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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 08:51 GMT 09:51 UK
New balls, please!
Ivan Ljubicic
Ivan sees something terrible

Tennis star Ivan Ljubicic got more than he bargained for when he opened his locker - and found a naked rival inside.

The Croat's suspicions had become aroused when he went to get changed for his third-round match at the Nasdaq-100 Open and saw his clothes strewn across the dressing room floor.

But nothing prepared him for the shock of finding Frenchman Michael Llodra crouched inside the tiny wardrobe, with not so much as a strategically-placed tennis ball to hide his dignity.

Ljubicic, who recovered to beat Vincent Spadea, said: "I saw the door slightly open, so I went to open it and then, shock, complete shock - there was Michael Llodra, naked in my locker!

"He was looking at me, I was looking at him. I said, 'What the hell are you doing here?'

"He said: 'I'm trying to focus for my match'.

"I said: 'It's 10 to 10 - you're playing at 10 o'clock!'

"He replied: 'I'm trying to get positive energy from you. You're winning a lot of matches this year'."

And, it seems, there was method in his madness, with Llodra going on to win his doubles match with partner Arnaud Clement.

Michael Llodra
Didn't recognise you with your clothes on

How the 6ft 3in player managed to squeeze into the locker is another matter altogether.

"The locker, it's not a big locker, it's a small locker. It's not easy to get in that locker, I'm telling you," said Ljubicic.

"He is not a small guy but very flexible. Very, very flexible."

Ljubicic now faces Spain's Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the Miami tournament and will be more than a little nervous when he enters the dressing room.

"When I open my locker, I'll be opening it really slowly," he said. "After this I don't know what I'm going to find in there."


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