Things Looking up for Ivan Ljubicic
IVAN LJUBICIC, THE SILENT TYPE
Breast cancer epidemic affecting tennis stars - contrast in style Ljubicic vs. Agassi
By Katarina Tepesh
Ivan Ljubicic was considered among the contenders for the U.S. Open crown for excellent results in the spring of reaching No. 3 best in the world. His powerful serve using a scissors kick to reach high overheads is among the best and widely copied by his tennis opponents. His fans were hoping he will win after competing for eleven years with four tournament titles and eight other final-round appearances over the past two years. If any player can ride a single stroke for the title, it could have been Ljubicic and his wicked serve. At one point last year he went 81 straight service games without being broken and finished 2005 ranked No. 1 in break points saved and No. 2 in aces.
Americans think the US Open is the biggest and the best of all four Slams. Ljubicic agreed by telling reporters how this time he will win it.
But again it was not to be. Ljubicic lost in the first round of Singles and Doubles. Fans and tennis experts were baffled. How can No. 3 in the world lose to Feliciano Lopez, ranked No. 77?
During a mandatory press conference following the tennis match, reporters kept trying questioning Ljubicic, - You just never really looked like you got on track today?
Ljubicic clammed up and made it brief, insisting he was fine physically, "I felt all right."
Many things are going right with Ljubicic, besides his ranking of No. 3. One of them is his beautiful and highly accomplished wife Aida. A fellow refuge from Bosnia, now a graduate of the Law School in Zagreb, Aida, is hoping to become a judge.
Apparently, Ljubicic's mother, Hazira, is suffering from breast cancer. But Ljubicic considers it strictly a private matter and refuses to discuss publicly.
His silence is in great contrast to world tennis champion Andre Agassi, whose mother Betty and a sister are both breast cancer survivors. Andre was deeply affected, but talked publicly, attracted the best doctors and most innovative medication. He also contributed millions for research and education from tennis career prize money of over $30 million via his charitable foundation. In fact, his mom, Betty, appeared at the 2006 US Open to share her battle with breast cancer and launch a global initiative to educate women battling breast cancer about ways to minimize the risk of breast cancer recurrence and encourage women to visit www.ribbonofpink.com for more information. Among many gifts distributed at the US Open, fans received a pink ribbon stating, - "Hope, Courage, Care and Support."
What is next for Ljubicic? He is hoping to be invited to the prestigious event in Shanghai, China during November 1