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Ivanisevic delays shoulder surgery

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LONDON — Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic is putting shoulder surgery on hold until the end of the year so he can meet an unexpectedly crowded tennis schedule.

That could mean he'll miss the Australian Open, the first major tournament of 2002.

"I will postpone my operation because I won yesterday," Ivanisevic said Tuesday. "It means I go straight into the Masters" world championship in Sydney, which is around November.

The 29-year-old Croat, the first wild-card entry to win a Grand Slam tournament, has seen his world ranking rise from 128 to 16 during Wimbledon's two weeks.

That run of success at the grass-court event means the end, for now at least, of relying on special invitations to play tennis.

Ivanisevic, headed home for a hero's welcome in Split, Croatia, Tuesday will play in the year-end ATP Masters championship in Sydney and will be seeded for the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 27.

"After the U.S. Open I will go for a checkup and an MRI scan and talk to my doctor. But most probably I will have the operation after Sydney," he said. "Hopefully, I will then be ready for the Australian Open. If not, I will skip the Australian Open."

Ivanisevic, who beat Patrick Rafter in five sets on Centre Court on Monday, finally won Wimbledon after losing in the final in 1992, '94 and '98.

The man who beat him for the '92 title, Andre Agassi, faxed Ivanisevic a handwritten note of congratulations.

"I knew he was a great tennis player and, as a person, he is a great person," Ivanisevic said.

"He sent me the fax because he knew how I felt. He had beaten me after he has also lost a couple of times in a row at Grand Slams. The first time he won it was here so he knew how I felt."

Agassi lost to Rafter in the Wimbledon semifinals this year