Ivan Ljubicic: Djokovic Isn’t Happy, He Wants More, And He’s Going To Get More
by Tom Gainey | April 14th, 2012, 3:05 pm

In a new article by the NY Times by Christopher Clarey, veteran Ivan Ljubicic touched on a number of topics as he prepares for his farewell tournament at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters this week.

Speaking about friend Novak Djokovic, the Croatian said to expect more good things from the World No. 1.

“Even now, when I go out to eat with him and I’m hanging around him, you see how focused he is on his life and tennis,” Ljubicic said. “He’s really careful what he eats, how much he eats, what he drinks. He’s totally focused. He wants this thing to last. He’s not happy with what he’s achieved. He wants more, and he’s going to get more, that’s for sure.”

He also said the next wave of players will have to be attack minded to defeat the current stars at the top.

“The young guys coming up, if they want to be competitive with Djokovic, Nadal and Murray, they cannot defend better than them, it’s not possible,” Ljubicic said. “So they have to attack. I think the tactical game of tennis is going to change, and I think in the next five to 10 years, we’re going to have big guys, probably very aggressive guys.”

The 33-year-old Ljubicic reached a career-high ranking of No. 3 in 2006. He claimed 10 ATP titles in 24 finals, his last win being the 2010 Indian Wells Masters 1000 where he beat Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick. He also was a semifinalist at the 2006 French Open.

Ljubicic is known for his massive serve and terrific one-handed backhand. (And bald head!)

In closing, Ljubicic told the Times: “It was all an incredible journey from zero to what I am at the moment, and when I say zero, it’s really zero,” Ljubicic said. “I’m really proud of what I did and how I did it.”

You Might Like:
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Ivan Ljubicic Uncovered [Video]
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43 Comments for Ivan Ljubicic: Djokovic Isn’t Happy, He Wants More, And He’s Going To Get More

Kimmi Says:

farewell ljubicic, all the best to the future.

jane Says:

I’ll have to read that full NYT’s interview. Thanks for the post Tom. I will always fondly remember the “bald bomber” (as conty called him). He has some nice things to say about Nole, here, but that is not surprising considering they probably hang out at bit in Monte Carlo, being “neighbours.”

Good luck to Ivan Ljubicic~!

skeezerweezer Says:

Totally agree with Lube about the chnages gonna happen in the future……

alison hodge Says:

wow did not know he was calling it a day,hes a really nice guy,and i wish him all the best for the future,good luck lubie.

jane Says:

The full NYT’s article is worth a read – interesting that Ljub classifies Fed as more of a defender than attacker. Also all the behind the scenes work he has done and may still do is great.

Humble Rafa Says:

Good luck Ljubicic. You will be missed! Hope to see you as Davis cup captain sometime. Enjoy your retirement, mate!

mat4 Says:

Христос воскрес! Happy Easter to all the orthodoxe folks!

mat4 Says:

I think that Fed has changed from a counter-pouncher toward a pure offensive player.

Wog boy Says:

I have huge respect for Ivan Ljubicic, if I put tennis aside, great man, great character, great human being and the people who are familiar with Balkan problems know what I am talking about.
“Ljubo, bio si i ostao gospodin covek, puno zdravlja, uspeha i srece u buducnosti.”

Wog boy Says:


Vaistinu Vaskrese,

Cyrillic alphabet!!!! thanks mat4. I am back home and breaking the eggs with my family members, I have to say my eggs are dogy and I am losing but we are enjoying our Easter day.


carlo Says:

Jane, “Conty” still calls him Bald Bomber and I’ll miss him. All class, Ivan Ljubicic. You know, I had to discreetly and temporarily change my moniker until Contador gets his ban lifted in August ;)

Endaxi. Kalo Pashcha! and hoping to eat lamb and baklava later today.

Happy Easter to all those celebrating this day!

Steve 27 Says:

See ya Ljubicic, I wish you a great life with your beloved persons!

steve-o Says:

Best of luck to Mr. Ljubicic. Always fun to watch and a class act.

Danny Says:

Ljubicic is a class act all the way.

Michael Says:

What I admire most about Novak is his determination, tenacity and will power. That gets the best out of him when he is in adversity. He has been able to wriggle himself out from tough matches. Worth to remember is he beat Roger twice down match points. That is unique feat especially against a front runner like Roger. If you are able to beat Nadal seven out of seven, then you are really special. Novak truly deserves his place and from the look of it it appears that he is set to scale even higher.

