Ivo Karlović

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Ivo Karlović
Ivo Karlovic 010311.jpg
Country  Croatia
Residence Zagreb, Croatia
Born (1979-02-28) 28 February 1979 (age 36)
Zagreb, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in)[1]
Turned pro 2000
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money $5,852,273
Career record 266–242 (at ATP Tour level, Grand Slam level, and in Davis Cup)
Career titles 6
Highest ranking No. 14 (18 August 2008)
Current ranking No. 24 (2 March 2015)[2]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 4R (2010)
French Open 3R (2014)
Wimbledon QF (2009)
US Open 3R (2003, 2008, 2011)
Career record 84–104 (at ATP Tour level, Grand Slam level, and in Davis Cup)
Career titles 1
Highest ranking No. 44 (10 April 2006)
Current ranking No. 816 (16 February 2015)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open SF (2010)
French Open 2R (2004, 2011)
Wimbledon 3R (2005)
US Open 2R (2004, 2007, 2011)
Last updated on: 16 February 2015.

Ivo Karlović (Croatian pronunciation: [ǐːv̞ɔ kâːrlɔv̞itɕ]; born 28 February 1979, Zagreb) is a Croatian tennis player. He has won six ATP singles titles: three in 2007, one in 2008, one in 2013 and one in 2015. Karlović is the tallest player ever on the ATP Tour at 211 cm (6 ft 11 in).[2] He is a serve-and-volleyer and officially held the record for the fastest serve recorded in professional tennis, measured at 251 km/h (156 mph), before being surpassed by Samuel Groth in 2012.[3] He is considered one of the best servers on tour.[4] His height enables him to serve with high speed using unique trajectory and accuracy.[5][6][7]

Tennis career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Karlović at the 2004 U.S. Open

Karlović debuted for the Croatian Davis Cup team in 2000 against Ireland, when he won the dead rubber. Karlović appeared in a starting line-up for first time in 2002 against Argentina in Buenos Aires, but he lost to Juan Ignacio Chela in the second rubber and to Gastón Gaudio in fifth and decisive rubber. He has posted a 4–2 career record (2–2 in singles) in three ties since 2000.

Karlović caused a stunning upset at 2003 Wimbledon Championships when he beat defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in his first-ever match in a Grand Slam tournament.[8] He finished the 2003 year in the Top 100 and as the Croatia No. 3, behind Ivan Ljubičić and Mario Ančić. He also averaged an ATP-best of 17.6 aces per match. He continued his success during the 2004 season, winning at Calabasas, California. He reached the round of sixteen in several tournaments, including Wimbledon.


In 2005, Karlović reached his first ATP final at the Queen's Club Championships, defeating Lleyton Hewitt and Thomas Johansson along the way. In the final he lost to Andy Roddick. There were no breaks of serve in the match. Afterwards, Roddick said Karlović's serve is "probably the biggest weapon in tennis... you don't really get a feel for it unless you are on the other side. It was not fun at times."[9]

At the 2005 US Open, Karlović lost to eventual runner up Andre Agassi in three tiebreakers. On 19 October 2005, he finally defeated Roddick in the Madrid Masters event. In November 2005, he was a member of the Croatian team that won the Davis Cup. He did not play in the finals but played in a few dead rubbers in previous rounds.[citation needed]


On 26 February 2006, he won his first ATP Doubles Tournament with South African Chris Haggard, beating James Blake and Mardy Fish in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships and the Cellular South Cup, Memphis, USA.[citation needed] On 10 April he reached a career high of No. 46 in doubles.


Karlović and Roger Federer were the only players who won titles on three different surfaces during the 2007 season.

