I would like to thank him for coming, but I would also like to thank him both in my own name and in the name of all Croats for the 2001 match. I very much wanted to organise this exhibition, because Patrick and I have been good friends since our playing days. He’s a brilliant person, always ready to go the extra mile. We’ve spent a lot of time together in the past 24 hours, we had some obligations together, and he’s the same as he ever was. I told him, “Careful, this is my stadium,” and he answered, “I’ve got my own in Brisbane, and just so you know, mine’s bigger.”
Many people have told me in the past few days that they remember the finals and that they watched it many times, especially the last set. I actually haven’t, in fact I’ve watched other finals more, because when I watch my own I think I’m going to lose every time. Of course, I’m aware how much my triumph at Wimbledon meant, and not only to me. I’d like to thank everyone once more for their support, for the time when I was an active tennis player as well.
That victory at Wimbledon has come of age now, it’s been a full 18 years. It isn’t easy to lose in such a big final match, but hey, Patrick has two US Open titles of his own, so I’m sure he’s fine. I have my Wimbledon and no one can ever take that from me.
I’ve already said it, but I’ll say it again: this was the cherry on top. I waited for a match with Patrick Rafter for a long time – years – and I think it was a great thing to do. This was my last exhibition in Umag, my last match of this kind. I’d like to thank everyone for coming, I’m sure they enjoyed themselves watching a match between two players who surely aren’t in as good a shape as they were when they were pros, but did their best to remind people of their greatest days.
Let’s move on now to matches for points. On Thursday, we’ll find out what Borna Coric can do, and I’m sure many can hardly wait to see him in action. He has a lot of good results, he’s improved his game significantly since audiences last saw him in Umag, and it’s no coincidence he’s come here placed so high in the rankings. Of course, we all know this isn’t his limit. People will also be watching