By Craig Gabriel in Roquebrune Cap Martin
Ivan Ljubicic, the former top 10 player who lead Croatia to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas in 2005, was seen leaving the Monte Carlo Country Club while the quarterfinal tie between USA and France was happening.
Ljubicic, who lives in the Principality of Monaco, announced that he is retiring from tennis and that this month’s Monte Carlo Open will be his last event.
Ivan waved when he was called out to. “I’m getting myself ready,” he laughed.
He then crossed the road put on a motorcycle helmet, hopped on his motorbike and joined the traffic with a huge smile and wave. He also had his rackets slung across his back.
Ljuby as he’s known to his friends, has quite the Davis Cup record for Croatia. He posted the most singles wins with a 23-13 record. He’s tied for most doubles wins with Goran Ivanisevic at 13. He’s played the most ties at 22. He’s played the most years at 11.
He was also a member of the 2005 winning Croatian Davis Cup team along with Mario Ancic, Ivo Karlovic and Ivanisevic, although Ivanisevic and Karlovic did not play.
Here’s wishing Ljuby a successful final win and lifetime of rides into the wind.
Football for the wee ones
By Emily Bevan in Marina d’Or
The Davis Cup quarterfinal is not the only sporting event occurring in Marina d’Or this weekend. As well as the tie between Spain and Austria, the seaside resort is also playing host to the Marina d’Or Cup, a football tournament for children aged between six and 18 years old.
This is the seventh running of the international competition which last year saw almost 3000 competitors and 180 teams playing over the Easter weekend. Players are encouraged to bring their families and make a real weekend of it with parents and siblings expected to join in with vocal support from the sidelines.
The competition is a joint initiative from Marina d’Or and Valencia-based tournament organisers Torneo Sport and children can be seen around the town proudly sporting their team tracksuits. A parade officially opened the weekend’s festivities on Thursday evening when all the players walked through the town in their kit waving flags. Players come from as far afield as Argentina and the tournament has a division for girls too.
By Clive White
Father’s Day may still be two months away in the Czech Republic, but it was Father’s Day as far as the Serbian team was concerned out on the court at the O2 Arena in Prague on Saturday. Nenad Zimonjic is an old-hand at fatherhood compared to his doubles partner, Ilija Bozoljac, whose wife, Andriana, gave birth to a girl – Lola – just over a week ago.
Victory would have been a perfect way to celebrate this momentous occasion but, unfortunately, for the Serbs they came across a Czech pair in Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek whose partnership was just too well established for them.
It surely won’t be long before Lola is joining the Bozoljacs on Tour, just like the Federers, the Hewitts, the Bryans – that’s Bob Bryan – the Mirnyis, the Nestors...the list goes on-and-on. In fact, the players’ lounge is beginning to look more like a crèche these days than a rest area for players.
Zimonjic is a past master at “doubles” play in more ways than one since his wife, Mina, gave birth to identical twins – Luna and Leon - about three-and-a-half years ago – about a year before Mrs. Roger Federer -- a.k.a. Mirka -- more famously, replicated the achievement with the birth of twin daughters, Charlene and Myla.
Apparently, Bozoljac and his wife decided on the name Lola because Ilija wanted a name that people could both pronounce and write; he was a bit tired of his own name being written as “Ilja” or “Ilia” or even “Lila”.
It’s a pity Bozoljac can’t do anything about his surname. Just joking, Ilija!