Colin Says:

It’s often been said that we don’t know if “Humble Rafa” is male or female or anything about him/her.
Well, the use of the word “mate” in the post on this thread, suggests a Briton or an Australian, and most likely a male.

alison hodge Says:

michael no offence as i know ive been here before,but i cant help it,as i still rather get the impression that your not overly keen on rafa,your so very complimentary about roger and novak,nothing at all wrong with that i love them too,yet i rarely here you give rafa much credit for anything,and you constantly remind us all,of the amount of times novaks beaten rafa,and to a fare fan that gets rather irritating,i dont know maybe it is just me,i just get a hint of disdain in your posts,when you talk about rafa,i have noticed novak and roger get reffered to by there 1st names,yet when its rafa its nadal.

alison hodge Says:

im hoping the rest of the tennis year becomes more competitive than last years,roger and nole have both bagged titles,im hoping rafa ends his lean spell pretty soon,id also as a brit love to see muzza get into contention and bag a slam,and i believe with Llendels help hes getting closer,just that little bit of luck needed here and there,as well as self belief,he was unlucky imo against novak at the ao,who was there for the taking,im sensing andy will be the new novak nemisis.

Ajet Says:

love ljubicic! and would surely like him to enjoy every moment of his post-retirement life with satisfaction and happiness, and hopefully economically he’d also continue to be sound.

take care ljubi! gonna miss you! but stay happy!

Ajet Says:

watched the video and must say that novak’s humility and his respect towards ljubicic has moved me so much! I really really respect novak even more now! novak saying about ljubi influencing him and referring to him as one of his teacher-like guys has really touched my heart. i bow down in respect to the great nice ljubi and he great humble champion novak djokovic for their mutual respect towards each other. it feels so good to see people like them being so apreciative and ful of love and admiration for each other.

Novak and Ljubicic Rock!!! :D

Ajet Says:

not a novak fan, but this video is forcing me to considering becoming a member of nole club too. ok, am gonna support novak more and more from now looking at what a nice guy he is, and how really respectful and kind he is to the guys that he knows well and is friends with.

i can take a leaf or two from novak and try becoming a better person…

Wog boy Says:

I doubt, remembering HR coversation with Kimberly, while ago, about basketball and, I think, American football I think he is North American. No Brit would be interesting and with such knowledge about those sports, imo. Unless he is Brit or Aussie living in America, very unlikely. Either way, I like his post, as long as he doesn’t bash Nole..to much:)
I also think there is HR Copy Cat:) from time to time, not very good, though.

mat4 Says:

It seems that Nike is going to buy Novak’s contract with ST.

jane Says:

I love these tribute videos the ATP have done for Fernando and now Ivan – they are touching and help us to remember those fun moments. I was so happy for Ljubicic when he was IW a couple years ago.

mat4, Really? How do you have this “insider” information? Do tell.

jane Says:

meant to say when he “won” IW a couple years ago: I think 2010 it was.

Super Says:

I’ll miss Big Ivan.

He has one of the best serves in tennis. Also seems like a great guy.

dari Says:

It seems like Ivan is so well and universally respected on the tour, very touching like Jane says, i don’t remember hearing so many outstanding things for others who have retired recently.

Best to Ivan in retirement, hope he stays in the game in other forms, they need good ones like him for the future of twnnnis

jane Says:

Thanks for all the links mat4: I guess it’s “out there”; I just haven’t looked. It would be an interesting cornering of the top guys in the tennis market is Nike “just do it” and buy out Nole’s contract. But it sounds like it’s not final just yet. Murray would still be in Adidas though, and Tsonga. But even Delpo is in Nike.

mat4 Says:


I found on Ubitennis that Novak’s team has denied such an information. And, why Nike? Why not KSwiss or Addidas? I don’t see Nole, Rafa and Roger wearing the same brand. And there is Masha too. Lot of money.

Honestly, I would like to see him wear Lacoste. La classe.

