Goran Ivanisevic Interview

ATP Tour
March 29, 1996
G. IVANISEVIC \ P. Sampras, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4


Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

GREG SHARKO: This is Goran's 7th ATP Tour final of the year. He will attempt to win his fifth time of the year which will also be a career best for him. He is also trying to win his first career ATP Tour title on U.S. soil. The last final he reached was in August of 1991 in New Haven. Questions for Goran?

Midway through the first set you were so frustrated, you went to the changeover change, sat down and put a towel over your head for the entire changeover. What were you thinking under that towel?

I was thinking -- I was thinking I am going to fly home tomorrow and then -- I didn't think anything, I just didn't know what to do. I was pretty flat all the first set. He played very good. I mean, he was just playing pretty fast comparing yesterday and the previous matches, so -- and then rain came and it saved me a little bit.

What were you thinking about during the rain delay? What did that do for you?
I think I made a mistake in the beginning of the match that I just thought I am going to win my serves easy, I am going to concentrate on his serves and that was big mistake. I should concentrate on my serve and whatever happen on his serve and I start to force my serve a lot. Then when I came back after the rain, then I just concentrate on my serve, tried to win my serve and as soon as I start to serve better in the second and third set, I lift my game and then I played much better tennis.

Big play in the second set. Ace second serve, kicker down the line. You put that ball exactly where you wanted it?
Yes, I wanted to hit there. I thought he might, if I hit a short one he was expecting maybe he is going to slice it and come in like he did on 15-30, so he opened this forehand side. Then I just went for it. It is always 50/50 and today I had more luck.

Do you think that was a turning point in the match?
I think so. After that, I started to serve better, play better from the back and pick his second serve much better. I just hit it and whatever happened was -- I mean, I just put pressure, more pressure.

What explains your better performance this year than in the past?
Like now, now I am capable after such, I mean, I was pretty down first set, comeback. Doesn't matter rain or not, but it's just -- I was last in French Open, it was raining three times and I couldn't comeback, I was just playing worse and worse every time I came back and today I just played better, so that's the big difference.

Actually, I meant for the year as a whole so far, what do you think explains your better performance?
I don't know. I' m more happier. I have more fun and I hit the ball better. I am just playing with more confidence and have more variety on the shots.

What allowed you to do that?
What allows me to do that? Huh, I don't know. Just my racket goes wide and hits everything.

Goran, is the French Open the last rain delay match you were in?
Yes, yes.

Considering how much value you can get when you are serving well and how many free points you can get, how much you can control the match, what do you think after you get into two or three games and you are not serving well?
Can be trouble, but can be -- now in this moment even when I don't serve well, I am playing good tennis because from the back I'm very steady and I don't rush, I don't have to hit winners like before, that I am panicking what to do. It's just easier when you can have a couple of free points.

What do you remember about the '92 Wimbledon final and how things have changed with you --
That was just a different story. Wimbledon and here, this is slow, much slower, more aces I am going to have to run. It is going to be pretty hot. It is completely different thing. I know I have to attack more if I have a chance because he is going to hit the ball everywhere left, right, he is hitting the ball very deep and I have to try to break his rhythm and every short ball try to attack, it doesn't matter, he is going to pass me a lot of times, but I have to keep trying.

Goran, if this match had been played a year ago when perhaps you had a little bit different attitude about tennis, would you have come back to win this match, do you think?
I had to have unbelievable day, like just amazing day. But normally I, don't think so. Maybe I will be 7-6 or 6-4, but I don't think I will be capable to win.

A lot of people expected to see a Sampras/Agassi final, you ruined their plans?
Yes, I heard yesterday everybody talking, a repeated final from last year, I just smiled and said, okay, good luck, you guys, but it is not going to happen, so they have to watch another final.

Who did you hear talking about it?
TV, you know, every station, it is going to be another repeat from last year final, so that's okay.

How much difference has your new coach made in helping you play?
It's fun. As soon as I came to the locker room during the break, you know, they asked me now, what he told me, we start to laugh, you know, first five minutes I was just -- didn't know what to do, then we started to laugh, we start to think what we did 15 years ago at the tennis club in Split, like, no, ten years ago and then we started to laugh like idiots like I am winning 6-2 not losing. Then I said, "Jesus, what's going on here," pretty relaxed. I am more relaxed, have more fun, it doesn't putting too much pressure on me.

You think Bob laughed when you came back after that set?
Maybe, in the beginning not, he will tell me something like what are you doing out there, but, I don't know after maybe will laugh. It's different, Croatian language is easier for me, it's only, you know, those stories what we did 10 years ago, it's just -- it was too good and maybe that helped.

Can you tell us one of the things you talked about?
Yeah, what was the story?

We were talking about, you know, before -- we were talking how the kids are very spoiled now because very, very young we had to, you know, to renovate the courts and what will be the worse joke, because I was staying very far from the tennis club. I could always -- the job have to carry the clay, then the garbage, and all this stuff, then we laughed about that, now if you say to kid let's do that, no way, you know, they're spoiled, they think they're super starts.

What brought that story to mind?

What brought that story to mind?
I just thought, something to laugh, to make me pumped a little bit loose and that was it.

The thoughts on Agassi?

Your thoughts on the Agassi match?
He is going to be -- I mean I hope I am going to survive if it's best of five hoping not cramp because I get a little tired and it is another final, I hope I am playing good tennis and just with him, I should not have this -- I don't think it is going to rain Sunday, so I should better start off well, otherwise, I am going to be in trouble. I beat him before on slow courts, on fast courts, so I know how to play him. He beat me in the one important one, but this one is also important for me and I am going to try to do everything to beat him.

GREG SHARKO: Anything else for Goran? Thank you.