• Saying goodbye in 2012 part 4: Ivan Ljubicic

    12/11/12 6:17 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Saying goodbye in 2012 part 4: Ivan Ljubicic The 2012 season saw the end of the road for several prominent ATP players. Tennistalk bids its fourth farewell to former world No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic, who won the biggest title of his career at 31 years old.

    Ljubicic never exactly overachieved at Grand Slams, but consistent performances allowed him to reach a career-high ranking of No. 3 in the world in August of 2006. From November of 2005 to June of 2007, Ljubicic was in the Top 10 every single week. After falling out of the Top 70 in the 2009, Ljubicic made appearances as high as 14th in both 2010 and 2011. He finally called it quits due in part to injuries and in part to focus on family.

    A look back at Ljubicic's career:

    Career-high ranking: 3
    ATP titles: 10
    Davis Cup titles: 1
    Grand Slam semifinals: 1

    Biggest win: 2010 Indian Wells final (d. Andy Roddick 7-6(3), 7-6(5))

    Ljubicic scored a number of memorable wins over Americans during his career, including one that brought him his first and only Masters 1000 title. Faced with the tough task of coming back one day after a monumental upset of Rafael Nadal (in a third-set tiebreaker), the 31-year-old displayed his mental strength once again. Ljubicic and Roddick combined to save all nine of the break points they faced and Ljubicic emerged victorious in both tiebreakers.

    Ljubicic's entire 2005 Davis Cup run also warrants a mention. He fell just a single win short of achieving the maximum number of match victories in a single Davis Cup year, and every one of his rubbers was live. He went 2-0 in singles and 1-0 in doubles in the first three ties (including on the road against the United States), then won another singles match and doubles match in the final against the Czech Republic. Ljubicic, 11-0 overall for the Davis Cup season, finally lost to Dominik Hrbaty--but Mario Ancic clinched the title in the decisive fifth rubber.

    Most heartbreaking loss: 2006 Australian Open quarterfinals (l. to Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3)

    Ljubicic's best opportunity to reach a slam final came Down Under in 2006, with Federer on the other side of the draw and second-seeded Roddick out of the tournament. Ranked eighth in the world at the time, Ljubicic battled an unseeded and unheralded Baghdatis in the quarters. Ljubicic had all the momentum after winning the third and fourth sets, but Baghdatis--the eventual runner-up--survived in five.

    When it pertains to Ljubicic's toughest losses, a close second came in the second round of the 2003 U.S. Open. A win over fourth-ranked Roddick would have completely opened up Ljubicic's draw, but the crowd favorite held off the Croat 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(8). Complete with plenty of bad blood and post-match controversy, it ended well after midnight and ultimately propelled Roddick to the title.

    Last match: Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters first round (l. to Ivan Dodig 6-0, 6-3)

    With injuries catching up to him at 32 years old and a family that included two daughters at home, Ljubicic was not about to toil through another full campaign in 2012. Having not played since February after winning a mere three matches throughout the season, Ljubicic made an appearance at home in Monte-Carlo that was little more than ceremonious. He never had a great chance to advance regardless of his draw, and it showed. Ljubicic at least avoided the dreaded double-bagel before losing to Dodig, his countryman, in one hour and 12 minutes.

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Oh dear. Another stalwart taking his leave. I remember him best for his dogged persistence and his philosphical, good natured acceptance when defeated.

ed251137 , 12/11/12 9:37 AM

Good luck Ljuby, hope you spend your down-time more productively.............and let go of your ridiculous notion that Rafa holds a grudge against you. You're not that important, seriously. Rafa has more important things to do and think about.............sorry, doesn't include you: continues-to-hinder-me-Maybe-its-jealousy-of-my-relationship-with-Roge r-Federer-articolo4935.html ews/Ivan-Ljubicic-Roger-Federer-and-Rafael-Nadal-would-never-have-dinn er-together-not-as-friends-418362.htm n_FR/news/articles/2012-05-27/201205271338115174793.html

He sure sounds like an queen holding a torch for TMF...............

rafaisthebest , 12/11/12 10:40 AM

...............ehm, sorry Ljuby, forgot to mention what might be more of a preoccupation for Rafa: winning Slams............surprise!

rafaisthebest , 12/11/12 10:45 AM

i remember him for his ability to play smart and to win tight matches.

davis cup was surely his biggest win.

croc , 12/11/12 10:53 AM

Goodbye Ljubcic, it was always fun watching you play. I think your early life struggles helped you put a perspective on your tough losses.

ts38 , 12/13/12 11:30 AM

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