At the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final, the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) honored former Croatian Davis Cup great Ivan Ljubičić with the 2016 Davis Cup Award of Excellence.
The award was presented on court during the 2016 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final which is being contested this weekend in Zagreb, Croatia between Croatia and Argentina. The award was presented by ITF President David Haggerty and Hall of Famer Mark Woodforde of Australia, representing the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Woodforde is also a member of the ITF Board of Directors. The ITF and the ITHF annually present the Davis Cup Award of Excellence to an individual from the home team who has made a lasting impact on that nation’s Davis Cup history and who represents the ideals and spirit of the Davis Cup competition.
A dedicated Croatian competitor, Ljubičić appeared in 22 Davis Cup ties between 1998 and 2010, compiling a singles record of 23-13 and a doubles record of 13-6. He was an instrumental member of Croatia’s 2005 championship team, which, prior to this year, was the only squad to have ever taken the nation into the final. Ljubičić won 11 out of a maximum 12 singles and doubles rubbers en route to Croatia’s triumph.
Ljubičić was honored on court this weekend in Zagreb when he was there to support the 2016 Croatian Davis Cup team in their quest to claim a second Davis Cup trophy for the nation.
“Ivan Ljubičić has been a role model and inspiration for many in our sport, notably the Croatian men competing for the title this weekend. With his talent, commitment, and demeanor, he was a great ambassador for our sport, for the Davis Cup, and for his nation. It is a pleasure to celebrate him today with the Davis Cup Award of Excellence,” commented Haggerty.
International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin, who was a member of the 1995 championship United States Davis Cup team, commented, “Ivan Ljubičić embodied Davis Cup’s spirit of sportsmanship, national pride, and excellence in every match he played. He made a positive impact on our sport and made a lasting impact on the history of tennis when he led Croatia to their first ever Davis Cup title. He is most deserving of this great recognition.”
On the ATP World Tour, Ljubičić reached a career high ranking of world No. 3 and won 10 titles. During his career, he served as president of ATP Players' Council and also served on the ATP Board of Directors while he was still an active player. Since retiring, Ljubičić has remained active in the sport, serving as a coach for top players including Roger Federer and Milos Raonic.
Traditionally an annual award, the Award of Excellence was not presented last year. Past recipients of the Davis Cup Award of Excellence have been Henri Leconte and Guy Forget of France in 2014; Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia in 2013; Ivan Lendl of the Czech Republic in 2012; Emilio Sanchez of Spain in 2011; Slobodan Zivojinovic of Serbia in 2010; Manuel Orantes of Spain in 2009; Guillermo Vilas of Argentina in 2008; Stan Smith of the United States in 2007; Alex Metreveli of Georgia in 2006; Miloslav Mecir of Slovak Republic and Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia in 2005; Manolo Santana of Spain in 2004; John Newcombe of Australia in 2003; Pierre Darmon of France in 2002; and Neale Fraser of Australia in 2001.