Ivan Dodig is Croatia’s No. 1 doubles player at World No. 12, and the 34-year-old may play a key role at the inaugural ATP Cup. Dodig will likely partner the world’s No. 15 doubles player, Nikola Mektic, when their country competes in Group E action in Sydney against Argentina, Austria and Poland. Croatia’s other players are Borna Coric, Marin Cilic and Viktor Galovic.
ATPTour.com catches up with Dodig to find out which Croat he looked up to growing up, which shot from a countryman he’d like to add to his repertoire and more.
Which countrymen did you watch playing tennis when you were growing up?
Obviously for all us Croatian players, Goran Ivanisevic was the first guy. We were looking at him, he was our idol and I think many of us would say Goran was the main key for us to start playing tennis. He was a big inspiration for many kids and he is still the reason why I think many good Croatian players are coming on the Tour.
If you could take one stroke from any other player on your ATP Cup team and add it to your game, what would that stroke be?
I would take Cilic’s forehand. He has a powerful forehand. I think it is his best stroke. My forehand, when I played singles, was my weakest shot. I improved every year, but still I always did much better [with the] backhand. I was missing that forehand.
What are the first Australian animals that come into your head?
I know everybody is scared of the spiders there. Kangaroos.
What are the three things you love most about Croatia?
Sea, weather and food.
What do you like most about Australia?
I like Australia a lot. I always said it would be my second country I would choose to live in. It has beautiful weather, beautiful cities and amazing food. It is the perfect country to live [in]. Unfortunately for us from Europe, it is a little bit too far to travel in our sport but, in general, I very much like the country.
Which player would most likely be late for an ATP Cup dinner?
It is going to be Marin Cilic or Borna Coric. One of them. They are always a bit… It’s okay, they are stars, they are our first two players, so they can always get a little bit of credit.