Goran Ivanisevic Interview

21 June 2004

An interview with GORAN IVANISEVIC


Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

THE MODERATOR: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Goran Ivanisevic.

When you won in 2001, you said there were three guys. Who were they again?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Good, bad and the emergency one.

In medical circles, there are rumors circulating that Emergency Goran, Goran 911, is seriously depressed, has had nothing to do, not enough crises. Are those reports correct?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. I was never depressed in my life, you know. I'm not a person to be depressed. Just want to have fun and enjoy.

Just good to be there one there in case these two get in fight. So third one comes. It's like a referee in the box. So has to stop. Both they go to their own corners and then they relax. After one minute, they come back and they okay.

So 911 Goran is healthy?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Is like a guru, is like a healer. Not a depressed guy. Imagine if he be the depressed one, he be confused, to be disaster.

What was it like to walk out on Centre Court today?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Beautiful. It's the first time actually I walk on Centre Court first round in my whole Wimbledon career. It's new, nice. Grass is very green. Unbelievable feeling, you know, after last time I play on the Centre Court, I had a great memory. Today I played another great match, you know.

You cannot play bad on this court. You can be nervous, but bad, is impossible to play bad.

Were you in a hurry?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I was thinking actually it will be nice to finish in three sets. And then everything was -- whatever I wanted to hit went in. So, you know, it's just nice to finish. And now I'm getting ready. I'm starting to get nervous.

You say you never get depressed. Will you be depressed if England wins tonight?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I be sad, not depressed. But they're not going to win, so I don't have. Why think? Still one and a half hour before the game.

Don't you think you've used up all your fortune today, all the net cords?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: That's for me, you know. They have the other.

But today everything, really, you know, like, they still want me to play here. You know, they don't want me to lose first round. And you know, it's just I had a little luck, but I think he didn't have any chance. With my luck, no luck, I was too good today. I really played one of the best matches for long time. Whatever I hit, like I say, return, serve, volleys, from the back, was too good.

How was the shoulder feeling?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: So far is okay. You know, hopefully I'm not going to say is too good because next day I'm not able to serve. But is good. Around 115, 120, 125, I'm hitting a serve. Not like in Queen's. In Queen's I was hitting over 130. But I'm pleased the way I serve. If I can keep this level of serving, I'm be okay.

The reaction of the crowd today.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Just perfect. This is really great. Is going to be sad when, you know, if I have to lose one of these matches. But crowd is great. English crowd really have great relationship. That's one of the reason I came back, because I wanted to play one more Wimbledon. I want to retire here, and because of this crowd who really supported me all these 15 years.

Did that make up for not being able to make the walk out in 2002?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: And they change the schedule. You know, they usually put the women's after men's, you know. Was Roger, woman and me. Now they change, they put me. So is another great gift from the Wimbledon committee, so I have to say thank you so I can watch the game. It was great reception when I walked in, when I walked out even better. It's just beautiful.

Even though you're not nearly as old as Martina Navratilova, do you feel some kinship with her today? These two great players who are icons in Wimbledon history coming out to play maybe their last Wimbledon on the same day. Do you feel any connection with her at all?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I cannot compare myself. She is other level. She is from other planet, you know. She's 48, 50, I don't know. She won 6-Love, 6-1. It's too good. She won how many Grand Slam? How many tournament? More than hundred.

She is one of the few woman tennis player I respect. I have to admit, she's really great. You know, she's -- some -- I was reading in the French Open some of the colleagues of her, she gave her like hard time, why she's coming back, why she give to wildcard, she should give to younger.

But look at her here. She's really looking good, playing good, running. I mean, is 48. Probably I going to be in wheelchair at 48. But she's just great, great. She's my hero, you know. And she's lefty. I always like to watch her.

The last time we saw you here, there was the danger of your father having a heart attack. He looked a little calmer today. Have you spoken to him?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: He has to be calm. You know, I have nothing -- I won my Wimbledon. I just came here to say good-bye and have fun. If I win couple of matches, is great. If not, is also great.

