Goran Ivanisevic Interview

THE LIPTON CHAMPIONSHIPS
G. IVANISEVIC/D. Hrbaty, 6-4, 6-4
Interview with Goran Ivanisevic
25 March 1997

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Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

JOE LYNCH: Goran Ivanisevic moves into the quarterfinals with a 27-5 record, most wins on the ATP Tour this year. Will play the winner of Jim Courier and Richard Krajicek. First question.

Goran, you didn't lose a single first service point today. Do you realize that?

Yes

Fantastic serving.
My first day match after all this singles and doubles always at night. More trouble to serve at night than the day. But today I serve very good, especially first serve was going great. I had a great feeling, great control.

Here is the shocking part: no double-faults.
It's not shocking, you know (laughter). Maybe sometimes he didn't return my second serve so aggressively like Spadea did the other night. I didn't have to force my second serve like I did last night. I just put solid second serve and let him return. He was not doing. There was a lot of wind today, and it was not easy to return today.

Do you feel as though each match here has been better for you?
Yeah. I think I play very good tennis at the moment, very confident. It's nice to play here. I just feel great. Next match is another great match. Doesn't matter who I play, Jim or Richard. It's going to be tough. I'm looking forward to that match. It will be fun.

Any preference in who you play?
No. It will be tough both guys.

Who do you have the better record against, Courier or Krajicek?
I think Krajicek. Against Courier I have a bad record.

A bad record?
Yes.

Why is that, do you think?
I don't know. Every time when I play him, he was No. 1. He was playing great tennis. If I play him, is going to be first time I better ranked than him.

So you guys haven't played in that long, really?
We didn't play for long time. I think last time we play was here, quarterfinals, night match, he beat me. That was, what, two, three years ago. I think two years ago. I don't know. Maybe I was better then. It was his game. I was making some mistakes. I let him play too much. When you do that against Jim, then you can be in the trouble if he hits his forehands like he was hitting before. Hopefully, I can play a little different. But he has to win first tonight.

Goran, this young man from Slovakia, he's just been elected the best newcomer on the Tour for 1996. What do you think of his game?
I think he deserved that award. I think he's going to be very dangerous in the future.

What makes him tough?
He takes the ball pretty early. He doesn't have respect for us (laughter). He just goes there and hits the ball Before I think on the Tour we had more respect for these big guys. Now comes a guy like him or younger, and they just hit the ball and they just beat you, if you're not hundred percent.

Fearless?
And like today, okay, he was going for too much. If those things go in, you can be in a lot of trouble. I think in the future it's going to be very dangerous, until he reaches the point if he can be Top 15 or Top 20, then others guys want to beat him. We see how good going to be when he has to defend the points, play guys like he is now.

A few years ago, Goran, I thought that you don't have any respect for anybody neither, so, tennis we're talking about.
I mean, I have respect for all the Top 10 guys. But when you're on the court, I don't have to have respect because I am already six years in the Top 10. But I have respect when I play Pete and all Top 10 guys, especially Pete because he's one of the best players ever. In the beginning of the match, when the match starts, then you just think a little bit. He always do the same, break me first couple of games, then I'm out. A little respect I have. Hopefully, next time when I play him, I take this respect away.

Will you play the same style of game regardless of whether you're playing Courier or Krajicek?
It's not the same match. If I play Krajicek, is different match. If I play Courier, is different match. Krajicek is going to be more aces, more quick points, more serve and volleying. With Jim, it's going to be more baseline rallies and this stuff.

And you'd be happy with that?
I'd be happy if I win. Doesn't matter who I play

Have you put last year's final here out of your mind or are you, perhaps, using it for motivation this year?
I mean, this is different year, is '97. I'm a little sad that I couldn't play last year because I thought I have a good chance to beat Andre, try tosettle some scores because he beat me at Wimbledon. It would be perfect time. But this is maybe motivation, try to do better than I did last year. I was not able to compete last year in the final.

Do you consider this the most important or the biggest hardcourt tournament outside of the US Open inside the United States?
Probably. I mean, you have Cincinnati is a big one. I think this one is maybe the biggest one after the four Grand Slams and Masters. I likethis tournament, it's nice weather, nice atmosphere around here. This is my favorite US tournament, except US Open.

JOE LYNCH: Anything else for Goran?

How do you feel serving in a windy day like today?

If I serve like this, it's great. Every time I put the first serve, I win a point. Nodouble-faults, great control of my serve. I wish I can always serve like this.

JOE LYNCH: Thank you.