Goran Ivanisevic Interview

25 June 2004
An interview with GORAN IVANISEVIC

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Interviewers - black
Goran - sage.

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

What were your emotions at the end of the match?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It was strange, you know. I didn't know -- I knew it's last match, last point, but for me, like I say, it was a victory for me. You know, to come here, to play two matches, to lose to the guy who is the Wimbledon Champion, who is great player, you know, who played today the match -- he played too good, you know. I didn't do anything wrong. He played great.
But everything was perfect. Everything was right - the weather, the crowd, the court. I just enjoy myself. I'm happy. I'm happy and sad. I'm sad that I have to leave, but I'm happy that it's no more practicing, no more questions from you guys, you know.
But is great. Was really great. 15 years. I really enjoyed every moment of my career.

What has it been like this week going into each match knowing that it could be your last one?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I knew was going to be the last one as soon as I came here. But I wanted to play on Centre and I wanted to show myself that I can still win the matches. I show that to myself, that I won two matches.
Bad luck today I played against a guy who was just playing too good. But was worth it, these two years of the therapy and struggling, to come back here and to finish my career in Wimbledon. Best place, best court. I couldn't ask for better.

What did Lleyton say to you at the end when you came to the net?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I told him, "You kick my ass very well." He say, "I didn't." But he said it was an honor for him to play with me. You know, when somebody like Lleyton Hewitt says that, you know -- I'm proud of myself. I'm proud everything what I did in my career. I play with all generations, you know, McEnroe, Connors, with these young guys, with Pete, with Andre. So it's just great.
It's great that when I lost, I lost to the Wimbledon Champion and the guy who can win any time if he plays like this.

You never had the idea to suggest to him, "Come on"?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I didn't have time to say, "Come on." I didn't do anything. But it was okay. I enjoyed it.

One girl said she loves you. And you did a point for her.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I won a point. And then the other one say. Then nobody says they loves me and I lost two points. And then the guy say he loves me, and then...

What will you do next?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Next? I'm going home tomorrow, and I don't know what I do next. Who knows? Maybe I want to play the Davis Cup, because we playing at home, but only if it's finished. If it's 3-0, 3-1 against Belgium, then is going to be my last match in Croatia for Croatia people. But that's only if is finished. If is 2-All, then I just sit there and support them.
Then who knows, maybe I become a Davis Cup captain. I going to play some exhibitions, senior tour, who knows. But right now I just want to relax. When I wake up, no more therapy, no more exercises, no more painkillers, no more nothing. I just want to enjoy and be proud of myself, everything I did in the last 15 years.

Over the past years you've provided us some of the best stories, biggest laughs. Now that you're going to go away, any suggestions what we can do?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think you should wait for another Goran. Is going to come. You know, it's change of generation. Every generation has own Goran. So I was the Goran of this generation, you know. I think in the future you going to have some guy who comes.
Safin is close, you know. But I don't understand him sometimes, you know. He's Russian. You know, Russians are...

Any chance for Mario Ancic?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Mario Ancic, I think he can be a great player. I don't know how good stories he's going to tell you, you know, in the press conference. But he is funny guy. He's a nice guy. He's still young. But he's going to learn.
But, you know, with me, sometimes I don't know what I'm saying, you know. And people, they always try to -- I always say what I mean in that moment, you know. Sometimes is bad. But, you know, who cares. I said lot of stupid things in my career that cost me. But, you know, that's me. That's why, you know, a lot of people like me. A lot of people didn't like me. But I stay the same, you know. Nothing change me.
Even when I won Wimbledon, I stay the same. I was same before, and probably when I 50 I going to be same. It's me. I like myself. I'm okay.

For the future Goran, what's the most important thing for the Goran of tomorrow, the future Goran to keep in mind?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: For me what is most important thing in the future?

Not for you, but for the next Goran.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: The next Goran? To be better than this Goran, you know. I don't know if it's possible with all my comments, but he's going to have to work hard.

But it is important to swear and talk to yourself on court?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Doesn't have to swear. I mean, that was me, you know. Sometimes when I'm too quiet, something is missing, you know. I like not to swear, but to talk. When I'm talking in Croatian, you know, this swear, they just coming out of my. Like instead of saying hello, I say something bad. That's how we talk, you know. In English, it's different. You know, in English, we don't have a lot of bad words. In Croatia, I have a lot of bad words. I can write a book. I can make stories.
One year, they fine me in Australian Open after they listen to tape, and they fine me $9,000. Referee comes to me and he say, "I never heard that in my life, that somebody can swear that much." How I swear, it was like poetic, you know. I say, " I know. I made it."
So for me it was good, you know, just get out of the system.

Even if you're not going to be playing Wimbledon, you're a member of this club. Do you feel you may come back and visit? What does it mean to you to be a member?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It means a lot because, first, that means that I won Wimbledon. Sure, I going to come. Probably they going to invite me to play these 35s, doubles. I come to support our guys and have a little tea. Unfortunately, this year I didn't have time to have my tea. But next time when I come, I'm going to come especially for that. I have my tie, my suit, and then I going to, you know, just enjoy myself here.

