Goran Ivanisevic Interview

Interview with Goran Ivanisevic
7 December 1992


Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

MR. LUBENOFF: Thank you very much that you are with us for a couple of minutes.

You played a exhibition a few days ago with Boris in Zagreb. Can you tell us a little bit about your impression you have had there?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It was a great exhibition because it was for kids of Croatia, and I think Boris did a great thing because he came. He is the only one who decided to come to Croatia in this situation, and for me, it a great thing. I mean, all Croatia would like to thank him, especially for me because I am also a tennis player like him and it was great thing what he did, especially for kids, because they need the most, because a lot of kids in Croatia are without family, without -- something missing, and it is really a great thing. It was a great exhibition. It was a lot of people. It was great fun, and he won it again, but it is okay.

What are you willing to do for your people in the future? What plans do you have?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: We have only plans for the kids. Me, Prpic and Oresar going to do a few more exhibitions next year. I still have something in my mind, but I don't know what-- exactly what we are going to do but we are going to do a lot of things.

Were you concerned about security and personal safety and did you do anything? What did you do about that to ensure yours and Boris'?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think it was pretty safe. He had a lot of bodyguards there, and it was pretty safe, because people, they don't know what is happening there. They think it is very dangerous, but it is not dangerous. I think he is the good guy because he came there and now he saw it, the real situation there, because people, they live normal life there. It is quiet and everything is under control. So you don't need any bodyguards. It is pretty safe.

If you step on court, could you leave all those problems aside, or--
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, now it is okay with me. I can -- when I am on the court, I just think about tennis. Before it was tougher, but now it is okay. I am off the court, I can think about those problems and about those kids and the situation, but now it is no problem.

So a couple of colleagues of you said at the end of the year they are really tired to play tennis. What about you?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Same with me. But this year is not finished. It is still one tournament to go, this one, so I have to concentrate like all the other tournaments and try to win, give my best, and we will see what is going to happen.

What about the acceptance, do you get the feeling that your colleagues accept now this tournament and the way it happened?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know with my colleagues, but I accept this tournament. It is a great tournament. I already played once; it is a big tournament. I know a lot of people say a lot of money, but it is okay with me, I like to win some couple of matches, enjoy the tournament; a great organized tournament, and it doesn't matter. I mean, a lot of people say this -- like Courier pulled out, he says-- I don't know what he say, but last year he didn't like to play this tournament. He lost first round. But I think it is a great tournament to play. It is great to finish the year, to win this tournament to buy some Christmas presents.

How do you think about the draw, Guy Forget your first?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is tough. I think all 16 players. It doesn't matter who you play first round, it is tough because those are points from what you did in Grand Slam tournaments, so you can play any good players. But Guy, he is going to be tough because the court, I practiced yesterday, it is so fast. It is too fast. I think, if he serve normal, there is going to be a couple of tiebreakers.

How do you feel about not getting the points for this, and having --
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is okay with me. I would like to get some points here but that is not for me to decide. That is the Grand Slam has to decide that. But like this is also okay. I taking this like normal tournament; try to win it. It is like any other tournament that I play this year.

You played a couple of tournaments in Germany. Do you like to play here?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Actually I like to play in Germany. It doesn't matter where. I always play good in Germany; always have great time in Germany and the people, I think they like me here and they understand tennis. So it is great to play in Germany.

For those of us who weren't in Frankfurt, can you describe for us your memory now of the match with Boris and the quality? GORAN IVANISEVIC: Quality was great. The quality of the match, but he say it was not lucky what he played. I say he is lucky, but then I saw the match, a little bit on TV, and maybe he is true. I mean, he was falling and he was hitting those volleys. I mean, that is-- only Boris can hit those. I never saw the player -- I mean, he is practicing that. It is like on purpose he is doing that, he is falling, hitting winners, volleys. I mean, he is doing like that all his life so he knows that. I think the only guy who can play those two points on 6-All in the tiebreak is Boris. That may be true, but it is also a little bit luck. It was a great match. I mean--

He mentioned after this match, that if you or Boris are playing on this level the next couple of months, that you or Boris will become the new number one. Do you agree with this?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is possible. I mean, we play the best tennis there, me and Boris, and he beat Courier pretty easy in the finals, so I think in the future, if I continue to, I don't know about him, but if I continue to play like this, I think I have a good chance to improve. I don't know to be number one, but improve on the ranking. I don't know when I am going to stop or where, but I have a chance to improve.

Is it your goal to become number one or is it for you much more important to win a couple of Grand Slams?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: First, it is a goal to win a Grand Slam and to improve, I would like to always improve. If I win a Grand Slam; then see what is the next goal for me. Sure, it is a goal to be number one, but I am not like -- it is not everything for me now. I don't think all day to be number one. Then it is not good for me to improve slowly and slowly, step by step, and we will see next year. I try to concentrate; try to play better than this year.

