Goran Ivanisevic Article

Q&A on the Wimbledon men's final - 2001
BY SIMON BARNES

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Goran Ivanisevic has written a new page of Wimbledon history by becoming the first wild card ever to win a Grand Slam trophy.

The big-serving Croat, who was ranked 125th in the world at the start of the championships, beat Pat Rafter, the third-seeded Australian, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7.

Simon Barnes of The Times reports from the Centre Court.

Is either of this year's finalists likely to keep playing?

Rafter has said he is going to take a sabbatical, but Ivanisevic said he is going to be back next year to defend his title. He seems to have rediscovered himself and his love of tennis.

In a five-set championship match, how much of the game is decided on nerves rather than skill?

Nerves and the ability to overcome them had a lot to do with it. In the fourth set it turned to high drama when what Ivanisevic believed was a second-serve ace was called out. He erupted, threw his racket into the air and kicked the net before raging at the umpire.

This was a turning point in the match, however, as he managed to conquer this bout of nerves and pull through. Had he not done so, he could well have lost.

How much of a role did fatigue play?

For Ivanisevic it played a big part. He had been playing flat out in the last week and his shoulder was obviously causing him trouble, so much so that he received a massage from his trainer at courtside. He said that he had taken as many pain killers as he had served aces. Rafter, however, is very fit and did not look tired at all.

How did this match rate in terms of the all-time great finals?

In terms of drama it was great, a real classic. It was definitely up there with the drama of the Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe matches in the past. But in terms of pure tennis skill it was nothing special. There were moments of brilliance, but this match will be remembered for its drama rather than its tennis perfection.

Whose side was the crowd on?

The majority of the British fans were cheering for Ivanisevic. The rest of the crowd was split down the middle.