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March 19, 2015

Jelena Jankovic


J. JANKOVIC/L. Tsurenko
6‑1, 4‑1 (ret.)

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  That was a great win for you.  Must have been frustrating that she can actually play today.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah, it's never nice to end a match in that way.  I think Lesia has had such a great tournament and she has beaten so many great players throughout the draw.
I knew it was going to be a tough match today.  In the first set I think we played well.  I didn't see some problems.  I was feeling pretty good out there.  I was playing my game and waiting for my chances to execute.  I was solid.
In the second set she started limping and I saw that she had some problem.  You know, that's the time as well I lost a little bit of my focus.  I was kind of looking at what she was doing.
It was crucial for me to win that game at 2‑1, because who knows what would happen if it was 2‑All.  She can come back.

Q.  You said that before this tournament you couldn't really train very much.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah.  And here I am in the semis.  (Smiling.)

Q.  How much of a surprise is that then?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  To be honest, before I was coming here I was in doubt if I was going to be able to compete, because I did not have a lot of time to get ready and prepare and if my leg was going to be fine.  I had that torn muscle, so for that to heal it's just time.  You cannot do anything about it.  I only hit lightly because I wasn't able to move in order to not rip it again.
So I had only couple days of light hitting and then I went on court.  Once I hit the court, I said to my coach, to my team, I'm just so excited.  I don't care how I'm playing, if I'm able to move or not, I'm just so excited to be on the tennis court hitting balls.
I been really sick of being on the sideline, being in the physio room, in my room just overall not being able to stay active and do what I love to do.
So with all that said, I just felt so happy to be playing.  I was excited to be performing again, to be playing and competing.  That's what I love to do.  That's where I belong.
That's maybe why I came this far, is because I just have fun battling.  I have fun being in those tough moments and kind of finding my way through to win those matches.
I'm very grateful that I'm here.

Q.  Back in the day, top No. 1, Grand Slam finals, all of the success you've had in the past.  Seems like nowadays you are playing with maybe a little bit more joy, more relaxed.  That's just the sense that I get.  Do you feel that way?

Q.  Do you think you're having more fun now than when you were winning buckets of matches?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah.  I think when I was younger you just get so kind of caught up in playing.  Especially when you're doing so well, it's just constantly playing matches week after week.  You don't really have time to sit down and really see what you've accomplished and how well you're doing.
Once you kind of either get injured or things don't happen the way you want them to, then you realize; then you appreciate those things a lot more.
Especially I had that really bad back injury at the end of last season where I couldn't train for two months, couldn't do anything.  Now that I'm on the court competing, even if I'm losing or I'm winning, I just have fun.  I think that's the most important.
You go out there with a smile on your face and want to give your best.  Especially when you're healthy.  I don't think I can ask for more.  That's all I care about:  being healthy that I can just go out there and run after those balls.
That's what I want and what I care about really.

Q.  So does that mean it's a different personality with you?  The dramas and emotions and all that...
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I still have those emotions.  They're not going to go away.  That's a part of being me.  (Smiling.)  That's who I am.  I show my emotions.  If I'm feeling bad or if I'm feeling good, I think people can see that.  It happens very spontaneously.  It's just natural feelings.  I don't know how to hide it or act.  I just how I feel, I show it, and that's it.
Basically, it's two different people on the court and off the court.  It's unbelievable how as soon as I step on the court I just start also yelling; I laugh; I start doing God knows what.
Because I'm very competitive.  I get into that kind of‑‑ I just enjoy playing one against one, finding my way, finding the keys to win and playing these kind of matches.
Then when I get off the court I'm this bubbly person who makes jokes and just talks.  I mean, and that's it.

Q.  Serious question on that point:  Have the two personalities chatted to one another?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  What do you mean?  It's like the mean one and then the nice one off the court.

Q.  Why I'm asking is because John Newcombe had another personality.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I think we all do.  It's unbelievable.  I think most of the players, when they step on the court they turn into‑‑ it's like something gets out of you while you're competing, while you're on the court.
Soon as you step off the court, some of the people are shy.  They're completely different people on and off.  It's unbelievable.

Q.  Who is someone who is the same?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I don't know, because I don't think you can be too nice to compete.  I mean, you have to have something, otherwise how are you going to win your matches if you're like, Oh, okay, well done.  Nice shot.  Keep doing that again.  (Smiling.)
I mean, what?

Q.  Looking ahead to your semifinal, one, do you know when it is, and two, what are your thoughts on Pennetta or Lisicki?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I do know when the semifinal is.  I asked.  I had to ask because I was going to do some shopping, so...
Yeah, it's going to be another tough match.  Whoever I play, Sabine or Flavia, they have been playing very well in order to get to though stage obviously.
So I played against both of them in the past and I know their games.  They know mine as well.
So hopefully I can continue to play the way I've been playing.  It's going to be another tough match.  My goal is to get to the final.

