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January 28, 2020
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to introduce Todd Martin, the CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
I'll hand it over to you.
TODD MARTIN: Thank you. Welcome, everybody. Thank you for being here.
It's my pleasure to reiterate the announcement from earlier this morning that the induction class of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2020 will include Conchita Martinez and Goran Ivanisevic.
Conchita can't join us today because of her busy coaching and playing schedule. But I think you all are familiar with her accomplishments. First of all, a Wimbledon champion. Second of all, a three-time Olympic medalist, five-time Fed Cup champion.
This gentleman beside me is a former world No. 2, Wimbledon champion, several-time finalist at Wimbledon, and one of the great personalities of our generation.
He also won the 1995 Grand Slam Cup.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I know.
TODD MARTIN: You remember that?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Sure, beating you there (laughter). That was fun.
TODD MARTIN: Goran and Conchita will be the 258th and 259th International Tennis Hall of Famers. I hand the baton over to you to say a few words first, Goran, if you will, about the honor of being inducted in the Hall of Fame, then we'll open it up to some questions.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Hello, everybody. Yeah, like a month or a little bit more Todd called me that I was in, I was in. I was a little bit speechless. I didn't know what to say. It's probably the biggest and greatest honor any sportsman.
He told me, You have to be quiet for at least until you come to Australian Open. So I kept my mouth shut pretty well. I said to my wife, and I had to say to my team, but they were okay.
My journey started 41 years ago in Split, tennis journey, and it's going to end in Newport.
I have five months to practice my speech. It's going to be challenging. We have three Gorans, I think one is going to speak.
But it's unbelievable. Yeah, could not get better person to go in with Conchita Martinez. Great, great personality, great person, great tennis player.
Looks like I did something well in the tennis world. A lot of ups and downs, a lot of different highways I took. In the end, paid off. I cannot say too many times, but this time I'm really proud of myself for achievements I did in tennis.
Thank you for all the fans who voted for me, because I was No. 1 in the fans' voting and the committee who recognize this year that I should be that guy standing there with all these legends and great personalities.
Going to be interesting.
TODD MARTIN: So I'll just add one statistic for Goran. He's the first Croatian Tennis Hall of Famer. There are some in other sports, but Goran is the first one to be inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame.
Any questions for Goran?
Q. All of tennis knows there are three different Gorans: you, 911, Emergency Goran. Are they all going to Newport?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, they going to go. I think we going to agree on one speech because Todd told me five to seven minutes maximum. All three are a part of this journey. You cannot leave them all home. They're all going to come there as a package, but one is going to go in.
Q. They were all pleased? There were no fights?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, first time there are no fights. First time they agree on the same thing.
Really it's a privilege. When Todd told me, I was like when you cannot tell to anybody, you're happy but I want to say to somebody, tell it to whole world, but I'm not allowed.
Now it's starting to kick a little bit because a lot of messages coming, people stopping me, congratulating me already. It's going to be even more and more till I come to Newport.
I know it's going to be a nervous time. I know all my speech what I going to practice is going to probably vanish when I come to the stage. I going to have to think about something else.
But doesn't matter, speech or no speech, it's a great honor.
Q. Will it be harder to be there than on court in Wimbledon when you won the championship?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It's definitely. On the court, you feel like at home. Court is my backyard. Court, I know what I'm doing.
I'll be fine. I'll be fine there. I know what I want to say. I know who I want to thank. This is most important.
I never been to Newport, so I'm looking forward. It's a beautiful, beautiful place, beautiful city. It's a great time of the year.
I'm very excited.
Q. We're all familiar with the three Gorans as a player. Are there still three Gorans as a coach?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, one, one. It's too much. When you coach, you need to be very focused. One Goran is enough. One Goran is enough.
Sometimes one Goran, he always have some arguments with myself, but still as a coach you need to be very focused for your player, you have to always come with the right answers when he needs it.
Q. As you look back on your career, what are some of the biggest moments that stand out to you?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Definitely Wimbledon. Even those Wimbledon that I lost. When I go back, for sure I will play some differently. That one, 2001, it makes it more sweet. Olympic Games '92. There are a lot of regrets, but maybe I do a lot of things different.
In the end the journey was very interesting. My fans, they were supportive. We had the good relation. They didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what to expect. You could see from the votes also here that I was not elected ahead of Kafelnikov. I was second behind Li Na. You cannot compete with the Chinese population.
Still this year I was leading of the fans. Really, we had a lot of good memories on the tour. I would like to thank also each tennis player who made me better player.
I had a great generation. I can say that I was with three generations. I catch up with Connors, McEnroe, then my generation with Todd. I also stayed for a generation of Federer and Nadal.
I was privileged to witness a lot of unbelievable tennis players, a lot of matches, a lot of interesting moments on the tour. It's a lot of years. It was a lot of fun.
Q. Can you imagine you playing now? Do you prefer to have played at your period?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Why not? You adjust. But I'm happy that I play in my period. Was different times. We had actually good times. We were good friends. Now it's different, it's changing. Teams, every player is like three or four guys on the team. They stick with they teams. Before we were more in the locker room talking to each other, players.
But those were good times. These are good times. Probably the future is going to be good times. Every era or whatever brings something new and fresh and different.
Q. On many occasions you were open enough to tell us it would be a great privilege and honor for you to work with Novak. Now with this privilege and honor, what is the future for Goran Ivanisevic in the tennis world? What are your new challenges?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: My challenge as a coach is to stay in the team with Novak and try and witness for him to be the best tennis player in the history of tennis. Last nine years he's by far, by statistics, in every part, Grand Slams, winning matches, Masters 1000, he's by far the best.
