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Ivan Ljubicic: "I don't feel like a veteran"

Text by Emmanuel VERSACE

Latest update : 2010-05-28

After a gruelling five-set match that stretched over two days, 30-year-old Ivan Ljubicic is none the younger. But he tells why he does not feel like the French Open's "veteran". Two days, 4 hours, 37 minutes for 5 sets (6-2, 6-7, 4-6, 6-2, 10-8). Was that one of the longest games you ever played?

Ivan Ljubicic: I have played almost 600 games in my career. I don’t remember which one was the longest! This one definitely ranks among them. But when you play over two days, you don't feel it that much. Today it felt like a three-set match. Before I walked onto the court, I told myself: “this is the best of two sets.” It is a different approach to when you play for the best of five or the best of three. Altogether, it took a long time especially because we warmed up four times yesterday! Did the match stretch over five sets because Mardy Fish and you have a similar game?

I.L.: Mardy plays very well. He knows how to play against me. He is a very complete player. He knows how to play aggressively, he’s got a good defence, volley, serve... I was very worried before the match because I had been out of competition for four weeks. I lacked practice and he was playing very well. Still, I made it through and I am very happy now. You made a very funkie move when you secured three match points. What was that all about?

I.L: I don’t know where it came from! For a moment I felt like I was dancing. That was a fantastic shot and a great moment to get three match points. The relief was immense. And I was also starting to get cramps so I felt I had to share it with everybody. A word on your next opponent, Thomaz Bellucci?

I.L: He's a very solid player and a very hard worker. This year he's enjoyed a very good season on clay. He‘s picked up one title already [in Santiago]. And he's also just been through a five-set match very similar to mine, so I guess we're in a similar shape at the moment. It's a great opportunity for both of us to reach the 4th round. We'll see tomorrow who makes it. How does it feel to be the tournament veteran?

I don’t feel like a veteran. Especially after having had one month off. I feel very fresh. But I do have a lot of experience. I know how how to handle the pressure and how to deal with important moments. How important was your victory at Indian Wells to get you into a positive frame of mind?

That gave me a lot of confidence of course. It took the pressure off my shoulders. I feel like I’m enjoying every match. It feels like I’m on vacation. I know I’ll finish in the top 20. The question is at what number.

Date created : 2010-05-28


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