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Wednesday, 11 July, 2001, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Press review: Goran, you genius!
Crowd celebrating
Celebrations on the streets of Split
Goran Ivanisevic's victory at Wimbledon has topped the bill in all the Croatian media.

Monday evening's prime-time news began with a 10-minute report on the match.

Only then did it cover Prime Minister Ivica Racan's important news conference earlier that day.


You probably have a lot of questions and the situation is serious, but we would like to watch our Goran Ivanisevic play

Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan

The importance of Ivanisevic's victory to Croatian national pride was underlined by Mr Racan's decision to send his deputy, Zeljka Antunovic, to welcome the star back to his hometown of Split.

Following his historic triumph, the Croatian President, Stjepan Mesic, told him, "Bravo Goran and thank you in the name of all Croatia. Thank you for putting Croatia on the golden list of Wimbledon winners".

Hours before Ivanisevic's anticipated return, celebrations were already under way in the coastal resort's cafes and squares, local newspapers reported.

Ships in the ancient port sounded their sirens, workers on building sites began throwing scaffolding around, and the bells on the old church of Sveti Duje rang out in celebration.

"He's the best," people on the street told Croatian TV. "I think everyone here in Split is going to go wild."
Jubilant street scene
Split finds a new hero

"He is a legend," another said. "He should be on our bank notes. What our football team did by coming third in the world championship is nothing compared to what Goran has done."

Lionheart

The press was no less enthusiastic. "Goran, you're a genius," says the Zagreb Vecernji list.

"For the three hours and one minute of the Wimbledon match, silence reigned in Split," the paper says. "There was not a sound except for the buzzing of flies. The only activity was from the TVs and from Goran".

"Wimbledon goes to Goran the Lionheart", the Zagreb daily Vjesnik comments.


I had to take a blood pressure tablet

Goran's father Srdjan Ivanisevic
"Dad, we've done it," Goran cried when he jumped into the box where his father Srdjan was sitting after the last Wimbledon point, the paper notes.

Darker side

Goran's father told the paper he didn't know how he had coped with the excitement of the thrilling match.

"I had to take a blood pressure tablet," he said, "otherwise I don't know what would have happened with my heart."

Scooter riders celebrate
A night to remember
Vecernji List captioned its editorial "A gambler till the very end".

It said Ivanisevic has managed to conquer his darker side, the unruly and destructive part of his personality.

"On the brink of 30, he has crossed that line which divides the great from the greatest players," the paper says.

"He has joined the greatest, and he believes this has happened with the help of God."

Goran Ivanisevic will return to a hero's welcome, and his win will intensify the sporting rivalry, especially in football and basketball, between Split and the capital, Zagreb.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

10 Jul 01 | Wimbledon 2001
Hero's homecoming for sleepy Goran
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