At age 28 he won his first ATP Singles Title at the 2007 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston, Texas, defeating Mariano Zabaleta in the final. On 29 May 2007 at the French Open he defeated 8th seeded James Blake in the first round. In the next round he lost to Jonas Björkman in five sets. On 23 June 2007, he won his second title of the year and his career at Nottingham, the last grass tune-up before Wimbledon, defeating No. 7 seed Stanislas Wawrinka, Gilles Simon, Juan Martín del Potro, No. 2 seed Dmitry Tursunov (a match played on indoor hard courts due to torrential rain), and Arnaud Clément. As a result, he surpassed his career high from May of last year and broke into the top 45 for the first time. Despite a first round loss at Wimbledon, he rose to No. 40, making his top 40 debut.

On 14 October 2007 he won his third title of the year by taking the Stockholm Open, defeating former Australian Open Champion Thomas Johansson in three sets in the final.[10] Earlier Karlović had yet again met Frenchman Arnaud Clément in his quarter final, the pair having met 5 times this year alone including in the final of Nottingham earlier in the year where Karlović secured his second career title. Karlović edged past his rival after saving match point in the final set tiebreak and then went on to defeat German number 1 Tommy Haas in the semi-final.


At the 2008 Australian Open, Karlović entered the men's doubles tournament with 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) John Isner, making them the tallest doubles pair in history. Despite losing in the first round, Karlović said "It was a lot of fun. We will win together next time."[11]

Karlović defeated world number one Roger Federer 7–6, 4–6, 7–6 in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters on 31 July 2008. This was his first victory in seven matches against Federer. It was this loss which caused Federer to lose his No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal. Karlović then advanced to the semi-finals where he lost to eventual champion Andy Murray. This was his career-best result in a top-level tournament.

At the US Open, Karlovic fell to Sam Querrey in straight sets.

At the 2008 Madrid Masters, he stunned World No. 3 Novak Djokovic in two tie-breaker sets serving 20 aces to seal victory in 1 hour and 42 minutes. However he lost in the quarter-finals to Frenchman Gilles Simon being dominated in the tiebreaks. He was also lobbed over the head three times.


Ivo Karlović and Ivan Dodig in Davis Cup doubles match against Germany

At Wimbledon 2009 he powered through the first two rounds. In the next two rounds he needed only one break of serve in the third set to defeat both ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and seventh seed Fernando Verdasco advancing to face Roger Federer in his first ever quarterfinal at a Grand Slam. The match was a relatively one-sided affair, with Federer winning in straight sets and going on to win the tournament.

In the 2009 Davis Cup semifinals, Karlović was defeated by Radek Štěpánek, despite hitting a record-breaking 78 aces (the record has since been taken by American John Isner). The match was one of the longest in the history of the Davis Cup, lasting 5 h 59 min. There were only three breaks of serve in this match.[12]

Karlovic also won his first five-set match in the Davis Cup quarterfinals against the United States, where he came from behind to beat James Blake from two sets down.


Karlović met Štěpánek again at the 2010 Australian Open, in another five set marathon of a match. This time, the 13-seeded Štěpánek fell, as Ivo pulled off the victory. In all five set matches Karlovic has played, this is only his second win. He went on to reach a career best fourth round appearance there, after beating Štěpánek, Julien Benneteau (in four sets) and Ivan Ljubičić (also in four sets). After giving a solid performance, he was ousted by the second seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal in that round.

As the second seed at the 2010 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, he made a runner-up effort, losing to first-time ATP-finalist Ernests Gulbis.

In the 2010 Davis Cup, where Croatia had a first round clash with Ecuador, Karlovic defeated Nicolás Lapentti in five sets. This was his third five-set match win, following his five-set win over Štěpánek at the Australian Open. His five-set record now stands at 3–12.

Karlović was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon due to a foot injury.[13]


Karlović beat Dudi Sela in the first round of Wimbledon in straight sets, but was knocked out in the second round by Andy Murray.[14] Karlović controversially accused Wimbledon of being biased, as he was pulled up for approximately 11 foot faults.[15]


In 2013, Karlović suffered from viral meningitis, which was not immediately diagnosed. He was unconscious for some time, and when he woke up, he did not know his name or what year it was.[16] After a lengthy recovery, he was able to play again in Newport in July, where he made it to the quarterfinals, before being defeated by John Isner in one of their typical ace-fests.[17]

In Bogota, also in July, he won his fifth ATP title, after beating Alejandro Falla in the final. He did not qualify for the Rogers Cup or Cincinnati.

