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Ivan Ljubičić ( ; born March 19, 1979) is a Croatianmarker tennis player. His career-high ATP Entry ranking was No. 3, and his current Entry list ranking is No. 25 (as of November 2009).

Tall and powerfully built, he is noted for his strong serve and has achieved his best results in indoor tournaments played on carpet or hardcourt. He often plays from the baseline, although he is capable of playing at the net. Ljubičić is using the Head Microgel Extreme Pro Racquet, after using the Babolat Pure Drive for most of his professional career.

Ljubičić currently serves as the ATP Player Council president, and has strongly voiced his opinion on many issues, such as the possible downgrading of current Masters Series tournaments in Monte Carlomarker and Hamburgmarker.

Ljubičić and Mario Ančić are only the 2nd doubles team ever to defeat Bob and Mike Bryan in Davis Cup history, the other team being France's Arnaud Clément and Michaël Llodra. Ljubičić helped Croatia win the 2005 Davis Cup, where they triumphed over the Slovakian Davis Cup team in the final.

Early years

Ljubičić was born to a Croat father, named Marko, and a Bosniak mother, named Hazira. He started playing tennis as a child in 1988, and he soon won his first local awards as a junior. In May 1992, because of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ljubičić family left Banja Lukamarker, and Ivan, his mother and his brother moved to Opatijamarker, Croatia, while his father was unable to leave. In November 1992, they were reunited and moved to Rijekamarker. Ivan Ljubičić has been married since 2004 Aida, his longtime girlfriend from Rijeka; the couple welcomed their first child, a boy named Leonardo, on December 10, 2008.

Soon after, in April 1993, Ljubičić went to a tennis club in Moncalierimarker near Torinomarker, Italy. During the next three years, Ljubičić grew into a promising prospect. He decided to play for Croatia and in 1995 won his first junior championship - he became the Croatian under-16 champion. The same year, he won his first ATP points, and played for the Croatian team in the Winter Cup (European under-16 indoors championship). Pairing up with Željko Krajan, he won the Orange Bowl (the unofficial world under-16 championship).

In 1996, the family moved to Zagrebmarker, while Ivan continued his successes. He joined the tennis club Mladost and played in more and more junior ITF tournaments. His biggest success as a junior was the final of Wimbledonmarker where he was defeated by Vladimir Voltchkov of Belarusmarker. He also played in the Australian Openmarker junior semifinal in 1997, and won the Eddie Harre tournament, which made him the number 2 junior in the world. In early 1997 he started being trained by the Italian professional coach Riccardo Piatti. His successes continued: quarterfinal of junior French Openmarker, and entering into the professional tennis. After a lot of success, Ivan wanted to buy a car. He deserved that and he bought himself a Porsche GT which is, according to Ljubicic "His craziest ever buy". Soon after that, Ivan married his wife Aida who is always with him at the ATP tournaments.

Tennis career

1998-2003

Ljubičić entered professional tennis in 1998, and played in the final of the ATP Challenger in Zagreb, where he lost to Alberto Berasategui. He played a number of smaller tournaments the same year, but had little success and finished the year as #293.

In 1999, his luck turned, and he won two Futures tournaments, as well as a Challenger in Besançonmarker, France. He won another two victories in the qualifications for the Casablancamarker Tour event, where he was defeated by Juan Carlos Ferrero. He then entered the Super 9 tournament in Monte Carlomarker (today's Monte Carlo Mastersmarker) where he reached the third round after an amazing run where he defeated Andrei Medvedev and Yevgeni Kafelnikov. He also played in the Croatia Open in Umagmarker where he was eliminated only in the semifinal by Magnus Norman. He finished the year as #77.

In 2000, Ljubičić played two semifinals, in Sydney and in Båstad, and three quarterfinals (Marseille, Copenhagen and Brighton). He also played in the third round of the Olympic tournament.

He won his first ATP singles title at Lyonmarker in 2001, after defeating Gustavo Kuerten, Gastón Gaudio, Marat Safin and Younes El Aynaoui. At that point he reached #29 in the professional rankings, and would continue to play well, participating in seven ATP Tour semifinals - Adelaide, Rotterdam, Miami, St. Polten, Gstaad, Umag, Cincinnati. He finished the year 2001 as #37.

The year 2002 he was in two semifinals (Rotterdam, Gstaad) and four quarterfinals (Adelaide, Dubai, Umag, Tashkent) on the ATP Tour, and it the first time he passed the first round on a Grand Slam, when he reached the 3rd round of Australian Openmarker where he was stopped by Wayne Ferreira in five sets. He ended the year as #49, and also no. 2 in the number of aces behind Wayne Arthurs.