What will you miss the most?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I going to miss everything. I going to miss the guys that I spent so many years with them. I going to miss serving ace on 15-40, 30-40. I going to miss talking to the umpire - sometimes bad, sometimes good, you know. I going to miss everything.
I gave all my life into this sport. You know, it's still I don't understand that it's finished, you know. I know it's finished, but I don't know it's finished. It's still mixed in my head a little bit. I going to realize probably in next couple of days that I'm going to think I should practice. I'm going to tell to myself, "Man, no more practicing." I going to hide the racquets so I don't go and practice again.
But I going to miss everything, everybody. But I'm not leaving, like I'm never going to come back. I still going to see these guys, maybe come on one tournament just to watch, see what they're doing.

If an umpire ever gave you a point due to a scoring error that didn't really belong to you, how would you have reacted?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Nobody gave me anything. They take away from me, you know, the points.

If that had happened, as occurred in the Venus Williams match yesterday, how do you think you would have reacted?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I give it back, you know. What I do? I don't take the point that somebody gave it to me, you know. I give it to somebody in the crowd.

Do you think you leave tennis, men's tennis, in a healthier state than it was when you came in? Can you evaluate?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I can't. It's changed. I think tennis improved physically a lot. The guys are much stronger. They hit the ball very hard. Now you cannot take any more these two weeks, three weeks off, then you're going to come back and play, you know. You have to play almost every week. You have to be prepared all the time.
But technically I think tennis went down a little bit. Look at Wimbledon. From 128 players, I think maybe seven, eight guys they serving and volleying. It changed a lot, you know. Now you have more guys from the back.
But still I enjoy to watch. Lot of good matches, lot of good players. But it's changing, you know. I saw some -- yesterday -- the other day when it was raining, I saw the finals, Borg-Connors. You know, it's change.
You know, Tennis is becoming faster, stronger. Nobody went to gym before. Now everybody come to the gym. It's full of people. So it's going to be even different in 10, 15 years. So every generation has something new in tennis.

The single toughest player that you faced over your career and the toughest stroke that you've had to deal with?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Maybe toughest player I ever play is Pete, you know, because is guy that gives you only one, two chances per match, and if you don't take those chances, you finish. Usually with all these guys, I play lot of matches, but usually you get more chances. With him, two, three if he's generous, you know. I think with him it was the toughest for me to play. You know, he beat me twice here in Wimbledon.
But also Andre is a guy that was very tough to play. Becker, another guy. His serve was unbelievable. But I still think that Federer is the biggest talent from all the players I ever play in my career. I don't know if he's going to win so many Grand Slams like Pete, but definitely he's the most talented player I ever play.

Does he have a greater range of talents than Pete? How would you explain?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Some things he does better than Pete. I mean, on the court he's like magician. Pete was destroying. Pete was serving. Nobody talked ever about Pete's serve. They were only talking about my serve. But when you play Pete, you couldn't touch his serve, you know. Even when you returned, then he hits forehand winner and the point is finish.
But Federer, the way he plays, he's back, he comes in. When you look him, you think tennis is very easy sport, but it's not.

Are you going to miss children's TV in Britain?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Miss what?

Children's TV. Gave you a bit of inspiration.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, sure, I going to miss Teletubbies. I didn't watch a lot this year. A lot of football. I changed. But I going to miss everything. This is for me biggest tournament. But I going to miss waiting for the rain to stop.

Can you tell us about the development of tennis in Croatia? How is it maybe easier for people to be professional tennis players now? It seems you must have been a part of that. Sprem said you were her hero.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I mean, I'm happy that I started, I started, and I'm the guy. We have now two guys that are in the third round. I was in the third round, another two guys. These other two guys, they can go even further. We have Mario Ancic, who can be next future star. We coming from the same city. Was ball boy to me when I was playing Davis Cups. We have Karolina Sprem, who could be next star. She beat Venus Williams. I was the one who started.
If I'm 1%, you know, I did something good for them, you know, I'm happy. So it's great to see lot of Croatians. I was alone on the tour, me alone, talking to myself. If I want to talk Croatian, I talk to myself, you know. And now you have like five, six guys. So it's much easier for them. It's great, you know. Tennis is becoming more popular in Croatia, and I see a lot of young kids. So it's good for us.

How great is your regret for not being No. 1? You were very close several times.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, that's maybe only thing I can regret in my career. But to be No. 2 behind Pete Sampras, for me that's biggest honor because he is the best player in the history of tennis. And that year when I was No. 2, he won three Grand Slams, so I didn't have any chance to be No. 1 - only if I shoot him, and I couldn't do that. So was tough. But to be No. 2 against such a guy, that's for me like being No. 1.

THE MODERATOR: I would like to take some questions from the Croatian press, but before we do, may we all put our hands together.
(Applause.)

GORAN IVANISEVIC: One more thing. I going to miss you, all the guys. Thank you. Some of you started with me, some of you you're before me, some of you are new. But thank you for all these 15 years of my career, for writing good, for writing bad, for writing whatever you write. I had fun, you had fun. Enjoy. Thank you very much.