World No 148 is happy getting match wins under his belt rather than look to land his first career title since August 2016; Ivo Karlovic is the master ace marksman when he’s on the tennis court and the Croatian is thankful to his two young children for supporting him every step of the way
By Raz Mirza
Giant Ivo Karlovic is not so gentle when serving up ace after ace but he is proving that age is just a number at 41, even giving hope to the great Roger Federer.
The Croatian made more history when he broke his own record by becoming the oldest player to win an ATP Tour match in a quarter of a century at the Delray Beach Open last week.
He smashes 27 aces to beat Pablo Andujar of Spain in the first round of the tournament becoming the oldest player to win on the top men’s tour since Jimmy Connors at age 42 in 1995.
Federer has endured double knee surgery, but despite his recent absence from the tour, the Swiss great will hope to follow in Karlovic’s footsteps by playing tennis into his 40s as he continues to target a 21st Grand Slam title.
Meanwhile, Karlovic will continue setting records every time he steps out onto a tennis court cheered on by his biggest fans – his daughter and son, who are nine and three, respectively.
“Of course when you have a family it’s a little bit different with my priorities,” Karlovic told the official ATP website. “Right now maybe tennis is not my number one or number two or number three.
“Even if I win, it doesn’t mean anything compared to when I didn’t have kids. They know what I do, but they know I’m their dad [first] and I’ll always be there for them. It doesn’t matter if I win or lose. I have to be there for them.”
Karlovic, who at 6ft 11in is the tallest top 20 player in ATP history, holds single-match ace records in every Grand Slam, apart from Wimbledon.
He made his ATP tour debut in Tashkent 22 years ago and with his 42nd birthday coming up in February, there are no signs of the big Croat letting up despite opting against playing Australian Open qualifying in Doha this year.
“It’s interesting, I had the most injuries from like 2009 to 2013. That was the period when I was always injured and after that I didn’t have a lot of injuries,” Karlovic said.
“Last year I didn’t really travel a lot (due to COVID-19), so I didn’t have any injuries. I was able to train as when I was an 18-year-old man.”