Ljubicic career ends with heavy defeat
Ivan Ljubicic has bowed out of professional tennis with a whimper as he lost in straight sets to Ivan Dodig at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The 33-year-old announced earlier this year that the Principality event would be his final tournament as a pro and he was looking for a decent run in the event to finish with a bang. But Dodig was far too strong and ran out a 6-0 6-3 winner in just one hour and 11 minutes to end the career of a man that he had looked up to over the past 15 years. The Croatian reached number three in the word rankings a few years ago and was a semi-finalist at the French Open back in 2006 but, despite being a well-respected player, he never really threatened in the Grand Slam events, failing to make it past the third round at Wimbledon and the US Open. He did reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 2006 and claimed a Masters Series event at Indian Wells just two years ago, but age has caught up with the Monte Carlo resident and he has decided to call it a day. He received a standing ovation from a small crowd on Sunday and was given a special award by ATP boss Brad Drewett and tournament director Zeljko Franulovic, while a video tribute was played on the big screen. Ljubicic was in tears after the match but pulled himself together to speak to reporters and he admitted that it was always going to be emotional to end what has been his life since 1998. "I felt like it could end up emotional but I didn't expect it this big, this emotional," he said. "Obviously, it's the end of something beautiful for me. "It was a tough day for me both on the court and off the court. I knew my mind was everywhere else but on the tennis court." Dodig admitted that his compatriot was someone that he idolised in the early part of his career and was unhappy to be the man who had to bring the curtain down on his playing days. "I think this is the first time that I'm not happy to win the match," he said "All players like me, like Mario Ancic, we learnt from him."