Ivo Karlovic (Zagreb, Croatia, 41 years old) is one of the oldest and tallest players (2.11) on the ATP circuit. Winner of eight individual titles and number 14 in the world ranking (now 147th) in August 2008, this gunner who holds the record for direct aces in the Open Era with 13,653 (23.39%) He spoke about the difficulties that he and his family went through during the years of the Balkan War or Bosnian War (1992-1995), when I was a teenager. He did it on a blog for tennis players (Behind The Racquet).
“I grew up in Yugoslavia during the war. Some players made it out of the country, but we didn't have a lot of money. There were months when we couldn't eat much or go out on the streets. because there were airplanes over our city and we had to seek refuge underground, “says Karlovic, who remembers his beginnings in sports, when he also entered other specialties:” Trained on any free track that he saw. I also played basketball until I was 13 years old. I was tall and moved well, so the coaches made me play against 18-year-olds, but I didn't like that. Maybe he could have gone to the NBA. “
Ivo admits that at first it was not very clear that his was tennis: “At 6 I picked up a racket, but I didn't like it. Later I fell in love with the sport.” For him, becoming on the circuit was not as easy as that of other tennis players: “From the age of 21, I spent three in the 300th place in the world. I was discouraged because I saw my teammates reach higher positions. I did not have a coach , so I was traveling alone. I thought about quitting before I went on tour. When you are young, you are happy and you hope to be number one in the world. Then you get older and you realize that the road is hard and requires luck. “Karlovic still does not think about retirement because he can still” lift weights and sprint like he did ten years ago. ” “But I've started to question things because people say I'm getting old. During the pandemic, it was difficult for me to compete without spectators, “this good-natured giant father of two says with a certain melancholy:” I wanted to have them during my career because I wanted to be seen at Grand Slams. My daughter is nine and my son is three. Over the past eight months, they have gotten used to having me at home. Now it is difficult to travel to the tournaments because I have to leave them ”.