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August 31, 1998

Goran Ivanisevic


Q. What did you do after Wimbledon to get yourself back together emotionally?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Nothing. I took like three weeks off, went home on the boat a little bit, have fun. I came to the States and it was tough to get motivation, tough to go and practice and motivate, but every week was better and better, Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven, New Haven helped me a lot. I would be a lot of matches, final, okay, a little disappointing, but that gave me this little thing what I was missing before US Open. Now I try to put this back and concentrate for this tournament.

Q. Does Wimbledon still prey on your mind a little bit?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: As always going to be when you play three times final, it has to be on your mind. A long time to forget the last one and this one when I had the most chance ever to win, it is going to even take more.

Q. After the match, after the final, you seemed really in the depths of depression. How long did that actually last for, Goran?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Even now sometimes I think about when I am alone, you know, I think, Jesus, when I practice, when I hit this backhand returns, I think why this -- when I hit a good returns, then I think why I didn't hit it like that in these two-set point. But it took long time, I try to do anything just not to think about it, but it is not easy sometimes I just -- pictures are coming back.

Q. Would winning here or doing well here take away those pictures?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Sure. I am trying to concentrate about this one. This is really -- I am playing good. The court is never faster and anything is possible.

Q. Have you figured out why the first round has been such a jinx for for you here?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know, this is great, last, I think, four times once I went in the semis and three times I lost first round. So that time when I won the first round I made the semis so maybe this is a good sign, I have positive first round and who knows maybe I can go far now. I always playing Monday, I don't think I have played Tuesday here. They want to get rid of me soon, but this time I say, okay, now I stay a little longer.

Q. Other players seem to get the sense that if your serve isn't working that it changes everything; that that is all you have to fall back on. What is your sense of, I mean, if your serve is not working then what?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I can hit backhands and forehands; I can try to figure it out. It is -- sure my confidence is getting on my serve. If my serve is working, everything else is working better. But if not, I don't win a lot of matches when my serve didn't work against Top-10 players. So it is not always my serve. But when my serve is there, then anything else what I want to hit is going in. It is just too confident.

Q. Who is the player to beat here, Rafter or Sampras?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't think anybody. You cannot pick one guy who is -- Sampras not for sure, but Rafter before Sampras for me. But not even him. He won three tournaments this summer, but he has to defend, you know, and it is not easy to defend a Grand Slam title. He has to -- but he is playing good. He is confident, but -- and he has to beat me, you know, 16.

Q. Todd Martin next round probably.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I know. I know, I am joking, it is 16, it is away -- he has to win first round. Everybody has to win now.

Q. You say the court is faster?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Never faster, I don't think I have played US Open that it was faster court which is okay with me. I don't complain, especially if I serve like today, I like it.

Q. Woodforde was in here. He said that you have a serve and not much else. He wouldn't pay to watch you play tennis. What are your views on his comment?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know, he once -- he doesn't like me too much. He wanted to hit me today with this ball. Actually he hit me and he didn't say sorry, but he said once he is better player than me, but I don't see how, the way he is, the way his game is, man, it is very tough to watch. I think it is time for him to retire singles. In doubles, he is still good, because he still can cover half the court, but he looks very poor at the court. Pretty old, can't move, with that shitty backhand you can't beat anybody. If I have son, just show Woodforde picture, you can't play tennis like him otherwise, man --

Q. Apart from that, what is it between you?


Q. Yeah.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't have nothing against him, but he always talks how bad I am, but you cannot be bad and beat second in the world and Top-10 for six years, and at least he hit me on the purpose, I was at the net. He had straight forehand to me. He had a smash. He could -- I turned my back and he hit me, I don't know, somewhere he hit me, he didn't say sorry. So he hates me. But then I hit an ace after that and that kills him. I see on his face, those guys are poor, they can't do anything and then they hit you, it is a poor thing.

Q. If you have to play Martin and you had to especially pick matches with Todd Martin, why is his game giving you so much trouble?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: First of all, he is a great player and the way he is playing on hard court, he takes the ball very early, don't give you any rhythm, so, from the back, his balls are coming pretty fast, so if I start to play something stupid, he just comes in and takes my serve easy -- second serve. I have to sometimes risk against him. Last time I beat him pretty easy in Indianapolis when we played on hard court. But if he is on -- if he serves good, only one problem with him he doesn't move so well, on the sides, so that is a chance, maybe I can move him left to right, but he is tough to get because his ball don't have too much topspin, very flat and it is not easy to control those balls.

Q. In recent years every now and then people say there is too much serving power in the men's game; got to go back to wooden rackets. What if they went back to wooden rackets, what would your serve be like?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: For sure I would serve aces, but they only talk about me every time when I hit aces, look at Sampras game, how many points he wins with his serve. A lot. Serve, serve, serve, he makes one break and you are going, you are history, serve, serve, serve, one break and then again. But nobody talks about him. They talk only about me, here he comes again, serving, again serving. I tell you it is not easy to hit so serve all the time when you need it, aces, that is also you have to --

Q. Is Sampras the player you least like to play?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Maybe I do mistakes against him sometimes I want to play too good and then I just -- he gets an early break and that is where he is dangerous when he gets early break and then he is just zoning, but when you stay with him, then he is not -- when you stay with him all the time then he is not good, then you can -- you have a chance to win. But I always give him a break, he wins the set. Then he gets confident and he starts to hit unbelievable winners and then I am -- it is tough to catch him. You can't give Sampras any lead because you are gone, you are history.

Q. Anyone else, any other players zone on you like Sampras has?


Q. You said New Haven gave you that little extra or that little something that was missing in coming into the Open. What was that that you found in New Haven?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I was, you know, okay I was -- during the matches I was fighting, but sometimes I was not there with my head, I was like flying somewhere, you know, and not thinking about match, didn't care if I win or lose. But then I played good. I play -- my game was there, but not my head, was not 100% there. Then okay now you try, you need a couple of victories and then it is going to be fine. That what gave me, in New Haven I beat Kafelnikov, I beat Paes, gave me confidence, in the final, okay, final, but don't matter I didn't win, I get -- I felt that I can do well at the Open.

Q. There are two players at this tournament who are contenders to win who are, what you would call, smaller players Agassi and Rios. The speeds of the courts, how much do you think that works against their chances?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It doesn't matter with Agassi, you know, you can put glass or ice with him, you know, the way he plays, he can win anything. He won Wimbledon, so, why not here? But Rios, he is not very confident lately. I mean, when he stopped with that coach, I don't think he is playing best tennis. But you never know, this is Open, this is completely different. He can come here and just play his best tennis and the way he plays it is same like Agassi, takes the ball early, and this court is okay for both of those guys, don't matter it is fast. They can return great and as soon as you can return here, it is very -- you are on the top.

Q. A player of your caliber has not won a tournament in this country. How do you explain that?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't know, I had a chance two weeks ago. I had a couple of chances, I didn't win. But it is not easy here, you have very tough tournament one Super 9 and US Open and New Haven, Indianapolis, they are all big tournaments. But hopefully I can do it. I was close two weeks ago, I didn't win it.

Q. If Sampras wins this tournament he will tie Emerson with 21 Grand Slam titles. Would that make him the best player of all time in your mind?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: In my mind not. In my mind Becker, for me, is best player because he has a better -- the way he plays tennis for me is nice to match, thinking about in the game and -- but if you take these Grand Slams and victories, then you should give credit to Sampras.

Q. You don't think you have to win the French Open to be the greatest ever?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: He should, but I don't think he can. I don't think he can ever win -- the way he plays he can not win the French Open.

End of FastScripts….

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