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August 17, 1996

Goran Ivanisevic


GREG SHARKO: Okay, this is Goran's 8th ATP Tour final of the year. The first in March, when he reached the final in Key Biscayne. It is also the first time here at the RCA Championships the top two seeds have reached the final since 1992 that year, No. 2, Sampras beat No. 1, Courier. First question for Goran.

Q. After the war you had yesterday, it had to be nice to get off to that start you did there in that first set.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I think yesterday Roux put me in the rhythm. I hit so many balls against him yesterday that today I played unbelievable tennis because a couple of days before I just hit every ball with the frame and yesterday I had to hit a lot of balls, so I just played unbelievable match today. Served today. Returned well. And everything what I hit was good.

Q. First serve points you were just dominating completely.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I was dominating, I mean, something like this happened in Sidney in the beginning of the year. He just served too good and I didn't have a chance. So today, he didn't serve well, but I still put pressure on every -- his second serve; I stand a little bit closer and -- because as soon as he gets attack from the back, you know, he hits very flat, without spin and it is tough to control the ball, for me, so just put pressure on him before he did on me and I just served good. Everything, you know, as soon as I start to serve good in the beginning of the match, I knew it was going to be a good match for me.

Q. Can you talk about that second set break? You got him at the net a few times at the end of pulling out in that game?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, that was a little bit easy mistakes for him. I didn't do anything special, great. When you put everything back, it is always pressure on him, but he missed a couple of easy balls that game, two doublefaults with the new balls, which helped me a lot, but that is tennis, you know, when he knows that I am getting everything back and returning better, then he has to go for the bigger second serves.

Q. That last service game was a very spectacular game, you just really forced a lot of -- two weak returns; couple of aces?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I was very confident. Before maybe first two rounds, I was -- every time when I serve I was not sure whether I was going to win my serve or not. I was really scared of hitting the serve. Today I went every time very sure that I cannot lose my serve; that I am serving good and now 5-4 I was very confident I am going to hit at least two aces and I hit two aces.

Q. Can you look ahead to Pete tomorrow?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, it is going to be another interesting match. We always have interesting matches. He doesn't like to play lefties too much. He can beat me easy. I can beat him easy and it can be a tight match. I don't know of these three what it is going to be tomorrow.

Q. Do you get extra adrenaline flowing playing a guy like Sampras?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I mean nothing to lose. He is No. 1. He is the favorite. He is Pete Sampras and I am going to have fun there; hit a couple aces and try to have fun like at Key Biscayne and hopefully I can win.

Q. Can you kind of say that now you are reaching the level you had the first three months of the season?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, today, the way I play, was something like I played in Key Biscayne, very concentrated from the back; not too many mistakes, taking the ball early, serving good and I am happy that I can say I am coming back and finally I am finding my game back.

Q. I don't remember if it was at Wimbledon, but I think you were complaining because you were always travelling just by your own, you didn't have any friends from your country; another player like the Spanish, for instance, and now in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, you have Hirszon who is through the qualies so you can be with him so it is much better for you?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: It is much for fun. We are going to play some more doubles 'til end of the year and next year. It is more fun for me and for him, gives him a chance to qualify. Qualified here in Cincinnati and I think he can be a better player. For me it is more fun. It is two of us, and every other country they have 10, 15 guys on the Tour and it is more fun for them.

Q. You can go for dinner with him?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, we can talk. We can -- it is easier for me to talk in Croatian and have fun, it is normal.

Q. Would you rate your performance today's ahead of that even against Pete at the Lipton?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I don't think I played great match against Pete, but I hang in there; especially in that first sets I played pretty bad; then the rain came and I started to play better. But today I think I played one of the best matches this year, especially on hard court, really concentrate; really -- I was there; not complaining about balls. Balls were great today (AUDIENCE LAUGHTER) And just having fun. I just knew, this weather is great. I like to play in weather like this. It is not hot. It is not warm, but I played good. I don't know -- I don't remember what happened in the second and third set against Pete in Key Biscayne, how did I play, but I think I played good match today.

Q. In a match like today, is there a particular point early when you really feel, hey, today is going to be -- today is really going to be my day?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I felt good in the practice this morning. I felt good the way I hit the ball and then -- I knew that I am going to play good. I didn't know how good and all depends on him. He missed a lot of balls, but I played good. I make him go for the early winners.

Q. Playing six sets yesterday, you didn't feel tired?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Actually I felt, but you know, when you are tired, you can't complain too much. Everything hurts, leg, your arm, everything so you just -- you don't think that something can hurt because everything hurts, so you just play and you are happy.

Q. Keep track of the number of aces you hit over the years?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I say in the beginning of the year I am going to set a record that it is going to stay for a long time in the history of the tennis, so I am close to thousand, I think in the end of the U.S. Tour I am going to be over a thousand and I need 100 more, 150 with six tournaments indoor, I think I can manage that and with 1,200, I think it is going to stay there for a long time.

Q. Is that something you make a conscious effort to do?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, it is not easy. A lot of people think, oh, it is easy, but I want to do that, at least if I cannot win a Grand Slam, at least I want to be known by something at the end of my career as the guy who has the record of aces, that is me.

Q. It surprised most people around the sport, most people think that you have got at least one Grand Slam and yet you have had the two finals at Wimbledon and you haven't come through. Do you wonder why sometimes?

GORAN IVANISEVIC: I wonder, but it is not there and I still hope, you know, it is still not over. I still hope I am going to have another three, four good years of my tennis and you never know when it can turn. I need to be focused for two weeks. I was one close and hopefully I can get a third chance and then finally make it.

Q. You haven't always had the best of luck here in the states. You get a crack to finally win one on U.S. soil tomorrow.

GORAN IVANISEVIC: Yeah, I never won a tournament in USA. Three times I was in final, New Haven, Key Biscayne and one in Long Island, two I lost; one I didn't play. And tomorrow it is the fourth chance, maybe I can do it. I am going to try and it would be nice.

Q. No problem with the neck there time?


GREG SHARKO: Anything else for Goran?

End of FastScripts...

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