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Ljubicic Bows Out From Professional Tennis

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Ljubicic© Getty ImagesIvan Ljubicic played his last professional tennis match on Sunday.

Former World No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic retired from the ATP World Tour on Sunday as he lost in the first round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The Croatian was beaten by countryman, Ivan Dodig, 6-0, 6-3 at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tennis tournament.

An emotional Ljubicic was joined on court by ATP Executive Chairman & President Brad Drewett, and Tournament Director Zeljko Franulovic as he was honoured in a short, post-match ceremony.

"I had the pleasure to play on this beautiful court again," said Ljubicic, who is a three-time quarter-finalist at the Monte-Carlo Country Club and resident in Monte-Carlo. "I chose this tournament to be my last and I’m very happy that I made that decision."

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Drewett said, "Over the past 15 years, Ivan has forged an outstanding career in which he reached a career-high ranking of No.3 and won 10 career ATP World Tour singles titles. He also thrived whilst representing his country, winning an Olympic bronze medal in Athens in 2004, and leading Croatia to victory in the Davis Cup in 2005.

"As impressive as his achievements were on the court, Ivan will also be remembered for the way he carried himself away from the court. A true gentleman and ever popular amongst his peers, we thank Ivan for his first-rate contributions to the sport throughout his career, and wish him the very best for the future."

During his 15 years on tour, Ljubicic won 10 ATP World Tour titles, including an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown at the 2010 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (d. Roddick), and was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2006 (l. to Nadal). He also served on the ATP Player Council and was the European player representative on the ATP Board of Directors from August 2008 until January 2009.

The No. 59-ranked Dodig broke serve six times from 10 opportunities and won 81 per cent of points behind his first serve as he defeated the 33-year-old Ljubicic in 71 minutes. It was his seventh win of the season and sees him set up a second-round clash with either No. 13 seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain or Belgium’s Olivier Rochus.

"I think this is the first time that I'm not happy that I won the match," said Dodig. "I'm happy and proud that I played the match against such a good player who made history, especially for Croatian people, Croatian tennis.

"He had always great advice, suggestions. I think I used every word [he said] to become a better player and I have to thank him for this."

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