Goran Ivanisevic Interview

1994 ATP TOUR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
FRANKFURT, GERMANY
November 14, 1994
A ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION WITH GORAN IVANISEVIC

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Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

ATP Championship for many of the players it is one of the highlights. What is your goal this year in Frankfurt?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: My goal is to go one step further. I have a tough draw. I hope I am going to qualify for the semis. It is going to be interesting. Everybody is playing good at the moment; especially the best in my group. It is going to be tough, but I try to do one step better than last year.

What about the specialist on the clay court? What about the specialist for this court?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I mean, court is very slow; especially the balls, I mean, are unbelievable heavy balls and it is going to be really tough to play serve and volley all the time. So it is going to be interesting. The balls are going to be very interesting.

What do you say about Pete Sampras?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Pete play unbelievable here and it is tough. And he was six weeks out and it is tough to come back because the other guys, they are practicing. They want to beat him and it is tough. He has some tough times to come back, but I mean, he play too good this year. He was very steady, play unbelievable tennis.

Do you believe that Boris Becker is playing so good this year at the end of the year?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: He is playing very good tennis; very concentrated tennis. He played Stockholm against me, very high quality tennis and it is nice that he came back. He was always a good player even when he was No. 10, 15 or whatever his ranking was. He was in top five for me, but he is playing very high quality of tennis and it is good for Germany, it is going to be great Masters.

Stefan Edberg.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Stefan is always here. Stefan is -- you can't take him out. He is always steady and always a dangerous player.

Coaches, what do you say about coaches? Many players say it is very important to have always some people or some men with you. What are the good things about Brett and what don't you like?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I mean, he is a friend of mine, more than coach. He is not so many -- it is not any bad things. Sometimes he tries to push me and I don't like. If he wants something he doesn't go away, he just pushing, pushing, pushing until I am cracked, then I am going to do it; don't matter if you have to stay five hours on the court, he is going to do it. He is great. We can do whatever we want; go to cinema, play tennis, play this, we have great conversation and it is never boring with him.

Many players, they have a certain superstition. Do you have something special that you are doing for the matches?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Oh, yeah, Wimbledon '92 I was eating the same restaurants for ten days, same food, same time, and I got sick. I mean, after ten days, I mean, I was dreaming even when I came to restaurant I didn't order, they just bring the food. I was going sick and I was so happy when Wimbledon was over. So I have -- every tournament I have something; for example, in Tokyo I had to eat cake at 11:15 every night before I go to sleep. So, I mean, I didn't like the cake, but first day I eat it, the second day I won the match, third day and then -- so here I am going to find something.

Frankfurt has special food, do you know what is apple wine?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No.

It is a special drink. It is wine. You have to try it.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Okay, I will.

Special thoughts on this match.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Going to be another great match. Stockholm was good match. Wimbledon was good match, so it is another one from our good matches. And we play a lot of times and it is going to be close. It is going to be on his side; it is nice. It is finals, eight best players, so it is going to be interesting to play.

Would you prefer another one to play first?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It doesn't matter. I have to play him one day, so it doesn't matter, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday or whatever.

After losing in Stockholm against Boris in the final, what do you have to change tomorrow, how can you win?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I am much more fresher than in Stockholm, that is the biggest thing that is going to happen tomorrow, because he was very fresh in Stockholm. He didn't play week before; he came fresh. That is going to be a big thing tomorrow. I am fresh. I am keen to play again. The match is going to be interesting match.

Who do you expect to be in the semis?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. I would like me, but it is tough group. You cannot say. I mean, the tournament didn't even start.

I talked to Bob a few minutes ago and he told me the main thing is to go out and to show your opponent that you want to win. You know Boris is mentally very strong guy. How can you convince him that you will be the winner tomorrow?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. I just go there and play my best tennis and try to stay compete with him because he is a very good competitor; just try to compete with him and try to beat him.

Your serve as a little boy was just as it is today.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I was watching tapes, my racket was too heavy then, I couldn't hold it because I was very weak, but everything is the same.

What have you done since Paris?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I went to Monte Carlo to practice one week. That is it.

Practice all the week?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yes.

No rest?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. That was like sort of, you know, practice, rest; nothing special.

Was it hard for you to lose No. 2 spot in the rankings so fast?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. I mean, it is tough to keep the spot; especially, you know, you have to defend a lot of points. But it doesn't matter. I know that I played good tennis at the moment and that is the most important thing.

Goran, you played fantastic match this year already at the ATP World Championships we saw in Frankfurt. I saw you playing in Stockholm, for example, and afterwards you said, oh, you didn't have real fun to play because it was not crowded and everything. How important is it for you to be in an indoor hall that you really like and where the mood is good?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is nice. This is -- I mean, Germany, actually, the people understand tennis very good and they always come and support, and it is always sold out. It is going to be good atmosphere these couple of days, and I like to play, i mean, here, especially without or with people it is different. This is ATP finals and if you come here you feel different.

