Appreciating the 6ft 11in, big-serving Ivo Karlovic on his 39th birthday

Shahida Jacobs

He is unlikely to ever get a mention when it comes to discussions about the greatest players, but there is still plenty to appreciate about Ivo Karlovic.

The Croatian turns 39 today and while he doesn’t feature on lists about most Grand Slams titles won or most ATP singles trophies won, he still has several records to his name.

Having turned professional in 2000, this season marks his 18th on the Tour and he has won eight singles titles to date. The first coming in 2007 at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships and the last at the Los Cabos Open in Mexico in 2016, which is a record for oldest player to win a title since the inception of the ATP World Tour.

In 2017, he told the ATP website that his fellow pros don’t like practicing with him.

“It’s not that often that I get to practice with another player,” he said. “They aren’t used to my game and they can’t find a rhythm.

“They don’t really like to practice with me, but I don’t have a problem with that. I have to see my coach almost every day on the other side of the net.”

But that has not held him back as he is still going strong and in January this year he became the oldest player in 40 years to reach the Australian Open third round when he beat Yuichi Sugita in five sets.

In case you were wondering, he served 53 aces during the four hour 33 minute encounter and in the first round he also set a record for most aces served during the 2017 Melbourne Grand Slam as he smashed 75 against Horacio Zeballos.

Staying with aces, he has served more than 12,300 aces, and counting, during his career, which puts him well clear of Roger Federer’s 10,414 while the retired Goran Ivanisevic is third on 10,131.

His record for most aces in a single match is 78, set in the Davis Cup in 2009, but it is well short of John Isner’s 113 and Nicolas Mahut’s 103. To be fair to Karlovic, Isner and Mahut did play 183 games at Wimbledon in 2010 so they had plenty of opportunities to hit triple figures.

He is also second behind Ivanisevic when it comes to most aces during a season as the 1,446 he served in 2015 is 31 shy of the former Wimbledon champion’s record of 1,477. He has broken the 1,000 aces per season barrier on several occasions.

Then there is the speed of his serves.

Back in 2011 he set a world record for fastest serve as he sent down a ball at 156mph during Croatia’s doubles Davis Cup tie against Germany. Surprisingly it wasn’t an ace.

That record has since been beaten by Sam Groth of Australia, Frenchman Albano Olivetti and Isner.

If that’s not enough, Karlovic is also pretty funny on Twitter as he is never shy of answering questions from fans.

He also likes to poke fun at himself.

So while he won’t go down as one of the GOATs, there is still plenty to appreciate about Dr. Ivo.