Tennis News Wire -
One of the wisest heads in current tennis is due to retire next month, with Ivan Ljubicic deciding that his time on court is soon to be done.
The 32-year-old Croatian father of two - his youngest child was born only recently - will step away from the game after the Monte Carlo Masters in April. He told the ATP website that the decision, wasn't easy.
The former president of the ATP Player Council and close friend with current head Roger Federer said that he plans to stay close to the sport and hopes to "continue to stay involved and contribute in some ways."
Ljubicic, whose family fled the war-torn Balkans in the early 1990s to Italy, has been a professional for 14 years, winning ten titles with a career-high ranking of third in May, 2006.
He won the Indian Wells Masters title two years ago as he defeated Serbia's current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final. Ljubicic also led Croatia to the 0205 Davis Cup title in Slovakia and claimed 2004 Olympic bronze in Athens.
Federer paid tribute to his friend as Indian Wells began with the Swiss seeking a fourth title at the venue. "It's sad seeing him retire. We've spoken at length about it. but it comes at the right time for him,
"He's in the perfect spot with family and he's had a wonderful career. He was one of the most feared players on tour and was the only guy to beat me twice in Switzerland - in Gstaad and Basle.
"He's been a wonderful friend to me on tour and beneficial to the game off-court. He's been part of the political system and has a great future ahead in his retirement in whatever he wants to do.
He's a bright man and a great person. It's sad to see him go but he's had a wonderful career and I congratulate him for that."