Goran Ivanisevic Interview

ATP Tour NEWSWEEK CHAMPIONS CUP'96
Indian Wells, CA
March 14, 1996
G. IVANISEVIC/J. Burillo, 6-4, 7-5

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Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

JOE LYNCH: Goran Ivanisevic moves his winning streak to 12 straight matches and is 26 and 1 since the Australian Open. And is in his first ever career quarterfinal in the desert. First question for Goran.

Given the results you have had here in the past few times, do you have to kind of talk yourself into coming back or go through some kind of mental preparations for it?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Actually, first couple of times, it was long time ago '89, '90 I liked it, but then I had a few interesting comments about this place and -- but then again, I came. I just missed it last year because I had my operation on my knee, and anyway, it is fun. I like it. Especially after this indoor stuff here, you have nice weather, except yesterday, but I mean, it is fun to be here and always coming hoping that I am going to win a round after six years and every year I coming back, coming and hoping, and now, it is my hopes came true. I am in the quarterfinals. It is unbelievable.

No problem adjusting from indoors to outdoors?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Before. But this year, I mean, when I am very confident and when I am playing good, no problem; I just go there, hit my -- hit the ball and hopefully it goes in, and I didn't have any problems. It is just -- it is like that when I am playing good tennis, I don't have any problems adjusting on any surface.

Is this the best you ever played the last --
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Here?

Just in general.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, best tennis ever.

I am sure everybody asked you this, but how do you explain it?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is no explanation. It is just -- for me, it is no middle. It is I lose or I win. And last year I couldn't win and they asked me when I am going to win. So now when I am winning they ask me when I am going to lose, but this one is better, I like this. I prefer this, this state. Because -- I don't know, I changed the coach, everything changed. I mean, I didn't change anything in my game. Maybe I became aggressive. I started to hit the ball and having more fun.

Do you feel more sort of at ease in your mind now you are not quite -- is that maybe part of the change?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, probably. I feel freer off the court. Like -- I don't know -- not because Bob put any pressure on me. It is just, I don't know, I feel with the new coach, he is also a good friend of mine and he knows me for 15 years already. We grew up together and he knows the way I was when I was nine years old and now, and the way I am off the court and he gives me more freedom, and that is how I am feeling on the court. I play with more freedom. I am hitting the shots, more have a rights, and that is why I am winning more.

At the Australian Open you were staying back a lot. Do you think you made a mistake there?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Today and yesterday I was also staying back, but it is two different ways of staying back and hitting the ball and staying back and pushing the ball. Now I am hitting the ball and everything goes well.

The court surfaces are pretty slow for hard courts. Do you wish they were a little faster?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is slow, but you can't expect anything from hard court -- I mean, the balls are pretty dead here and it is okay, I mean, when I am winning, I am not going to complain about the balls, about the place, about the courts. Everything is perfect.

Playing for 6 weeks and winning, is that keeping you fresh, maybe if you would have gone out in two rounds, maybe you wouldn't like --
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is keep something -- I don't know how fresh I am. I always say it is very interesting when I came from Dubai to Antwerp, I said, okay, I came from Dubai changing the surface, I am going to lose first round and I am going to rest, so I came to the final. After Antwerp I entered Milan and said, Okay, nice food, I am going to relax here; I won a tournament. Same stuff was with Rotterdam, I won Rotterdam, but I say in Rotterdam definitely I am going to lose here first round and play some golf, and definitely I am in quarterfinals; I didn't play golf yet. So I don't know, what is going on, but it is better like this when I sometimes want to lose and I win.

So you will be glad not to play golf until Sunday?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Until Sunday, but I have to play, I have to improve. I haven't played for a long time.

Has it been the relatively slow surface that has kept you from winning here in the past?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: First of all, I was always putting in my Head attack and not playing on hard courts that I cannot play in the states, I don't know what for and always having -- before I came in the plane to the states I said, I can't -- why am I going there and what am I doing here. And I was always losing, I don't know what kind of game I was playing before, strange game, and until I realized that last year before U.S. Open, I have good hard court tournaments and now I realize I can play good on hard court. I can come if I can stay back, I can rally, and hopefully in the future can become not my best surface, but one of them.

You have had a lot of great matches over the years with Boris Becker. What do you think has made him such a tough competitor? What makes it tough for you to play him?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: He is one of the best ever players in tennis, and he is never giving up. He is always producing some unbelievable shots. You think you have him; he is coming up with some big second serves and some unbelievable returns and he is -- he is tough. You have some guys in top 10 which you can see they go down and you can jump on them. With him, you can never say that. You can never say "now I have him, now it is time." He is always putting pressure. He is always -- you have to always be really concentrated. That is the main difference to some other guys in the top 10.