At the US Open, he made it through qualifying and into the second round by defeating James Blake in the last singles match of his career in five sets. In the second round, he met Stanislas Wawrinka, to whom he lost in straight sets.

Davis Cup[edit]

Karlović has been absent from some previous Croatian Davis Cup campaigns owing to his dispute with Croatian Tennis Association.[18] He further strained his relations with the Croatian Tennis Association and the Croatian Olympic Committee by his last-minute withdrawal from the Olympic tournament in Beijing, communicated via an SMS message.[19][20]

He played against Japan in the first round of 2012 in Japan with wins over Kei Nishikori and Go Soeda in singles and in doubles winning with Dodig.

Serving records[edit]

Karlović produced the fastest serve ever during a Davis Cup doubles match against Germany on 5 March 2011

On 18 September 2009, Karlović hit 78 aces (77 aces on 1st serve) in a Davis Cup match against Radek Štěpánek, breaking his previous record of 51 (against Daniele Bracciali in the 2005 Wimbledon Championships) and 55 (against Lleyton Hewitt in the 2009 French Open). Only once in his ATP career has he failed to hit an ace during a match, which was in the 2008 Monte Carlo Masters against Frenchman Gaël Monfils.[21] His record of aces in a single match was broken by both John Isner and Nicolas Mahut in the longest match in tennis history at the first round of 2010 Wimbledon Championships, where Isner hit 113 aces and Mahut hit 103.

In 2007 Karlović became the fourth player to serve 1,000 aces in a season. He finished the year with 1,318 aces, second all-time behind Goran Ivanišević, who hit 1,477 in 1996.[22]

Karlović's fastest official serve is 156 miles per hour (251 km/h), which he hit during his five-set loss in a Davis Cup first round third rubber doubles match with Ivan Dodig against Christopher Kas and Philipp Petzschner of Germany.[23] His previous record was 153 miles per hour (246 km/h) in a victory over Arnaud Clément in the final of Nottingham in 2007. This is the third-fastest first serve on record, after Andy Roddick's 155 miles per hour (249 km/h).[24][25] He also hit a 144 miles per hour (232 km/h) second serve against Paul Capdeville on 3 August 2007, which is the fastest second serve on record.[24][26][27][28]

Karlovic's record of a 156 mph serve was broken by Samuel Groth at the 2012 ATP Challenger in Busan, Karlović though still holds the record for ATP events.[3]

Personal life[edit]

  • During Karlović's childhood, his mother Gordana worked in agriculture, while his father Vlado was a meteorologist.
  • He married his wife Alsi on 29 March 2005. Their first child, Jada Valentina, was born in September 2011.[29]
  • One of his favorite activities is playing basketball.
  • Karlović wears size 16 shoes.[30]

Equipment and apparel[edit]

Karlovic currently endorses the Head Graphene Radical Pro, and wears Li-Ning clothing as well as shoes. Early on in his career, Karlovic used Head Prestige racquets, until switching to the Head Flexpoint Instinct in 2005. He continued to use the Instinct until 2012, except for a brief switch to the Babolat AeroPro Drive Cortex in 2009. In 2013, after a period of struggling to find a replacement for the Flexpoint Instinct he enjoyed, he finally switched to the Head YouTek IG Radical Pro, and proceeded to endorse the new Graphene Radical in 2014. Karlovic has previously worn apparel by Diadora and Sergio Tacchini, as well as his own brand 6’10”.

