11 March 2003
G. KUERTEN/G. Ivanisevic
An interview with GORAN IVANISEVIC
Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.
MODERATOR: Questions for Goran.
How did you do on your doping test?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I didn't go. I just report, so after.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Thank you.
Was there a great joy spreading throughout Croatia after the American visit?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: There was enough joy. To beat nation like America, is big thing for us. Doesn't matter Agassi, Roddick, they didn't come. But still, you don't beat America every day.
What did it mean to you and to Croatia to beat a country so much bigger?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: A lot. Especially when we heard that we're playing at home, then Roddick pulled out, then we saw our chance. I have to say Ljubicic played two unbelievable matches. He served great. Great thing for us.
I help in the doubles. It was great. I don't know, I mean, really our biggest win. But we had bad luck with the second round. Last year we play Argentina. This year we play worst possible draw. Nobody can beat Spain in Spain. That's Mission Impossible.
Are you going to ask our former Davis Cup coach John McEnroe any tips on how to play Spain in Spain?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Nobody can give you tips, only if they put grass by mistake.
What about you and the shoulder?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: My elbow actually hurts a lot now. Probably came down. Still cannot serve, maybe like 50%, 60%. Second serve is very slow. I can go on the women's tour with this second serve, I be okay.
No, I need matches. My fifth set, after one year, I still feel little bit lost on the court. Especially when you play a guy like Guga, you have to be able to serve hundred percent. I didn't feel very well on the court, so I was a little bit lost in the space today.
How long do you think it will take?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. I need matches. I need matches. I need to win. I don't know how long is going to take. But also with this kind of serving, I don't think I can win too much matches because before when I serve, at least one or two free points on my serve. Even when they return my serve, I have easy forehand or volley to make a winner. Now I can't rely anymore on my serve. I have to stay back, improvise something, come in on a pretty bad second serve or first serve.
I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen in the future, if it's going to be better or not.
I'm going to still play. You know, I'm going to still play, I don't know till when. If I have to play, last tournament is going to be Wimbledon for me. But I not going to decide yet or what, when. If is that case, that's going to be my last thing.
Would you be tempted to go down to the challengers to get some wins?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, no, no more challengers. No more quallies. No more nothing. I play challenger in the beginning of the year, but it was just because I needed some match before the Davis Cup. That's it.
When will you make a decision?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I see. Is no fun to play so much like this with the shoulder, especially guys like this. This is like too tough. Can play anybody first round, especially when you're not seeded. Like this, I can't win. It's no fun for me on the court.
I don't know. They say is going to be better. Ask five guys, they say five different things, five different exercises. I get a headache think what I have to do.
But, I don't know, I enter some clay tournaments. Definitely I going to go to Wimbledon this year. Even if I have to go in the wheelchair, I go there. If that's the case, like I say, that's going to be my last one. I want to finish my career in the biggest tournament. That's Wimbledon for me.
But maybe is not going to be. Maybe is going to be better and maybe I going to continue to play. Maybe I going to have more fun. At the moment, I didn't felt good today on the court.
What would it mean to you to go out on centre court the last time?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It would be great, you know, especially first round, Sampras and me - that would be the best story (smiling). Doesn't matter who wins. If I have to lose to somebody there, that would be Pete.
If Pete were here, what would be your advice so he could get ready for that match?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Advice? I don't know advice. You just go there, have fun, you know. But I hope he's going to still play, you know, Wimbledon, then we can have a first round (smiling).
What would you do if you were in his shoes, after winning 14 Grand Slams?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. Probably, I don't know, probably I stop, because he's the biggest tennis player ever. But I don't think he's going to leave. I think he's going -- I don't think he's going to play clay because he's pulling out of here. To play clay, he didn't win a match for two years, is be ridiculous. But I think he's going to come play Wimbledon. I have a feeling - maybe I'm wrong - he's going to be there. I would love to play first round.
What are you going to remember from all your trips from this tournament?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I have a lot of comments about this place earlier. I don't know.
Do you find there's any more life here now than you once did?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: More life, yeah. More younger people, I have to admit. In every -- not in every restaurant that I go, but most of them - I'm going to the different places - I find younger people.
But I like this place. Actually, old people, they like me here. Since I made that comment, they've become my biggest fans and supporters. It's nice, easygoing place. For 10 days, you play golf, you come here. It's a great facility, great weather. I enjoying to come here.
