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Ivan Ljubicic, Ace Leader
By Katarina Tepesh | Published  09/8/2007 | Sports | Unrated
A tough competitor

By Katarina Tepesh

New York, September 6, 2007 - On court, Ivan Ljubicic, has a potent serve and a very reliable backhand, often ending points with a flick of his wrist and a grunt. Considering his affinity for faster surfaces and his #3 ranking from last year, many fans speculated that he was due for a US Open breakthrough. But Ljubicic has yet to perform to his abilities at the majors.

This year, Ljubicic is ranked #12 and played in the First Round of Men's Singles overcoming Kristof Vliegen from Belgium 6-1, 7-6(1), 6-1; In the Second Round, Ljubicic played an intense match against Romanian Andrei Pavel ranked 98 and managed to win first two sets plus a tiebreak in the third set 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(6).

In the Third Round, Ljubicic played against Juan Agnacio Chela, ranked #20 from Argentina. In the past, Ljubicic beat him six times. During the interview, Ljubicic explained, "During our previous games, Chela always gave up at some point and I was waiting, but this time he was persistent." The two of them each split two sets and Chela won in the thrilling fifth set 6-4, 6-7(5), 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Earning $25,000 in Singles, Ljubicic proceeded to play Men's Doubles with Italian Simone Bolelli. They lost in the First Round splitting $10,000.

Among ace leaders, Ljubicic pounded 71 aces during his US Open competition.

Wearing a thick strip of black tape below right knee, 28 years-old Ljubicic claims to be in excellent health and full of confidence.

A multi-millionaire, officially living in tax haven Monaco, Monte Carlo, Ljubicic recently returned an apartment to the City of Zagreb, which he received during the 90's when he was in danger and lost his home to rebel Serbs in his hometown of Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

This year, Ljubicic is wearing a special patch supporting the International Rescue Committee and promoting the cause of refugees. "When I was 13 in 1992, I lived for months as a refugee in Slovenia and Croatia. I want to do whatever I can to draw attention to the plight of refugees around the world. There are many people who are innocent victims of conflicts and their struggles deserve as much attention as possible," Ljubicic said.

Founded in 1933, the International Rescue Committee is a global leader in emergency relief.

Another fine example of volunteer work for Ivan is his involvement among tennis players. He is president of the Players' Council.

Ljubicic led Croatia to victory in the Davis Cup in 2005, winning 11 of his 12 matches during the Davis Cup campaign, including victories over Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and the doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan in a near single-handed defeat of the United States.

Looking forward and desperately needing Ljubicic to play in Davis Cup against Britain, especially since Mario Ancic pulled out of the U.S. Open due to a right shoulder injury and is likely to miss this month Davis Cup world group playoff tie.

Formatted for CROWN by Marko Puljic
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