So he's relaxed. He's happy. He's happy for me that I'm winning and I'm feeling good, you know. I'm starting to play best tennis and I going to retire. This is sad, you know (smiling).

Who are the other few women players you respect?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I respect Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Williams sisters. Wait. Who else was there?

Justine, Chris Evert?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Chris Evert. Justine, I think she has to be a couple more years there, then she going to start.


Do you expect to play on centre second round?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't care. I played my centre. Was important I play today, you know. I think I played a great match, and this is really -- probably next round I'm going to play the Englishman so is going to be another good court, but which one I don't know. To be honest, if I play like this, I can play here in the parking.

Will you catch the plane to Portugal today?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I can catch a space shuttle. One hour is the game. No way.

Before you walked on court today, how concerned were you that you might not be able to bring a good competitive level of tennis?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I was a little bit nervous. I knew I playing good. I play really good in Queen's. I had a little better luck. I really practice hard last two weeks. And I really felt the ball good.

But practice is one. Tournament, especially Wimbledon, you can't compare this tournament to any. And I was a little concerned. As soon as I start today, I knew is going to be a good day. I really started very aggressive. I felt good. Then I was scared with these couple of stops that is going to, you know, maybe put my game a little down.

But now, you know, when I came third time, just sun was shining, I was shining. Third set was just brilliant, too good. Really happy the way I play.

Was it almost like you had never left your last match here, the final.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Something like that, you know. It's different. You know, the final is final. But today I also felt a little nervous, you know. But makes you -- you know, gives you to play good. You have to play good on this court. As soon as you step, you know, you have to give everything, all you have. Today I think I gave everything what I had and was very good.

Had the tiebreak gone against you, would your father have stayed to watch you?

Your father.

With the football.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: He came here to watch me, not the football. I am the football fan. He likes to watch football, but I am the maniac for football.

Was there ever a moment today when you thought, "This is why I kept on playing for two years"?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yes. That was the moment when I walked in, when I hit some great serves, great volleys. When I saw this crowd, then I said that was worth it for these two years, struggling, doing therapy, all kinds of therapy, being up and down, thinking to stop. But it was worth it. It was worth it to fight and come back and be today on the Centre Court.

Did you doubt that you would come back at some points?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yes. I had the tough times, to be honest. I had tough times. I had to decide. And then I decide this year to stop. But I play clay. They ask me why I play on clay losing first round. But I play only because of Wimbledon. Because more I play matches, my shoulder was better, you know. Because if I had to stop another one month, for sure I wouldn't be here. So I play like three, four tournaments on clay. I was losing first round. But my plan was just to show up for Wimbledon and everything was like working for this tournament.

And I think I did a good job.

How did winning here change your life?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I change like I never anything before. Everybody talking about this Wimbledon, me being Wimbledon Champion, like for the last 13 years I never been in the final, like I never won any tournament. They just say, "Oh, he's a Wimbledon Champion."

But is great. I didn't change. Everything around me changed. Is nice to be Wimbledon Champion. People respect you, and is nice to see my name there. When I was sitting, you know, after this one rain break, was 2001, my name. Is really nice, you know.

Sometimes I still cannot believe, "What my is name doing there?" I thought somebody made mistake, but they didn't. I'm the Wimbledon Champion and I'm a member. My tie, I had this little thing so I can walk in the area, which I couldn't even watch on TV before, you know.

And back home, did it change everything?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Back home, I think the people, there was missing in my career this one big Grand Slam. Always like be the guy, maybe the best player who never won a Grand Slam. And at home it's the same, you know. I'm Goran for them. Especially in Split, "Here is Goran, who cares."

When you are 47, can you paint a picture of what your life is going to be back?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No idea. No idea. I don't know what is going to be tomorrow. What about 47? I still have 15 years. Who knows. But I going to be in tennis. I going to play, I going to probably still be in shape. But I not going to play like Martina. And is tougher, men's tennis.