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Goran Ivanisevic - Croatian Athlete and Wimbledon Champion

Updated on September 12, 2012

Young Tennis Talent Goran Ivanisevic - a.k.a. the Bomb

Croatian tennis star Goran Ivanišević, young and charismatic, got the reputation for being highly talented - and emotional. A heart-and-soul tennis player, he is tall and good-looking, almost boyish.

The 2001 Wimbledon champ is from Split, Croatia, the virtual city of sports. His parents are from the island of Vis, a two hour ferry to the south west of Split. There, Goran has property and the Ivanišević family can relax and enjoy on this unpretentious natural paradise of an island.

Goran Ivanišević is among many successful athletes from the Split Dalmatian area. Some of his better known fellow athletes include high jumper Blanka Vlašić, professional basketball star Dražen Petrović, Olympic medalist world class swimmer Duje Draganja, and many others. The famous Split soccer team, HAJDUK (hi, Duke) also hails from Split, the city of athletes.

Hail to the Chief!

Goran has a great rapport with the audience.
Goran has a great rapport with the audience.

Victory at Last

It was victory at Wimbledon in 2001
It was victory at Wimbledon in 2001

Goran is never dull to watch

Watching Goran can be a hair-raising experience!
Watching Goran can be a hair-raising experience!

Goran's Famous Serve

Goran's famous serve is probably second to none.  He was the only wild card player to win the Mens Singles at Wimbledon in 2001, with only 29 years old.
Goran's famous serve is probably second to none. He was the only wild card player to win the Mens Singles at Wimbledon in 2001, with only 29 years old. | Source

Goran's Career Over the Years....

Goran started his professional career in 1988 at the young age of 17, when he won his first doubles' match in Frankfurt, alongside Rudiger Haas.

All in all, he has won 9 titles and a career high ranking of 20 as a doubles player. As a singles player, he held the enviable position of #2 internationally, on July 4, 1994.

At the French Open in 1990, created quite a stir. First, he unseated Boris Becker. He reached the quarter finals. In the same event, he was the runner up in the doubles with Petr Korda.

Later that same year, at Wimbledon, Boris Becker defeated him in four sets.

Also in 1990, played with the Yugoslavian Tennis team, helping them win the World Team Cup in Stuttgart, Germany. There, he also won his first singles title.

At the Davis Cup the following year, Goran played in eight ties with the Yugoslav tennis team. Once Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia, Goran left the team in the middle of the tournament. Yugoslavia lost its subsequent tie, 5-0, against France.

In 1992 Goran played at the Australian Men's Hardcourt Championships. There, he received death threats, which didn't prevent him from winning the tournament. Known for his powerful serve and aggressive playing style, another of his characteristics is the high number of aces.

In the same year, 1992, Goran looked like he might win Wimbledon. After having defeated an impressive number of seasoned athletes: Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg, and finally came face to face with Andre Agassi, the expected (and eventual) winner. Goran had 39 Aces in that day alone, and Agassi 37 for the entire tournament. Goran actually accumulated an unheard of 200 aces at Wimbledon, which was an ATP record at that time. The twenty-year old tennis player gained a lot of respect for the impressive game he played.

Later on the same year at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Goran came home with bronze medals for the singles and doubles' championships. Croatia itself was declared a country only in January of that same year.

Other titles, successes and highlights:

1995 - Grand Slam Cup

1996 - Hopman Cup doubles with Iva Majoli

1996 - French Open Men's Doubles runner up with Jeff Tarango

Goran's triumphant return to Split after Wimbledon

Wildcard at Wimbledon

Wimbledon Experiences

In 1990, (at age 18), Goran was defeated by Boris Becker in four sets.

1992 at age 20, Goran played a hard but impressive match against Andre Agassi, losing but gaining much credibility in the process. His star was shining bright with a great career expected.

In 1994, Goran was defeated by Pete Sampras. That year, he reached his career high ranking of #2 player internationally

In 1995, Goran reached the semifinals, where he was again defeated by Pete Sampras.

In 1998, he again battled Pete Sampras. Holding his own, he pushed the envelope with a 5th game as a tie-breaker, but was eventually defeated by Sampras.

In 2001, although he didn't qualify for Wimbledon with his 125th player international ranking, his "three times runner up" status qualified compete at Wimbledon in 2001.

From the period between 1999 - 2001, he competed internationally on a limited basis but was having a tough time overcoming a shoulder injury.

Marriage with Tanja

After a long relationship and two beautiful children, Goran and Tanja married in the United States in 2009.
After a long relationship and two beautiful children, Goran and Tanja married in the United States in 2009.

Love, Set, Match

Goran and his beautiful wife, Tanja Dragovic (pronounced Tania) have been together for many years.

Goran lived for years in Monte Carlo, reportedly because of the tax benefits.

Their first child, Amber Marie, was born in 2002 in Munich, Germany.

Second child, Emmanuel was born in 2008.

There is some speculation that he had an affair with a female interviewer from 2006-2008.

The couple lived together outside of marriage for many years. They finally married in 2009 in San Pedro, CA.

This year, Amber joined a tennis camp, intending to follow in her famous father's footsteps.

His parents live in Split, where young Goran and his sister grew up. His father Srđan (surgeon) and mother Gorana have a home on Vis, where the family vacations. Srđan's family is originally from the island of Vis, which is located about two hours away by boat from Split.

Goran's family

Enjoying some down time with family!
Enjoying some down time with family!

Once a champion, always a champion

Goran with teammates at the 2005 Davis Cup in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Goran with teammates at the 2005 Davis Cup in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Chip off the old block!  Dad Srđan gives Goran a kiss after winning at Wimbledon.
Chip off the old block! Dad Srđan gives Goran a kiss after winning at Wimbledon.


Goran is officially retired from sport. After his Wimbledon victory, he has sparingly competed. He is currently retired. He lives with his family in Split, Croatia.

Since Wimbledon

In 2005, Goran joined the Croatian Team for the Davis Cup competition in Bratislava, Slovakia. He did not compete, but his name was engraved on the cup trophy. His teammates were Ivan Ljubičić, Mario Ančić, Ivo Karlović, and coach Nikola Pilić.

In 2006, he defeated John McEnroe at the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions.

In 2007, he helped Roger Federer prepare and train for Wimbledon against Rafael Nadal.

Legendary Wimbledon

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    • EuroCafeAuLait profile imageAUTHOR

      Anastasia Kingsley 

      6 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      The day of the Wimbledon match, it was as if the world stood still. No one was outside. People were in front of the TVs. Cheers meant he got the point, moans when he didn't. It was an explosive event! Thanks for commenting.

    • jhunpaler profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines

      Informative hub. I remember his games at the Wimbledon with Pete Sampras, he was awesome especially the way he serves. Thanks for the hub


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