AUSTRALIAN OPEN 1997
Quaterfinal: Lost to Thomas Muster, 4-6, 2-6, 3-6
Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.
Goran, was that just a bad day in the office?
It was not the greatest day, too many mistakes. He didn't have to do too much, he played his game, normal game, and I made too many mistakes, not enough first serves in from the back. I tried something which was stupid, tried to hit winners and missed so many backhands, missed so many volleys and no way you can beat Thomas like that.
When you saw you were going to play indoors, did you think it was good for you, better?
It's the same thing, you know, indoor/outdoor. I mean it is not the same thing, this is an outdoor tournament and I don't think it is a good idea to play indoor. This is pretty bad for us what they did yesterday with this indoor match. I had my match three hours in the sun and nobody asked me if I want to play indoor and they just put the match indoors. There shouldn't be any matches on the Grand Slam indoors because what happened if they don't have a roof, then they have to wait if there is rain, then if it is 50 degrees they have to play, so this is an outdoor tournament, this is Grand Slam and no indoor matches should be played in.
Goran, does the knowledge that Muster will never give up make it difficult even before the match started?
No, I knew I had to play good, I knew I had to attack. I didn't know I am going to miss so many balls, but I tried and I had so many break points, so many chances. Even in the first set I broke back 5/4 to go 5/5 and then again I served pretty badly and every time at a game point I lose my serve. Early break in the third, then I lost three games in a row, badly, you know, four actually, I don't know. I was playing up and down and then when I thought I can come back 4/2, break point, I hit an easy, easy forehand and then I hit like pretty wild, long, I mean instead of just putting it into the court. So I had a lot of chances I didn't take. With Thomas you have to take any chance because he doesn't give you so many chances, you have to work for every point, and, man, if you don't take those chances, you are gone. So that is what happened today; too many easy mistakes and with these balls it is pretty tough to make a winner.
Are you fully recovered from your last match?
I was, I felt okay, I felt I can run for another couple of sets with him, you know, because I know he is very fit but I was not tired at all. I just - I don't know why I tried to hit every time winner, you know, just thinking he is so fit and he gets everything back and then I thought, geez, I have to intervene instead of waiting maybe for the better chance and a lot of double faults, a lot of first serve mistakes, so that is it.
When you knew you would be playing under the roof, did you relax a bit or think that you would have --
It certainly helps if there is no wind. That is the only nice thing, no wind, and you can play without thinking if it is going to be windy or not, so just, it is nothing different. It is more humid when the roof is closed.
Have you ever served 20 per cent first serve as in the third set?
I don't think so. I tried, I forced too many first service. I mean, I play tactically not so smart. I wanted to come in so far because he is standing too far back and I thought maybe when I hit first serve then come in, but then every time I came in I hit volleys everywhere, not in the court, and if you want to beat him at that game, you have to hit at least half of these volleys what I missed today, you have to hit it in. My serve was the key, you know, when I hit the first serve then I feel better so I didn't hit too many first serve and then I started to force, I started to hit and with these balls, they are so heavy, and my arm was falling apart in the end.
What went through your mind when you lost those break points in the seventh game of the third set?
Nothing, you know. I know every game I had the chance. The match was pretty easy, I mean 6/4 6/2 6/3, but it is not results, it seems very easy but it was not easy. I had a lot of chances to come back and we played a long match but nothing. I was always there, you know, there, but I always missed that last, how to win the point. I was at the net and then how to win the point. He was lobbing me, he actually just put back and then I missed the volley. I couldn't finish the point, that was the problem today with me, a lot of easy mistakes. When I had the break one game I served and I hit one smash, one drop shot, I mean I tried, and then after two seconds it is 0/40 and it is tough to come back and then he is just - when you give him, let him that things, when you let him play then it's tough, he makes you run, left, right, left, right and then it's tough.
Did you think that you could turn back the match?
I was there, I was trying to fight, I tried everything but every time when I am thinking, okay, now I have him, then I miss, I miss easy shots, like 4/2, to go to 4/3, the match is open again and then I missed those forehands which I shouldn't miss, you know, and 4/3 and 5/2, it is a big difference.
Is it surprising that Muster is already 30, nearly 30, and this guy has such a lot of energy, like he wouldn't stop, even inbetween points he would walk, run. I mean is it surprising or it is quite normal?
I don't know if he is normal; you have to ask him, he is the one. It is pretty strange, I am sitting on the changeover and he is already waiting for me to serve. I said, "Jesus, what is going on here", but that's him, you know, that's how he plays it, it is tough mentally. Sometimes other players, you know, you just wait to sit on that chair and relax and he is already there waiting for you, "come on, serve", but that is Thomas, nobody is like Thomas and he's tough, you know, if you want to beat him you have to be tough, it is not easy.
Goran, there was a point in I think the seventh game of the second set where it looked like he had served an ace, which was called wide. You walked up and tapped the mark and he accepted that straight away. There seems to be a lot of respect between the two of you?
Yes, we are pretty good and I wouldn't cheat him, you know, it was a clear mark that it was wide and if the ball would be good I would just - I am the guy who just - I don't like to give the point but when I see the ball good, then I say the ball was good. But to him I think he is a nice guy and a lot of guys they don't think, but for me he is an okay guy and why not? I trust him, he trusts me. Sometimes it is not good but that's okay.
Did you feel like you were playing well enough to win the tournament?
I played good, but today I played against a guy who was tougher than me and he didn't miss too many balls. I missed more balls than him. I played okay match but not well enough to beat him, but I thought I played good this tournament
Is he playing well enough to win a major on hard court?
Yes, this is not a very fast court and I think he has a good game to beat Pete in the semis and if he beats Pete he is going to win the tournament pretty easily.