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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Hewitt ends Ivanisevic dream
By Nick Crowther
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Goran Ivanisevic
I am sad to leave but I am happy there's no more practising
Goran Ivanisevic has played his last match at Wimbledon after losing to Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets.

The 32-year-old, who won here in 2001 but had to delay his return because of injury, was cheered on by the Centre Court crowd from the moment he walked out.

But ultimately the Croat veteran just could not match the devastating returns of the 2002 winner.

Ivanisevic said he had no regrets after playing his final match at Wimbledon.

"I knew it was my last match and my last point but for me it was a victory to be here and to play two matches and to play against a Wimbledon champion is amazing.

"Everything was perfect - the weather, the crowd and the court. I enjoyed myself. I am sad to leave but I am happy there's no more practising.

I'm proud of myself and everything I did in my career
Goran Ivanisevic
"Fifteen years I've been doing this and I've enjoyed every moment," he said.

Ivanisevic saved 11 of the 13 break points against him in the first set but, after losing a crucial fourth game, was always up against it.

He struggled and slipped as Hewitt, 23, sent him scrabbling around the court.

And Ivanisevic looked on in despair as the Australian sent two perfectly-delivered topspin lobs over his head, one to break for the second time and take the first set 6-2.

The second set went with serve and there were always touches of the Ivanisevic brilliance with his booming serve and delicate volleys.

But a single break put Hewitt 5-3 up and he served out for a 2-0 lead.

The third was another tight tussle but the Australian used another lob and sent Ivanisevic diving for a volley before sending a forehand into an unguarded court to break for 5-4.

Hewitt was unsentimental as he closed out a 6-2 6-3 6-4 victory but then spoke with the Croat over the net for some time before Ivanisevic walked off to a standing ovation, wearing his beloved Croatian football top.

Hewitt admitted that he felt awkward at ending Ivanisevic's rollercoaster career at Wimbledon.

The seventh seed now faces Spain's Carlos Moya in the fourth round.

He said: "It was a weird feeling knowing that, if I won, one of the most likeable guys on the tour who is loved by all the crowd would be playing his last match.

"But I blocked it out the best I could knowing there was opportunity to get into the second week at Wimbledon."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Highlights: Wimbledon day five



Interview: Goran Ivanisevic





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