Goran Ivanisevic Interview

Interview with Goran Ivanisevic
Wimbledon 1999
Thursday 24th June

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Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

Goran, do you remember saving the sixth set point like you did in the first set?
I don't know, not really, but I played really good on those set points. He was 6-3, then I hit a winner return and then 6-4, I was little bit lucky. I had a return that went pretty low and then another good return, so I think it was a good tie-break and he broke the serve in the second set and the set I lost, and it was a good match for both of us.

Are you happy with the way you were playing since you arrived on grass?
Yes, I think I'm playing good tennis, very concentrated. I'm not losing my mind, and I'm pretty happy the way things are going

How does if feel playing on Court 13?
It's okay. Whatever court I play I have to play

Have you played there?
Yes, I have played a lot of matches and last year I played on 16 against Todd Martin, which was a great match. It doesn't matter here, they can put you anywhere, but you have to play.

You don't have very good luck since the beginning of the year. Is it a good feeling to come back on grass?
Yes, I'm playing much better tennis at the moment and I'm feeling better, so hopefully I can keep going like this and playing good.

When did you come back, in the first round of the French?
Yes, I started to play better and the double's finals helped me a lot. I had a lot of serves and volleys and that helped me a lot, for my confidence, and now I'm playing better tennis.

Goran, I know it's a difficult question, but what do you think you need if there is something there to be touched, to be found, that would make the difference between your closeness to the title three times and is there anything there that you would like to have that you feel might make a difference?
Not so much. Last year was one too short and that's it, so I don't think if I get another chance, hopefully that time I should win, you know, but it is a long way to get another chance, but it's the final. It doesn't matter who is playing, it's 50/50, and to get on the Centre Court during the final day. Last year, me and Pete were both nervous and it was not easy to play, but he had the less nerves and he won the match.

How long did it take to forget the final last year?
Quite a long time, but now it's a new Wimbledon and now I hope that when I come here I think I have a chance.

What do you think about the crowds?
Everybody tells me, you know, it's about time, and I think that maybe I'm the next one they would like to win and they are all saying, "This year is yours", but I have been hearing that for every year, so hopefully one year is going to come.

You have put in enough work?
Yes, I put everything in, but hopefully I can get this trophy once.

You do think there's a possibility of winning?
No, the way I played, like I said, every time when I come here I have a chance to win it.

What is it you are wearing on the shirt?
It's the bank.

Goran, I was just wondering, the plan to sort of introduce experiments with bigger tennis balls to slow the game down, what's your opinion of that?
I don't know. You know, anyway I'm going to hit my portion of aces with small balls, big balls, no ball, whatever ball, so -- you cannot get slower. This is Wimbledon. You cannot expect that you play slow tennis. You have a final, me and Pete, you cannot expect rallies. We serve big. This is the biggest tournament ever. This is the most traditional tournament now and to expect to bring balloon here and play tennis here -- so you have the French Open when you can watch all- day rallies, but this is different tennis. You see how many people are waiting outside to get in. I don't think they are bored to watch. They love it, so I don't think we need any bigger balls.

Do you think it's unfair that players with a strong serve should be penalised in this way, then?
Whoever has a big serve is always going to have a big serve. It doesn't matter which balls they bring in and you see who won the last couple of years, this tournament, only serve and volley playing, except Andre in 1992 who stayed back, but anyway, he is too good a player to hit the ball so hard -- except him, only the serve and volley players win, so that tells you something. It's always going to be like that.

Goran, in the American camp there's a lot of love going around. Sampras called Agassi after the French Open and Andre was out there cheering for Jim and Courier is feeling all the support. Obviously you are not an American, but would you like to feel a little bit of that love?
I can't watch anybody from Croatia and there is nobody here except me and Lucic. I don't know what is going on there. Probably they are being good friends and like to watch each other.

Is it harder to play the circuit over the years, coming from a smaller country?
Yes. I mean, when I see 10, 15 Spanish guys during the French Open, so many Dutch guys, I'm always alone, you know, so it's easier to practise, to communicate, and to do all other things, and me always alone, so hopefully now we have one guy and he can get into maybe the top 80 or 70 to play tournaments here.

I don't know whether you respect the opinion of Ian Barclay, the coach, but he was saying that he feels to win Wimbledon it's necessary to come into the tournament with a fairly high level of performance in the preceding weeks on grass, that it's very difficult to come here to win without having some background of achievement on grass that current season. What's your view?
I play Queen's every year. One year I play the final and I lost second round here. So many times I lost first round and I play three finals here, so that is nothing, you know, you can play -- this is Wimbledon is different, this is, like I say, when you open the gates Monday you feel something and I feel that, and last year I couldn't beat anybody before Wimbledon. I played bad in Queen's and I came here and almost won the tournament, so I don't think really I agree with that.