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March 12, 2011

Ivan Ljubicic


J. DEL POTRO/I. Ljubicic
5-7, 6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Not the perfect way to start a tournament to come up against somebody like Del Po.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, no. It's not an easy draw, of course. He's a great player, and it was a great match, I think. It was a great entertainment for the crowd.
We had some great points. I came up short in the end. I was physically actually really tired in the end. I couldn't really practice for the last three weeks, so I was just happy to go on court and try to play today, because of the injury I get in Dubai.
I'm kind of pleased with the performance in the first set, but of course very disappointed that I couldn't go through. Because I felt like if I can win a round or two, I get back in shape, you know, who knows what would happen.
But of course Del Potro played a solid game, as normally he is, and it was too much for me today.

Q. Last year you, when you were going to the net you were so efficient. This time you seemed to have a little trouble on your volleys. Is that from lack of play?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I'm afraid I don't know to answer on that question. I was definitely a little slow in my legs, as I said, because I didn't really run for three weeks. It's definitely lack of play, but I didn't feel uncomfortable out there.
It's just that against Del Potro if you go at the net, it's really difficult to find the proper ball to go to the net with. He's playing really deep and flat balls, so if you go you always kind of force the issue, and by doing that of course you don't get any easy volleys.

Q. Can you tell about the injury that happened in Dubai? What was it?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I damaged my cartilage in my ankle, right ankle, so it's kind of tough issue, tough injury to deal. But as I said, with the hard tape and a lot of treatment, I managed to play today, which pleased me a lot, actually. I thought I'm not going to be able to.

Q. Is that from the tournament in Dubai?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yes. It was just right before the first-round match. In fact, I retired there.

Q. You plan on playing Miami, though, right?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I didn't feel any problem today, so that's the good news. I have now -- what's today? I have a week and a half to get ready for Miami.

Q. When you came on tour, you probably were a guy everyone was looking up to in the height, but now you're looking up at guys like Del Po. Do you think that's changed the game? Do you think there is a place for guys...
IVAN LJUBICIC: I think there is. I think we have people like David Ferrer, smaller guys who are using their feet, you know, rather than height and power. It's just that, of course, if you find the tall guy like Del Potro who is moving well and hitting groundstrokes as well as he is, of course it's a big advantage.
But I think our sport is beautiful because there is a place for absolutely everybody: lefties, righties, small guys, tall guys. We have Karlovic on tour, Olivier Rochus, who is almost half the size. So I think that's great about our sport.

Q. You can't see a day when that is a real disadvantage, being under 5'10" or 5'9"?
IVAN LJUBICIC: What is advantage? I don't think that's going to prevent you from playing. It's definitely a little advantage if you're taller and you can serve and you can move, but you have to put a lot of work in to move well with that height.
But if you are a smaller guy, I mean, you have to put in very hard work to improve your serve. Everything has advantages and upside and downside.

Q. How big is his forehand? When he won the US Open, people were talking about 100 mile an hour stuff. I don't know if that's accurate. Is it that big?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I don't feel that. I feel like if I give him off-pace balls that he can't produce anything. I just feel like with his forehand, if you give pace, then he uses your pace and then just rips it.
If he does that, yes, it's really -- it's really big shot. But as I said, I think way to play him, it's giving him a lot of off-pace balls and then attack him.
But as I said, I didn't have my legs behind me today, and of course didn't have my serve, which didn't make things easier.

Q. You served bigger than he did.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, yeah, but not nearly as big as I normally serve.

Q. When you say off pace, you mean slower balls?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah, slow, high balls.

Q. Higher balls?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Of course they have to be deep, otherwise -- yeah. He uses the pace of the opponent really well, and that's -- you know, if you find the guys like -- I'm sure he finds it really comfortable playing against a guy with all the pace, so he just use that pace and just smack it crosscourt forehand. That's his best shot.
But of course, to play off pace you have to run a lot. That's the downside of it.

Q. Are you going to stay here for the rest of the week?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, there's no rush to go down to Miami. I like here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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