Still missing couple of Grand Slams. I think he's going to get there. How many, I don't know. I hope him and Nadal, they break 20. They push each other, they make each other better players.
For the reason I am here, for the reason he chose me, hopefully I going to witness making the greatest tennis player in the history of our sport.
Q. How do you assess Novak's tournament so far? If it is Roger Federer, do you think the Wimbledon final will play any part, any scar tissue?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: First of all, they have to win today. Let's say Novak has not easy opponent. He never lost to him, but Milos is playing very good tennis. He's serving huge. Nothing to lose.
I think ATP Cup helped Novak a lot, help him. Because the way he finished last year, for his standards, was I don't say poorly, but the match against Roger he didn't show up, mentally he didn't show up. He was a little bit down.
The ATP Cup really lift him. I mean, thanks to the other two guys, Lajovic and Troicki who help him. But he played unbelievable. The Serbian community, the support they had, was unbelievable.
That game, he has confidence, but positive energy. He needed that positive energy. You could see that he's playing every match better and better here.
But today is going to be completely different match because there's not going to be too many rallies. Still I think if that match comes up in the semis going to be completely different match than the one we saw in Wimbledon, and especially the one we saw in ATP Finals. I don't want to see that again.
I think Novak, they play couple of times here, and Novak beat him every time. But let's see. Let's see this day goes through and then we can think about what will happen on Thursday.
Q. You had one of the most unique personalities in your time. Now we see a guy similar to you in Nick with a big personality, Nick Kyrgios. How important do you think it is for the game to players to have those unique personalities?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think it's great to have Nick. I have to congratulate him from last night. He was behaving well, fighting till the end. Tennis needs Nick. Tennis needs more Nicks.
It's funny, they were always telling me I was crazy. I am nothing compared to some guys now (smiling). These young guys, they can be pretty difficult. But we need that. We need little bit difference in tennis.
Look how many supporters, followers Nick has. Is only a question of Nick. I think it was three Gorans, but at least 10 Nicks. Depends which one is going to show up.
Tennis-wise is unbelievable. He can be No. 1 in the future easy.
Q. Novak Djokovic said he worked a lot during the off-season. What kind of improvement did you want to bring to his game? How satisfied are you with his improvement?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: He is the guy who wants to improve every day. He's not afraid for improvements. He's not afraid to ask. He wants to be better.
That's why these three guys are still the best, because they're not afraid of changing, they're not afraid of learning, they're not afraid to -- look at Nadal changing his serve, now finally after six years he's serving good. Roger changed the racquet.
Novak also wants to improve his serving much better, especially second serve. Now 185, 180, 190. He's doing it constantly, not just one or two times. He believes in that.
I didn't come to change his techniques. But a few little technical things that we talk about it. Now everything comes together.
It's tough. You come to the guy who is No. 1 and the best, you're not going to change something. But it's easy for me that he wants to improve. Makes my job, and Marian who is there already for 11 years, we really as a team working very good because Marian is the easiest guy to work with. Makes our job much easier.
Q. Players these days have a lot to deal with outside the court, social media. Would you have liked to have been playing in this era or are you happy where you played?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think I'm happy back then. Was less stress. No this social media. Not only social media, but now we're coming to the era that is all about statistics, all this and that. I don't like that. Is going too much. Too much details. With that sometimes you forgot what you have to do on the court.
I'm pretty happy back then. Was much more straightforward and I enjoyed it more.
Q. You don't think statistics have a place in tennis?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: They have a place, but not how much. They talk about three hours, about that guy he just served three years. Who cares who he served three years ago, where, how, why. Too many information, too many things. In the end they forgot what they have to do, what is they game.
I don't care what the other guy does. Just need for player that I coach to do what we agree, what he's asking me to watch, to see.
They play with each other so many times, they know. They practice with each other. Pretty much they know everything. But little bit. I think it went too much.
Q. The focus is still very often in the Nadal-Federer rivalry. Do you think at this stage this is unfair for Novak?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Maybe it is. He's there. He doesn't care what rivalry is the people they talk more. Maybe they started before the rivalry, then the people, they like it more.
All these three guys, they're playing different: Roger, Rafa, and Novak. Somebody they like more Novak-Federer, somebody likes Rafa-Federer, somebody likes Rafa and Novak. It's completely three different match types.
I think he's concentrating about himself and what he needs to do. What rivalry people they talk about more, I don't think he cares.
Q. Novak mentioned on court what you've been bringing to his team, your insights. What are the things you feel you bring to him? How do you see that helping in his success?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: First of all, the mentality is the same. We speak the same language. We're coming from the country that was one before. Mentality is the same. Balkan. I already know what he thinks before he thinks. Probably 90% of the time I will think the same.
I'm pretty positive guy. I tell him straightaway I'm not going around, I tell you the way it is. Sometimes can be good, sometimes not, but that's me. Is no lying in tennis.
I think the mixture of Marian has different approach, but the result in the end is the same. So I think it's working perfectly so far. Except this injury last year US Open, he lost the first place, little bit step back. But everything else, it's working perfect.
We had also great relation before I became his coach. I know when he was 14 and a half. I was always supporting him.
Now I'm part of the team. To be his coach, sometimes it's easy, but it's also not easy. You have to know that guys like him, to be in the final is not good enough. Doesn't matter which tournament he's playing. Some guys, they will probably be drunk when they play the final for two months. Him, when he plays the final, he loses, he's not happy.
You always need to be there 100% positive. Is always a little stress. But stress is good times. Positive stress is good.
TODD MARTIN: Thank you. Congratulations, Goran.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports