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February 21, 2011

Ivan Ljubicic


S. BUBKA/I. Ljubicic
6-1, 0-1 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was wrong?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, I warmed up at 5:30 this afternoon, and everything looked normal. I kind of run to one ball and just felt sharp pain just a little higher than the ankle.

Q. Which leg?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Right. Went to see a physio. He says it's probably tendon or muscle. It's really difficult to be precise.

Q. There?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah, exactly. Right here kind of. (Pointing to inside of calf.) So I took a Voltaren, warm-up well. I mean, you could see I really couldn't move. The last point I really pushed a little bit and really felt sharp pain.
So I don't know what it is. Tomorrow we're going to probably -- after tomorrow do evaluation and see from there, you know, what's wrong.

Q. Did you ever have any issues like that before?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, it's not the ankle. It's really kind of a muscle, something. I mean, never had anything similar to that.

Q. Didn't turn anything on the court at all?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, no, no. It's on the other side actually, so it's not really on the outside of the foot. It's really inside. So I guess it's a muscle, pulled muscle a little bit. We'll see tomorrow. I can't really be more precise what is it.
But, I mean, I can't play. I can't serve, because I use that right leg a lot when I'm pushing off to serve. And the physio, what I wanted to ask the physio, Do you think it can get worse? Because if that's the case, then obviously...
He said, Yes, because if it's a muscle problem you can really damage it big time. So I just said there's no point to continue. Because I couldn't figure out at what point the pain was coming, so I can't even kind of play safe, you know.

Q. You have you done anything different in the gym or anything like that?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, no. I don't know. Maybe change of surface. That can be the case. I really don't know.

Q. You went on the court thinking with the Voltaren you could play?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, the first set was -- I mean, I felt it like I couldn't push the serve a lot. I felt like if I go really 100% running then I could feel it was kind of more fear than the pain. That's why I was playing a little bit more aggressive, going for my shots that I usually don't.
And then start of the second set, I said, Okay, I can't win like this, so I just go 100% and see what happens. If it's painful, then I just stop. In fact it was, unfortunately.

Q. The little that you saw of Sergei, what did you think about his game?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, I mean, we know each other for a long, long time. We practice in Monte-Carlo together, so he's a great fighter, great first serve. Second serve is really jumping really high here. He qualified, so he's obviously playing well.
I wish him all the best. I think the amount of energy that he puts and intensity that he puts in tennis he deserve much more than what he achieve so far. Maybe this could be a breakthrough for him.

Q. What you experienced out there today is really unfortunate and bad luck, but Mario today has announced that he's going to quit the. Talk about the battle that he's had.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Press conference on Wednesday, but he said it. Well, I mean, it's just Krefeld 2007 Davis Cup in Germany he found out he had the mono. From then on, he was never -- he never played actually. I mean, he tried couple times to come back and never made it.
So that's it. Age of 23, retired top 10 player, Olympic medal winner, Davis Cup winner already.

Q. It's tragic, isn't it?
IVAN LJUBICIC: It's terrible. I mean, that "the" worst way for one sportsman to finish the career. Fortunately he has law degree. He's practicing already that. His life, it will go on. He kind of chose new direction. He's only 27 today. 26 actually. So it is terrible.
We had great plans for our future. I mean together even we achieved so much at such early stages of our career. It was just incredibly unfortunate to kind of finish it that way.
And not only mono, because then the latest one was the back problem. Apparently it's really bad, so...

Q. How much of him have you seen lately?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I saw him in Zagreb just couple weeks ago. Before that, I guess it was in September, October. We are in touch all the time. I didn't bother asking him too much how was he, because I knew the answer. It was not good, not good, not good last three years.
We all kind of felt that was coming. When it's definite, when it's official, it's just terrible.

Q. Of course you have to wait for the evaluation tomorrow, but do you feel the injury might be serious enough to stop you playing Indian Wells?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I don't even want to think about it. (Laughing.) No, of course. Of course. We'll see. It's not much I can say really right now about the injury. I will go there no matter what, even without one leg. I will be there hopefully healthy enough to try to defend my title. That's all I can say at the moment.

Q. Do you feel it's hard for you to keep healthy compared like turning 30?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah, well, that's obvious, I think. I'm going to be 32 next month. The body is reacting a little bit slower on the recovery. You know, there's a lot of kilometers in my machine. You know, just things are popping up like this that you don't expect. You never know where it's coming from.
As I said, I almost 700 matches on ATP singles without counting doubles, Challengers, Futures and all that stuff, practices, you know. Eventually it gets to you. I don't think the players normally feel better the older they get. Just taking care of your body is the biggest priority at the movement.
Because I do feel I play tennis better than ever. I'm feeling the ball quite well. Even the moving on the court, it's fine. As long as I'm fit, you know, it's good. It's just trying to recover in the fastest possible way, and then trying to stay injury-free.

End of FastScripts

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