Goran Ivanisevic Interview

1997 GREAT AMERICAN INSURANCE ATP CHAMPIONSHIP
CINCINNATI, OHIO
August 6, 1997

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Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

Is it very much what you expected today? Did you think it was going to be that difficult?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I knew, but I started very -- I mean, I started okay with the breaks. Then I played maybe eight worst games ever in my life, I mean, so bad, 6-4, 4-1, I didn't put one ball in the court. Serving badly. He didn't have to do anything. Just stay there, put the return back and I gave him the point. Then suddenly, 4-2 new balls he served and everything changed. I start to return, start to serve much better. From the back I didn't miss. And, once I won the second set I knew I just have to hold my serve. I had two breakpoints. He hit two good serves. Then tiebreak was interesting and I remember we played a big tiebreaker in U.S. Open 20-18 one year, so I didn't want to do that again.

The first game in the third set, you felt like that one kind of got away? I think you doublefaulted three or four times.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I had two breakpoints, he hit two big serves and you can't do anything about that. Not too much difference between his first and second serve. He goes for the big second serve, so when that serve goes in, it is very tough to return and control the ball. And, most of the time from today, on the big points he doublefault, especially 6-1 in the tiebreaker, he doublefaulted and so when you go for such a big second serve you have to expect that you are going to doublefault sometimes. So I was waiting that he might doublefault.

Can you talk about your serve and the advantage it gives you to have such a big serve, not just in this match, per se, but in general?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Well, when I am serving good then it gives me good advantage because first I am much more confident in my returns and my whole around game. But not -- but when I start to force too much and I want too hit to hard, especially on hard court then I don't have any advantage like today 6-4, 4-1 I lost my serve four times very easy. When I am serving good like I did in the third set, because I am not serving hard, I hit a lot of angles and my serve is pretty deep. It is tough to reach. Then I have a big advantage over the other guys, especially I am lefty and it is tough to read lefty serves.

Was the slow start part of being a little bit tired after a three-set tiebreaker in doubles yesterday or is the schedule okay?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, I was just hoping that I am not going to lose another 7-6 on the same court, same story. I was 5-4 yesterday in the tiebreak up with two serves. Actually Chris was serving. And, today, 5-4, I lost my serve, then 6-5 and not again, because I had to lose 7-6. I rather lose 6-1, 6-1 then 7-6 in the tiebreaker in the third, that is the worst way you have to lose. So was just -- I didn't -- I was not tired. I just played badly first two sets.

Where is the confidence factor now then?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Well, I am not playing my best game yet and hopefully it is going to come. It is good that I -- with this game I can win the matches, so when I play good, it is going to be better.

How is the state of your game overall coming into this tournament?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is okay. I mean, it is not -- I had three weeks off after Wimbledon. I came to L.A. without any preparation. I played semis last week. I lost to Chris. He played unbelievable tennis all the weeks, so it was not a bad loss. And, I think I hit the ball okay, just sometimes I do too many mistakes and maybe against somebody better ranked player than Nestor not going to be able to come back. Against him, I did. But, he is a good player. But, I think he is a better player than he is ranked. He is ranked 125. I think he deserve to be better. But, if you play against top 10 or top 20 guys, if you are losing 6-4, 4-1, I don't think they are going to let you in. So if I want to do that I have to play better; not make so many mistakes.

More mental? More physical?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Just more matches and practice. Practice.

You still have tennis left this week, next week RCA, you were a finalist last year. Looking forward to going there?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, it is another tough tournament. It is not going to be as tough as here because it is two tournaments same week, but hopefully -- last year I played some great tennis there. Hopefully I can do that this year.

What do you enjoy about the tournament in Indianapolis?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Been like six, seven times. Best tournament of the year. So many things to do there. They are taking great care of the players. Everyday there is a different game to play. It is never boring. You can't sleep. They have video games, movies. They have so many things so you don't have to move from the club. You can stay there. Usually nobody likes to stick around. When you finish a match you go back to the hotel, but there, you just stay there all day because so many things to do.

When you watch Pete play and you are in the Grand Slams, what do you think you need to do to get to that point where you win the Slam and challenging for No. 1 or 2 --
GORAN IVANISEVIC: You have to play good, steady and Pete plays -- sometimes he doesn't play well for maybe first week, but he gets -- he gets past those rounds, then when he is in the quarters, he puts it in the 6th gear, then he is very tough to beat. And, maybe I miss that, you know, maybe sometimes I played too good and then when I come to the semis or finals twice, I didn't play -- well, okay, '92 was my chance, but '94, Pete played great tennis. Maybe sometimes you have to struggle and then when it is the important matches, then I need a little bit more push to play better.

Do you feel you are close?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I am close. I was twice finalist, two times semifinalist. Last year I was semis in US Open, I thought I had a chance there, two sets to 1, had a break in the fourth. And, I am there, but, you know, I don't miss any strokes, I don't miss anything. I just -- need a little luck and need right moments to play right shots and go for it.