40 springs and time doesn’t seem to pass Ivo Karlovic. One of those men who enhance the sport of racket and who demonstrates every season that he still has the time to stay competitive. It is not easy to play tennis measuring more than 210 centimeters, overcome an encephalitis that almost cost him his life and be competitive in one of the most glorious times of tennis. After a new season staying within the top 100, Karlovic reviews how difficult it was to overcome this disease and how last year he was about to hang up his racket.
-The Croatian remembers what his feelings were when witnessing the first symptoms of encephalitis:
“I remember being at my Miami house in 2013 and I started noticing how my arm was tingling. I woke up at eight in the morning and I thought the reason for those discomforts was that I had slept in an uncomfortable position. After a few minutes, my wife asked me a question and the corner of my lips started to drop. As the hours passed I lost feeling in my arm and my ability to speak. At the end of the day I didn’t know my name or what year we were in. When the doctors asked me some questions, I couldn’t even answer. There were days when I woke up and thought if I was really alive. I had a lot of headaches and they did various tests. I was diagnosed with encephalitis, that is , an inflammation in the brain, “he said in statements collected by the official website of the ATP.
-The complication of returning to the slopes after illness:
“When I was discharged, I realized that he was a different man, giving a lot of importance to life. When the encephalitis disappeared, I decided to go back to playing tennis. Returning to the courts was difficult, as I gradually trained. The first day I trained five minutes, the second eight and the third ten. It was not easy and I was worried because there was still a risk that the encephalitis would return. I was always afraid of dying, but after this experience I knew that if it ever happens, it will happen ” .
-Difficulty in your beginnings as a professional tennis player:
“Things were not easy when I became a professional tennis player. I didn’t get into the top 100 until I was 24 years old and there were times when I thought I never would. It was difficult to play many club matches in some places in Croatia , Germany or Slovenia in order to earn money to be able to travel to more events on the circuit. As the ranking progressed, the situation improved and I managed to stabilize myself on the circuit and also financially. “
-Last year you lost hope for playing tennis:
“Last season was very tough. I lost the desire to train and compete. At Roland Garros I played with the thoughts of wanting to go home now. When I lost it was not as painful as before. I was 39 and had two children at home. Things They were not going as I wanted and I went down a lot in the ranking. I had to fight against myself. I set myself a goal: to play the Australian Open 2020. If I had not achieved the classification I would have withdrawn from professional tennis. I decided to play five Challenger tournaments at end of the year so I could get into the main draw in Melbourne. I had no margin for error but eventually things went well for me. I managed to qualify and also made it to the Pune final. I hope I can keep up the good momentum when tennis returns to The normality”.