View Full Version : Tarango: How he inspired Goran to Wimbledon Glory

Feb 15th, 2002, 04:12 PM

Jeff Tarango tells BBC Sport Online's David Law how he inspired Goran Ivanisevic to victory at Wimbledon last year.
When Jeff Tarango has something to say, he does not mince his words.

Goran Ivanisevic found that out during one of those rain breaks in his semi-final against Tim Henman at Wimbledon last year.

As the Croatian sat in the locker room, pondering the loss of sets two and three, Tarango, his friend and sometime doubles partner, gave him an ear-bashing.

"He'd just lost the second set on a tie-break and then the third 6-0 to Tim at Wimbledon, and it was raining," said Tarango.

"I went into the locker room and said 'C'mon Goran, it took you three years to get over losing the last time you were in a Wimbledon final.'

"'How long is it going to take you to get over losing a tie-break to Henman in the semis?'

"But he was just being totally negative, so I said: 'You've got a huge life decision to make right now.'

"'After this rain-break you can decide whether you want to blow it again or whether you want to take your destiny into your hands and actually win Wimbledon this time'."

"He came out after that rain-break with a totally different mind-set."

The rest is history. Ivanisevic fought back to beat Henman and then edged Patrick Rafter in a classic five set final.

Tarango never scaled such heights at Wimbledon himself as a player, but there are few more tactically astute minds or better competitors on the tour.

He broke into the world's top 50 on two separate occasions (in 1992 and 1997) without the big shots possessed by many of his rivals.

And at 33 he still enjoys trying to tactically outwit his younger, stronger adversaries.

"All the guys on the tour hit the ball really well and if you rally with them and drill with them, they are great players," says Tarango.

"But once you get into the match, with all the strategical little nuances of the game, I think most of the players aren't up to speed the way they used to be."

Mind you, Tarango has given up some of his secrets by putting them on a website, www.tenniswizard.com.

It offers scouting reports on all the players' strengths and weaknesses.

So if Tim Henman wants a second opinion on how to avenge his Davis Cup loss to Thomas Enqvist, a Tarango scouting report would advise him where to concentrate his efforts.
Not that Henman or his countryman Greg Rusedski need to change much about their game, according to Tarango.

"I think both Greg and Tim have perfect games to win Wimbledon," he says.

"Greg has actually improved his game more in the past three months than he has in his whole career.

"And Tim's improvements under the coaching of Larry Stefanki aren't going to be seen properly until around Wimbledon."

"The English public can help Henman," he says.

"They need to say to him 'Hey Tim, you've been a semi-finalist at Wimbledon three years already and however you do this year, you're still our hero.' I think that would release a lot of pressure off him."

Feb 16th, 2002, 02:14 AM
Oh, yeah. Without Tarango, Goran would be nothing.:wavey:

I'm so glad Jeffy honored us with his take on Wimbledon since he's done so well there.

Seriously, I have a question for you Egg: Do you think Tarango would make a good coach? I think he's to volatile but Brad Gilbert had a temper and he's turned into a good coach. (At least he was a good coach for a great player. I'm waiting to see how well he does with a player who is not the caliber of Agassi.);)

Feb 16th, 2002, 02:18 AM
thanx Jeff!!!!

Feb 16th, 2002, 02:26 AM
I know that Rita Grande (of all people) is doubling with Jeff in mixed, lets hope more of this rubs off. :) :)

auntie janie
Feb 16th, 2002, 02:33 AM
Hmm ... I'd want to hear Goran's version of this story before I'd place too much credence in it ... :rolleyes:

Feb 16th, 2002, 04:02 AM
Goran and Jeff are good friends as well and played quite a bit of doubles

known as the "terrible twosome".

Jeff would make a good coach, some players just do. He was that look and says some pretty outright stuff but he has to work with the right person.

If he said that to Henman, he would have probably started to cry.

He can make another version of his "winning ugly" and that would make Brad Gilbert look like a saint.

Feb 16th, 2002, 12:50 PM
I think it's true Tarango might do well with the right player. He couldn't get anybody sensitive so I think Henman, Safin and Kuerten are out. Also, all the Spainards.:hearts: Maybe he could get hold of one of the tough young Americans.:cool:

The difference between Tarango and Gilbert is that Gilbert made it all the way to #4 in the world back in 1990 so he has some idea of how to win. I don't think Tarango has ever been out of the 100s.:o However, most coaches were never great players, just good students of the game, which Tarango appears to be.

I believe he probably said those things to Goran and maybe they did some good, but the REAL reason Goran beat Timmy is because Timmy is a total loser and will never win Wimbledon or any other Slam.:p