August 30, 2003
NEW YORK CITY
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Did you keep your hotel phone off the hook?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I could, yeah. That is an option (laughter). I was surprised. I was surprised by Andy's call last night. It was pretty late.
Q. Can you tell us exactly what he said?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, it was long, long talk, so I can't tell you exactly what he says. But he wanted to hear from me what was all about. He thought that I have some problems with him personally, so he asked me in the future to tell him first instead of going out to the press. I responded that I have nothing personal against him. So we argued what I said here and other things, obviously. Everything ended pretty normal as we are.
Q. Do you think you owed him an apology or not?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I really feel that I didn't say anything bad about him as a person. So he didn't ask apology, and I didn't feel like doing it. I'm telling you, we cleared the things. We talked last night, and I told him this morning, he came -- I ask if everything okay. He said it's fine. Was probably some misunderstanding. I mean, I didn't say that he's ugly, I don't know, something I have to apologize.
Q. You came in here 15 minutes after a very emotional match.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Actually, straight after the match, I changed my shirt and I went straight to the transportation, I wanted to get off the site as soon as possible, also because I play doubles today. And I won, by the way. Thanks for asking (laughter).
Q. I mean, last night after the match, you were very emotional. It's a very difficult match. You come in here after the match. Is it possible that if you had waited an hour, cooled down, you wouldn't have said the things you did?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I'm not excluding that maybe I said the things I'm really not thinking. Because usually we take a shower before, talk with someone before going out here, you know, just to get the mind off of what really I felt in that moment. But, as I said before, I went straight to transportation, and the guy just took me, said, "Listen, there is a press waiting for you." I was really, I mean, nervous and upset, of course, because of the match that I think I should have won, and the things, you know, that happened on the court. Obviously, I was upset. But I repeat, I don't really think that I said something really bad about Andy, and he should be upset about it. I think he understand that.
Q. I think you said that nobody likes him.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Did I say that?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I mean, I don't -- I don't know what to say about it. I'm telling you, I don't like his attitude on the court. I talk with some people about that. Obviously, it's not the most beautiful thing you can see in the tennis. For sure, there are some people who doesn't like it, and some people like it.
Q. But "like him"? You said in the locker room that nobody likes him?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, if I said nobody, I made a mistake.
Q. You also said he was only No. 4 in the world because he played most of his tournaments in the United States, where the umpires were biased towards him.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, winning two titles, two Masters Series titles, where everybody plays, obviously showing that he's a top-class player. I mean, I can say a lot of things. I can say even that Goran should never win Wimbledon, but he won. Is tough to say about the things that would never happen. We cannot -- I mean, that was my opinion last night. It could be different opinion. I could have different opinion today. But those are the things that we can discuss, I mean, for months now. We never going to find the answer because it's never going to happen.
Q. You were asleep when he called; he woke you up?
IVAN LJUBICIC: The first call, I was awake.
Q. How many calls?
IVAN LJUBICIC: The first one, we talked, and then the line went down because he was in a tunnel. Probably he was on cell phone or something. And then it took him 20 minutes to get out of the tunnel. I don't know what he was doing in the tunnel. And then he called me. Second call I was sleeping already. It was 1:30. I went out much faster than he.
Q. It certainly can be said, argued anyway, that Croatia won the Davis Cup against the United States because of the choice of an extremely fast surface. The crowd, at least on television, seemed extremely partisan and extremely loud. There were reports also that your girlfriend's brother was beating the drum and so forth, which is perfectly fine. But why cannot Andy --
IVAN LJUBICIC: Sure, he can. I don't want to just mix up Davis Cup with the US Open. It's kind of different, you know.
Q. What's the difference?
IVAN LJUBICIC: The difference is that you play for the nation, and it's Davis Cup, so we are the hosts. US Open, I mean, I hope it's international event. Of course, even if there are 50,000 people out there cheering for him, there is nothing to do about it. I didn't say nothing against the crowd. I was trying to make a point that I didn't like the attitude of the players who are trying to cheer up the crowd, which I'm doing also when I play the Davis Cup at home, and that's the case. It doesn't mean that somebody has to like it or not.
Q. So Croat players don't encourage when there are tournaments in Croatia?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Unfortunately, we don't have tournaments in Croatia.
Q. In every Grand Slam, the French have an event...
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, but I -- it's -- I'm not saying they shouldn't do that. I'm just saying that I don't like it, you know. It's not like I should -- maybe I'm in the Player Council by the ATP, and I should go for the rule where it says, "You shouldn't ...." There is actually the rule that you cannot cheer up the crowd. But, I mean, you know, if I can say that it's something I don't like, doesn't mean we should do something about it.
Q. You played a fantastic match, no two ways about that.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Thank you.
Q. But clearly the replay showed that the linesman was not affected by anything that Andy said.
IVAN LJUBICIC: What can I say? I mean, I'm not perfect. The linesmens are doing the mistakes, sometimes I do the mistake. At that particular moment, the ball looked wide to me. They made some mistakes earlier in the match, so...
Q. Don't you think you should apologize, perhaps?
IVAN LJUBICIC: To who?
Q. To Andy, for saying he called out and affected the linesman's call when the linesmen's call was correct?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No. Why should I apologize to Andy?
Q. Because you said it affected the linesman's call when the lineman's call was correct.
IVAN LJUBICIC: And?
