Goran Ivanisevic Interview

Goran Ivanisevic (w) vs. Sebastien Lareau, 7-6 (12), 7-6 (4)
Monday, August 3, 1998
1st Round


Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

ATP: Goran Ivanisevic, the 7-6, 7-6 winner in the first round tonight over Sebastien Lareau. First question for Goran.

Goran, how upset do you get when you hit three double faults in a row?

Usually I don't do three double faults on this hard court or clay. Maybe I can do indoor or grass and I go for it, but I didn't go for the big second serves and I made three double faults which cost me the break. I cannot afford to do that against anybody, so I made three double faults and gave him a break, which then luckily he played another similar game that I play and he put me back into the match.

You had an exceptional tiebreak record at Wimbledon. Since then two tiebreaks again today. You look very comfortable in them. Do you have an extra confidence because of how well you played at Wimbledon tiebreak wise?
Today I serve very good in tiebreak. I mean even I was losing in the first tiebreak, the first point I didn't do anything wrong. He played a good point, but then I continued to serve well and usually always in the tiebreak, advantage is the guy who's serving better and bigger, which in this case it's me and especially if I can produce those big serves, and second tiebreak I make a couple of good returns and I was never scared that I can lose this match in tiebreakers.

Do you feel different this week, Goran? Last week was the first one back. Do you feel that maybe you can have a little better tournament this time?
I can. You know, it's just a question of if I can get my motivation 100 percent, which I'm not finding yet after Wimbledon. It's not easy. This final got me pretty well this time, and when I practice, I have to push myself so hard that for one hour practice, and today I had to push myself. I always think about -- halfway in the match I was thinking about Wimbledon, not about what I have to do in the match. So if I can find motivation and keep my head, this court is pretty fast. The balls are flying and this is a perfect court for me and if I just can win one more match, I'm going to play better and better and anything is possible.

You mentioned after Wimbledon that you felt like someone died. Do you still feel that way and does improving your ranking and winning other matches and tournaments help or must you win a Grand Slam to feel satisfied?
I mean I have to win something, you know. It doesn't matter what. Or maybe win a couple of matches or make final or semis, something, but I don't think so much about it anymore. But if I'm not able to do it, I still gotta think, but still I have to find the motivation to come there. It's not easy the last couple of weeks, but still when I step on the court, I always think every time and I practice return I think about these two returns. If I make one of these two, I win Wimbledon, and I make in the practice yesterday ten of these, but who cares about practice? And when you get the chance, two weeks when I play my best tennis when I know that I didn't do anything wrong except missing that return and when I still didn't win, but hopefully it's going to go away, you know. It's not going to be easy, but I choose this life and I'm professional and I have to get over it.

Talk a bit about the crowd tonight. That must be a very nice feeling seeing the flags. You're playing against a Canadian and a popular one at that. And knowing the people are pulling for you as much as they are must be positive.
Yeah, a lot of Croatians live here and it was great atmosphere, a lot of people and a great night for playing and I had great support, and which looked like I was playing at home, so hopefully it's going to be even more Croatians next match and it's nice to play when you know somebody is behind you all the time.

Goran, you made the semis at the U. S. Open two years ago. Don't you think you can play well on the hard courts? Like Rusedski made the final last year. Can't you use that as an inspiration?
I can play on any surface. It's just a question how I play how good I want to play. I played the semis, I played the final Key Biscayne and I was not able to play the final with my neck. And when I play good tennis, not a lot of guys can beat me. They have to play better, which is not easy, but when I play good, I believe I can beat anybody and I can win. And I play best tennis when nobody expects anything from me, like Wimbledon. I don't think anybody talked about me before quarters, semis that I might do something. I just showed up from nowhere. So it's good, you know. And I mean I think by now that they are to learn that I am like Jekyll and Hyde, you know. With me, it's all thrillers my matches, you know. You never know. I can lose to some guy ranked 500, then I can beat five Top 10 guys in a row. So for me that's why people they like to watch. Even I don't know what's going to happen the next point or next game. So it's pretty interesting.

In your draw here you've gotta go through Agassi and Sampras to make the semis. It's not easy.
It's not easy. Super 9 tournament. You cannot look at the draw. You're going to play tough round from the first to the final if you get there. So match by match and I have to win next round and if I win, I have to play Andre and Pete. It doesn't matter. If I play good tennis, like I said, I can beat anybody.

It may happen here, may not. The next time you play Pete, will that feel strange after Wimbledon?
Well, yeah. I mean next time if I play him, I'm going to try to beat him. So nothing is going to feel strange, but hopefully one day I'm going to beat him in that Wimbledon final.

Goran, a lot has happened in your country since you've turned professional and I know you've done a lot to work with young Croatians through your charities. Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel and do you think we'll see some young Croatian tennis players in the future?
It's pretty dark and I don't see -- there is one very good. But he's still 13 years old and he just won European Championship under 14 and he's coming from the same city I am. But he's too young. He's 13, and his result shows he is one of the best 14-year-old players in the world, maybe best one and I mean so he has a chance, but who knows how he's going to develop. But otherwise we're not looking great. Also Davis Cup and I'm not playing because I had a fight with Federation. So it doesn't look very well. Women's tennis is much better. They are in the semis for the Federation Cup and we have Majoli. We have young Lucic, which in my opinion she's one of the talented, most talented young girl. So she can be pretty soon Top 10 and girls tennis is much better in Croatia.