In 2003, he reached the semifinals of Milan, Dubai, Bangkok and Basel, and also the 3rd round of Monte Carlo Masters and the quarterfinals in Rome Masters. He lost in the second round in the U.S Open to Andy Roddick who would then go on to become the champion that year. The score was 6–3,6–7,6–3, 7–6. After the match, he went on to say that if the match had been played anywhere else, he would have won. He also stated that no one in the locker room liked the American.

2004-2005

In 2004, he started the year as the runner-up to Nicolas Escudé in Doha, and also played semifinals in Hamburg Masters, in Indianapolis and in the Madrid Masters. He also reached the quarterfinals in Basel and 1/8th finals in the Miami Masters.

At the 2004 Olympics, Ljubičić teamed up with Mario Ančić to win the bronze medal in tennis doubles, winning against the Indians Bhupathi and Paes after having been defeated by the Chileanmarker duo of González and Massú, the eventual gold medalists, in the semifinals.

In 2005, Ljubičić produced markedly better results. He won two ATP titles and was the runner-up at another six, losing to world no. 1 Roger Federer in three of them, and world no. 2 Rafael Nadal in another one. Most notably, he reached the finals of two Masters Series Events, losing to Nadal in Madrid and to Tomáš Berdych at the Paris Indoors Tournament. He finished the year ranked #9 in the world and earned his first appearance at the year-end Masters Cup where he was eliminated in the group stage (Ljubičić was one of a number of entrants who were invited due to the withdrawal of higher-ranked players, such as #2 Rafael Nadal).

Ljubičić has also been the top player of the Croatian Davis Cup team since the departure of Goran Ivanišević. In Davis Cup 2005, the Croatian team defeated the United States in the first round played in March 2005. Ljubičić defeated Andre Agassi convincingly in straight sets in his first singles match. He then teamed with Mario Ančić to defeat the Bryan Brothers, then the world's second-ranked doubles team. He finally clinched victory for his country, defeating America's number one player and former world number one Andy Roddick in five sets. In the July quarterfinal, Ljubičić again won his singles games against Romania's Victor Hănescu as well as Andrei Pavel, and then together with Ančić defeated the Pavel-Trifu duo in five sets. In the semifinal held in September against the Russian team, Ljubičić defeated Mikhail Youzhny in five sets, together with Ančić defeated Igor Andreev and Dmitry Tursunov in another five-set game, and finally defeated Nikolay Davydenko to secure victory for Croatia. Then in the finals Ljubičić defeated Karol Kučera and also paired with Mario Ančić to help secure Croatia's first Davis Cup victory.

2006

Prior to the Australian Open, Ljubičić played a tournament in Chennai, seeded 1 he was expected to do well on the hardcourts there. Playing well he reached the final and defeated Spaniard Carlos Moyà 7–6, 6–2. It proved to be a great preparation for the Australian Open.

At the 2006 Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time ever in his career. He defeated Thomas Johansson of Sweden 6–2, 6–4, 6–4 in the fourth round. He lost to eventual finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprusmarker in the quarter-final 4–6 2–6 6–4 6–3 3–6.

After the Australian Open he played at the Zagreb Indoor Open, which is played on carpet, a surface typically favoured by Ljubičić. He reached the final once more and subsequently defeated Stefan Koubek 6–3, 6–4 in the final.

He bettered this feat when he made the semi-finals of the 2006 French Open, a run that ended with a loss to Rafael Nadal, who holds the record for the longest win-streak on clay. It was speculated that Ljubičić was able to make it this far because his highest ranked opponent was not even ranked in the top 70. After the match, Ljubičić made controversial comments about how Nadal took too much time in between points. He also stated that he hoped Roger Federer would defeat him in the final. Ljubičić then traveled to Queen's Club, defeating Răzvan Sabău 7–6 6–2 before losing to Gaël Monfils 7–6 7–5 in the round of 16. Many people have speculated why Ljubičić does not do well on grass in spite of his huge serve, but analysts have said that Ljubičić needs more time on groundstrokes that the grass surface does not give.

At the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, Ljubičić had a tough first round opponent in '05 quarterfinalist Feliciano López. He won 11-9 in the fifth. He then defeated Justin Gimelstob before losing in the third round to Dmitry Tursunov after being up two sets to none.

