February 21, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What impressed you most about Novak today in the final?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Impressed me? Everything. How he stay calm, how he did everything exactly what we talk before the match. All the key points.
If you see Daniil record for last 20 match was very impressive. He was really playing unbelievable tennis, probably the best tennis from everybody here. All the key points to return Daniil serve. His serve being aggressive and staying with him even after 10 hours. He did it unbelievable.
You can see Daniil kind of lost it in the second set after that break. Actually after that double-fault, 15-Love, he just went somewhere.
Q. The criticisms and all the controversy around Novak, the media coverage, what was he like? How did he handle it?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Actually he needed this victory so badly. There is somebody upstairs who see all this unfairness with a lot of media and people they doing to him.
He is going through lot of, you know, especially after last year, US Open, then pretty poor final of Roland Garros, and is not easy. Coming here, he spent 42 days quarantine. Again, he tried to help the players. Again, he's only him. It's his fault, like everybody else attacking to him. Nobody else to attack, so let's attack Novak.
Then this injury happen out of nowhere. Unbelievable. To be honest, I can't believe that I'm sitting here today talking to you as a member of the team of the guy who won number nine Australian Open.
Even with that injury, they questioned the injury. You know, he took MRI after Fritz match. The doctor said what he has. They gave him the choices. Some people, they can deal with the pain. Some people, they cannot deal with the pain. It's like that. Somebody can take more pain; somebody can take less pain.
Key match for me was one with Raonic, and after with Zverev. After that was better and better. Today was just masterpiece. He never lost on this court. Unbelievable, unbelievable performance.
Q. Did he struggle with it?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I mean 'struggle'? You have to ask him that. But is not easy. Everything what he does, people have something to say. If he say something, it's not good. If he doesn't say anything, it's not good again. Was not easy to deal with all this criticism, to deal with the injury, to deal with everything.
But, you know, he showed the world again how great, how big he is as a tennis player. This is his tournament. Like Rafa has his French Open, Novak has his Australian Open. Nine times, unbelievable. It just shows you this victory is even sweeter that I know what he has, I know what kind of emotions and pain he went through in last week, and he wins the tournament. In this way it's just amazing.
Q. You mentioned the tactics, following the plan. Can you expand on that?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: It's easy to say you play like this, but you need to execute on the court. He executed from the first point. When you see the break in the first set, Daniil hit four first unbelievable serves. He return all four, break.
Okay, then he played a careless game, got back into the match. But he was on him. Even the careless game in the second set, first game. But he was returning, staying with him. He was not afraid of Daniil's backhand. He was not afraid to come in. He was not afraid to serve. He was serving the whole tournament, so many aces. Any time he needed a first serve...
You can see that Daniil lost it for the first time after a long time, I can see that he didn't know what to do. Even he went for these big serves, on the second serve, nothing was working because Novak was there for everything what Daniil had to play, Novak had even play better. I mean, especially in the final, you want to have a match like that in the final. Novak was just perfect and executing and taking every chance.
With Daniil he can switch from bad to good, from good to bad. Honestly, I thought is a pretty even match before the match started. But I said, This is the final. Novak, this is Novak's court. Novak never lost a match here in the final. You could see that that help a lot in the end.
Q. You said Novak wanted to win this match, this victory badly because of what happened in New York and Paris. I was wondering, did you guys have that kind of conversation or did you feel from the way he practices or how did you feel about this?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Actually, I mean, he came here, 42 days we are in Australia. We came to Adelaide. Now you see two players won Australian Open, Naomi Osaka and Novak. Was not easy. He was practicing hard. He came here with a lot of expectation, a lot of pressure, defending champion, everybody kind of playing well.
Of course, he wanted to win. Every guy like him, he wants to win. He came here to win, not to play quarters, semis or final. It's not good enough. He wants to win. He wants to break the records. He wants to perform and compete like he did.
Sure, there was a goal from the first moment we step in Australia, and he executed today perfectly. This is what you train for. This is what you live for, for the matches like this. This is great. Number 18. Now the chase is beginning. The chase is there and it's great. A lot of confidence.
He needed because, you know, when you play, New York disappointment, French, really bad final, he needed this to just keep going in his mind.
He is a champion. He always find was the way how to perform the best. He did it here, especially with all this crazy things what was happening. First you have spectators, then suddenly you have no spectators. Atmosphere for two matches was like in a funeral, with these birds. You know, I thought I was in a cemetery, you know.
Injury, but he showed again how strong and tough he is in the head and prove everybody wrong.
Q. Did it seem harder, more than before?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: He's always practicing hard. He's the guy who, when he steps on the court, he is a perfectionist. He wants everything to do perfect. Sometimes is not easy. But it's a challenge. It's perfect to be a part and to see that. You can learn a lot. But, no, he came here to win. He did it and I'm happy.
Q. He said on Eurosport afterwards that as he's getting older, he wants to spend more time with his family, that he would try and really hone in on the majors. How does he approach the next period of his career?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: First now we have to see. He's going to take another MRI, see again what that MRI is going to show. Then from there we going to as a team decide what is going to be his next tournament.
