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March 14, 2001

Goran Ivanisevic


MODERATOR: Questions for Goran.

Q. How does it feel?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Great. After last year, everything feels great, you know. But I playing very good lately. I'm having more fun, playing good tennis. Just need one big result in a big tournament, and then it's going to be fine.

Q. What do you think has helped turn it back your way? Have you done anything different?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Well, I just have more fun. I try not take so serious like before. You know, last year I wanted to win so badly, practicing like crazy, and then I just couldn't do it. Now I have more fun. I play challenger. I had great fun at that challenger tournament. Everything is more fun. You know, I come here, enjoying more. Just having fun on the court more, trying to be more relaxed. That's I think helping me to play better tennis.

Q. About three years ago or so Andre Agassi went back to the challengers. Look what happened to him. Do you think the same can happen to you?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I hope half could happen to me what happened to him, I be happy.

Q. How different is the challenger experience?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Oh, you know, when you take the practice balls, you have to give $10, if you don't give the balls back laugh, they take your $10. You can't get a towel, only if you play a match. It's pretty low. But is the best organized challenger, was really great. But some things, you know, it's like a wake-up call. But it's fun. Every day I give my $10, I give the ball back. So is interesting, you know, funny week.

Q. Do you get your balls back?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I was careful, you know, not to lose any balls.

Q. Speaking of balls, what do you think of the ATP's ongoing campaign, "New Balls, Please"?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. They have to pump something. They have to promote old balls, old guys like me, old balls, used balls. I think used balls are still better than new balls.

Q. So you think a campaign "Used Balls Please" --

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think it would be nice. Used balls against new balls. I think used balls are still winning there.

Q. So how do you see the rest of your career going if things go well? Are you going to try to win a few Grand Slams?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. I have to take care of my shoulder at one point this year. I have to have surgery. I don't know when, but I have to do that because if I have to play five sets in one tournament. Two weeks ago I played doubles, singles, Monday, next day I was so, so bad. If I want to do well, like Wimbledon, I have to see what is best solution for me. But I don't think in the future. Maybe this is the last year for me, maybe not. I going to see, you know. I going to see end of the year how the things are going. I don't want to go through year like last year. So far is great. So far I have fun. If I want to finish the tennis this year, then at least I want to try everything, try to have fun, try to be happy. Then at least I can say I finished my career happy, not, you know, after two years try to practice five hours and try to come back. That would be a disaster.

Q. Do you think you have one more nice run of success in you?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah. I think I'm moving well, I'm playing well, I'm having fun. I think I'm not so old. My game is okay. I'm serving pretty well. It's not that I have to run too much. I think I still have one, two years in me. But hopefully I can survive these two years.

Q. How long would the recuperative period be after surgery?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: They don't go deep, they just clean it. So they say between four and eight weeks. So if I do that after Key Biscayne, before Wimbledon, before Queen's, it's nine weeks. But shoulder is the worst part of the body. It's most sensitive when you operate. It can be more, it can be less. Have to see. If I calculate too much, if I'm going to try to come back, then I start to panic, then can be worse. So I have to think, you know, very deeply with myself, you know, and then I have to make decision what I going to do.

Q. Even in the best of circumstances --

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It's tough decision what I going to do. Maybe I don't do it. But I have to do it this year, end of the year, now, later, somewhere I have to do it because is not good.

Q. How did the shoulder feel out there today?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I mean, it feels okay. Sometimes hurts less. But it hurts. Doesn't matter what kind of serve, slow, fast, it hurts the same. For me is same, I just hit the serve. I don't complain. When I come on the court, doesn't matter. I don't lose because of my shoulder; I lose because I play bad. I just don't think about it. I just try to serve my best.

Q. Do you think this area has changed much since you first came here and made your announcement that there's no life here?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It's changed, changed. I see a lot of younger people, you know, coming.

Q. Maybe because you're older.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Probably. But they like me. After that comment, you know, it's great. I get a wildcard. The people, they enjoying. I said that long time ago. But still it's fun to come here, see all these older people supporting me. Actually, they are my biggest fans, so I have to be nice to them.

Q. So when you retire --?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Maybe I retire here. I don't think I'm going to live too much here, but is nice place to relax, play golf, have some fun.

Q. You mentioned deep thoughts a moment ago. When you were up at the Sybase Open in San Jose, the power went out. Just a little while ago the power went out. I don't know whether you were on court at the time. Do you think that's an omen?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Maybe, you know. Too much energy, you know. Who know, maybe God is following me. So maybe it's a sign of something good. Power went off in San Jose, then I played a very bad match that day. But today I actually play much better.

