don’t know why, but it was my dream when I was 10 or 11 years old.Goran Ivanisevic admitted in 2010 in an interview with Mundo Deportivo. Luckily the Croatian became a tennis player, one of the most charismatic and the protagonist of one of the greatest victories in the recent history of Wimbledon, and on July 9, 2001 he finally got rid of his ghosts from the past.

Source: La Verdad


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