You cannot only concentrate about Grand Slams. You always have to play something before Grand Slams to have a match. So he's going to have to play something before every Grand Slam, before big tournaments.
Now, to be honest, I don't care because he won the tournament and he can play next tournament French Open if you ask me (smiling). But he needs to play. He needs to play something before. He is the guy he wants to play, these spectators I hope is going to be back soon, because this is sport about, you play for the spectators. Everybody enjoyed it after one year of sadness.
Now we're going back to the sadness again because there's no crowd again. But I cannot tell you anything about schedule because nobody knows. At the moment is not important. But you cannot concentrate only on the Grand Slam. You need to be in the tournament mode, tournament pressure because it's different.
Q. What you said about Novak needing this one, needing rather than wanting, is that purely because of what happened in New York and in the Paris final? How low did it get then? How bad were the doubts?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: That's my view. You have to ask him. This was his 17. If he didn't win one, you know, he's getting older, and he needed, if he wants to break the record, if he want to catch Roger and Rafa. Honestly, Rafa is going to win one more, maybe two for sure, French Opens. You need to keep going winning. Novak is favorite in Wimbledon and US Open.
But, I mean, especially after US Open, it's not easy to deal with all this disappointment. Then after another loss in the final of French Open, which was not a good performance, then rest of year was kind of like so-so, went pretty quick.
He really was very motivated from the moment we step in Australia, practice 14 days in Adelaide, he was really keen to do well here. He knows that this is his court, this is his tournament, and he proved it these two weeks, with injury, with everything, that he is the nine-times Australian Open champion. Wow, beating Medvedev like this, unbelievable. Unbelievable performance.
Q. You've experienced and seen personally what it takes to be a major champion. How would you describe Novak, Rafa and Roger, what they've done for history and how they've improved over the years to sustain their levels?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: First of all, they help each other to become better players. They pushing each other. Somebody ask me why they best. They best because they not scared to put something new in their game, to learn something new, to try something new in practice.
That's why young guys, they still think they know everything, but they don't know anything. That's why they going to have to learn from these three because all three, they always have something new, new people, they bringing new people in. You see the results. Those three guys, every time when they step on the courts, they're amazing. They still going to be the best because young guys, they need to learn. They think they know too much, young guys. They don't want to accept new things.
These three, they not scared to accept new things, to try new things. That's why they are the best. They bring every time something new. They try something new. Look at these performances. It's just beautiful.
I was privileged to be here and watch this beautiful performance.
Q. How worried were you after the third round? Did you think that Novak could get through the injury and win the title?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Listen, knowing him, being with some injuries that he had before, I know that he has mind to overcome the pain and everything. But when I heard what it is, I was not easy to hear the news. With him, you never know. He overcome the pain, he overcome everything.
Yes, we did a test every day before the match because you need a test before you fly. Then at the end it became like a lucky charm. We did before Raonic match. We did before Zverev match. We did before Karatsev match. We did tonight. Okay, tomorrow we flying.
But, you know, he's amazing. Shows you that the guy is just unbelievable. Mentally I never met somebody like that. People criticize him, they saying this and that. I witness something that this is amazing. This victory with what he had is unbelievable, just amazing.
Q. The COVID tests?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, yeah, yeah, COVID tests.
Q. When Novak produced his best-ever serving performance in the second round, he was asked whether he thought it was better. He said, Goran is my coach, so yes, my serves got better. He mentioned he worked on it specifically with you. Are there any specifics you have targeted over the last few months to try and add something to his serve?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I can't tell you that. But he work. He work. I actually have to say thanks to all the team. Marian and me, we worked on the serve. Marian is not here. We are sharing half tournament, me half, him. He did work on some things. You can see.
But people underestimated his serve through the years. His serve let him out of the trouble lot of times in his career. He just now improve even one step more. He's not afraid to go for the big one, also for the second serve. Also today served unbelievable when he needed.
Like that's the question what the person ask me before. He is not afraid and scared to try something new. That's why you see improve his serve, improve everything. That's why these three guys are the best, because they always trying something new and they not scared to try, not scared to even input in the matches. That's you see the results.
Q. You mentioned you thought Rafa is going to be winning one or two French Opens at least. For Novak to pass that total, we're talking about 23 slams minimum. Are you thinking why not go for Margaret Court and Serena's totals, the all-time record rather than just the men's?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: You know, you don't know where is the end of these guys. This is a good question. They are unbelievable. They surprise me every day. Rafa for sure is going to win one, I hope not two, but I give him one. Who knows.
They're unbelievable. They producing better and better tennis. Every time when you think they gone, the young guns are coming, they are here but these guys are better, one step better in the finals.
I don't know where is the end. Maybe they're going to overpass Margaret Court and Serena, maybe not. But it's amazing what they doing on the court. It's amazing how they perform on the big matches. I'm waiting for Roger to come back. It's going to be more interesting to see what's going to happen in French and Wimbledon.
Is just great. The race is there. Who knows. I said couple years ago Rafa and Novak, they going to overtake Roger, both of them. I still believe that. I still think so.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports