Role Right-handed net-rusher (one-handed backhand)
Relation(s) Vlado (father), Gordana (mother)
Ivo Karlovic is a Croatian tennis player who is famous all over the world because of his remarkable height and gigantic serve.
Standing an astounding 6'11" tall, Karlovic has made full use of his physical stature to develop one of the best serves ever seen in tennis, if not the best. He has ridden this deadly weapon to a lot of success on the ATP tour, and has even come close to breaking into the top 10 of the rankings.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: 4th Round (2010)
French Open: 3rd Round (2014, 2016)
Wimbledon: Quarterfinalist (2009)
US Open: 4th Round (2016)
Highest Ranking: No. 14
Style of play
Karlovic is an extremely serve-reliant player whose entire game is built around the first strike. He looks to set up every single point by pushing the opponent out of position with his serve.
Karlovic almost never stays rooted to the baseline, and approaches the net the first opportunity he gets. He plays from the back of the court only when pushed into defense, and hits relatively flat groundstrokes at such instances. His backhand is mostly a slice, while his forehand can be a point-ending shot.
Karlovic's height enables him to cover the net well, and he also hits a lot of overheads every match.
Strengths and weaknesses
It goes without saying that Karlovic's serve is far and away his biggest strength. He can take the racquet out of the hands of his opponent completely when he's serving well, and many players are reduced to hoping that he misses his first serve when they play against him. If there is one shot in the world of tennis to which there is no human answer, it is Karlovic's serve.
The rest of Karlovic's game pales significantly in comparison to his serve. His return is a huge weakness, and he often struggles to get even mediocre serves back in play. His backhand is also easily exploitable, as the topspin version of it is almost non-existent.
Karlovic is among the slowest movers on the court among the top 100, which is not surprising given how tall he is. His consistency from the baseline is also not great, and he makes a lot of unforced errors if he stays back too long.
The Croat has a solid net game though, and can make up for the deficiencies in his ground game by taking the ground game out of the equation. He is a very difficult player to lob, and his overheads are particularly deadly.
Karlovic was born in Zagreb, and started playing tennis at the age of six. His father Vlado works in meteorology, while mother Gordana is an agriculturist.
Karlovic's wife's name is Alsi, and the two got married in March 2005. They have two children together: a daughter named Jada Valentina (born in September 2011), and a son named Noah (born in August 2017).
Karlovic's entire career has been shaped by his unusual height, and by extension his mammoth serve. When he first burst on to the scene, at Wimbledon 2003, he shocked the entire world by serving a barrage of aces to oust defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round.
Since then, the Croat has regularly created serving records. At one point he held the record for both the fastest serve ever recorded (251 kph) and most aces in a match (78). Both those records have been subsequently broken, but Karlovic still holds the record for most aces hit over an entire career.
Always capable of upsetting a top player, Karlovic has continued playing tennis well into his late 30s, serving as model of longevity.