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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Ivo Karlovic | Tennis 10sBalls

Editor’s note: 10sBalls thanks Noah Rubin for giving us permission to repost these great stories.

“I have spent 41 years being a human. At age 6, I picked up a racket but did not like tennis. A few years later, I fell in love with the sport. I grew up in Yugoslavia during the war. A few players managed to leave the country but we did not have much money. There were months when we could not eat much or go outside because there were planes over our city and we had to seek shelter underground. I would practice whenever there was an open court. I also played basketball until age 13. I was tall and moved well so basketball coaches made me play against 18-year-olds but I did not like that. Perhaps I could have gone to the NBA.

Starting at age 21, I spent three years ranked 300 in the world. I got down on myself because I saw my peers reach higher rankings. I did not have a coach so I traveled alone. I thought about quitting before I broke through on tour. In tennis, you cannot be realistic. You have to be a dreamer. When you are young, you are joyful and hope to be number one in the world. Then you get older and realize the road is hard and requires luck. Over time, my career became monotone and I struggled to stay motivated. I can still lift weights and sprint like I did ten years ago but have started to question myself because people say I am getting old. During the pandemic, I have struggled to compete without an audience.

I wanted to have kids during my career because I wanted them to see me in Grand Slams. My daughter is nine years old and my son is three. Over the past eight months, they have gotten used to having me home. Now it is difficult to travel to tournaments because I have to leave them.”

Ivo Karlovic (@ivokarlovic)


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Also listen to Noah Rubin’s Podcast

Behind the Racquet Pod Mike Cation & Noah Rubin/Tennis Channel Podcast Network

and check out his new clothing line!