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Tennis doubles team unites old foes -

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ELEANOR HALL: The relationship between Serbia and Croatia is said to be at its lowest ebb since
2008 when Croatia officially recognised Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Many Australians from the former Yugoslavia remain bitterly divided over the horrific conflict in
their communities in the 1990s but the younger generations are proving that sport can be a great
leveller.

In Melbourne two tennis players, one a Serb and one a Croat, have teamed up as doubles partners in
the Australian Open, as Alison Caldwell reports.

(Sounds from tennis match)

ALISON CALDWELL: I'm sitting on one of the outer courts at the Australian Open watching two men
playing doubles tennis. One is Serbian Dusan Vemic and the other Croatian, the big serving Ivo
Karlovic.

They are locked in a fierce battle against a team made up of a Czech player and an Indian.

There are another 200 people here to watch this match. One of them is a young Serbian tennis fan
who can't be missed. In his arms outstretched is a large red and gold Serbian flag with another
wedged in a seat alongside him.

(to fan) What's your name?

GORAN: It's Goran.

ALISON CALDWELL: Goran you're here to support?

GORAN: Both players, Ivo and Dusan.

ALISON CALDWELL: It's good to see a Serb playing with a Croat isn't it?

GORAN: Yes it's fantastic, yeah.

ALISON CALDWELL: Were you surprised at that?

GORAN: Yeah I'm surprised. We didn't expect them to go this far. But yeah, I'd like them to win.
Why not? I wish we'd see more of this you know. Finally you know after a lot of battles between
supporters and stuff it's really nice to see them playing together, yeah.

ALISON CALDWELL: From what I can see it appears there are no Croatian fans here. Perhaps that's
because around a dozen Croatian fans were ejected and banned from attending the Open after they
stood on seats and shouted during Karlovic's first round match on day one.

Others were caught with flares.

Their behaviour was a disturbing signal that more of the racial tensions and trouble that have
marred the international grand slam event in recent years could be on the cards.

Last year opposing Bosnian and Serbian fans sent chairs hurtling across Garden Square during a
sudden outburst of violence in front of stunned families enjoying the sunshine.

But this year, day one aside, a heavy police presence and CCTV cameras have assured that it's been
a peaceful Open and this doubles match is no exception.

During the match Karlovic and Vemic touch hands in a version of a high five between points and
congratulate each other and commiserate when play doesn't go their way.

This is their first Australian Open appearance together but they've known each other for nearly two
decades. They met playing junior tennis.

Thirty-four-year-old Dusan Vemic lives in Belgrade.

DUSAN VEMIC: I remember him as, because I'm three years older, I think I remember him when I was
like 14. He was like 11 but he was already like six foot six or something.

ALISON CALDWELL: At six foot 10 Ivo Karlovic towers over Dusan Vemic. He graciously concurs with my
request to conduct our interview sitting down.

IVO KARLOVIC: Well I mean we have played a few tournaments last year and this year here.

DUSAN VEMIC: We are planning on playing more often together.

ALISON CALDWELL: They know they are doing something remarkable with their collaboration and
teamwork.

In doubles players pick each other from any country and any background.

Dusan Vemic again:

DUSAN VEMIC: Especially sports is here to unite people of every colour, race or religion. So I hope
we give very good example for that.

Us, as we travel so much, I think we're more open minded to everyone and we're all people and human
and we should love each other, you know.

ALISON CALDWELL: They say the troubles affecting their two countries are old and in the past and
they wish fans here would move on like most people have back home.

IVO KARLOVIC: I was in Belgrade and it was like everything was nice and everybody were nice with
me. So I really don't see any negativity and hostility. I think it is all behind us and people
should learn from mistakes.

ALISON CALDWELL: In the end Ivo Karlovic and Dusan Vemic won their quarter final match 6-3, 6-4.

ELEANOR HALL: Alison Caldwell reporting in Melbourne.

And a disappointing result in the end for the cross-cultural duo. A short time ago Vemic and
Karlovic lost their doubles semi-final match at Melbourne Park.