Q. When was rock bottom? Is it breaking all those racquets? Was it losing in the first round of the qualifier for the Australian?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: That was a stupid thing what I did. I mean, frustrating, stupid thing. If I win that round, which I should, I could be straight in the Australian Open. But then when I broke the third racquet, I realize I'm not going to be straight in because I cannot finish the match (laughter). That's a good thing, you know, what I did, I think. It's something that people are going to remember. Nobody did that before. But Australian Open is pretty low, the way I played, fly 25 hours to get to the Australian, then play -- I don't know. I didn't tank the match, but I was not there. I played three sets. I lost 6-2 in the third, but I was not there. That was pretty stupid, pretty bad. Then after that I start to wake up. I went to play challenger. Since then, everything is floating, everything is getting better.

Q. How close were you to finishing?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: After then, I say, "Maybe, listen, this is last year for you, but at least try your best. When you come on the court, try to give hundred percent, try to have fun, try to change something from last year. At least you owe that to yourself after 12 years on the tour, what I did." After that, everything is getting better. At least if I finish my career after this year, I know that I try everything. If I couldn't do it, I couldn't do it. But I think I can still do it.

Q. You had so much talent, personality, worked so hard. If it comes to an end this year, do you look back and say, "I didn't get as much out of it as maybe I should have"?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I think I'm pretty happy. Just maybe the Grand Slam. If I would win that '92 Wimbledon, I think I will win another couple of Wimbledons, for sure. But then second one, again, you think, scared. Third one even worse. When you get there, you get first chance, you have to take it. That is what is different between my career and maybe Sampras, Agassi career. I didn't take my first chance, which I was favorite that match. That be maybe is going to bother me. But I think I did very well. I was No. 2 twice. I won lot of tournaments. I beat everybody. I broke most racquets on the tour, by far. My fine, I pay more fines than some guy's prize career prize money on the tour (laughter).

Q. Safin is right behind you.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: He's catching, but he's young, you know. He has very good potential. He's a great player, and his potential is No. 1. I assume he's going to play a lot of matches, he's going to break other racquets. Is going to be big fight, you know. Depends how long I going to play, you know.

Q. In breaking a racquet, is it mostly in the wrist?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Hey, sometimes I watch the TV, and then I see the guys when they throw the racquets. They throw it like a faggot, you know. They throw it not to throw it. When you throw the racquet, you throw the racquet. I mean, you break. Sometimes doesn't break, thanks God. But you throw the racquet. You don't throw it and it's going like this. You have to smack the racquet, you know, or you have to get anger.

Q. Does that take money away from you?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, no, no. Actually, they told me two years ago at that time, "What's going on with me?" Guy who is making racquets for me is not busy anymore. I have to keep him busy, you know. But now Safin came, next guy after me. So he's good. I like the way he is. He has a personality. I think he throws the racquet with emotions. That's how you should throw the racquet.

Q. Was that something you used therapeutically to get the emotion going for you?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, sometimes you throw everything outside of you. You get warning, but doesn't matter. Sometimes I keeping everything inside me, then I explode, then I gone for two, three games. But now I just let more emotions outside of me and is getting better. But you throw the racquet, you start talking to the umpire, the linesmen, but sometimes you -- sometimes because you want to, sometimes because you want to calm yourself. You have a lot of different kind of talkings there.

Q. Ultimately you'll be a huge success on the seniors tour doing that?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, but some guys are pretty funny on the seniors tour. But if I want to play seniors tour, I'm still 29, and I think, what, it's 35, 36.

Q. You can get in earlier in Europe.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Who knows. I'm thinking about now, you know. Senior tour is far away for me.

Q. Did you get a phone call from Charlie Pasarell for a wildcard?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I asked for it. It is really nice for him. So many young Americans, so many good young players. But he still appreciate my game. He still likes that I come here. It's really nice for him to give me wildcard. It's nice, the people still believe that I can still play, and I can still do some damage when I clear in my mind.

Q. Is it true that you traveled with a priest in the past to some tournaments? After you break a racquet, if so, do you have to go to confession?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, I didn't travel. He good friend of mine. His dream was that I take him to Wimbledon, so I make his wish. I took him to Wimbledon. He told me I can swear, but till here. I don't touch the God. From here down, I can do whatever I want. Up there, I don't swear. He's pretty cool priest, you know. He is not a regular priest. He's a strange priest, but fun.

