March 16, 2006
R. FEDERER/I. Ljubicic
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ivan.
Q. How do you look at this match? One-sided? Do you think you didn't play up to your potential?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I was thinking what to say really on the way here. But it's really hard for me because definitely I'm sure it looked different from my point of view and from your point of view because I was in there. My feeling is I probably tried too hard, went over, tried a little bit probably more than I'm doing every day, and that's never good. I think also he played quite well and he was the one who was pushing me over the limits.
When it's like that, it's very difficult to make a statement out there, to make a decent match.
Q. If you had to identify two things that make him different from all other players, what would you say?
IVAN LJUBICIC: There are not two; there are many. But return and movement.
Q. Is it one of the best matches he's played against you?
IVAN LJUBICIC: I mean, you have to ask him. I would really like to hear what he's going to say about the match because my feeling definitely that it is.
But, as I said, it's my point of view. I don't know what people outside saw, what his feeling is. But I didn't felt like he gave me many chances today out there.
Q. You had a high serve percentage in the second set, not too well on second serves. Did you think about taking more chances?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Actually in the second set I tried to slow down the game a bit. In the first set I tried really to play fast game, and obviously that suits his game perfectly. But I thought maybe that's the only chance I can trouble him a little bit.
But it was not the case. I stayed back a little bit on returns and tried to make a little more rallies instead of just ripping the ball. I mean, of course didn't work that either.
Q. On your serves, going for more.
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, I can't really go much more on the serve, especially from that side where you have the sun in your eyes, it's really difficult with the ball toss. It's not about the serve. I mean, you can't win a match only with the serve, especially not against Roger.
I think his percentage was very high. I didn't see the numbers, but he didn't give me really many second serves that I could maybe step in and try to lead the rally. But he knows me very well. I guess he did that on purpose.
Q. I think it could be said you conquered the world last year when you led Croatia to the championship of the Davis Cup, but you can't beat Federer. Is he that much apart in men's tennis?
IVAN LJUBICIC: For me, he definitely is. I don't know for the others, but for me. I really consider myself top 5 player in the world, which it doesn't mean that I am close to Roger. I think he's really much better than I am, and then probably anyone else. The only player who can give him some trouble at the moment, it's Rafael Nadal. But I think just because he's lefty, nothing else.
But we'll see. I mean, when he's on top of his game, there's no one out there who can give him any trouble. It depends mainly on him.
Q. Last year it seemed like you were right there in this tournament. Did that encourage you today, "I almost did it last year"?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Actually, I watched that match on tape just before coming here. But it was different conditions because was night session. There was no sun. So for my serve, it's much better if it's night session and if conditions are perfect. Like indoors, also, in Shanghai, we played great match, 7-6 in the third. In Rotterdam, 7-6 in the third. So for me it's much better if we play in steady conditions instead of a little wind out there and sunshine. So it was definitely different match.
But I think he definitely played better today than he played last year.
Q. Did you just watch that tape or other tapes?
IVAN LJUBICIC: No, just that, because I had only one tape in my home. Accidentally it was that one. It was two weeks ago in Monte-Carlo. I watched with my coach. Because I thought that match was really good, one of the best matches I played last year. We saw a couple things that maybe I could improve. But not because I wanted to beat Roger or anything against him, but just to try to realize what I can improve in my game or what things are different now than they were a year ago.
Q. Croatia is still in the Davis Cup this time.
IVAN LJUBICIC: Yes.
Q. Are you confident you can win it again?
IVAN LJUBICIC: Why not? We won it last year. I don't see why we can't do it again. We are a young team, nothing really changed since last year, not many things. We have now Argentina at home. I think also you can say that we can win that one, and then we'll see.
Semis would be potential Australia or Belarus, which is again open match. You know, who knows. Why not? We really know how strong we are. We have definitely strong doubles and great two singles. Why not?
Of course, we have to stay healthy. We have to be top fit because then our bench, it's not very long. So far was going okay. I don't see why we shouldn't continue our winning streak.
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He is a bit like Safin who plays better on indoor than outdoor,next time hope he won't take too long time to adapt the hot weather. Also don't lose confidence against him!