- TENNIS - Ivanisevic criticized for news-conference remark

Wednesday, July 11
Ivanisevic criticized for news-conference remark

Goran Ivanisevic was given a hero's welcome home to Croatia on Tuesday. But a remark he made at the Monday news conference following his exciting Wimbledon championship victory isn't winning him friends in the gay community.

After his five-set victory against Patrick Rafter in the final, which was delayed a day because of rain Sunday, Ivanisevic was asked about throwing his racket and kicking the net after a lines judge made a call he didn't like.

"Another second serve, really huge and that ball was on the line," Ivanisevic said in broken English. "And that guy, a little you know, he looks like a faggot a little bit," he said. "This hair all over him. And he called it. I couldn't believe he did it."

The news conference also included an Ivanisevic insult about another lines judge who called a foot fault on him in the fifth set.

"That ugly, ugly lady," Ivanisevic said. "She was really ugly, you know. Very serious. I was kind of like scared, you know."

Ivanisevic, known for making outrageous comments, entertained the media at Wimbledon with discussion of three Gorans: a good, a bad and an emergency one.

However, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation complained about not only the remarks, but also their lack of attention by the media.

"GLAAD is concerned that an athlete can casually drop a word like 'faggot' in a high-profile media interview, and not only is there very little media coverage of his comment, but several reporters in the room can be heard laughing at it," said Scott Seomin, entertainment media director for GLAAD. "If Ivanisevic had used the 'n-word' to refer to a linesman, I doubt that press reaction would have been this muted. I hope the media does not have a double-standard when responding to public expressions of bigotry."

The International Tennis Federation regularly fines players for not showing up at news conferences. was unable to reach the organization Wednesday to inquire about possible penalities for Ivanisevic in regards to his Monday comments.

This is not the first time Ivanisevic has used such language.

At the Masters Series in Indian Wells, Calif., earlier this year, a reporter asked Ivanisevic if breaking a racket is mostly in the wrist. Ivanisevic responded: "Hey, sometimes I watch the TV, and then I see the guys when they throw the rackets. They throw it like a faggot, you know. They throw it not to throw it."

The ATP, which puts on the Masters Series events, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Until he won Wimbledon on Monday, Ivanisevic had received little media attention of late. His world ranking had dropped to 129 at the end of 2000, and his last appearance in a final came in 1999.

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