Pronounced: ee-vo CAR-lo-vitch
Birthplace: Zagreb, Croatia
Residence: Zagreb, Croatia
Height: 6'10'' (208 cm)
Weight: 230 lbs (104 kg)
Turned Pro: 2000
Current ATP Ranking - Singles: 73
Career High ATP Ranking - Singles: 14 (18-Aug-08)
Current ATP Race - Singles: N/A
Current Stanford ATP Doubles Ranking: 81
Career High Stanford ATP Doubles Ranking: 44 (10-Apr-06)
Ivo Karolvic is known as the tallest player in men’s professional tennis. At 6’ 10” he has as a lofty view of the court, from which he unleashes powerful serves that can astonish as they unnerve.
But there is more to Ivo than physical height and a booming delivery.
Born in Zagreb, Croatia, on February 28, 1979, Ivo Karlovic had a humble start to life. The son of middle class parents, Ivo did not enjoy the privilege often associated with the game tennis. His father Vlado, a meteorologist, and his mother Gordana, an agricultural worker, made up for their modest means with plenty of moral support, having encouraged both Ivo and his older sister, Anna, to take up a sport when they were young.
Ivo took up tennis at age six and hit the court at every opportunity. Practicing without the benefit of a coach, the strong-willed Ivo found himself drawn by the energy and precision the game demands. Watching match after match on television, he later found his greatest inspiration in Boris Becker and Goran Ivanašević, a fellow Croat who also has a strong serve.
Strength and inspiration would get Ivo through the strain of Croatia’s war of independence (1991 – 1995), during which money was scarce and access to tennis courts prohibitively expensive. Redirecting his passion, Ivo developed an interest in basketball, never losing his love for tennis. During evenings, he would visit practice courts, where he would serve for hours at a time.
Ivo credits these sessions, not his height, for his punishing serve.
Peace was eventually restored to the Balkan region, but money was still tight for the Karlovic family. With neither the assistance of the Croatian tennis association nor funding from a sponsor, Ivo began playing local club matches, managing to earn and save enough money to travel to tournaments where he could play for more money, and ranking points. Following high school graduation, he kept moving forward, joining Croatia’s Davis Cup team and turning professional in 2000.
Ivo experienced a career turning point at Wimbledon in 2003, when he shocked the tennis world by beating defending champion Lleyton Hewitt, winning his first Grand Slam match. It was poignant victory for the young man, who at the time was a relative unknown ranked at 203.
Life took another happy turn in 2005 when Ivo married his wife Alsi.
Then, in 2006, life delivered a damaging serve when the quiet giant injured his left knee and found himself out of competition for several months. But, he recovered and has returned to a rigorous workout schedule in which he practices as much as six hours per day in order to broaden his skill base and build his overall strength.
Today, Ivo spends most of his time on the tennis circuit or traveling between his homes in Croatia and Miami. When he isn’t in a hotel or on the court, he enjoys visiting the cities where he plays, watching comedies, and cheering for his favorite basketball team, Miami Heat.