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Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Sunday, 29 June 2008 17:06 UK

Ancic targets Wimbledon success

By David Ornstein

Mario Ancic
Ancic remains the last man to beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon

Former semi-finalist Mario Ancic is adamant he can cap a remarkable return from illness and injury by upsetting the favourites to win Wimbledon.

The big-serving Croatian plummeted from inside the world's top 10 to 136 after missing most of the 2007 season.

But the 24-year-old, who plays Fernando Verdasco in round four, told BBC Sport: "It is my dream to win Wimbledon.

"I can do it - if you don't have the belief that you will win it and have what it takes you have no chance."

Ancic was diagnosed with mononucleosis (glandular fever) in March 2007 and, after it was found to be worse than first feared, he missed numerous Masters Series tournaments, the French Open and Wimbledon.

A broken bone in his shoulder ruled Ancic out of the US Open and he missed this year's Australian Open with a stomach virus.

But Ancic subsequently reached a final in Marseille and a semi-final in Zagreb - while a straight-sets victory over Verdasco at Queen's gives him the psychological edge ahead of their last 16 clash at Wimbledon.

Every Grand Slam is special but Wimbledon is the biggest for me - it always has been and always will be but this year I want to make my mark

Mario Ancic

"I'm full of confidence, I know how well I'm playing and I have worked really hard to be here," said Ancic.

"This time last year I was not even close to playing tennis again. I'm on my way back, I'm feeling great and I want to keep it going."

Ancic arrived at this year's Championships ranked 43 in the world and regarded by many as the most dangerous unseeded player in the men's draw.

As an 18-year-old in 2002, Ancic beat Roger Federer on his All England Club debut and he remains the last man to overcome the world number one on grass.

In 2004, ranked 63, he reached the Wimbledon semi-finals before losing to Andy Roddick in four sets.

Two years later, and soon to reach a career-high ranking of seven, Ancic lost to Federer in the quarter-finals after ousting Stanislas Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic.

Victory against Verdasco on Monday is likely to set up a last-eight meeting with Federer and Ancic is confident he can go all the way.

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"When I play well on grass, people know I can really play," said Ancic, who sent down 23 aces during his enthralling third-round win against fifth seed David Ferrer.

"I was expected to play well in 2006 because I was in the top 10 and I did - beating Djokovic and Wawrinka before losing to Roger.

"I love playing under pressure. Against Ferrer, I showed people how good I can play and that I still have it in me.

"Every Grand Slam is special but Wimbledon is the biggest for me. It always has been and it always will be but this year I want to make my mark.

"I showed against Ferrer that what I had inside me before the illness is still there. I know how good I can play and beating him in such an important match gives me a lot of confidence.

"Given what has happened - I didn't even play on grass last year - it was impossible to expect a lot of me but I always believes in myself. I've proved that I can fight anything that comes my way."


see also
Murray powers into fourth round
28 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Nadal on course after solid win
28 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Murray will make it, says Ancic
23 May 08 |  Tennis
Ancic joins Wimbledon absentees
21 Jun 07 |  Tennis


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