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Croatian National Tennis Team wins Davis Cup

DECEMBER 2005 - After defeating Slovakia in the team finals, Croatian team has won its first ever Davis Cup by BNP Paribas title. This puts Croatia as the No. 1 nation on the ITF (International Tennis Federation) Davis Cup Nations Ranking, dislodging 2004 Champion Nation Spain from the top spot. It's a large jump and the first time that Croatia has risen to the top of the ranking, after finising at No. 11 at the end of 2004.

The Croatian national tennis team was coached by its Captain Nikola Pilic, himself one of the most successful Croatian tennis players, along with Goran Ivanisevic, one time Wimbledon winner. The team's players were Ivan Ljubicic, Mario Ancic (who won the last match in the Finals against Slovakian Michal Mertinak), and Ivo Karlovic.

Ivan Ljubicic was the current No. 1 Croat player, being the second most successful tennis player in the world in 2005, after Roger Federer. He enjoyed his best season by winning two ATP titles in eight finals, finishing in Top 10 for the first time (at No. 9 spot).

Davis Cup matches played between qualifiying countries are usually well attended

Croatia reached the Davis Cup team finals after beating USA 3:2 in the first round, Romania 4:1 in Quarterfinal, Russia 3:2 in Semifinal, and Slovak Republic 3:2 in the Final.

By winning the Davis Cup, Croatia has become one of the only 12 nations to have won Davis Cups, out of more than 130 countries which take part in the competition. Davis Cup began in 1900, when Harvard University student, Dvine Davis, decided to organize tennis competition between the USA and the UK. He named it after himself and was the first to win the famous Silver Punch cup.

The Croatian Champions team will be honoured with commemorative stamp this year. The stamp, featuring the Final squad and Captain Niki Pilic, posing with the famous trophy itself, will be brought out by the Croatian Post Service.

This is one of the highest Croatian sporting achievements ever since its football (soccer) team won 3rd place in the FIFA World Cup in France in 1998.

July 2001 - Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic wins Wimbledon, after beating Australia's Pat Rafter in the finals match, on the 9. July 2001.

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