He then traveled to Gstaadmarker, Switzerland to play in the Allianz Suisse Open on red clay. Being the top seed, he defeated Spaniard Albert Portas in the first round and Marco Chiudinelli in the second round before losing to seed Feliciano López in straight sets. In the Canada Masters 2006, he reached the third round before losing out to Fernando González. He then went to the Bangkokmarker Open where he was the top seed, and reached the final round. He met America's James Blake but was defeated 6–3, 6–1 and moved to number 3 on the ATP ace list. He did not remain the number three due to David Nalbandian who pushed him away by advancing to the semi-finals in Madrid.

At the US Open, Ljubičić was drawn against Feliciano López of Spain in the First Round, as he had been at Wimbledon. However, Lopez exacted revenge for his almost five-hour long defeat at Wimbledon by annihilating the third seed 6–3 6–3 6–3.

2007

Ljubičić in his only 2007 Australian Open match, questioning a line call.
Ivan Ljubičić began his 2007 season in style with a victory at the 1 million dollar Qatar Qatar ExxonMobil Open. En route to his victory he defeated Andy Murray in the finals. In doing so he became the race leader in the 2007 Indesit ATP Race. In this tournament, Ljubičić played his first competitive match with a Head racquet after abandoning his previous racket sponsor, Babolat.

He played in the 2007 Australian Open and was seeded fourth, but was surprisingly defeated in the first round by Mardy Fish.

Ljubičić bounced back well to make the final of the Zagreb Indoor Open, against Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. Marcos Baghdatis waited till match point to claim his only break of serve against Ivan Ljubičić to win the thrilling final with a 7–6 (4), 4–6, 6–4 victory.

At the Open 13 tournament in Marseillemarker, Ljubičić, the #2 seed, was one of 4 seeds to lose in the first round, losing to qualifier but local favorite Nicolas Mahut, who won 6–4, 6–4.

At Rotterdammarker, he made it to the final, where, exhausted and tired, he suffered a 6–2, 6–4 defeat to Mikhail Youzhny.

At the Pacific Life Openmarker in Indian Wells, Californiamarker, Ljubičić lost to Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals 7–6 (7), 7–6 (8).

Prior to Wimbledon, Ivan Ljubičić hit form on the grass courts, a surface in which he had previously failed to reach the last 8 in before. Playing at S'Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, he defeated Dutch home crowd favourite, Peter Wessels in three tight sets. Ljubičić won the final set 7–6, securing his victory, regardless of the fact that he didn't break the Dutchman's serve in the match. As the #15 seed (ranked 12th), he opened his 2007 Wimbledon campaign against American Vince Spadea, followed by a win over Jan Hernych, but fell in four sets to Paul-Henri Mathieu. He and Ernests Gulbis lost in the men's doubles competition in the first round.

In September just one day before start of Davis Cup tie against Great Britain, Ivan discovered blood in his urine. After tests, it was announced that he has 2 small stones in the kidney. He was then advised to take a break for the next couple of weeks.

Ivan then had an average fall season, reaching the semifinals of the China Open, losing to Fernando González, the quarters in Viennamarker, and the quarters in Lyonmarker. However, he failed to win a match in the two Masters Series tournaments, losing to Stefan Koubek in Madridmarker and Marcos Baghdatis in Paris.

2008

Ivan Ljubičić's first tournament of 2008 was in Dohamarker, where he reached the semifinals, losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinals. However, Ivan suffered a shocking first round defeat at the 2008 Australian Open, losing to Dutchman Robin Haase in four sets.

He was then granted a wildcard to a challenger in East London, South Africamarker, where he defeated Stefan Koubek in straight sets. It was Ljubičić's first challenger in over two years.

His next significant result was in Zagrebmarker, where, as the home crowd favorite, he reached the final only to suffer a shocking upset by Ukrainian lucky loser Sergiy Stakhovsky 7–5 6–4.

At the 2008 French Open, Ljubičić produced the biggest upset of the tournament (at that time) by coming back from a two sets deficit to defeat World No. 4, and 2007 French Open semifinalist Nikolay Davydenko on the score of 4–6, 2–6, 6–3, 6–2, 6–4. He had previously lost to Davydenko on clay at Hamburg in 2008, losing 6-4 6-1.

At the 2008 Wimbledon, Ivan played 3-hour thriller against Austrian Jürgen Melzer and lost 6-4, 7-6 (7), 4-6, 2-6, 6-3. It was a disappointment for Ljubičić who told newspapers before the match that he still has a lot to give.

2009

Ljubicic started the season as world number 58. His first tournament was Australian Open where he beat Igor Kunitsyn in the first round 4-6 7-6(3) 7-6(7) 5-7 6-3 before losing in the second round to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4) 6-7(8) 6-7(7) 2-6.

