Baking, Schoolwork & UNO: Quarantine For 41-Year-Old Ivo Karlovic
Ivo Karlovic is used to serving aces. He’s hit more of them than anyone else in history with 13,599. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 41-year-old Croatian has been serving something new: dessert.
Karlovic, who is in Florida with his wife and two children, has ventured into the kitchen for the first time in decades. His eight-year-old daughter Jada started showing him recipes, and it has snowballed from there.
“We’ve been cooking at home, which I never used to do,” Karlovic told ATPTour.com. “I was maybe cooking 20 years ago when I was living alone in Paris or somewhere at an academy.
“We cooked a lot of cakes: banana, chocolate cakes, raspberry cake. We made homemade ice cream, homemade yoghurt, chicken nuggets. Almost every day she would find another recipe and we would do it. At first it was really difficult for me mentally, to prepare all the ingredients and everything. But then once you get into it it’s fun, easy and delicious.”
Those experiences, like baking with his daughter, have been the highlight of Karlovic’s quarantine. In recent years he has greatly missed his family while travelling to tournaments, so spending an extended period of time at home has been nice.
“That was a little bit new for me, because usually we always travel. To be home for three months now, it’s been awesome,” Karlovic said. “I was spending a lot of time with my kids and with my wife, and it was great. I cannot say that I really miss travelling that much.”
Karlovic has even attempted to put his professor cap on, as his daughter finished her school year online due to the virus.
“It was fun. I was helping her out, especially in the beginning. I noticed the less I was helping her, the more she was into it. The more she was doing lessons that she wanted to do was when I was helping her less. I guess maybe she didn’t want to be told always also how to do it,” Karlovic said. “At first it was stressful a little bit because I wanted to do everything perfectly. I wanted to explain to her everything, but I am not a teacher, so I definitely realised how teaching in school is a difficult job. All those teachers that are working every day with the kids are amazing people. It’s definitely not easy.”
Playing games like UNO and running around with the kids in the backyard has provided plenty of fun moments
“It’s definitely nice. It’s a lot more calm life, less stress,” Karlovic said. “Almost no stress compared to travelling and matches and the competition and everything that goes with tennis. Definitely a lot easier life.”
Karlovic has recently returned to training, and he’s waiting for news on when play might resume to gear his efforts towards that. At 41, he is still No. 124 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, and the Croatian feels that he still has the game to return to the Top 100.
“I am not that far away. I’m No. 124. To be in the main draw of a Grand Slam, you need to be around 100, 104, so I don’t think I’m that far,” Karlovic said. “Maybe not for this year… but I can get my ranking up and then we’ll see from there. Either way I’m pretty okay with continuing or not continuing. Either way is good. I’m set up good either way.”