| Goran Ivanisevic prays for one last Wimbledon fling
London: Wincing in pain, lacking match practice and deprived of his most potent weapon, Goran Ivanisevic is praying hard for one final fling at Wimbledon.
But the 2001 champion — without an ATP win since March 2002 — says he will only show up if he can do himself justice.
“I don’t want to go there and crawl like a pig on Centre Court,” Ivanisevic said on Monday after losing 2-6, 2-6 to Czech Jan Vacek at the Stella Artois Championships.
“If I can not serve, then there is not much for me to do on the grass... perhaps I can cut it or help draw the lines,” he grinned.
“Or even serve some strawberries.”
Rubbing the sore left elbow, which had hampered his usually-lethal serve, Ivanisevic said he would have ultra-sound scans to try and work out what the problem was.
“I don’t know what is wrong, nobody knows. I mean I have not played for 11 weeks, everything should be okay.”
That 11-week break was caused when the calamitous Croatian stepped on a sea-shell while walking on a Miami beach and the wound became infected.
“I don’t know, you never know with me what will happen,” he said, rolling his eyes.
“There is always something I might step on. Not shells here, but something.
“Still hopefully I will be okay. I mean it is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. I am here and I want to see Wimbledon. If I can’t play, maybe I will walk home.”
“When I came in 2001 as a wildcard and won the tournament I said to God, ‘just let me win this and I don’t care if I play tennis again’.
“Probably he heard me and he is thinking ‘what are you doing here... go home’.
“So now we are negotiating. It is not so easy to negotiate with the guy upstairs, he is non-negotiable.”
A simpler task for Ivanisevic will be to squeeze a wildcard out of the Wimbledon committee.
With a world ranking of 681 the Croatian will need one to get into the tournament.
As he missed his defence last year through injury, it seems likely organisers will give him one later this week.
Whether he can take them up on the offer remains to be seen.