Q. Therefore, your previous statement saying that Andy --
IVAN LJUBICIC: We should be all day here apologize one to each other? I mean...
Q. It would be nice.
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, I'm not going to apologize to anyone.
Q. So you're saying you and Andy are okay?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Of course, we are okay. It's not like I'm going to punch him as soon as I see him. We going to spend next 10 years together in the locker room every week. I mean, of course, we are okay.
Q. Did he offer you a slice of his chocolate cake?
IVAN LJUBICIC: That's not good for the sportsmen. Maybe oranges (smiling).
Q. Did you get a sense that during the course of the phone call last night with Andy, did he ever seem to be angry?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No. He was surprised. As I was surprised by his phone call, he was surprised by the things he thought that I was saying about him. He was not angry, for sure. I mean, he would act in other way. He was not angry, no.
Q. Did you all meet up in the locker room this morning?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yeah, I saw him this morning in locker room.
Q. How did that conversation go?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, it was fine, perfectly fine. We end up conversation that we going to see each other tomorrow at the courts. If there is anything else he wants to talk about, I mean, I'm fine with that.
Q. There are some people who say that players who do not show emotion on court make our sport deadly boring. Do you think players showing animation during matches makes it more interesting for the fans?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I think so, yes. But there is also very strict rules in our sport, so you cannot break the racquet, you cannot hit the ball out of the stadium, you get fined. You cannot talk to the people in the crowd, you get fined. It's really limited. Some people just have it inside. Me personally, if I do things like that, I feel like I'm losing concentration, so I'm not doing it.
Q. If you say it's all right to do that during Davis Cup matches, are you advocating different rules for Davis Cup?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I think there are different rules for Davis Cup, yeah, that you cannot really cheer up the crowd. I'm not sure if the Grand Slams or ATP is the same. But obviously, even if the Davis Cup, if you do like this to the crowd (raising hands), if you do it 10 times, maybe you going to get one warning. They are obviously very flexible about that rule.
Q. How much poorer would this sport be without Goran Ivanisevic?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Very poor. I think he had a lot of these (conversation/confrontation?) in the past, but never end up with a fight or something.
Q. Did Andy break any rules last night?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I don't think so, no.
Q. Just to make it clear for me, what did you want to complain about?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I didn't want to complain. I just wanted to say that I didn't like his attitude on the court, not just last night, generally looking, because I don't have to like it, like you know. And the second thing is that obviously I was upset about some calls of the linesmens, which sometimes I'm wrong, sometimes the linesmens are wrong. And for sure I have nothing against Andy as a person. That's all.
Q. But you did say that the other players told you to go kick his butt.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, obviously. I'm sure that some players also came to him and said, "Kick his butt." That is what is happening in the locker room. Some players like more one than the other. That's pretty natural, I think.
Q. The impression you gave yesterday was that it was like a great majority of them were probably taking your side. If you had to put numbers...
IVAN LJUBICIC: I cannot say about it, really. It's going too deep here. I really don't know. I'm telling you for sure there are some players, but for sure there are also the others. So I cannot tell you how many are. We can do the quiz next week.
Q. Do you think maybe it was a good idea if you had just gone to transportation and went back to the hotel last night?
IVAN LJUBICIC: For sure, for sure (smiling). Actually, I'm sorry, I mean, because we are talking about this right now and not about the fantastic match we had last night, or my doubles today (laughter). I think we miss the point right here because really was a great match, and I hope he's going to go all the way because he is playing really great tennis. I don't know if he's going to do that or not, but I wish him good luck, and as to everybody else, the best guy wins.
Q. Had you had a longer cooling-off period, do you think what you said would have been said?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, probably I would say it in different way because obviously English is not my first language. For sure, there were some things I said that I thought sounded one way instead of the other.
Q. You said that Andy doesn't respect others.
IVAN LJUBICIC: On the court.
Q. In what way does Andy not respect others on court?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I mean, the way he's acting on the court doesn't show the respect for the opponent, which is perfectly fine. I'm saying that everybody can do that.
Q. I saw the match. What did he do on court?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, I mean, he's -- he's -- I don't know how to say that. He's acting on the court. I mean, the way he's moving, the way he talks. I mean, there are many others.
Q. In retrospect, would you take anything you said last night back?
IVAN LJUBICIC: For sure, I would take everything back (laughter). I mean, it's not like it's my perfect time to spend just coming here and trying to explain something that I say or I didn't say, you know. Obviously, I'm repeating it said that the people are talking about what I said instead of what we did on the court. Obviously, it's my fault. That's maybe the only thing I can apologize about - to Andy, because the people are talking about me and not him.
Q. Is there anything that you said that you think was inaccurate on hindsight?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I said before, when I said nobody likes him. I would say some people don't like him. Well, I didn't saw the transcript. I saw the transcript of the press last night. But really, I mean, you have to understand, it's real difficult for me because obviously my English, it's not perfect. So some things sounds really fine to me in English, but then the people say, "Listen, in the States, if you say that, the people going to get mad about it." I said, "Well, if you say that in Europe, it's perfectly fine." You know, some things are just different, sounds different.
Q. But still no apology, no need for an apology?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Well, I ask him last night if he feels like I should apologize to him. He said, "If you really don't feel nothing bad about me, why should you apologize?" Is perfect, is exactly what I'm saying.
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