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Biofile With Ivan Dodig

by Scoop Malinowski

One month after clinching his first ATP World Tour title in Zagreb, Ivan Dodig will look for continued success on the indoor hard-courts of the Dom Sportova when Croatia hosts Germany this weekend in first-round Davis Cup action. The 26-year-old Dodig is off to his best season start, and enters the Davis Cup tie at a personal-best No. 57 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings.

Find out what achievement Dodig ranks above his Zagreb victory as his greatest sports moment and what happened after a black cat wandered onto the court during his match in Umag.

First Tennis Memory: “My first victory in my junior days when I played under 12 in my first tournament. In Croatia.”

Tennis Inspirations: “Is of course my inspiration is the good players. When I was young my inspiration was Goran Ivanisevic, watching him, his matches. And wishing to play someday. And it was like the biggest inspiration.”

Nicknames: “Some players call me Dodo. Just some of the players. Normally I don’t have a nickname.”

Last Book Read: “Oooh, that was a couple of years ago. Normally I like to read sports books. It was Brad Gilbert about tennis (Winning Ugly).”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “I don’t know…actually I like chocolate.”

Current Car: “I have Audi A4. We get it here actually after winning some matches. I decide the first time in my life to get a car. (What color?) Red. My father like red [smiles].”

Greatest Sports Moment: “It’s of course first time when I became Top 100. That happened last year in Astana, Kazakhstan, after winning the Challenger (d. Kunitsyn). First time I came to Top 100, it was always my first dream. And greatest moment for my career. (Greater than winning first ATP title?) Actually the ATP tournament is second place. Of course I was always dreaming to be Top 100 and winning Zagreb was second.”

Most Painful Moment: “It was lots of painful moments in my career. But the worst was when I didn’t have money to travel to the tournaments. So it was so tough for me to see the other players, how they are playing. I didn’t have a chance because I’m coming from Croatia and it’s not easy to find the sponsors. If you don’t, say, have a rich family it’s tough. I think that was the worst moment. You see other players are playing and you have no chance to even go to the tournaments. I know now it’s the past for me. And now I’m trying to enjoy. (What year was that?) That was especially in juniors, two years I skip it. I didn’t, I actually (play) just the few tournaments close to my home. It was tough for me.”

Favorite Tournaments: “Actually for me it’s Wimbledon. I played 2010. It’s different from the others. Now it’s Wimbledon, but this year I will play more bigger tournaments.”

Funny Tennis Memory: “The first time I got a wildcard in Umag. The black cat came in the court. I think this is actually not a good sign [smiles]. And I finished very fast. I think it was 6-1 6-3. It was a little bit funny. All the stories was around that cat. (Who did you lose to?) I lost to [Pablo] Cuevas.”

At Best: “I played in Zagreb, the match against [Ivan] Ljubicic and the match in the final I played very well. And Australian, my victory against Juan Carlos Ferrero. I beat him in five sets. I think I played very well. And against [Tommy] Robredo in Stockholm. I really played good in Zagreb against [Michael] Berrer in the final.”

Funniest Players Encountered: “I still don’t know that many players, especially the guys at the top. But I can say for me I’m very good friends with Marin Cilic. We are coming from same village. We are doing a lot of jokes. For me he’s the most funny. We can do somethings to make some funny things especially in Davis Cup. We are together at some tournaments and we are doing things to get good motivation because I think it’s very important to be relaxed for the tournament. And off the court to think about some other things.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “If I look at the tennis way I like people who are relaxed out of the court but in the court I like always to, for example, practice with the guys who are focused. I’m not really happy when I have to hit with somebody who for example, hitting and talking to the coach. If we work we work. Then if we have fun, I have fun. In general, I like relaxed people but when it’s something serious, to be serious.”

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