This short version of a tale that we will be writing here, is according to us, the most emotional tennis win which could only ever be arguably surpassed in such quality, by Andy Murray's winning of the Australian Open if he ever will. The main character in this story is Goran Ivanesvic. You may know him as Cilic's current coach, or for the crazy and epic Wimbledon final in 2001 which he played against Patrick Rafter. His story will be the best lesson out there in the tennis world, about why you should never give up when all seems to be lost.
This story begins with the 1992 Wimbledon championships
He played in the final against rising star Andre Agassi, who is of the same age as him. The match was an intense five-setter with Agassi only edging out by two points to win the championship in the 10th game of the deciding set. It needs to be mentioned that such game looked destined to be held by Goran Ivanesvic. The ending was as abrupt as the match was long and spectacular. When two points decided the outcome of a match of a few hundred of such points, you know how much luck was involved in Ivanesvic's defeat, and the depth of negative emotions that he must have felt.
The next chapter in the story is the 1994 Wimbledon championships
Two years onwards, Ivanesevic is yet again in the Wimbledon finals - no mean feat, we must say. This time his opponent is another American with a different name and style from the one he faced previously. It was a lopsided loss, score-wise - 7-6 7-6 6-0. However, all tennis players know that in practice, the scoreline does not represent accurately the 'real gap in results' as felt by the losing player. This is particularly true when applied to a loss in the final of a grand slam. 'I have come so close!' would be a more overriding thought than any possible 'I have lost by so much!'
Then came his chance at the 1998 Wimbledon championships
What an agonizingly long four years it must have been for Goran. His sense of desire is only strengthened by the fact that given his age of 27 at the time (the average retirement age of tennis players during that time, before the advent of today's more advanced sports medicine) this may very well be his last chance at this most coveted of championship wins. The end result? Yet another loss, except that it is a more painful one than the previous two. Yet again he faced Sampras, but he had a much greater shot at the title. The match was played out over five sets, with Goran losing a close 11-9 in the second set tie-break. The match was also played on Ivanesevic's terms - it was a competition on who can deliver the most unreturned serves. The odds, despite going in Goran's favour, did not produce the more probable result.
It is the 2001 Wimbledon championship, and the world is surprised to see Goran returning to compete a year older than the typical retirement age. What's more, Goran having struggled from injuries, a lack of motivation, and ranking drops over the past few years, is competing as a wild-card. At a time when the odds were most against him, Goran finally achieved what he always dreamt of. As if a reversion of the outcomes dealt to him in his 1992 and 1998 Wimbledon finals, Goran edged over a Patrick Rafter in a five-setter thriller final, winning the deciding set 9-7.
Dreams do come true.
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