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September 1, 1999

Goran Ivanisevic


USTA: Questions for Goran.

Q. Any packages this year?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Not yet (laughter).

Q. They will come?


Q. Was it a tougher match than you could have expected?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I mean, I never saw him before. Somebody told me he has a good backhand. That was the case. It's always tough first round. Lately, the way I was playing, the way I'm struggling, I mean, I was keeping the ball pretty well, just sometimes forcing myself. I think I'm happy the way everything went today.

Q. Prevailing in a tiebreaker, coming through on some close sets, you dropped a set, but can you derive some confidence coming from this match?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Sure. The more matches I win, the more matches I play, I'm more confident, I have more clue what I have to do on the court. This is Grand Slam, different story. To win, you have to win three sets. You can always come back when you 2 sets to Love down. I need matches. I need matches so I have an idea what to do on the court.

Q. Do you feel good about your game? Do you feel you have a realistic shot at going deep into next week?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Always. Nobody expect anything. I came here just try to get my game back. Anything is possible. If I can get through second week, that means I always have a shot.

Q. Where were you when you heard that Pete was out of the tournament? Now Rafter is out of the tournament.


Q. You were on-site?


Q. A lot of players are saying that all of a sudden, "It's anybody's tournament to win now."

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Always, even with Pete here, Rafter, so many guys. Grand Slam is nobody's tournament. Can't say, "This guy going to win." Andre and Pete very confident, they won tournaments this year. They both won a Grand Slam. You can't ever predict who is going to win any Grand Slam. It's bad for the tournament, for the tennis, that Pete is out, and Patrick with injury last night. But anybody can win this tournament.

Q. Can you?


Q. You just said you've been struggling with confidence lately.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I am. But if I can put my game together, now I have to win six more matches. It's a long way, you know. It's like Mt. Everest. You never know with me. It just clicks and the game is there. If I can serve well, the court is pretty quick, so anything is possible.

Q. What has been going on with you with your confidence?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know. Just tough to explain. I get so lost on the court, you know. I start to force too much. I don't know what to do. A lot of double-faults. In one stage of the match today, I went like every second serve more than 105, 110 miles an hour. I couldn't get less than that. I don't have control, so I have to hit my second serve. Here, you know, it was working sometimes. On the clay, the ball comes back. Here, the ball doesn't come back a lot of times. It's just a confidence, you know. The more matches you play, the more confidence you have, and everything is going together.

Q. Do you go into a place like this or Wimbledon with a totally different outlook than you do from the week-to-week tournaments? You have a whole string of first-round losses, then you did pretty well at Wimbledon until you lost to a good player. Is that a totally different aspect?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is. Grand Slam is totally different. I come here with almost every week losing first round. I play more golf than tennis past couple of weeks. Anyway, it's not easy when you practice, lose Monday, practice, lose Monday, practice again till Monday, four, five weeks in a row. After 11 years on the Tour, that's tough to motivate. But I have still motivation. I see some guys in front of me in ranking, which is very disgusting. I have to go back there because this is not good (laughter).

Q. Do you feel like there's still a Grand Slam somewhere in there?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: You know, anything is there. Just when I have my game and I play tennis, you know. Not lately, I don't know what I was playing. But when I play tennis on the court, then I can beat anyone.

Q. You frequently say, "You never know with me." When do you know which Goran is showing up? Before the match? Not until you get there?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Actually in the match I find out. There's a couple of guys there. I have a little chat, "Which one is going to go now?" Sometimes we fight, "I go." "You go." Today in the end was a good one, you know.

Q. How many are there?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Today was only two. One guy step in like in the middle of the second set, start to hit. Okay, I won that set. Then the third set, just was pulling him, "Sit down, relax, man." He didn't listen. Then fourth set, you know, I just came in. I said, "Okay, now, let me finish this."

Q. Do you give these voices, these guys, different names?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, it's me. It's just me, me, and me. It's good. Sometimes it's good. It's fun for the crowd, you know. Sometimes not fun for me when all this. I get confused, you know.

Q. Do I understand you correctly to say that you think Pete and Pat being out isn't having any impact on the way you're looking at this tournament or maybe some other guys?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. I mean, it's a Grand Slam. It's nicer with both of them. But this is Grand Slam, you have to win seven matches. With them or without them, it's tough, always tough.

Q. Are you trying not to think about it?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I'm not trying. I'm trying just to win the matches, you know. With them, without them, I'm struggling. For me it's just nice to win today, so Friday I have another match, try to win that one. Match-by-match, doesn't matter. I'm not looking Pete, Patrick. They're far in the draw. Without them, now is different story. But there's so many other good players there.

Q. I know this isn't your favorite tournament. Do you have any good memories from here? What is your worst memory from here?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I have good memories here. I played semifinals one year. I was always making progress before with this tournament. It's a great tournament. People seems to like me here. Everything is fine, you know. I don't have a bad memory.

Q. No bad memories?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. Everything is fine.

Q. Back to me, me and me. If you had a chance to sit down with the world's best sports psychologist and explain this situation ...

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't think he can understand that. It's too complicated for him also. No, I'm not a case to go to the psychologist or any kind of thing. I am the best psychologist for myself, you know. I have to hit forehands, I have to hit backhands. He cannot tell me, "Now hit ace, it's breakpoint." They all talk, "Concentrate, keep your mind, breathe, breathe." Then you start to breathe, breathe, but nothing happens.

