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Sunday, December 4, 2005
Reluctant spectator Ivanisevic savors Davis Cup glory


BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Goran Ivanisevic reveled in Croatia's historic Davis Cup triumph over Slovakia on Sunday after being a reluctant spectator all week.

"It was tough, tough to sit down and go through all these matches," the former Wimbledon champion said after Croatia became the first unseeded nation to win the trophy with a 3-2 victory in the final.

"It's easier to play, you get out all the emotions," he said.

The 34-year-old Ivanisevic last played for Croatia in 2003 and has since retired from the ATP Tour because of nagging shoulder injuries.

However, he was named by captain Niki Pilic as Croatia's fourth player for the final.

World No. 9 Ivan Ljubicic and Mario Ancic ended up playing all five matches in the tie, relegating Ivanisevic to the sidelines.

Ivanisevic, who has appeared in a record 26 Davis Cup ties for Croatia and compiled an excellent 48-15 win-loss record, had to settle for being an inspirational cheerleader in the Sibamac Arena.

"Wimbledon I won by myself, this is different. But this comes after Wimbledon," added Ivanisevic, who has said he would would like to become Croatia's Davis Cup captain in the future.

A fiercely proud Croat, Ivanisevic won two bronze medals at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, was three times a Wimbledon runner-up and finally clinched an emotional Grand Slam title at the All England Club in 2001.