Wog boy Says:

They left Adidas because Adidas gave advantage, so to say, to Murray. I hope they will not go to Nike, I hope Nole will stay Sergio Tacchini man, there is a lot of class in Tacchini, I just like Italian fashion even they use to rip us off in 70’s when we were going to Trieste, Udine to by jeans, good Italian shoes. They sold to my friend really nice shoes, the only problem was they were for dead people, so when he walked on the rain they fell appart. We were young and naive but we learn the lesson fast how to negotiate with Italians and what we are buying. You know the add for DeLonghi: “who can resist good looking Italian”, that is what my wife says, though I am not Italian…….. hmmmm why is she saying that ?

Alex Says:

I think Ljubicic, is right. The defensive abilities of Nadal and Djokovic are as good as they can possibly be. It’s not realistic to out-do them defensively. The new players, will be much better off if they develop an offensive game to counter some of the defensive skills.

Joe W Says:

Wog Boy – I have great grandfather from Trieste and his wife, my great grandmother, is from Rijeka, Croatia (pre Soviet Bloc, Rijeka was called Fiume). Children of the Adriatic Sea. They came to America in late 1800s via ocean liner. Ellis Island NY was their first stop. So its only fitting that their great grandson – that would be me – used to wear what Americans on the east coast call “track suits.” I used to roll out in my black ST track suit. It had lots of red and orange piping/stitching. The design doesn’t look much different from what Nole is wearing today. I suppose that Lacoste and Fred Perry apparel haven’t changed much either. N

Joe W Says:

hit too soon…

Anyway, I’ve always had a special affinity for the Croats, and also the Italians. I’m a big time RF fan, so if he’s not playing then I’m rooting for the “family.” Ivan is a great person. Sorry to see him go.

sar Says:

I hope Nole stays with Tacchini. When he signed on with them he said he hoped he would have as much luck with the company as Sampras and McEnroe did. Looks like the clothes worked.

Joe W Says:

Perhaps we’re already seeing the new generation of offensive tennis players – the more aggressively, aggressive baseliner, challenging the likes of the Big Three (that would be aggressive baseliners’ Novak/Rafa/Roger). Players like Del Potro, Isner, Soderling, Tsonga who are good movers, peerless, and strike the ball extremely hard. When Fed or Rafa haven’t eliminated themselves from a GS, notwithstanding Novak’s run of late, its been a player who literally knocks them out of the court. Del Po vs Fed at US Open final. Soderling vs Rafa at FO final. How much success they ultimately have against the likes of the Big Three remains in question. Perhaps they’ve started a trend at the tennis academies and in the junior ranks. We certainly don’t see a lot of one-handed backhands any more. Perhaps the marathon GS matches have reached their high water mark.

Wog boy Says:

Joe W,
That is beautiful part of Adriatic coast, if you haven’t been there you should go and visit. Trieste was always trading spot very cosmopolitan (Italians, Slovenians, Austrians, Serbians, Croats) in 19th/20th century it was a colony of Serbian merchants living there, they had their school and nice big church in the heart of the city (still there), Istria is beautiful, so are the people and lot to see. Just pack up and go you will not regret:)
P.S. Venice is only 100km away and it is must to see, and so many other things and places within one hour driving distance.

Michael Says:


Some impressions are difficult to erase and I do not want to deny that I am a fan of Roger and Novak. But I like Nadal too. He is a phenomenon and how can he be belittled. I love Tennis as a sport and admire all the players in the ATP Circuit. However, as anybody I have my favourites. There is nothing wrong in it. True you have some bias when dissecting players. That is unavoidable. If I am saying repeatedly that Novak beat Nadal 7 out of 7, it means I am giving greater importance to this particular feat of Novak which even the great Roger cannot do in his illustrous career. It is not easy to beat Nadal even once and if a guy has been able to do so seven times consecutively and that too on clay twice then that is special and there is no harm in saying that when you are commenting about Novak. It is a tribute to him as well as the toughness of Nadal as a player. The achievements of Nadal can never be undermined by such statements. Nadal is already one of the GREATS.

King Federer Says:

” that is what my wife says, though I am not Italian…….. hmmmm why is she saying that ? ”

maybe because she is boinking some italian dude behind your back!

sorry bro, you were begging for that! all in good humour….

Michael Says:


Henceforth for your satisfaction I will say Rafa whenever I talk about Nadal.

King Federer Says:

I hope nike gives nole some variety. with tachhini, you feel like he has been doing the same white in the morning and black in the night routine. I mean, come on – there are so many freaking colours out there. nike got the best clothes hands down. no one is even close in this race!

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