ATP career finals[edit]

Singles: 13 (6-7)[edit]

Grand Slam (0–0)
ATP World Tour Finals (0–0)
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (0–0)
ATP World Tour 500 series (0–0)
ATP World Tour 250 series (6–7)
Titles by Surface
Hard (3–4)
Clay (1–1)
Grass (2–2)
Carpet (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 23 June 2005 Queen's Club Championship, London, United Kingdom Grass United States Andy Roddick 6–7(7–9), 6–7(4–7)
Runner-up 2. 18 February 2007 SAP Open, San José, United States Hard United Kingdom Andy Murray 7–6(7–3), 4–6, 6–7(2–7)
Winner 1. 9 April 2007 U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, Houston, United States Clay Argentina Mariano Zabaleta 6–4, 6–1
Winner 2. 18 June 2007 Nottingham Open, Nottingham, United Kingdom Grass France Arnaud Clément 5–7, 6–4, 7–5
Winner 3. 14 October 2007 Stockholm Open, Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i) Sweden Thomas Johansson 6–3, 3–6, 6–1
Winner 4. 21 June 2008 Nottingham Open, Nottingham, United Kingdom (2) Grass Spain Fernando Verdasco 7–5, 6–7(4–7), 7–6(10–8)
Runner-up 3. 28 February 2010 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships, Delray Beach, United States Hard Latvia Ernests Gulbis 2–6, 3–6
Winner 5. 21 July 2013 Claro Open Colombia, Bogotà, Colombia Hard Colombia Alejandro Falla 6–3, 7–6(7–4)
Runner-up 4. 16 February 2014 U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships, Memphis, United States Hard (i) Japan Kei Nishikori 4–6, 6–7(0–7)
Runner-up 5. 24 May 2014 Düsseldorf Open, Düsseldorf, Germany Clay Germany Philipp Kohlschreiber 2–6, 6–7(4–7)
Runner-up 6. 13 July 2014 Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, Newport, United States Grass Australia Lleyton Hewitt 3–6, 7–6(7–4), 6–7(3–7)
Runner-up 7. 20 July 2014 Claro Open Colombia, Bogotà, Colombia Hard Australia Bernard Tomic 6–7(5–7), 6–3, 6–7(4–7)
Winner 6. 22 February 2015 Delray Beach Open, Delray Beach, United States Hard United States Donald Young 6–3, 6–3

Doubles: 2 (1-1)[edit]

Grand Slam (0–0)
ATP World Tour Finals (0–0)
ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (0–0)
ATP World Tour 500 series (1–0)
ATP World Tour 250 series (0–1)
Titles by Surface
Hard (1–1)
Clay (0–0)
Grass (0–0)
Carpet (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1. 20 February 2006 U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships, Memphis, United States Hard South Africa Chris Haggard United States James Blake
United States Mardy Fish
0–6, 7–5, [10–5]
Runner-up 1. 23 July 2007 Indianapolis Tennis Championships, Indianapolis, United States Hard Russia Teymuraz Gabashvili Argentina Juan Martín del Potro
United States Travis Parrott
6–3, 2–6, [6–10]

Singles performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 W–L
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A 2R 1R 1R 1R 3R 2R 4R 1R 3R 1R 1R 2R 10–12
French Open LQ 1R 1R 2R 2R 1R 1R A 1R 1R A 3R 4–9
Wimbledon 3R 4R 1R 1R 1R 1R QF A 2R 2R A 1R 11–10
US Open 3R 1R 2R 1R 1R 3R 1R A 3R 1R 2R 2R 9–11
Win–Loss 4–2 4–4 1–4 1–4 1–4 4–4 5–4 3–1 3–4 3–4 1–2 3–4 1–1 34–42
ATP World Tour Masters 1000
Indian Wells Masters A 1R 2R 2R LQ 3R 3R 2R QF 1R 2R 2R 10–10
Miami Masters A 1R 1R 1R 1R 2R 2R 3R 1R 2R LQ 2R 3–10
Monte-Carlo Masters A A 1R 1R A 2R 2R A A A A 1R 2–5
Rome Masters A 3R LQ A LQ 3R 2R A 1R LQ A 2R 6–5
Madrid Masters A 1R QF A 3R QF 2R 2R 1R 1R A A 9–8
Hamburg Masters A A 1R A A 3R Not Masters Series 2–2
Canada Masters A 1R 1R A 2R A 1R A 3R A Q2 2R 4–6
Cincinnati Masters A 3R LQ A 1R SF 2R A 2R A Q2 1R 8–6
Shanghai Masters Not Masters Series 1R A A A A 3R 2–2
Paris Masters LQ LQ A A 2R 1R 2R A A A Q1 1R 2–4
Win–Loss 0–0 4–6 4–6 1–3 4–5 12–8 6–9 2–3 7–6 1–3 1–1 6–8 48–58
Career Statistics
Titles–Finals 0–0 0–0 0–1 0–0 3–4 1–1 0–0 0–1 0–0 0–0 1–1 0–4 5–12
Year End Ranking 73 61 70 98 22 25 37 73 56 97 78 27

