Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2001

Little-known facts about Wimbledon champ

July 15, 2001

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I know you haven't had enough of Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic, so here's 10 more things you need to know about him:

1. He's so superstitious that he asked his mother and girlfriend not to come to Wimbledon.

"Women bring me bad luck," he explained.

2. His shoulder injury is a rotator cuff, not unlike the injury suffered by Wimbledon runner-up Patrick Rafter. He'll have it operated on after the season and will be out probably six months, which could put him out of the Ericsson Open in March.

3. He pulled off his shirt twice after big wins at Wimbledon. But at his 150,000-strong celebration when he got to Croatia, he took off his pants, too, and threw them into the crowd.

4. Do not invite Goran and John McEnroe to the same party. Ivanisevic, who once counted McEnroe as an idol, now hates him after Mac ridiculously called Ivanisevic a one-shot player during TV commentary. Ask Rafter and Tim Henman if Ivanisevic has more than just a serve.

5. At a tournament in Brighton, England, in 2000 he broke four rackets during the course of a match, though not all at the same time. When he reached into his bag to get a fifth to continue play, there weren't any more. He had to default.

6. At his victory celebration, he donned a New York Jets No. 5 jersey in tribute to countryman Drazen Petrovic, the former NBA player who died in an auto accident in 1993. Also in the welcoming crowd was Tony Kukoc of the Chicago Bulls.

7. Even though Goran is only No. 10 in the 2001 Champions Race he is almost certainly guaranteed a spot in the top-eight Masters Cup at the end of the year (total prize money $3.7 million). The top seven qualify and the eighth is reserved for a Grand Slam winner who is in the top 20, if there is one.

8. Never again will I question Ted Schroeder's judgment. The day before Wimbledon began, the 1949 Wimbledon winner (he defeated Jaroslav Drobny) declared that Ivanisevic would win the tournament. I laughed at him.

9. Goran has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to a charity he began in Split, which pays for operations needed by children, many of whom were injured or left homeless by the war.

10. On his right clavicle is a tattoo of a cross with a rose and a shark a strange combination.

"The rose means love. The shark is a mean, mean animal," he explained.

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