He then participated at Zagreb where he defeated Christophe Rochus in the first round 6-4 6-1, before losing to Viktor Troicki 4-6 7-5 4-6 in the second.

He then lost in the opening match in 3 tournaments: in Rotterdam to Andy Murray 3-6 2-6, in Marseille to Feliciano Lopez 6-3 4-6 5-7, and in Dubai to David Ferrer 6-3 2-6 1-6. His ranking fell to number 74.

Ljubicic's next tournament was the 2009 BNP Paribas Open. He defeated Kei Nishikori in the first round, and fellow Croatian Mario Ancic in the second when Ancic retired with illness at 3-3. He then upset 8th seeded Gilles Simon 6-3, 7-6(3) in the third, and outlasted Igor Andreev 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in the fourth to reach the quarterfinals, where he was at last beaten by 4th seeded Andy Murray 5-7, 6-7(6). Ljubicic received a wild card into the Monte Carlo Masters and in the 2nd round defeated Juan Martín del Potro 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. He proceeded to the quarterfinals where he was defeated by 4-time defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3. Because of his strong play at Monte Carlo, Ljubicic again received a wild card into the 2009 Madrid Masters. He again defeated a top ten player in the 2nd round, beating #9 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 7-5. He then defeated #8 seed Gilles Simon 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach his 3rd QF at a Masters 1000 event. He was defeated by Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. His performances during the clay court season have helped his ranking improve to 43, his highest since August 2008.

Ljubicic's good clay court form did not carry into the 2009 French Open as he suffered a disappointing defeat to Juan Carlos Ferrero 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the first round. Ljubicic did not compete at Wimbledon due to an injury.

Ljubicic returned to form in China. At the China Open he reached the quarterfinals, losing to Robin Söderling. At the inaugural Shanghai Masters event, Ljubicic reached the quarterfinals for the fourth time at a Masters 1000 event. He defeated Julien Benneteau in the first round 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. He defeated World No.9 Fernando Verdasco in straight sets 6-4, 7-6(6) in the second round. Ljubicic was cruising over Gaël Monfils 6-2, 3-0 before the Frenchman retired. Ljubicic then retired from his quarterfinal match against Rafael Nadal after splitting the first two sets 6-3, 3-6. Ljubicic was the eighth player to retire during the event. Ljubicic then won his first title since June 2007, at the 2009 Grand Prix de Tennis de Lyon event in Lyon. Seeded third, Ljubicic did not defeat a single seeded player, benefitting from several seeded players losing early. After defeating Martín Vassallo Argüello and Nicolas Kiefer, Ljubicic defeated three Frenchmen in a row to take the title. He defeated Florent Serra, and wild cards Arnaud Clément in the semifinal and Michaël Llodra in the final.

Major finals

ATP Masters Series finals

Singles: 3 (0-3)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2005 Madrid Hard (i) Rafael Nadal 3–6, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4, 7–6(3)
Runner-up 2005 Paris Hard (i) Tomáš Berdych 6–3, 6–4, 3–6, 4–6, 6–4
Runner-up 2006 Miamimarker Hard Roger Federer 7–6(5), 7–6(4), 7–6(6)


Career finals

Singles: 21 (9-12)

Wins (9)
Legend
Grand Slam (0)
Tennis Masters Cup /
ATP World Tour Finals (0)
ATP Masters Series /
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (0)
ATP International Series Gold /
ATP World Tour 500 Series (2)
ATP International Series /
ATP World Tour 250 Series (7)
Titles by Surface
Hard (6)
Clay (0)
Grass (1)
Carpet (2)


No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
1. October 8, 2001 Lyon, Francemarker Carpet (i) Younes El Aynaoui 6–3, 6–2
2. October 9, 2005 Metz, France Hard (i) Gaël Monfils 7–6(7), 6–0
3. October 16, 2005 Vienna, Austriamarker Hard (i) Juan Carlos Ferrero 6–2, 6–4, 7–6(5)
4. January 8, 2006 Chennai, Indiamarker Hard Carlos Moyà 7–6(6), 6–2
5. February 5, 2006 Zagreb, Croatiamarker Carpet (i) Stefan Koubek 6–3, 6–4
6. October 15, 2006 Vienna, Austria Hard (i) Fernando González 6–3, 6–4, 7–5
7. January 6, 2007 Doha, Qatarmarker Hard Andy Murray 6–4, 6–4
8. June 17, 2007 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlandsmarker Grass Peter Wessels 7–6(5), 4–6, 7–6(4)
9. November 1, 2009 Lyon, France Hard (i) Michaël Llodra 7–5, 6–3


