Ivanisevic Having Twice the Fun or Is It Thrice?


Andy Roddick knew he was in trouble. Not only would he have to play Goran Ivanisevic, a three-time Wimbledon finalist, in Friday’s third round on Court 1, Roddick would have to play both of them. Good Goran and Bad Goran, also sometimes known as Crazy and Crazier. Roddick did not know, however, that he also would have to play a third Goran who never had revealed himself publicly.

It has been well known for some time that Ivanisevic, the man from Split, Croatia, has a split personality. It’s well known because he--they?--tells everyone. But they are not often together at the same tournament because, as Ivanisevic says, they have been estranged.

But Ivanisevic served notice the other day that he is a new man--men?--at age 29. The tabloids love it. Julia and Benjamin break up, but Goran is a couple.


Asked about their state of minds after their second-round victory over Carlos Moya, Ivanisevic said, speaking rapidly in English, “Actually, they both good. They both thinking the same way. They both in London. That’s very important, you know, because when one is in London and the other one is, I don’t know, somewhere else, it’s not good. But they both here. They both in London, they both in Wimbledon. It’s perfect.”

Asked how they had been talked into cohabiting, he said, “You know, after so much time, you know, struggling, I decided just to start they can travel together, you know. So they traveling together now. They being good friends. You know, is very important. When they good friends, then happens like today, I play good tennis.”

Ivanisevic needs all the help he can get. A player who twice has finished a season ranked No. 4 in the world and took Pete Sampras to five sets in the final here in 1998 before losing, Ivanisevic has suffered the last two years from a shoulder injury. He probably wouldn’t have been at Wimbledon this year if the All England Club hadn’t awarded him a wild card.

Ranked 128th when he arrived here, he is contemplating retirement.

“After here, I will sit with myself and have a little talk with myself,” he said. “You know, it’s going to be a long, interesting talk. I don’t know. Hope I going to find a decision, me and whatever and me.”

If his shoulder weren’t hurting badly enough after two victories here--his doctor told him to pray, his priest told him to have surgery--Ivanisevic had to meet Roddick, a young Nebraskan on the make, in the third round.

Roddick, 18, doesn’t exactly remind Ivanisevic of himself when he was that age.

“Nobody’s like me when I was young,” he said. “Only I can make my son, and maybe he’s going to be like me. That’s tough to beat me. You know, I was a special, special case.”


But there are similarities. In their debuts here, neither was intimidated by anything, not even the austere All England Club; neither was afraid to show his emotions on the court; and both had blazing serves.

“He’s going to be the future of the tennis,” Ivanisevic said before the match. “He’s young and up coming. I’m older and going, you know. But I should go on court Friday and serve my 20, 30 aces, maybe still show him that I’m a better player on grass than him.”

Perhaps in contemplating Roddick’s youth, Ivanisevic rediscovered his own.

In the first set, he connected on a phenomenal 80% of his first serves. In the second set, he connected on 77%. He lost only one point on serve in that set. By match’s end, he had served 41 aces.

It’s not that Roddick couldn’t hold his own. His first-serve percentage in the opening set was 63% and 62% in the second. But, going to the third set, he was down, 7-6 (5) and 7-5.

“When you don’t even feel like you have a chance in return games, you’re pretty helpless,” Roddick said. “It’s not fun. I mean, that was just a lesson on how to serve and how to play on grass. He made my serve look like a schmuck serve.”

But Roddick had nowhere else to go, so he hung in there and finally broke Ivanisevic in the sixth game of third set, which the American won, 6-3. So there was going to be a match, after all, and it would be interesting to see if one or the other Gorans would stick around for the rest of it.


They did and, no doubt, were glad because they won, 7-6 (5), 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.

With an assist from a mystery personality making its Wimbledon debut, they stayed calm and collected, which has not always been the case in Ivanisevic’s matches.

“I was perfect, you know,” he said. “No complaining, no throwing rackets. Even some calls, they were close . . . I went one step and then I came back. The other Goran jumped in and said, ‘Go back.’ I went back.”

Roddick needed another Andy in the fourth game of the fourth set, when he yelled at the umpire for giving him a delay-of-game warning. But, if anything, that pumped up Roddick, who served a love game.

But two serves later, down 4-3, Roddick lost serve, double faulting on game point, and, suddenly, Ivanisevic was serving for the match.

He lost the first point, then surged to 40-15. But he lost two match points, double-faulting on the first and inexplicably failing to rush the net on the second to allow Roddick an easy winner.

“Like always, you know, I have to make my life little bit tougher and, you know, suffer,” Ivanisevic said. “I wouldn’t be Goran Ivanisevic. I can’t finish something nicely, two, three aces, thank you.”


Asked what the two Gorans were saying, he said, “It was then, they both were nervous. I said, ‘Gee, guys.’ One has to be under control, but they both, they were going. Little bit. One was rushing, the other one was rushing even more. Then the third one came and said, ‘Guys, relax. It’s a lovely court. Just calm down.”

A third Goran?

“Third one had to come, I had to call him,” he said. “He’s the emergency one. Emergency, 911 call, and he came on deuce. Calm down, two aces, thank you.”

Match over. Time to celebrate. Table for three.


Randy Harvey can be reached at