Iva announced her retirement from professional tennis (at least in singles) on 29th June. She has lost her motivation after dropping to #294 in the rankings.
"I have fallen too low. I am practically back at the beginning, and would have to work like a maniac to get back to the top."
Iva will be 27 on 12th August. It's sad that she didn't make it to 30 in her career, but I respect her decision. It did feel very much as though she was just going through the motions last year and this, so her retirement comes as no great surprise.
I've been an Iva fan since the French Open 1993, so I'd like to thank her for eleven years of joy and excitement that she gave me. There was no sweeter moment than when she won the French Open 1997 - the last Grand Slam singles title by one of my players until Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon 2004!
Iva was a brilliant player, with sharp, precise groundstrokes and spreading rallies; a gritty fighter who went for her shots with relentless fury, and could hit clean winners all over the court. We can grieve because she retired, or we can rejoice because she played.
Iva is a uniquely attractive lady, with beautiful eyes and a radiant smile. I often use Iva as a basis for comparison, describing other girls from Iroda Tulyaganova to actresses Josephine Clark (Allana in Neighbours
) and Samia Ghadie (Maria in Coronation Street
) as having "an Iva-like beauty".
Her final tournament was an ITF $75k in Cagnes sur Mer at the end of April, where she beat Galina Fokina 2-6 6-4 6-4, but lost to Virginie Pichet 6-4 3-6 6-2 in the second round.
Iva's retirement comes just four months after Karina Habudová said goodbye to tennis (the first of my players to retire), and at a time when Monica Seles and Iroda Tulyaganova have both been out injured for a year. At the moment, I've just got Maria Sharapova, Daniela Hantuchová and Jelena Dokic.
But it's an exciting time of change in women's tennis, with youngsters such as Vera Zvonareva, Tatiana Golovin, Gisela Dulko, Maria Kirilenko and Karolina prem on the horizon.
The void in Croatian tennis, left by the retirements of Iva and of Goran Ivanisevic, is quickly being filled by Mario Ancic, Ivo Karlovic and Karolina prem - who reminds me very much of Iva with a little bit of Natalie Portman (Padmé in the Star Wars
prequels) thrown in for good measure.
So thank you for your tennis, Iva, and good luck with whatever you do with your life in the future.
Dr. Andrew Broad