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Six Things About Being 6' 10"

US Open 2007

Ivo KarlovicATPIvo Karlovic shares the highs and lows of being 6' 10".

Standing 6' 10'', big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic is the tallest player to ever compete on the ATP World Tour. 'Doctor Ivo' is enjoying a career-best season, winning two titles (Houston, Nottingham) from three finals, reaching a career-high ranking of No. 30 and amassing a 28-16 record through the US Open - his only positive win-loss ratio since he went 9-7 in 2003. 

Karlovic is almost unbreakable. In 2007 he is winning an ATP-high 94 percent of service games - that's better than Roddick (92%), Federer (88%) and Nadal (88%). On the flipside, he's only winning 10 percent of return games (up from 8 percent in 2006). Not something to sing about at your high school reunion, but it's a combination good enough to get him to a tie-break most of the time. Indeed, 31 of his 44 matches this year have featured at least one tie-break. 

On and off the court, there are advantages and disadvantages of being so tall. Here's Ivo's take on the good and the bad of being 6' 10:

THE UPSIDE 

Serving
It's an advantage on serve, but I don't want to say I'm only a good server because I am tall. When I was younger that was the shot that I practiced a lot. It was the only possibility in Croatia where I lived because my parents didn't have a lot of money. In the evening when the courts were empty I would serve for hours. 

Center of Attention
When I go out with friends we never get separated, even in a crowd. I am like their navigation system. 

Attention Grabbing
When I was not married women were curious... 

THE DOWNSIDE 

Planes
Air travel is obviously one of the worst things about being so tall. The only way to fly comfortably is in business class or in an exit row in economy. When I flew to Australia five years ago I was in economy. No-one in the exit rows would switch with me. It was a horrible flight. After that I never flew economy to Australia. In the U.S. it's difficult flying on those small regional aircraft, but at least they are only short flights. I put one leg in the aisle and one leg in half of the other person's space. I say I'm really sorry, but what can I do?

Clothing
It's very difficult to find clothes I would like to wear. Shoes are okay. I'm a size 16.

Standing Out
Whenever I go out people notice me and sometimes I would like to be inconspicuous and just have a good time with my friends. Especially in the US people are open and every day they ask me how tall I am. Most people assume I am a basketballer. And if I ever get in trouble with the law, I cannot hide from the police.


TOWERING FORCES
(Tallest players in the Top 200 ATP World Tour Rankings)

Height

Player

Ranking

6' 10''

Ivo Karlovic

30

6' 9''

John Isner

184

6' 8''

Dick Norman

131

6' 7''

Chris Guccione

93

6' 6''

Sam Querrey

48

6' 6''

Joachim Johansson

152

6' 6''

Victor Hanescu

157


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