After you won Wimbledon, you said, "Now I can die." Now that you've come back and played the tournament here, had a good time, do you think you can die now, you've had another successful trip here?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't want to die; it's too early. Probably I going to die, I don't know when. But I would like to still play tennis, hit big serves. Before Wimbledon started when I won in 2001, I said, "Just give me this Wimbledon," I said to God, "and I don't have to play tennis anymore in my life." I think he's doing that now. I won, but I'm not playing tennis. I don't know, see how I going to play again with this shoulder and elbow.
Would you make that bargain again if you had to do it?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think you can't bargain with God. Is tough bargain. He gave me something that I wanted all my life, and he has to take something in return. That means that it doesn't take me forever, but it takes my tennis.
But still I going to go to that Wimbledon. Doesn't matter what happen. Doesn't matter if I can serve or not. Doesn't matter if I have to stay back and rally or whatever. I want to walk on that grass and enjoy my two hours there because I think I had a lot of fun there. English support me really well. I think I want to them one more Wimbledon and to myself.
Would you make an approach to the All England Club of breaking the tradition of allowing you to play the first match this year?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't think they can break traditions. Tradition is there. I play second match maybe. Still okay.
But maybe I ask for the wildcard again. Who knows. Strange thing happen in the life, so maybe.
When you're thinking about retirement, do you confer with the other Gorans?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think they're all with me. They're also frustrated at the moment. I mean, I'm not upset. It's just I try everything, 11 months. I practice hard, I did exercises. Then you come on the tour, you can't serve. In Dubai, my shoulder is better, and I pull my ligaments of the knee. Something, you know, is stopping me to come back fully on the tour.
But I'm trying. I'm trying. I'm not giving up. I didn't go on the surgery just to stop. You know, I want to try. I have nine tournaments. I can use my ranking and I going to see.
I going to play till Wimbledon and then I going to decide.
In the Davis Cup doubles, you got off to, early on, a little bit of a shaky start. Did Goran II or Goran III freak out, did they say anything to you at that point?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Actually, they didn't freak out. They were nervous, all three Gorans. I really felt bad. I felt actually bad like today on the court. There was Ljubicic, who pulled me up, he support me. Today I was alone. Three Gorans alone. They all pretty lost.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Lonely feeling. Crowd tried to pull me up, but it's tough. You play guys like Guga, like I say, you have to be hundred percent. He really doesn't give you anything for free.
Which is the Goran that gave the overrule on the serve call to give Guga a 3-1 lead?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Actually, I'm pretty good in that. I never got this fair play trophy. I don't know why they give this fair play trophy to the guy. I gave a lot of points in my life, breakpoints, these points, doesn't matter. I see this fair play trophy they give a guy who never gave any point in his life. They only behave nice on the court. I don't get it because I don't behave nice. I don't think it's fair. I should get one fair play trophy before I leave.
Let's say Wimbledon is the last one for you, what are you going to do after that?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. I become father soon, so I going to have something to do - change the diapers, play with my daughter.
You always spoke about how meaningful it was to carry the Croatian flag at the Olympics. Could you compare that experience with winning at Wimbledon?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It's different. It was first time Croatia in Olympic Games, '92 I carry the flag.
My goal is to try to carry the flag one more time for Croatia, to play fifth Olympic Games. That will be my fifth if I can survive one more year, then stop. I would like to do that if I can survive till Athens 2004 and carry the flag for Croatia. That would be like my ideal finish of the tennis and my career.
It would be nice to carry the flag for Croatia. Doesn't matter. '92 was first, is always going to be remembered that I was the first Croatian to carry the flag on the first Olympic Games for Croatia. That will be written. But it would be nice for me to carry one more time.
That was a big event for Croatia?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: That was huge. '92, I won the first medal for Croatia there. Our basketball team did well. We lost in the final to the Dream Team. That was a great team.
What is it about Croatia? The same weekend you kicked our butt I think you kicked Germany in world handball. You're a small country, but did pretty well.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Doing great. In skiing, we have best woman skier in the world. We don't have too much snow in Croatia, and we have the best. We have a girl, she's going to dominate skiing next five years for sure. Her brother is another great skier.
We have talent. We are four and a half millions. We have a lot of great talent. Soccer, handball, volleyball. With the balls, we are good with the balls.
Little balls, big balls?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Big ball, small balls, whatever balls.
After your boat accident, did you have it repaired?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: My boat accident. I was not there. My father did that. Everything is fine now. It was not a huge accident.