Goran Ivanisevic Interview

24 June 2004
An interview with GORAN IVANISEVIC


Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

THE MODERATOR: Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. I have Goran for you. First question, please.

Forget Goran. We want to hear about Karolina Sprem. What can you tell us about her?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: She's doing so very good so far. I hope she's going to not blow up like in Berlin. She also had 4-1 in the third, I think, in Berlin, and she lost, but --

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Hopefully today she wins it. What's the score now, 5-2?

4-2. How well do you know her?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Her, not so well, but her coach, he was my good friend. We play together. She's great. On her day she can beat anyone in the women's.

What's her personality like?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Her personality?


Two years ago you beat Patrick. Now you get another Australian, Lleyton. You get Lleyton. Do you think he's coming after you to revenge his friend?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It's a match that I have nothing to lose tomorrow, you know. I think play tomorrow. He's the guy who is the Wimbledon Champion. He's one of the best players in the world. Okay, lately he was not playing good, but his form I think is coming back.

And if I win, is great for me. If not, it's another -- it's again good. Whatever. I going to go tomorrow much more relaxed and enjoy myself here.

What do you need to do when you play against a player like Lleyton?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I have to win the points twice when you play against him because you think you won a point, but you didn't win a point, because he gets to the ball and then makes the winner.

So I think I have to serve well tomorrow and I have to volley very good tomorrow because I going to be all the time under pressure, you know. Plus we play twice already, both times on grass, and both times I didn't win a set yet, so...

He's the favorite tomorrow, for sure. But, you know, with me you never know. When I have my day, then I can be dangerous.

You were having a pretty good conversation with yourself throughout a good part of the match. What were some of the things you were saying?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, today, this is the match that, you know, you don't want to lose, you know. You don't want to lose on Court 2 against Volandri. I mean, you have to give credit to the guy. He play good tennis. I let him play. He was playing too much. I didn't know what to do. I was a little stiff. My shoulder was not working.

I was saying a lot of bad things to myself, how bad I am, how stupid I am, what I'm doing, you know. And that little rain came in the right time, you know. I came to the locker room.

Michael Stich came to me and he said, "Listen, I'm commentating the match. Come on, man, do something." And then I said, "Okay, man, I didn't know that you are commenting on my match, now I going to do something."

After I came back, that was a different me I think on the court. Sun was shining. I started to play much better, and that's why I won.

Otherwise I didn't see how I was -- if rain didn't come, I thought probably I would lose today, the match.

The more you talked to yourself, the more angry you get at yourself, do you play better that way?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. Sometimes I just want to get out of the system, you know, this, then I talk. Then I say I don't talk anymore. Then again I talk. You know, it's conversation. I like to talk to myself sometimes.

Were you nervous?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I was a little nervous. You know, like I say, I didn't want to lose that match, and I didn't perform well. But, you know, this is good win, because even I played like I play. I didn't play good match, not even close like the first round, you have to win those matches. And this is great thing that I came through and I won a match.

What else are you doing for your shoulder besides icing it after matches?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I have to do every day my exercises with elastic thing and plus painkillers every day.

You mean, antiinflammatories?

And then what's it like in the morning when you get up?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It's a little stiff. And then gets a little better. Then I get warm up. But then it's just, you know, it's going up and down. You know, today in this match, I thought fifth set is going to be the worst, but fifth set was the best. I served the best. My shoulder was freer. I started to serve 125, 128. In the beginning, I was serving 105, 106. So sometimes takes time, you know. I'm like old engine, you know. You know, I need a little oil, oil, oil and then keep running.

Once you were the winner, your reaction, throwing the racquet, your shirt, your towel, proves how important is for you Wimbledon again and that you are in the third round? Perhaps you thought during the match you were going to lose this match.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I was thinking, you know, I didn't thought that maybe I going to lose, but I was not standing good, you know. But I didn't want to lose. You know, this is the match that you don't want to lose. You know, you want to win, doesn't matter what. Then you get a little tight, you know, a little nervous.

But I was happy. Sure, I was happy. I wanted to throw the chair, the umpire, everybody. But you don't do that, you know. So it's great, you know, that I came through.

When you were standing without your shirt, hands up, in the sunshine, what went through your mind at that moment?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: That I can get some suntan, you know, if I stay another half an hour, you know.

How difficult is it for you with your shoulder to play back-to-back days?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: We going to see tomorrow. We going to see tomorrow. This is good question. You know, I play five sets today. But this week I don't want to have any pain. I want to -- in my mind, I put -- even when I have pain, I say to myself, "You don't have pain. No pain today." And then sometimes can work, you know.

I know is going to be stiff, but I going to try to put that -- you know. It's life

Have you even practiced for this amount of time back-to-back days?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Usually I play one hour a day. Is enough for me, you know. One hour, then I get nervous. I don't need more than one hour.

