Goran Ivanisevic Article

U.S Open - 1998
HAL BOC, AP Sports Writer


NEW YORK (AP) - Don't invite Goran Ivanisevic and Mark Woodforde to the same party. They might just start throwing drinks at each other.

After absorbing 23 aces and 49 winners from Ivanisevic in a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 loss at the U.S. Open on Monday, Woodforde sounded less than impressed. And he responded by launching some high, hard ones of his own at Ivanisevic.

"He just served me off the court," he said. "That's about all Goran has."

It's frequently enough, though. Ivanisevic, seeded No. 14, is one of the marquee players in the sport, equipped with 90 Grand Slam tournament match victories in his career, most of them achieved with that big, booming serve that topped out at 132 mph on Monday. The big serve took him to the fifth set before he lost the Wimbledon championship to Pete Sampras in the last Slam tournament.

Still, that type of tennis troubles traditionalists who prefer longer serve and volley points. Put Woodforde in that category.

"I don't see what the attraction is," he said, of Ivanisevic's big-bang style. "It's certainly not pretty. If I were paying money to go to the U.S. Open, I wouldn't sit out on his court."

Woodforde said his strategy was to try to slow down Ivanisevic's rat-a-tat-tat game.

"In a situation like that, you try to walk back and forth and get him to think," he said. "I don't think he thinks too much out there."

Ivanisevic survived the tennis IQ test well enough for Woodforde to think he can get into the second week at the Open, a tournament where he has been a first-round casualty in three of the last four years.

Could he ride that huge serve to his first Grand Slam championship? Woodforde wasn't prepared to go quite that far.

"I think his career weighs against him winning," Woodforde said. "The pressure weighs against him. It might be insurmountable for him."

Your serve, Goran.

Well, for starters, Ivanisevic wondered about the attraction of Woodforde's style.

"The way his game is, it is very tough to watch," he said. "I think it is time for him to retire (from) singles. In doubles he is still good, because he can cover half the court."

And Ivanisevic's scouting report on Woodforde's singles play?

"Pretty old. Can't move. With that backhand, you can't beat anybody," he said.

Ivanisevic said if he ever had a son, he would show the youngster Woodforde's picture and offer some advice - "You can't play tennis like him."

So what is it between these two guys?

"He doesn't like me too much," Ivanisevic said. "He wanted to hit me today with his ball. Actually, he hit me and he didn't say, "Sorry.' He hit me on purpose. I was at the net. He had straight forehand. I turned my back and he hit me. So he hates me."

Ivanisevic's answer?

"I hit an ace after that," he said, "and that kills him."

If you listen to Woodforde, it is the only reply Ivanisevic ever has.