Q. Do you ever say, "Oh, just shut up"?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: When I'm confident, I just go there, toss the ball, and I feel I have control. But when you don't have confidence, you don't know sometimes where those balls are flying. I just want to hit there, and the ball suddenly is the other side. It's pretty bad, you know, when you lose that. Nobody can help you. Now is much better. Last couple of weeks, I playing better tennis, just start to have more fun. Today I had fun. Still I have fun, it's good.

Q. With this me and me and me again. The way you serve the ball, do either of them ever say, "Maybe it's time to go in and follow the serve and get to the net"?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, a lot of times. Sometimes it's the legs. You have to control the legs, you know. You cannot go in without legs. You have to get to the net. It's like, I don't know, five, ten meters. You have to go (indicating). It's not easy. I want to go in, but then I don't want to go in. Then I think, "When I go in, I lose the point." I think, "Okay, why didn't you stay back?" When I stay back, it's always, "Why didn't you go in? It's always, "Why, why, why, why didn't you choose that. Why didn't you choose that?" When you buy a red car, you say, "Why didn't I buy a blue car?" You come home, your wife say, "Change this." It's, "Why?" It's always, "Why?" It's okay, you know. I won the match, so to go in or not, if I win the tournament staying back, it's okay with me. If I have to go in, I going to go in when I feel to go in.

Q. You keep yourself good company?


Q. How much would it mean to you if you could win a Grand Slam? You've done a lot on the tennis Tour, reached finals. How much of a difference would it actually make you if won a Grand Slam?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Oh, it would be great. It would be really something what this is all about. I don't know how is that feeling to win. I know how is the feeling to lose in the finals. But it would be great after all these years and trying hard. I think it would be a great achievement.

Q. Would you think of yourself differently?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, I think of myself okay. I don't know how I would think. I never won. If I can win, then I tell you. Now I can't tell you anything.

Q. Which one of the me, me, me's gets the trophy if you win?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Oh, we all get the trophy. I get the trophy, then I buy another two trophies for whoever is there.

Q. Was there any point when you lost that third set, looking across the net saying, "I'm a foot taller than this kid, he's a qualifier, I can't possibly lose this match"?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. Even when I lost the third set, I wasn't. I was in control, early break. No, I just played the best set, you know. I knew I going to win. I felt okay on the court, really, really good.

Q. You said sometimes you feel lost on the court. Is there anything off the court that bugs you?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No, no. It's a strange feeling. It's a strange feeling. After 11 years, I don't know what I'm doing there. That's kind of the feeling.

Q. How long have you been dealing with that?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: This year has been, you know, a very strange year. But I'm not giving up. I'm practicing hard, trying. It's getting better, you know.

Q. Who has been helping you with that?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Just me and my coach here, and we practicing. We just going every day trying, trying. It's going to come. I know it's going to come. It has to come. I didn't forget how to play tennis. I know how to hit the ball. So it has to come. I don't know. It has to come.

Q. Is it pretty much fair, no matter what happens here, to say that Agassi is the best player for this year, being that he won one Grand Slam, final of another, he's done better here than any of the other prospects?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, he is. He played great here. I saw him the other night. I mean, he's very confident. You know, there's the confidence. The guy was two years ago 140. Now he's winning Grand Slams. He was No. 1. He's just hitting the ball harder and harder every day. He's just very confident. I remember '96 when I had this couple of months when I couldn't lose the match. Even when I wanted to lose the match, I couldn't lose the match. I was tanking the match and I was winning the match. It's tough to explain. Now when I want to win a match so hard, it's impossible. It's crazy, you know, but it's true.

Q. Last year a writer in this town said if you would go on to win Wimbledon, it would be the best thing that could happen to tennis. If you won this tournament, would that be the best thing that could happen to Goran?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: For me, for sure. Final on 12, my birthday the next day. What could be better, you know? But final is a long way. Today is, what, Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thursday. Then Friday is another match. Hopefully I see you on Friday and we talk again.

Q. How do you approach the US Open? Is it different than the other Slams? Do you prepare differently?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No. Just on hard court. It's pretty tough. It can be very humid. The last couple days is good weather for tennis. Very windy, but it's not so hot and humid. Usually it is very humid. It's not easy to play, you know, especially when you have to play a couple of hours. I'm pretty fit. I didn't play so many matches this year, so I'm fit, so I can play.

Q. Do you approach it differently here? I remember years when you used to say, look at those airplanes flying over, you knew your seat was on the next flight out. Do you come here thinking that now? Is there more positive thought?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I'm very positive this year. When you don't win so many matches, you just want to win and you don't think about airplanes or anything. I just been trying to think about match, about opponent. I'm pretty positive, you know. Really surprising myself lately. Even that I'm losing first rounds every week, very positive.

Q. A lot of players would be reluctant to talk about not having confidence or getting lost on the court. How come you're so able to just be free and talk about it that way as a pro athlete?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It's fun, you know. Makes you laugh. Makes me relax, so it's okay. I have fun. You have to have fun sometimes, you know.

Q. Why your results in this country worse than elsewhere? You haven't won a tournament in the US. Any reason?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: No reason. I don't know why (laughter). Just it's bad luck. You know, I going to win one, even if I have to play this 35's or something. I going to find some tournament.

End of FastScripts….

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