Ancic rises from a ball-boy to becoming the next Ivanisevic
Second seeded American Andy Roddick beat Croatia's Mario Ancic 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
FROM starry-eyed ball boy to Wimbledon quarter-finalist, Croatia's Mario Ancic has been asked for years whether he is the next Goran Ivanisevic.
Just days after his adored countryman bowed out of the All England club and tennis, the likeable 20-year-old is bidding to emulate Ivanisevic's 2001 triumph here as he prepares to take on Britain's Tim Henman in the last eight.
And, rather than tiring of people drawing parallels between himself and Ivanisevic, for whom he used to be a ball boy, Ancic has just gotten used to it.
Croatia's Mario Ancic returns to Belgium's Xavier Malisse during their fourth round match at Wimbledon on Monday. Maslisse later retired from the match injured. -- APpic
“I was answering the questions, 'are you the next Goran,' since I was 13,” said Ancic, who advanced after Belgian Xavier Malisse retired injured with the Croatian leading 7-5, 3-1.
“I'll be happy if I can just progress like he did. It was great for Croatian tennis, especially at a time when it was war and he was playing so good and waving a Croatian flag.
“It was great for all Croatians so I think not only me but (Ivo) Karlovic and (Ivan) Ljubicic and everybody can try to do the same.”
Ljubicic was knocked out in the first round by South African Wayne Ferreira this year.
But Karlovic, who upset defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the opening round of 2003, made it through to the fourth round before bowing out to Roger Federer 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-5) on Monday.
It was the first time two Croatians had reached the round of 16 at a grand slam in the Open Era.
Ancic's place in the quarter-finals represents his best grand slam performance after he reached the round of 16 at last year's Australian Open.
And unseeded Ancic will be looking to build on his strong record against seeded players at Wimbledon.
On his Grand Slam debut, as a qualifier in 2002 at Wimbledon, he upset No7 seed Federer in the opening round.
This year, he beat number 33 seed Luis Horna and 25th seed Dominik Hrbaty in first and third rounds respectively. – AFP