Q. Majoli told us about Dr. Needles, that you recommended she go there.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Probably in Germany, but I don't know when. Dr. Needle is not a surgeon, he's just giving needles. That's why I call him Dr. Needle, but he's a very good doctor.

Q. You need Dr. Knife?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I need Dr. Knife, Dr. Butcher.

Q. What is it in your shoulder? Bone chips?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It's something like Rafter had, similar thing.

Q. If you can play through it, wouldn't it make sense to wait until after Wimbledon?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I know, but sometimes after like two hours of playing, I can't hold my racquet anymore, is getting tired.

Q. You have to win fast?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I have to win fast. Depends on the day. Is tough decision. I don't know what I do, but I do something.

Q. Did they tell you you would do more damage by keep playing on it or no?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It can't be more damage. But doctor told me after he saw my MRI in US Open last year, I asked him, "What I going to do?" He said, "You know, best thing before you go to sleep, you pray every night. Is the only thing you can do is pray and pray." I'm praying, and so far is okay, so I'm going to keep praying.

Q. I saw the match against Enqvist. At the end you said something.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I just say hello to my friend up there.

Q. This afternoon Pete Sampras was asked because of mad cow disease in Europe, whether he was going to change his diet in London at Wimbledon. He was very critical of the cucumber and cheese sandwiches, then went on to say that he was going to change his diet. Are you going to change your diet?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, I can't survive without meat. If I die, I die like a man eating meat. I have to have meat at least five times a week. I can't change my diet.

Q. So what if you were forced to have those cucumber sandwiches?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't eat cucumber sandwiches because I don't like that. I going to have a nice steak with French fries. Hopefully I don't get the cow mad disease. Maybe I got it already, who knows. I'm still alive.

Q. When you're done after this year, whenever, will you miss us like we'll miss you?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Sure, I'm going to miss all these questions. You're going to miss all my answers, you know. Is fun, you know. It's been fun coming to the press, you know, never know what I going to say, what you going to ask.

Q. Could you give lessons to other guys on the tour?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I should. They going to learn. Some of them, they still stiff. Some of them, they learning.

Q. Some of them are just dull.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: But it's also talent, you know. You have to be born with that. Somebody has talent for that, has talent for talking rubbish sometimes.

Q. You'd be a great hit on the senior tours.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: A lot of those guys, they broke, so they go to seniors tour. I hope I invest my money safely so I don't have to go and play seniors tour.

Q. You think Mr. Safin is following in your footsteps in press conferences, as well?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, he's cool. He's on the court, he has a good personality. He's a great player. I like him. He's really nice guy. I think he has all potential to do whatever nicely. Plus he won Grand Slam, you know. I think he's going to win a lot more Grand Slams and break a lot of more racquets. But I have to see, you know, how many. I still leading. I think in racquets and fines. I ask ATP last week to check for me how much fines I pay through these 12 years. They told me they going to tell me in Miami. Be interesting statistic.

Q. You'll tell us?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I'll tell you. Don't worry.

Q. Regarding Safin, do you think he's got it to win on the grass at Wimbledon?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I think so, if he survives first week. Agassi won, so I think he can do it, too. He's serving big. He's got big shots. I think he's going to improve. Grass in Wimbledon, after like ten days, is pretty slow, getting slower. With the balls, they slowing. But I still think he has a shot. Every time he plays a great grass court player, I always can put the money on the great grass court player. But he can win. He can win, sure. After all this Sampras, big servers are gone, I think he can do it.

Q. How important was your sense of humor, your ability to laugh at yourself, in getting through last year?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Last year, sometimes I can act better. I can go to Hollywood maybe. People think that I am happy, but inside I was not happy, so they don't know. I like to keep everything inside me. Sometimes that is not good because then you explode, then can be dangerous. But I survive. I try to do whatever, something else, just to survive. Losing 17 times in the first round, try to keep this momentum, you know, try to wake up and practice. Then I ask myself, "Why I'm practicing today? What for? Why I'm coming to the tournament? What for I'm doing here?" Then, like I say, in Australia, I just woke up. I woke up after flying. That was punishment, flying 25 hours. After three -- I spent four days in Australia, then go back to Europe. I woke up and I say, "Is enough. Now you just concentrate and have more fun." Now is better. Now I'm enjoying it. I'm happier. Everything is better.

Q. You could probably have another record if Vince Spadea wasn't around.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: That's tough to break. Hopefully not.

End of FastScripts....

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