TALAJA, KOSTANIC, KARLOVIC, ANCIC & LJUBICIC
at US OPEN on 9/2/2004
By Katarina Tepesh
ANCIC & LJUBICIC IN MEN'S DOUBLES:
At US Open 2004, Croatia is represented by six players. Usually, they all play at the same time on different courts. While I was covering Karlovic in the stadium, the "Slobodna Dalmacija" sports reporter Davor Burazin received an "exclusive" directly from Ljubicic how his injury is so severe it will take 10 days to heal. Since Ljubicic played only two sets in Singles and gave up due to injury, it made sense he will not be able to play in Doubles. What a difference a day makes! Ancic & Ljubicic did play in Men's Doubles and lost 6-4, 6-2 in the first round to Leander Paes & David Riki seeded 13. Why did Ljubicic play while injured with fractured rib? Money is the answer! Ljubicic & Ancic received $10,000 for an hour's "work"! Would you get up from the bed and play for $10,000?
The Double's money is on top of Singles pay, which is $14,000 for each player, even if you do not complete the play!
Nice work if you get it, right? Well, it turns out that ANCIC & KOSTANIC registered to play in MIXED DOUBLES but were not accepted because together, they do not have enough points to make them eligible.
This year's US Open purse tops $17.75 million and will potentially exceed more than $19 million, which is distributed. Every player is paid, from the lowest qualifier to the top champion!
SILVIJA TALAJA lives in Makarska. Born January 14, 1978 makes a tennis veteran. Talaja's Singles ranking is 112, and No. 67 in Doubles. In her 1st Round at 2004 US Open, Talaja played and lost to Eleni Daniilidio, No. 29. Talaja fought a good fight by winning first set, losing second and third was very close 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Talaja moved on to play in Women's Doubles with tennis partner Caroline Dhenin from France and completed the match by winning 6-3, 6-1 against No. 11 best in the world Vento-Kabchi & Widjaja.
Talaja's sparring partner and boyfriend travels with her. She no longer has a tennis coach. Talaja is a powerful, fast baseline player who prefers clay courts. Her father Vlado is a tennis club director and mother Bosiljka. Talaja has an older sister Slavica who is a former tennis coach. "One of my old-time greatest experiences was participating in the 2000 Olympics….I am sentimental, stubborn, open with people and like to be around happy people…I love to visit Australia, especially Melbourne."
JELENA KOSTANIC: after beating Karolina Sprem in Singles, Kostanic moved on to win in the 2nd Round against 17-year-old Eugenia Linetskaya with 6-4, 6-3. Russian player was so inexperienced that she kept turning to her coach in the stands for instructions. "Davaj, davaj!" the coach told her but Croatian Kostanic won relatively easily in comparison with her match against Sprem.
Kostanic also won in Women's Doubles 1st round with her tennis partner Claudine Schaul from Luxembourg with scores 7-5, 6-3 against Beltrame & Vinci from France and Italy respectively.
IVO KARLOVIC: after losing in Singles to No. 5 Tim Henman, Karlovic moved on to play and win in Men's Doubles 1st round. With his tennis partner Tomas Berdych, from Czech Republic they defeated Ginepri & Merklein 7-5, 7-6(4). Exciting and spirited game attracted a huge crowd.