At this place I think it is quite special, it is special for you as well. And how could you describe the atmosphere being there on the Center Court?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is very interesting hall. It is like theater. It is very nice. Sort of -- I mean, the people -- when it is full, the people it is very crowded, it is very nice to play. It is very nice court to play and I enjoy to play. I always have good matches here.

For example, the match against Boris Becker two years ago, I think it was a classic. Does it in any way influence you when you play Becker again?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: We always have great matches. We always -- we know each other very good, how we play, and it is going to be another good match tomorrow. So I don't know who is going to win. We both playing good tennis at the moment. Problem crowd is going to be on his side. He is going to be pumped and we see who is going to tough it out; who is going to be more tougher.

Would it be a big title for you if you win this ATP World Championship? Would it be the best thing you ever want?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, it would be the -- it would give me something extra. I am going to try. Twice I play semis here, and I try to do one extra step this year.

How do you rate your chances here?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I have a tougher group and every match is going to be a great match, great experience here. And it is not end of the road if you lose because they are all great players, but I am going to try qualify for next for semis and going to give my best.

Do you feel you are in very good shape now or do you feel a bit tired because you played quite a lot at the end of the year?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I got a little rest last week and I feel much better now.

What do you think of the conditions here; balls and surface?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Balls are terrible. Balls are bad. Court is slow, but court is okay. But the balls are -- I don't think I should play with these balls.

It is the same as in Paris, no, or --
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. They say it is the same, but it is not the same. It is so heavy.

A lot of players say, Michael Stich or Pete Sampras, that conditions of play in Stockholm or in Antwerp were too fast. Do you agree with that?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, but they change the court there. First three days were fast and then the quarterfinals, semis, they changed the court to slower court. It was fast, but here it is too slow. I don't mind any court, but the balls, actually, they are really bad here.

How do you rate the match you played two years ago against Boris Becker here?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It was a great match.

What was the difference between two years ago?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: He was more fresher than me. He played good tennis.

(Inaudible.)
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is going to be interesting game. I hope we are going to beat Italy.

In what, soccer?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: In every court that we play we are better than you and it is going to be interesting. Italy has to win, we don't have to win. Going to be a lot of pressure on Italy that match, but as the players -- I mean, the names on the team, we don't have any worse players than them. And the whole team is -- they play very defensive, that is how Italy plays. It is bad luck for us because one of the greatest players doesn't play, is injured, so it is bad luck for us. But it is going to be interesting. I hope we are going to win.

Goran, if there is any rule that you would like to change in 1995, just one --
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Rule? I don't want to change anything.

Rackets, balls, carpets, surface; quickness of the courts?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: The courts are fast enough.

You think the court has changed much from last year?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Not too much court, but ball change a lot. Balls are very slow and very heavy.

What balls did they use last year?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think Dunlop.

And this year?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: ATP balls.

It's a heavier ball?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah.

Hurts your arm?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Doesn't hurt my arm, but it is very slow. Makes court very slow.

With the matches that you have played with Andre over the years, which one beside the Wimbledon match stands out most in your mind?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Last one we played in Stockholm was a great match. I mean, he served for the match at 5-4 in the third with new balls and I broke him. And it was like 7-6 in the third, it was very, very great. It was one of the best matches I played, and it was very good victory for me.

In the old days he seems to be so up and down and wasn't fit -- (Inaudible.)
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think he is much more professional now and he is enjoying to play tennis. He got serious. I think Brad change a lot to him. I mean, he gave him more confidence. He is practicing much more. And he is much more serious. I mean, he goes on the court. He knows what he wants to do and he just doesn't give one point free anymore.

Do you think it is primarily because of Brad or he is getting older?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. I think Brad helped him a lot and I think he realized a few things that he can be better player than he was.

What about you? You talked about your maturity and how you were growing. Do you see yourself --
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think I am getting much better. I think since I worked with Bob, he helped me a lot and he is getting better and better every year. So it is no problem with me.

What is your opinion about your group?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: My group is very tough, but this is eight best players, so you can't look who you are playing. It doesn't matter who you play, it is going to be tough. So, I think it is going to be interesting three matches in my group. It is going to be Becker, Sampras, Edberg; it is tough. I mean, all three guys are tough. They are all playing good tennis, and it will be interesting.

But you have very good results against --
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I have good results against Stefan and Pete, but Boris I don't.

And which tournament was the best in this year?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I played great in Tokyo, good tennis, and Wimbledon I played great tennis. And, I mean, I played this year was very good year for me. I played very concentrated, very good. Just U.S. Open I was a little bit bad there, but anyway, I mean, it was a good year for me.