Q.  You have good records against both.  Does that give you confidence, even though it's way back?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah, gives me a lot of confidence, but every match is a new match.  You got to be focused and be playing your game.  I hope to be playing on the really high level and execute my shots, play smart, play the way I can play, and we'll see.
Hopefully it can go my way.

Q.  Flavia is a former champion here, like you.  The time you won you were playing really well here and had a lot of confidence.  How does winning a title here, how much do you think that's helped her?  She played excellent this year and last year.  Compare your experiences.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah, it's difficult to compare.  I mean, I think in general every player likes coming back to certain tournaments that they've done well, that they won.
You always feel good when you're stepping on the court and you have memories of lifting the trophy, playing such tough matches, and winning.  Kind of gives you confidence when you are going to play.
So Flavia, she has won last year and obviously she's doing well so far.  It's just difficult to compare.  We both won this tournament in the past, so it's going to be ‑‑ hopefully we can play some good tennis, and the better one will win.
Sabine can also win.  I don't know who my opponent will be in the semis, but I can just focus on my game, on what I do best.

Q.  But has confidence helped you through some tough moments here this tournament?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I think, you know, for me, it's more of just enjoying, you know.  I'm just enjoying to be here.  Like I said, I've been coming back from injuries, and I'm just happy and grateful I'm on the tennis court.
That's for me what gives me the confidence to be performing at the high level.  I just want to be here.  This is where I belong.

Q.  How much are you familiar with soccer?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  With soccer?

Q.  Yeah.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Not so familiar.  Not a big soccer fan.

Q.  You know Barcelona and Real Madrid?

Q.  What do you know about them?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I know those big teams.  I mean they're really good teams.  I mean, my brothers watch, but I'm not really a big soccer fan.

Q.  Why I'm asking the question?

Q.  Because we're doing a story to know how like the stars, tennis stars, are familiar with other sports, and soccer is a big game.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I love basketball.  I'm not really a soccer fan.  More of a basketball.  You know, I love watching that, especially since I was a young girl I watched with my dad.  So that's the sport I love watching.

Q.  Your name is the Fed Cup list that came out today.  Was that a result of this week or was it in the plans?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  No, you know, I haven't been playing for the last couple of years.  It's nice to be back on board as well.  We are playing at home, so that is a nice occasion, to be playing in front of our fans, the Serbian fans, that don't really get a chance to see us play live.
I think it's important to promote tennis in our part of the world, in our country.  Just inspire young kids and help develop some new ones and just overall let the people see us and support us live.

Q.  Ana will be there, too.

Q.  What would it take for us to see you and Ana on the doubles court together?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I have no idea.  We should play doubles.  We have done it before, yeah.  It was a long time ago.  We'll see.  Maybe I can talk her into it.  (Laughter.)
Or how do you say it?  I don't know.  I mean, hopefully we will not be needing the doubles if we win the singles, but you never know.
That's what we are always hoping for, because we are basically singles players.  That's what we do best.  Doubles is kind of like what we try to play, but I don't think I'm good at it.
So we'll see.

Q.  In the locker room, what's the atmosphere like with Serena's comeback this year?  For experienced player like you, how is the atmosphere in the locker room?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  How is the atmosphere?

Q.  Yeah.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  With the 30 year olds and up?

Q.  Well, yeah.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah, the other day when I finished the match, Serena goes, You go!  We go 30 year olds.  She gave me a high five.  I'm like, Yeah, Serena.
I mean, I been playing the girls who are like ten, twelve years younger.  It's unbelievable.  But I think age is just a number.  I feel young.  I don't feel 30.  I'm still a child in the heart, so that will never go away.
I feel good.  I'm happy.

Q.  So you feel good and you're happy, but a couple years ago obviously struggling.  Mentioned the back injury at the end of last year.  Did the R world ever come up?  Ever start thinking about life after tennis?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah.  I mean, I think we will have our times when we are like, Oh, I don't want to do this anymore.
That's the easiest thing to do when things get tough is kind of give up.  Those are the times when you got to sit back and find a way to get back.  I think that's what the strong people have the ability to do.
Our tennis careers are quite short, and you don't want to have regrets that you did not try your best, you did not really push yourself to the limits.
So that's what I want to do.  You want to try, give everything you have, and then once you quit the sport, then you say, I've done everything I could and it's my time to go and leave it to the youngsters.
So that's how I'm thinking.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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