March 22, 2001
THE ERICSSON OPEN, MIAMI, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. As well as you played last week, I read your quotes each day and you just keep getting happier and happier. When you think back to last year's US Open, what happened?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Wow. Actually, after US Open was, again, struggling and everything was bad. Actually whole year was bad. Then, okay, then I finish the year, then I start, say to myself, "Okay, I'm going to be serious this year and try my best." So I went to Australia and I didn't play the (inaudible). I play because I was entered. So to fly 24 hours to stay four days in Australia, go back, I went to play Challenger and after that, my mind was around and I start to be more focus, more happy and play better tennis.
Q. You said something very telling at the Open. One point you said, "I don't have anybody to play for anymore." You talked about playing for your parents, you talked about playing for your country. Then you said, "I don't have anybody to play for." Do you now?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah. I play for me. I never in my life play for myself, so at least I deserve that, you know, give myself credit. Because I was all my career tough on myself and never happy, never -- always wanted to do better and always trying to do better. So now I decide to play for myself, just give myself a little pleasure before I stop playing tennis.
Q. Do you have to consciously not hit your serve as hard as you want to in order not to aggravate the injury?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Same. Is nothing. Is painful if I hit slow or fast. I can't think it's gonna be worse if I hit hard serve or less hard serve. Just go there and I'm used to hitting.
Q. Can you do everything with the serve you want to?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I can do. Still with the pain, not all the time but most of the time when I hit some -- especially when I hit too hard or when I force my serve. Sometimes I mis-hit and then hurts like hell. But I don't try to think about it when I step on the court. I try to just not think about the pain too much and try to hit aces if I can.
Q. Is it a torn rotator cuff?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yes. But they don't go deep. They just shave it. So it's like eight, eight weeks. But shoulder is the worst part. But for operation and for the recovery. So it's a tricky, tricky operation, tricky recovery. But I have to do it. I was thinking after the year, but I don't think so. Probably if I do it, maybe I do it later this year.
Q. If you do it now, you can be ready for Wimbledon but you'll be rusty.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I can be ready. If I cannot be ready, maybe I start to panic and try to get earlier and it can be even worse. So it's very tricky, tricky decision, so many little things. Once I decide I have to go, I kind of have regrets later as why I do it or didn't do it.
Q. Have you talked to Pat Rafter at all since he's been through these shoulder problems?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think he recovered pretty fine. It took him six, seven months. But now he is okay. So he's stopping this year tennis, that's what he says. I don't know why, but...
Q. Are you amazed that a guy like that that's had such tremendous success and has been a charismatic figure would quit now when he's playing so well?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: I can understand. He has to work for his tennis so hard. He's a great athlete, hard worker and great tennis player. One stage you have enough, you don't want the trouble. You don't have fun to practice. You can't fight against it. You can maybe fight one, two months, but whole year is impossible. So look at Pete, he's playing ten, twelve tournaments a year. So unless you play, you know it's easy, but Rafter is a guy who likes to play a lot, who likes to play tennis and use everything, every point. So I think maybe it came to a stage where he has enough. When he had this operation, I asked him about the six months, did he miss tennis. He said, "No, I play golf, I do great time." Sometimes you just have enough. You don't want to hang out in the players' lounge, in the locker rooms and see all these people, twelve years, same people every day. Crazy.
Q. Will you miss him when he's gone?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Maybe I go before him, so... (Laughter.) Yeah, he's a good friend, a nice guy. He's gonna be missed by everybody.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: The way he plays, the way he is in the locker room. The way he is as a person. Those people you don't forget that soon.
Q. You have a house in San Francisco?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Me? No, I never been to San Francisco.
Q. You have a house in California somewhere?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. Not that I know. Maybe I have. But I don't know.
Q. What happened to the shaggy-haired bearded Goran Ivanisevic. He really cleaned up.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yes.
Q. Why? Is it because you're approaching 30 years of age?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah. You have to think more serious. It's coming this year. You have to think about family maybe. No, it's just a stage that I can be a little cleaner, you know, cleaner look.
Q. If you do stop playing tennis at some point in the next couple years, would you like to have another career? What would you do?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Another career? I don't know. I don't know what I gonna do.
Q. Just live off your earnings?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. I can't -- I am not a person who's going to sit down and do nothing. I cannot do that. Is good for two weeks, three weeks, and then I have to move. Because all my life I was moving somewhere and traveling, and I don't think I gonna survive staying in one place the whole year. So there's gonna be tough to handle, but I gonna move. I gonna do something. I don't know what yet, but something for sure.
Q. I see you coaching Croatian Juniors.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, that's my goal. I was, last year, playing captain for Davis Cup Croatia. When I stop, I gonna be for sure Davis Cup captain and help the kids. It's fun. I think those kids, I am like idol to them and I didn't have nobody when I was growing up coming to my matches, coaching me, and it was tough, and telling me something. So it's great, you know. For them they can learn something. I can tell them something. Not how to break the racquet, but how to -- something better than that, you know. So it's great. I like to watch junior tennis. It's fun.
Q. Who are the best Croatian Juniors?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: 16 years old, (Mario) Ancic, played final of -- no, final of Australian Open and final of Wimbledon last year.
Q. Lost to Andy Roddick.
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Lost to Andy Roddick. Lost to this French guy, Macout (phonetic spelling) in the final game. He's 16 years old. Very tall. So he can be a good player, very good player. You know, you never know, he's 16, but the way his results are, the way he's developing, he can be very good.
Q. Do you have to practice less now because of the shoulder to save the shoulder for matches?
GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah. I am not practicing like before, you know. But when I have fun, then I practice. But also, you know, I don't need to practice so much like before. It's just sometimes if I want to practice half an hour, I practice half an hour and is better for my shoulder not to waste one, two hours for nothing, you know. Then the next day I can't hold my racquet. So you have to be smart, you know.
End of FastScripts....