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Ivanisevic Wins And Revels In Football Road-Trip





Goran Ivanisevic got the first of what he hoped would be two victories on Wednesday, as he defeated Greg Rusdedski 7-6(2), 7-6(6) at the Statoil Masters Tennis, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Half an hour later, the 2001 Wimbledon champion was on the way to the West Midlands, hoping to see his favourite football team, West Bromwich Albion, pull off a famous victory over Manchester City. However, on Ivanisevic’s first time at the Hawthorns, the ‘Baggies’ went down to Manchester City 3-2.  Not even that dampened his mood. The Croatian had spent eight years waiting for a chance to see a WBA home game, and he was given a rousing reception by the fans when presented on the pitch at half-time. 


Afterwards, Goran spoke to the media, had a chat with WBA coach Steve Clarke and then returned to London. 


"It was a great experience for me," said Ivanisevic. "I had waited a long time for this and the fans made a great atmosphere even when City were playing so well. We came back at the end and I will always remember this trip."


He will be back to entertain the crowds at the Royal Albert Hall again on Thursday when he partners Sergi Bruguera against Mark Philippoussis and Fabrice Santoro in the afternoon session.

The Grand Opening of the Statoil Masters Tennis launched in the evening with the UK’s top sporting stars and celebrities attending and supporting child health charity Best Beginnings.

Those who attended included: Tim Henman, Sir Steve Redgrave, Alistair McGowan, Judy Murray, Katherine Grainger, Andrew Castle, Greg Rusedski, Heather Watson, Lewis Moody, Kyran Bracken, Il Divo, Michelle Heaton, Lilah Parsons and Virginia Wade.

Henman said: “I’m thrilled to be playing at the Royal Albert Hall again with my old rivals and to support Best Beginnings. As a father of three I know how important it is to give children the best possible start in life.”

Following the red carpet arrivals, Wednesday’s evening singles match came to an abrupt end after Mark Philippoussis was forced to retire with a back injury. The Australian trailed Henman 4-5, and injured his back in his service motion to start the 10th game.

Henman entertained the crowd at the Royal Albert Hall as he knocked up with the ball girls, a member of Il Divo who was in attendance, and two members of the audience. But after several minutes of treatment, it was deemed Philippoussis was not fit to continue.

"It was really unfortunate," said Henman. "It's a great new surface this year and I think it really benefits the players. You feel like you can construct rallies out there. I think we played some good tennis at times. To end like that is really unfortunate for Mark, hopefully he can recover quickly."

Philippoussis said: "Obviously it’s not the way you want to finish on the court, especially for such a beautiful cause. It's a great event so it's incredibly disappointing. I was having a great time out there, it's a great court, so I hope I can rest it for a couple of days, and hopefully see if I can get out there on Friday."

In the Legends Tournament, former World No. 5 Henri Leconte defeated Jeremy Bates 7-6(2), 7-5 in Group B.




ATP Champions Tour Singles 
Group A Henman, Philippoussis, Santoro 
Group B Ivanisevic, Rafter, Rusedski 

Legends Singles 
Group A Bruguera, Ferreira, McEnroe 
Group B Bates, Leconte, Wilander 

Wednesday 4th December 

Ivanisevic d. Rusedski 7-6, 7-6

Leconte d. Bates 7-6(2), 7-5

Henman d. Philippoussis 5-4 (ret)


Thursday 5th December 
At 1pm 

Leconte v Wilander 
Rafter v Rusedski 
Bruguera/Ivanisevic v Philippoussis/Santoro 

At 7.30pm 

Ferreira v McEnroe 
Bahrami/Castle v Bates/McNamara 

Friday 6th December 
At 1pm 

Philippoussis v Santoro 
Bates v Wilander 
Bahrami/Castle v Ferreira/McNamara 

At 7.30pm 


Bruguera v McEnroe 
Enqvist/Ivanisevic v Henman/Murray 

Saturday 7th December 
At 1pm 


Henman v Santoro 
Bruguera v Ferreira 
Bahrami/McEnroe v McNamara/Wilander 

At 7.30pm


Ivanisevic v Rafter 
Bates/Murray v Leconte/Rusedski 

Sunday 8th December 
At 12 noon 


Legends Singles Final 
Doubles Exhibition 

At 5pm 


ATP Champions Tour Singles Final 
Doubles Exhibition 

*All timings may be subject to change and are dependent on the length of play. The Management reserves the right to alter the Order of Play at any time. 


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