Goran Ivanisevic Interview

G. IVANISEVIC/S. Edberg - 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(9)
An interview with: GORAN IVANISEVIC
9 June 1996

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Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

I am sure you are pleased to reach the first semifinal here andeverything, but do you feel a little sadness for ending Stefan's Grand Slam career?
It is sad because such a big player, champion, leaving the tennis, one of the best players ever to step on the tennis court, big gentleman. Everybody liked him. I knew it was going to be tough today and somebody had to beat him. I am happy that I beat him. It is going to go to the record books as I am the one beating Stefan Edberg at the last U.S. Open. It is sad for him that he lose, but it was a little -- it is tough when 19,000 people - I don't know how many people - against you, clapping on your first serves when you miss, and it is -- I felt like playing Sweden Davis Cup.

Did the crowd affect you at all at the end of the match, or did you pretty much just stay within yourself and play your tennis?
No, I was very cool. Surprised, I think, everybody there kept even when I serve there -- because I played not great tennis; I served good, but I did not play well. Then I saw him slipping in the third set. He had a problem with the leg. I had a lot of breakpoints. I didn't know he was going to continue not serving. He was starting to serving not good, pulling these easy first serves. And then suddenly at 5-4 he played unbelievable game.

Unbelievable tiebreak, you know, when I had matchpoint. I hit maybe faster serve today and he came up with some unbelievable returns, but I kept my cool. I didn't expect this crowd that they are -- I knew they are going to be for him, but not like this, I didn't -- I mean, every time when I missed the first serve, they were so happy, you know, and clapping and I know it is going to be same story Saturday. If I win Saturday, it is going to be same story Sunday, but that is New York. You have to deal with that. And if I can keep my mind like I did today it is going to be good.

Do you think you played great tennis so far in this tournament?
I played good tennis today, not -- but you have to win even when you don't play good and I think that shows if you want to win this tournament even when you struggle you have -- you can win and I think I am going to play good Saturday. No reason why I shouldn't play Saturday. I play Pete who won unbelievable match, great effort, was throwing up in the fifth tiebreak, and he pulled out to win the match. We always have good matches. I lost to him in Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago. I did couple of mistakes which he punished, so I think I have to play better and don't let him step -- I mean, from the first point, otherwise I can be in trouble.

Did you watch any of Pete's match tonight?
Yeah, I watched. I think Corretja played very smart. He had these high balls on Pete's backhand and Pete was a little impatient; tried to hit a lot of winners and he was missing. Then he pulled unbelievable thing in the tiebreaker, so I know how to play him, play a lot of matches, I don't need any tactics. I need to serve good. I need to play good and see what is going to happen.

Did it give you have any inspiration coming out on the court after watching that fifth set tiebreaker about staying in there and concentrating?
Yeah, just show you how big that -- why he is No. 1 player in the world, you know, keeping his cool and trying even if he can't, you know, so I said it is going to be tough, just keep your cool and try to motivate yourself after this Pete and Corretja match, you know, just -- we started a little late and it didn't bother me. I just --I was a little nervous, but I just wanted to fight and show them that I can be still dangerous here.

Are you surprised now to be here still a winner? I know we are asking you this match after match. Now you are going into the final weekend which is a pretty big deal for you.
It is. Before this tournament when somebody told me if I am going to be in the semis I would say geez, it would be nice, but now I am because this year, I think strongly maybe I was mentally better than previous years, I believe more that I can do it. And I don't complain too much, you know, even today was a lot of bad calls especially 5-4 tiebreak when I hit -- I think ace, they call it wide. And then I lost that point. Then I came up with another big serve. There is no -- I mean, I don't think you should complain here, because you just put the crowd behind you, like today, and it is not easy. I tell you, it is not easy to play everybody shouting against you, but I won the match and hopefully I can win again.

Do you think it is going to take winning a title here to get the crowd behind you?
I don't know. I mean, what is it going to take? I don't care actually.

(audience laughter)

What is it going to take? I have my 16 people in the box. Not too much, but it is something, you know, at least somebody is there for me who are pretty loud and I keep them happy; keep myself happy, and hopefully I am going to be more happier at the end of this tournament.

What did you yell after you won? It seemed like there were a couple of sentences coming out.
In Croatian, you don't want to know.

(audience laughter)

If you could say something very nice in English to all these fans who were yelling against you, what would you say?
No, nothing against them. I mean, it is just their choice. I knew previous years New York crowd is something special. If they like, you are lucky. If they don't like, you are in big trouble. I don't think they don't like me, but it is just Stefan is there, you know, I knew he is going to be tough, but not so nice when tiebreak you missed first serve and then everybody clapping, you know, then it is -- it is not Davis Cup. But the crowd is crowd. I know it is going to be another tough crowd Saturday there and I have to handle that.

Wouldn't you want fans to do that for you if you knew it was your last time?
Sure. I mean, it would be nice, but unfortunately it is not happening.

You don't know that.
I don't know it. We will see Saturday.