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Ivanisevic: 'Murray can win Wimbledon'

Lee Wellings meets tennis legend Goran Ivanisevic who gives Al Jazeera his predictions for the All England crown.

Last Modified: 23 Jun 2013 16:07
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"It’s a different tournament to when I won"

Goran Ivanisevic is right - Wimbledon has changed in many ways since his unforgettable triumph as an unseeded player in 2001.

The big servers were dominating, a 20-shot rally in that tournament would have been novelty, and no roof over centre court meant his popular and dramatic triumph over Pat Rafter was on a Monday - an unexpected delight.

Ivanisevic is as popular as ever as he settles into less familiar surroundings for our interview, Lord’s cricket ground, for a Unibet event on the sporting summer - it’s his job to be one of their ‘armchair pundits’.

And behind the easy manner he is a shrewd pundit, starting with the subject of Andy Murray.

‘He will win Wimbledon this year or next. First of all changing coach was good idea, taking Lendl, becoming much more aggressive believing in his game and what he has to do," Ivanisevic said.

‘I know he felt (trying to topple the big three), being there so close but always failing  He played good tennis at Wimbledon last year then winning Olympic games and US Open helped him a lot, and now he is much more relaxed.

The giant Croatian doesn’t feel the men’s singles winner will come from outside of the big four, though the natural order is disrupted by the controversial decision to seed Rafa Nadal fifth.

Ivanisevic says Nadal timed his comeback from injury sensibly when he was absolutely ready, and that the defending champion Roger Federer "cannot be written off". Djokovic is the only other man he can see lifting the trophy.

What about the others coming through?

"Good question!" replies the 41-year old.

"Guys like Ferrer who is there, Berdych, Del Potro, I love. He already won the US Open but after that he has slipped. There is Tsonga, the young Canadian Raonic who has a huge game for the future. I don’t see anyone beating these four guys in the Grand Slams."

And the women - surely Serena will win again?

"You have to go for Serena when she wants to play. Then Wimbledon is no competition but you know maybe she wakes up in a bad mood! Then you have Azarenka, Sharapova it’s very tough to pick but Serena is always first pick."

The more we talk about the women’s singles the clearer it is that Serena is going to be the 2013 champion if there isn’t a big shock.

I ask Ivanisevic to describe how he feels when he walks through the gates at Wimbledon for the first time each year:

"So beautiful when they open the gates you see people queuing, tradition, beautiful grass not to touch, smell, feeling, you can’t wait to get on the court. It’s the biggest tournament in the world."

It promises to be a particularly good year for the Wimbledon Championships. All of its own charms – with less distraction, from major football tournaments, and from the Olympics. Unsurprisingly Ivanisevic feels the fortnight at The All England Club is always special:

"It’s much better year but Wimbledon is always Wimbledon. Even the Olympics or European Championship in football, whatever, Wimbledon is one biggest sporting events in the world we are not just talking about tennis.

"It’s going to be beautiful….we just hope for a couple of days of sun!"

His army of fans will second that.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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