Nearly every tournament Ivo Karlovic plays, the Croatian has a chance to set an age-related record. But if you talk to the 42-year-old, he feels younger by the year.
“I don’t feel any weaker or slower, even though I didn’t compete a lot in the past year. I’m 42 years old, but I feel pretty much the same as I did 10 years ago,” Karlovic told ATPTour.com. “It’s just a matter of motivation and being able to win matches. Tennis-wise and physically, I’m the same.
“Even when people ask me my age, I go backwards. Next birthday, I’ll be 41.”
The No. 210 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings is outside the Top 200 this week for the first time since March 2011. But with a wild card at the Hall of Fame Open, Karlovic hopes to start moving in the right direction.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame has historically been a good venue for the 6’11” right-hander, who won the title here in 2016.
“Here I’ve done well in the past. It’s a really nice event and I’ve always liked it here. That’s why I’m really happy that I got a wild card,” Karlovic said. “Hopefully I’ll do well here and then we’ll see how it’s going to be for the rest of the year.”
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This is just Karlovic’s eighth tournament since professional tennis returned last August following a suspension of more than five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Croatian did not want to take risks during this period, so he opted to focus on training rather than traveling and playing tournaments.
“I’m 42 years old, and I’m happy that I’m still able to compete,” Karlovic said. “Even though I haven’t traveled a lot in the past year-and-a-half due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s nice to be back on Tour.”
Karlovic most recently competed in qualifying at Wimbledon, where he lost in the first round against Russian Roman Safiullin. The former World No. 14 then went to Croatia to practise for two weeks before flying to the United States.
The winner of 370 tour-level matches does not want to talk about goals at the moment given how few tournaments he has played in the past year. But he is keen to add matches to his tally, starting with his first-round clash on the Newport grass Tuesday against Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
“I just want to compete again and have fun on the court. I think that here in Newport, on these courts, I will have a chance to win matches,” Karlovic said. “I’m really happy that they gave me a wild card and hopefully I will be good and prove that I deserved it.”