Runner-ups (12)
No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
1. 12 January, 2004 Doha, Qatarmarker Hard Nicolas Escudé 6–3, 7–6(4)
2. 10 January, 2005 Doha, Qatar Hard Roger Federer 6–3, 7–6(4)
3. 14 February, 2005 Marseille, Francemarker Hard (i) Joachim Johansson 7–5, 6–4
4. 21 February, 2005 Rotterdam, Netherlandsmarker Hard (i) Roger Federer 5–7, 7–5, 7–6(5)
5. 28 February, 2005 Dubaimarker, UAEmarker Hard Roger Federer 6–1, 6–7(6), 6–3
6. 24 October, 2005 Madrid, Spainmarker Hard (i) Rafael Nadal 3–6, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4, 7–6(3)
7. 7 November, 2005 Paris, France Carpet (i) Tomáš Berdych 6–3, 6–4, 3–6, 4–6, 6–4
8. 3 April, 2006 Miamimarker, USAmarker Hard Roger Federer 7–6(5), 7–6(4), 7–6(6)
9. 2 October, 2006 Bangkok, Thailandmarker Hard (i) James Blake 6–3, 6–1
10. 5 February, 2007 Zagreb, Croatiamarker Carpet (i) Marcos Baghdatis 7–6(4), 4–6, 6–4
11. 26 February, 2007 Rotterdam, Netherlands Hard (i) Mikhail Youzhny 6–2, 6–4
12. 1 March, 2008 Zagreb, Croatia Hard (i) Sergiy Stakhovsky 7–5, 6–4


Doubles: 4 (0-4)

Runner-ups (4)






Singles performance timeline

To prevent confusion and double counting, information in this table is updated only after a tournament or the player's participation in the tournament has concluded. Davis Cup matches are included in the statistics. This table is current through the 2009 Indian Wells Masters, in which he was eliminated on 19 March, 2009.

Tournament 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Career SR Career Win-Loss
Australian Openmarker A LQ LQ A 1R 1R 3R 1R 2R 2R QF 1R 1R 2R 0 / 10 9–10
French Openmarker A A A LQ 1R 1R 1R 3R 2R 1R SF 3R 4R 1R 0 / 10 13–10
Wimbledonmarker A A A A 1R 1R 2R 2R 1R 1R 3R 3R 1R A 0 / 9 6–9
U.S.marker Openmarker A LQ A 2R 1R 2R 2R 2R 1R 3R 1R 3R A 1R 0 / 10 8–10
Grand Slam SR 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 39 N/A
Grand Slam Win-Loss 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-1 0-4 1-4 4-4 4-4 2-4 3-4 11-4 6-4 3-3 1-3 N/A 36-39
Indian Wells Mastersmarker A A A A A LQ 1R A 1R 4R QF QF 4R QF 0 / 7 14–7
Miami Mastersmarker A A A A 1R QF 2R 2R 3R 4R F SF 2R 1R 0 / 10 17–10
Monte Carlo Mastersmarker A A LQ 3R LQ 1R 1R 3R 3R 1R QF 3R 2R QF 0 / 10 13–10
Rome Mastersmarker A A A A A 1R 3R QF 2R 3R 1R 2R 1R A 0 / 8 8–8
Madrid Masters A A A A LQ A 3R 1R SF F 2R 2R LQ QF 0 / 7 13–7
Canada Masters A A A A A 2R 1R 1R 2R 1R 3R 1R A A 0 / 7 4–7
Cincinnati Masters A A A 2R A QF 2R 2R 2R 1R QF 2R A 2R 0 / 9 12–9
Shanghai Masters Not Masters Series QF 0 / 1 3–1
Paris Masters A A A LQ A 2R 2R A 2R F A 2R 2R 2R 0 / 7 9–7
Hamburg Mastersmarker A A A A LQ LQ 1R 1R SF 2R 2R 3R 2R NMS 0 / 7 8–7
Tennis Masters Cup A A A A A A A A A RR RR A A A 0 / 2 2–4
ATP Finals Reached 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 2 2 1 0 N/A 13
ATP Tournaments Won 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 3 2 0 1 N/A 9
Overall Win-Loss 1-1 1-4 0-1 11-12 21-22 27-21 27-27 27-23 35-23 51-24 58-19 44-23 19-18 26-21 N/A 369-250
Year End Ranking 576 289 293 77 91 37 49 42 22 9 5 18 45 N/A N/A
  • A = did not participate in the tournament
  • LQ = lost in qualifying draw
  • SR = the ratio of the number of singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played


References

  1. Baby Boom: Tennis Players Become Parents Tennis.com, December 30, 2008


External links




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