Athlete Profile: Goran Ivanišević
One of my favorite players of all time is Hall of Famer Goran Ivanisevic. Hailing from Split, Croatia, Goran is most remembered for winning Wimbledon in 2001 as a wild card. This came at the tail end of his career after three heartbreaking finals in the 90s against both Sampras and Agassi. He stormed through the draw and exorcised all sorts of demons by capturing that title. This title also insured that his legacy as a Hall of Famer would be secure.
That being said, his list of accomplishments don’t begin and end with that 2001 Wimbledon title. Goran was a consistent top 10 player throughout the 90s, winning big time tournaments, and routinely going deep in the draws of Grand Slam tournaments. Let’s take a look at some of his stats and facts:
- Six top ten finishes
- Davis Cup champion
- Four Wimbledon finals, 92’, 94’, 98’ and one Championship (2001)
- 22 Career titles
- Two bronze medals in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics (both doubles and singles)
- Winning records against former number one’s Kafelnikov (10-5), Edberg (10-9), and McEnroe (4-2)
That’s quite a career. However, that is not all. Goran’s also been highly successful at coaching top players. He’s currently coaching Novak Djokovic. He also coached Marin Cilic to his only Grand Slam title, the 2014 US Open title.
Now that we’ve outlined much of his accomplishments, let’s go back and fully revisit one of the most exciting Wimbledon’s of all time – the 2001 Wimbledon Championships. Coming in ranked 125 in the world, and after a couple of years of lackluster results and injury, Ivanisevic was merely looking for a decent showing. Not even he expected to make it deep into the tournament, let alone win.
However, things started shaping up his way during the first week. It helped that his longtime nemesis at Wimbledon, and number one seed, Pete Sampras, lost in the round of 16 to a young Roger Federer. Ivanisevic cruised into the second week, building confidence and finding his game along the way. Once in the second week, he would first knock out number four seed Marat Safin in the quarters. In the semis, he would face British hopeful and number six seed Tim Henman in a classic. Their semifinal match would be played over two days and consist of five intense sets that included two tie breaks. Finally, in the final, he would meet Pat Rafter, the number three seed. This would be Rafter’s second straight final, and was the heavy favorite. Goran Ivanisevic would not be denied though, as he would come through in five long sets.
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