Tournaments and Next Gen, Italy as a model for France: word from Ljubicic

“You can’t just copy and paste a system to another country, but what the Italian Federation has done is really interesting. They have taken some important decisions like creating the Supertennis TV channel and organizing the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. You have to see where they were and where they are now, after forty years of difficulty they are back to being successful”. Ivan Ljubicic praised the choices of the Italian Tennis and Padel Federation, and the effects of the Italian system in men’s tennis, in a long interview with Tennis Majors.

The former world number 3 and Roger Federer’s coach was chosen by the French Federation (FFT) to follow the best young players in the “Ambition 2024” program, which looks primarily at the Paris Olympics scheduled in two years’ time.

Ljubicic, called to shake up French men’s tennis and bring a winning mentality, recognizes that first of all time is needed for a path of this kind. “You can’t change your mentality in two months, or five, or in a year – he said in an interview with journalist Carole Bouchard -. Then I don’t know what a winning mentality is, but I am as I am: I always have high expectations for myself and for the people around me and I hope I can pass it on. For some it won’t be easy, but you can’t achieve greatness while staying in your comfort zone. So I know I won’t be loved by everyone.”

Great goals, underlines Ljubicic, “may or may not be achieved, but what matters is believing that you can succeed, is thinking of aiming for the stars because you can get there”.

The first to take the necessary time to lay the foundations for this long work will be Ljubicic himself who at least until the Monte-Carlo tournament in April he plans only to study the scenery. “I’m going to Potiers, to the technical center, at the beginning of the year. And to Tarbes [per il torneo giovanile Les Petits As]. Obviously I will go back to Paris, I want to go and visit the big circles, the centres, see as many people as possible to get to know the structure and the mentality” explained the Croatian.

Ljubicic is also looking at the Paris 2024 Olympics, aware that the Games are just around the corner and miracles remain impossible. “I want to help France win some medals. I remember, I was in Sydney in 2000 when Arnaud Di Pasquale won the bronze medal by beating Roger Federer, it would be special if at least one Frenchman won a medal in Paris.”

Having a winning reference player, a positive example to follow, would speed up the process of rebirth, explains Ljubicic. “Look at what is happening with the Croatian national football team, and what had already happened in tennis. When you see that your friends, your compatriots, are doing well then it becomes normal to have high expectations – he said -. If people close to you are good, then you start thinking you can do well too. The hardest part is being first, because mentally it’s difficult to be able to emerge if you don’t have anyone to show you the way”.

A concept that Moses Navarra, coach of the Italian Tennis and Padel Federation in the context of the over 18 program, underlined in the interview for the ATP podcast to explain the rebirth of Italian men’s tennis.

Is exactly Italy, together with Canada, becomes the example to follow for Ljubicic, that the Italian system already knew him as a player when he arrived at the Pleiades in Moncalieri, welcomed by the president Carlo Bucciero and then coached by Riccardo Piatti.

“I know the Italian Federation well – concluded Ljubicic -. They have done a lot, they organize more Challengers and international tournaments than they do in France and it is something I want to analyze. Of course, I think they too have made mistakes, but if you try changing things to be successful is normal. If you want to make a difference you have to make difficult decisions and you will undoubtedly make mistakes. But Italy has done something very interesting.”

Tournaments and Next Gen, Italy as a model for France: word from Ljubicic