Goran Ivanisevic dedicated his Wimbledon title to a good friend, an NBA star killed in a car crash eight years ago.

Drazen Petrovic, a Croatian compatriot, was a member of the New Jersey Nets when he died in the accident in Germany.

"I went to his funeral just before Wimbledon and I said I was going to dedicate that Wimbledon to him," Ivanisevic said after beating Patrick Rafter in five sets.

"Unfortunately, I played pretty badly and I lost in the third round."

Ivanisevic said his father brought him some newspapers before this tournament.

In one of them was a poster of Petrovic, who was one of the best shooters in the NBA.

"So I ripped it off and put it on the wall," he said. "I said, `This must be destiny. This is it.'

"Everything was going smoothly and I won it. I want to dedicate this victory to him.

"He was not my best friend, but he was my good friend," Ivanisevic added. "He was one of the greatest basketball player in Europe ever."

By Robert Millward