There were times in the past when you would show flashes of maybe winning big tournaments or winning a few tournaments a year at the top level. To many people it seemed that maybe this year you made that leap because you performed well throughout the year and finished pretty strong. Could you analyze your year for us that way?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I mean, this year was a great year for me, especially because this last year was pretty bad, and the situation in Croatia was becoming bad. Then I changed my personality a lot on the court, and I start to play for those people there, and I start to play much better. I mean, I start the year very good. I won Adelaide, and I won Milan -- lost in the final in Milan, won Stuttgart. I was playing pretty confident, only I had a couple of bad tournaments in the year plus I went to the hospital in Monte Carlo, went to the hospital there. I played badly. One month I was really out of everything. Then French, Wimbledon -- just U.S. Open -- I don't know why I can't play well in U.S. Open. I never play good there. But I tried next year to break this tradition to play a little bit better. But I think this year was great year, the best year I have.

Did you ever finish this strong?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Never, because I say last year I want to qualify for Frankfurt. That was my goal, but I finished there number 4, so that is a really great thing. So I want to finish this tournament good, so then I can say I finish the year great.

The match you are playing tomorrow against Guy, you say the surface is rather fast; it is too fast. Why is it too fast? You are serving fantastically. It is good for you.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, but it is not good for the tennis, maybe. It is too fast. You have to ask tournament director or the people who are organizing this tournament, because I played two years against Courier in first round, it was two tiebreakers, I mean, there was no tennis, just serving and hoping for tiebreak. So it is for me, it is too fast even for me. When it's for me too fast, then it is too fast.

What about the balls?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Everything is fast. I mean, the court is just fast, very fast. But this, it is their decision. They don't want to change the court so you have to play.

Will you fulfill a thousand aces? I think you have just 40 left.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I am going to try tomorrow to hit a lot of aces, I don't know how -- maybe I am not going to hit one ace, but it is going to be something.

Do you know the exact number. Is it now 957?

Let us talk about the ATP. McEnroe said in an interview that the ATP Tour is the last existing Communist system. What are your thoughts on the ATP and on the ATP Tour?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. I don't want to talk about it. I mean, he knows better than me. I think only thing what I know, I think guy like McEnroe should represent the players for next year, because he is the person who knows about tennis. He is a great man, great person, great tennis player. So I think for us, it will be best if a guy like McEnroe can represent the players, because they did a couple of very bad things. They are doing -- maybe he is right, like Communist, but I don't want to talk about it because I don't know -- I am not informed very good in the ATP and I am not following that. I am not interested. I am just playing the tennis. But if somebody like McEnroe can represent the players, I think, and he can explain to me a little bit better the situation, then I think it can be better for me. Then I can talk more about that.

Do you feel sad for the tennis that he is leaving the game?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is sad for the tennis, but it was -- he was one of the greatest player and he is already long time on the tour, and his time is finished, so young guys are coming, so this is life.

You played a lot of tournaments. Do you personally like the best of 14 rule?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I mean, -- I don't know, it is tough to say. I was not on the computer ranking when it was the other system. I was ranked 500. So I don't know what is the better for me, the average thing, or 14, but it is tough. They force you in one way to play best 14 and they have strange rules. If you pulled out from one, then pay some 10% of your prize money, and then you have to play for next year, I mean, it is -- in one way they are really like that I know, that they are like-- it is really like before in Yugoslavia Communism, you have to do that. If not, you are going, is bye-bye, so they think they have the power now and they can do whatever they want and slowly everything is going to America, all -- they want to control everything from America. That is also not right. So I think European players, they have to be more together to try to put those things together, because everything is going to go to America and they are going to control from there. It is also -- I don't agree with that.

Goran, is there more than tennis in your life? Okay, you are like an ambassador for Croatia, but what is the private side of Goran Ivanisevic?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Sure, there is more than tennis. I am a little bit sick of the -- not sick, but you can have time that you want to do other things. I cannot do family because family, kids and dog, but I can go out with some friends and do some other sports, what I like, because I am interested in all the other sports, soccer, basketball, so I like to change a little bit. Because when you play only tennis, thinking about tennis, sleep with tennis, wake up with the tennis, it is -- it is not good.

Is it also important for a young player to educate a bit, reading books or going out and museums, theatres or something like this?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I think it is very important. I start to do that more since I work with Bob, reading more books, going out.

About chess or--
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Not about chess. He wants me to play chess, but I don't like chess too much. But I am reading all the other books and we are going out more, seeing other things, so I think it is good for me, it is really good.

Who is the favorite for winning the Grand Slam Cup?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Who is the favorite? I don't know. I think players like Sampras, Agassi, Edberg a little bit tired already, me, because we played a lot. I don't know -- and they are flying from America and I don't know how they are going to play, but maybe, I don't know, Krajicek, Michael, he is home here, so I think there is a good chance against Stefan.

The bookmakers put you in the winning position.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: We will see. That is nice to hear. I don't want to say that I am favorite. Every time I say it I am losing first round, so I don't say anything. I just see what is going to happen.

So you are the dark horse?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Dark horse, yes.

Thank you very much.