Does the shoulder hurt perhaps even more hitting a kick serve where you have to really strike the ball hard against the side of the ball to get the spin?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, most -- usually my motion is pretty automatic. It goes, throw the ball, hits pretty smooth. But mostly, when I have 15-30, Love-30, I start to force it, then I start to feel most pain. You know, when I hit harder than I have to hit or better than I need to hit, and then I get a little miss-hit serve, a lot of bad serve, and then I start to feel most pain.

Are you able to kick serve it without any pain?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah. But I don't have a good kick. I never had a good kick. I had a better slice. I was always -- especially on grass, I never hit a kick serve in my life, I think.

You said you were an old engine. Is it possible that God could help an old engine to win this tournament?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I never be too much to ask. I think I ask Him 2001 and he gave me a lot, you know. He gave me the Wimbledon. I just ask Him to be here again. And I am here again after three years, and this is for me victory, I think, even these two matches and to come back on the Centre Court again, to be able to play Wimbledon, this is for me like winning Wimbledon.

It's really -- what I went through all these last two years, wanted to stop, but I think I made the right decision to come back, this is for me more than winning Wimbledon.

Martina is going well again today. Have you completely ruled out the idea of a comeback at some time in the future?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, no chance. Men's tennis, you cannot take a -- look at what happened to Andre, you know. Before he could take one month off tennis and then come and then win the tournament. No more. In men's tennis, you have to -- two weeks is the maximum you can take to come back.

In women's, you look at Martina, eight years she didn't play a match. That shows you everything about women's tennis.

You think it would be the impossible in men's?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: In men's, who can be 48? Who is 48 in men's and put him back to play tour. I mean, would be funny to watch, you know. Slow motion, you know.

Is that a weakness in the women's game?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: That's a weakness. That's before the tournament start, you pick five girls, you know they going to come to the semis or quarterfinals. They win 6-Love, 6-1. 6-1, 6-1. 6-2, 6-Love. 6-Love, 6-Love. They say how good tennis they play.

Could John McEnroe beat anybody in this draw at age 46, whatever he is?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I had a discussion with my friend the other day. He said that McEnroe will beat 20% of the guys in this draw. I don't know how John is playing, but some guys maybe. But, again, you know, nobody -- you see Ramirez Hidalgo, nobody gave him a chance to win five games against Henman. He almost won the match. Tennis has improved. The guys, they hit the ball so hard.

So McEnroe, with his talent, he can maybe win a set, but I don't think he can win a match because these guys are hitting the ball so hard. You have one bad day, you out of the tournament.

Since 2001, do you run into Patrick? Do you talk to him?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Actually, no. I would like to talk to him. I didn't see him for, what? I know that was the last time I saw him. I know he got married. He's got a kid. He was supposed to play exhibition in Queen's two weeks ago. He didn't show up.

But hopefully we going to see each other, you know.

What would you like to say to him?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Just to see how he's doing. He's a great guy, you know. He really enjoys his life. He's playing golf, I heard. It's a bad luck for the tennis that he left. He's such a great character, such a great player. Really tennis misses Patrick Rafter.

When you played him in 2001, did you sense in a way the only person you could imagine that wanted it more than you or as much as you was him?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yes. I mean, if I will win Wimbledon before, to lose to him, I don't mind, you know, because he's a great guy. But then I say, "Man, he won two US Opens, I need this one. Better me than you."

You said there were just four or five women who could win the tournament. Couldn't more or less the same be said for the men's side, there are five or six guys?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Maybe for this tournament, yes. But is always going to be one side of the draw that somebody's going to sneak in. This is Wimbledon, this is different.

But any other Grand Slam, any other tournaments, you cannot pick the guy. You can have your favorite, you can have this guy maybe playing good, but then in the end, who will say that Gaudio is going to win the French Open? Nobody. Really nobody. I mean, he's a great player, a great clay court, but everybody says Coria. Nobody gave him a chance in the final. But he won.

So it's very tough in the men's tennis to say anything who is going to win. I mean, I pick five matches the other day, and I missed every one. Grass, even the Spanish guys now they know how to play on grass. Everybody knows how to play on grass. Volandri, maybe is his second grass court tournament ever, and he almost beat me today, I mean, because I didn't play well, but who cares.

In the 20-minute break, what did you do that inspired you to come back?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Nothing. I was talking to Michael Stich, talking to Bob Brett, and laughing.

Did it cross your mind about when you beat Henman in the semifinal?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, I didn't even think about Henman. I was a little bit -- was a little bit darkness in my brain, you know. But I came back. Was sunshine and different me, you know. Really, I said to myself, "Man, you don't lose the match today. It's not the match you going to lose, so you better do something if you want to win."