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Ivo Karlovic: Finding The Right Height

Karlovic© Getty ImagesKarlovic says that his long legs present a challenge both on and off the court.

Has there ever been a time when you felt like you couldn’t move your legs on a flight? Or have you had trouble readjusting the height of a stationary bike at the gym?

Then spare a thought for Ivo Karlovic, who at 6’ 10’’, has really got it tough! The 33-year-old Croat, known for his imposing serve and presence at the net, not only has to find solutions to everyday problems such as travelling and sleeping, he has to work overtime in the gym just to keep his lengthy frame in shape.

Below, Karlovic talks to ATPWorldTour.com about the areas of fitness he works on the most, and the pros and cons of being the ATP’s tallest player.


Compeed 

How do you manage the intricacy in travelling long distances, given the combination of your height and the amount of leg room airplanes offer?
It is not easy. On the airplane, there is not a lot of leg room. I’m fortunate enough to be able to fly in business class. I remember when I was younger flying in economy class, it was very hard to fit my legs. I try to move around a lot during the flight and drink a lot of water.

As a taller player, what areas of fitness do you have to address more compared to your peers?
My legs of course. It isn’t easy to move on the court. And also endurance, because of my weight, it isn’t always easy to carry it. I always have to run with it, so it is a challenge. I try and work on endurance a lot.

Are there any particular exercises/stretches you do to help with your booming serve?
I stretch a lot to loosen it. And I do a lot of exercises with my upper body to stay strong.

What physical advantages and disadvantages do you possess as being the tallest guy on tour?
I’m stronger than a lot of the other guys. That’s what I like to think! I also have a lot more reach. I can hit the serve from a much higher point. But the big disadvantage is that I also have to go down. It can be hard to go up and down with how far I have to do it. And then movement is also tough.

Why do you think you’ve been able to find longevity on tour?
It’s because I didn’t start really young. I started as a professional when I was almost 22. It also helps that my game does not involve a lot of long points.

You like to come in to net. How has stretching helped you get down for the lower volleys?
I do a lot of stretching exercises, because of that reason, and because it also helps prevention from injuries. It’s very important overall for my game and body.

For taller recreational players, what would you recommend he/she add to their training program?
They should do a lot of exercises for the back. It is an easy place to injure when you’re tall. Also work on the knees. Weightlifting and endurance should also be addressed.

Which player on tour do you think…
Is the most flexible?
Novak Djokovic
Has the strongest core? Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Has the best balance? Novak Djokovic
Is the quickest? Gael Monfils
Has the greatest muscular endurance? Gael Monfils
Has the best footwork? David Ferrer

- COMPEED is an official supplier of the ATP.

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