Goran Ivanisevic Biography

(Former Croatian Tennis Player, Coach and the Only Player to Have Won a Wimbledon Singles Title as a Wildcard)

Birthday: September 13, 1971 (Virgo)

Born In: Split, Croatia

Goran Ivanisevic is a Croatian former professional tennis player who is best known for being the only person to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon as a wildcard, a feat he achieved in 2001. Even though he was never able to reach the World No. 1 ranking, he was consistently rated amongst the best players of his generation during his playing career. His highest singles ranking was World No. 2 (behind Pete Sampras) in 1994. Interested in sports from a young age, he underwent rigorous coaching in tennis as a young boy which ultimately led to a successful professional career. His middle-class family made a lot of sacrifices to ensure that he received all the opportunities to make it big as a professional tennis player and he did not disappoint his parents. He started his career at the age of 17, playing doubles tournaments with Rudiger Hass and eventually focused more on the singles tennis. He qualified for his first Grand Slam tournament at the 1989 Australian Open while still a teenager and managed to win four matches before he was knocked out by Miloslav Mecir. He played tennis for 16 years before his retirement following which he became a coach.
Quick Facts

Age: 52 Years, 52 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Tatjana Dragovic (m. 2009–2013)

siblings: Srdjana Ivanišević

children: Amber Maria Ivanišević, Emanuel Ivanišević

Coaches Tennis Players

Height: 1.93 m

More Facts

awards: 2002 - Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year
2001 - BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year

Childhood & Early Life
Goran Ivanisevic was born on 13 September 1971, in Split, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia, to Srđan and Gorana. His father was an engineering professor at the local university while his mother was a chemical engineer. He has one elder sister, Srđana.
He became interested in sports at a young age. He played basketball and soccer as a school student before developing an interest in tennis. He won the city's scholastic championship in cross-country, even without training.
His father, a tennis player himself, recognized Goran’s potential and enrolled him in tennis school. With professional training the young boy blossomed into a very skillful player and beat his father in tennis as a 12 year old.
With time his training expenses increased manifold but his parents were determined to give him the best coaching possible. They even sold off their belongings to ensure that Goran could attend a full-time tennis school in Zagreb.
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Goran Ivanisevic officially became a professional tennis player in 1988 at the age of 17. He began his career playing doubles tournaments with Rudiger Hass and the pair won a tournament during Ivanisevic’s rookie season in professional tennis.
Eventually he began to focus more on playing singles tennis. Within a year of turning professional, he qualified for his first Grand Slam tournament at the 1989 Australian Open. He won four matches in the initial stages before being knocked out by Miloslav Mecir in the quarterfinals.
He performed well over the next couple of years though it was only in 1992 that he managed to reach his first Wimbledon singles final after defeating Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl. He faced Andre Agassi in the finals and lost to him after a very exciting match.
The year 1994 was probably the best one in the tennis star’s career. He reached the Wimbledon final for the second time and was defeated by defending-champion Pete Sampras. His good performance in the tournament helped him reach his career-high singles ranking of World No. 2.
He won the Grand Slam Cup, beating Todd Martin in the final in 1995. At the Wimbledon the same year, he lost in the semi-finals to Sampras. The next year saw him winning a career-best five singles titles in a calendar year. He also teamed with Iva Majoli to win the 1996 Hopman Cup for Croatia.
He played against the "king of clay", Thomas Muster, in a Davis Cup singles match on clay in 1997 and defeated Muster despite Muster having won 112 of his previous 117 matches on clay prior to this match. The same year, he was once again elevated to World No. 2.
He reached his third Wimbledon final, facing Sampras once again, in 1998. History repeated itself when he eventually lost to Sampras in five sets. The next three years of his career were marred by injuries that greatly affected his performance and his world ranking slid to No. 125.
In 2001 he was awarded a wildcard for entry into the singles draw at the Wimbledon given his past record as a three-time runner-up. He beat Carlos Moyá, Andy Roddick and Marat Safin as well as Fredrik Jonsson and Greg Rusedski to reach the semi-final.
At the semifinal he faced Tim Henman who was the favorite to win the match. Goran Ivanisevic played spectacularly to beat Henman and reached the finals where he played against former US Open champion Patrick Rafter. Ivanisevic defeated Rafter in a surprise victory becoming the only male entrant to have won a Grand Slam as a wildcard.
He retired temporarily in 2002 due to his persistent shoulder injuries. He returned to play tennis but was unable to revive his previous form and retired in 2004, following which he became a coach.
Following his retirement he also became more active in real-estate investments and in conducting business. During the late 2000s he faced considerable financial problems due to the failure of a massive business venture and his company filed for bankruptcy in 2013.
Awards & Achievements
He received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Overseas Personality Award in 2001. The same year he also won the Laureus World Sports Award for Comeback of the Year and was named ATP Most Improved Player.
Personal Life & Legacy
Goran Ivanisevic married former model Tatjana Drogovic in 2009 after dating for several years. The couple had two children before splitting up in 2013.
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