Doubles performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2014 W–L
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open 3R 1R QF 1R 1R 2R SF 1R 1R 1R 11–10
French Open 2R 1R 1R 1R 2R 2–5
Wimbledon 1R 3R 2R 2R 4–4
US Open 2R 1R 2R 1R 2R 1R 3–6
Win–Loss 4–4 2–3 3–3 1–2 0–2 1–2 4–1 3–4 1–3 0–1 19–25


  1. ^ "Ivo Karlovic: A Game Of Inches". ATP. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Ivo Karlovic – Tennis Players - ATP World Tour". 
  3. ^ a b "Aussie Groth Hits Speedy Serves". 
  4. ^ "Ivo Karlovic". ontennis.com. 
  5. ^ Federer says Ivo has best serve in the game
  6. ^ Roddick handles Karlovic, serve
  7. ^ Tom Perrotta – Ivo has the best serve
  8. ^ "Hewitt crashes out". BBC News. 23 June 2003. Retrieved 23 June 2003. 
  9. ^ Roddick says Ivo's serve is biggest weapon in tennis
  10. ^ "Karlovic Wins Behind Serve". New York Times. 14 October 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2007. 
  11. ^ "Aussie Open day three quotes". BBC News. 16 January 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2010. 
  12. ^ BBC World Sport Today 19 September 2009.
  13. ^ "Ivo Karlovic Withdraws from Wimbledon with Foot Injury". 
  14. ^ "Wimbledon 2012". Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  15. ^ Briggs, Simon (28 June 2012). "Wimbledon 2012: Ivo Karlovic questions tournament's integrity after bitter defeat at hands of Andy Murray". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Karlovic: I Didn't Know My Name"
  17. ^ "Isner Sinks Karlovic in Ace Fest"
  18. ^ "Kaotična godina hrvatskog tenisa". Index.hr (in Croatia). 31 December 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  19. ^ "Misterij Karlović: Čovjek koji je Olimpijske igre otkazao SMS-om". Sportske novosti (in Croatian). 8 August 2008. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  20. ^ "Mateša: Karlović je iskazao potpuno odsustvo odgovornosti". Vjesnik (in Croatian). 8 August 2008. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  21. ^ Monte Carlo Masters. "Ferrer, Davydenko Advance in Straight Sets". Monte Carlo Masters. Retrieved 17 April 2008. 
  22. ^ Karlovic hits 1,000th ace
  23. ^ Karlovic serves up record 156 mph blast
  24. ^ a b Karlovic Stats
  25. ^ 153mph serve
  26. ^ [1]. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  27. ^ [2]. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  28. ^ [3]. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  29. ^ "Tenisač Ivo Karlović i supruga Alsiona postali roditelji djevojčice" (in Croatian). Večernji list. 17 September 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  30. ^ ATPtennis.com – Players – Profiles – Career Highlights & Biography

External links[edit]

Preceded by
United States Andy Roddick
Fastest serve world record holder
6 March 2011 – 12 May 2012
Succeeded by
Australia Samuel Groth