Researchers are expecting a large fever epidemic between 15 and 22 October around Antwerp: tennis fever! Fortunately we’ll have a doctor in the house at the Antwerp Lotto Arena, Dr. Ivo Karlovic.
Ivo Karlovic is a regular feature of the upper echelons of men’s tennis. The Croatian’s nickname comes from former pro David Gilbert. The American became a tennis pundit after his professional career and came up with a nickname for virtually every player. Some sources suggest Karlovic got his nickname because of his PhD in serving.
Serve machine Karlovic’s biggest asset is his ferocious serve. Standing at 2m11 tall, he is literally the biggest player in the top 100 and it’s no coincidence he’s the all-time leader in terms of aces scored. At the time of writing his tally is up to 12,242 aces in 626 games. Roger Federer is second with 10,169 aces in 1.310 games. Goran Ivanisevic, a fellow Croat, is third.
Karlovic’s fastest serve was a whopping 251 km/h, only bettered by Sam Groth (263) and Albano Olivetti (257).
Despite the ripe age of 38 Karlovic is still as fit as ever. Earlier this year at the Australian Open Karlovic won a maraton game against Horacio Zeballos. After over five hours of tennis, 84 games and a record number of 75 aces he was the winner of the duel.
But Dr. Ivo is more than just a serve monster. He played 18 ATP finals, winning eight. That takes more than just a fiery serve. If you know four of his tournament wins came on hardcourt, the surface of the European Open, you realise Karlovic is a dangerous outsider in Antwerp.