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March 22, 2015
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA
S. HALEP/J. Jankovic
2‑6, 7‑5, 6‑4
THE MODERATOR:Â Questions, please.
Q.Â Why the heavy sigh, JJ?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â I could sigh again.Â I could sigh a couple more times.Â I mean, where to begin?Â I mean, overall it was a great final and we both fought so hard.Â We were grinding from the first point.Â I thought, you know, I did really well.
I won that first set 6‑2.Â I was up a break, and in the second I put myself in the position to win the match, to serve it out, and, you know, I think at the end of the second set I got a little bit nervous.Â I got a little bit tentative, and that was my big mistake.
I let her come back into the match.Â Then again, the third set we were fighting and we were fighting.Â It was so close.Â I mean, it was few points here and there.Â I was two points away from winning.Â I mean, it was 30‑All at 6‑5 or 5‑4, I don't remember.Â We played so many games.Â But I needed to come up with, you know, better serves, better shots at those times.Â I needed to do that.Â That was a big chance, and I kind of let down.
So then afterwards, you know, she was ‑‑she's a tough player.Â She's not going to give you anything.Â You have to earn it yourself, and I knew that and I did not execute, you know, when it mattered.Â That's why I lost the match.
But overall, it was a great fight, you know, from both of us.Â I'm happy for Simona that she got her first title here at Indian Wells.
Q.Â You told your coach that you were freaking out.
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â Not freaking out.Â I'm just nervous.Â It's normal.Â I'm a human being.
Q.Â That's what you said, I thought.
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â Yeah, but, you know, of course I think we all get nervous.Â It's part of being a professional athlete.Â It's just a matter of how you control them.
I kind of let those nerves take the best out of me.Â That shouldn't happen.
But, you know, I just ‑‑and I think overall it was a long two weeks.Â I was, you know, full of emotions.Â You know, like I was just overwhelmed, you know, and excited that I'm in the final and I put myself into a position to win.
It's almost like a dream, you know, because I never thought I was going to be here in the beginning of the tournament.
So it's been an amazing two weeks.Â Yes, of course I'm disappointed that I lost this final, because I really had a chance to win and hold that trophy.Â But I'm still proud of myself and my team how far I came.Â Yeah, how far I came into this tournament and what I have achieved.
Q.Â When did those nerves kind of creep in?Â Was it because you were up 3‑1 in the second?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â No, it's just those couple of times that I was up a break and, you know, it was I think 4‑3 to go up 5‑3.Â I lost the game at 5‑4.Â Again, you know, I wasn't able to come up with serves.
You know, all these previous rounds I was able to kind of rely on my serve and really execute and just, you know, do what I needed to do to close the match out.
I just started making all these double faults.Â I was being tentative.Â That was a mistake.
But that's why I lost the match.Â I paid the price.
Q.Â How did you feel physically today compared to the others?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â Yeah, it was tough match.Â I mean, we were running left and right.Â It was some long points.Â Physically it was not easy out there, but I'm not going to make an excuse that I lost because of my physical maybe lack of energy or something.
But I felt‑‑ you know, yeah, I felt tired.Â It's part of, you know, being out there for three hours.
But I should have given, you know, the last, you know, like atoms of my power and energy to come up with better serves, you know, when I was serving to close out the match.Â That was something I'm regretting.
But it's the way it is.Â The better one wins.Â You know, you cannot do everything perfectly all the time.Â You know, that's why you have one winner and one loser.Â Simona was the better player today.
Q.Â Your matches against her have always gone three sets.Â They have been very tightly contested.Â Another one today.Â What is it about her?Â She's No. 3 now.Â You have seen her rise up.Â What makes her special?Â Consistency?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â You know, she's very consistent.Â She's a very solid player.Â I think her biggest quality is that she's a big fighter.Â She's not going to give you any free points.Â She's not going to give you anything.
If you're going to beat her, you really have to beat her.Â I was beating her.Â In that first set I was coming to the nets.Â I was being aggressive.Â I was executing my shots when I had the chances.Â I was, you know, taking those short balls and coming to the net and really trying to, you know, take control of the points.
I did everything fine, you know, just like I said, you know, till the end of that second set where I was serving for the match and I never come up with the goods.Â That's what it was.Â I could have won 6‑2, 6‑3 or 6‑2, 6‑4.
You know, it's what it is.Â You know, she just is going to run all these balls down.Â She's very solid.Â She's very consistent.Â She's going to fight like crazy.Â We all know that.Â And I knew it.Â You know she's not going to make any mistakes, you know, especially those crucial times of the match.
That's why she's No. 3 in the world.Â There is a reason for that, because she's playing so great.Â She's not giving you anything.Â If you're gonna win, you have to take everything in your control and risk and execute and go after your shots.
I didn't do that at the end, and she put always one more ball in the court more than I did when it mattered.
Like I said, you know, she was the better one, especially at the end.Â That third set she got on top of me and won that match.
Q.Â A lot of breaks of serves in this match.Â By product of the great returns, or do you think...
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â I was holding my serve fine just until the end of that second set.Â Since then, I wasn't able to hold it.Â It's unbelievable what I did.
First set I was holding it very well.Â I was serving well.Â You know, I felt really confident with my serve.
Second set as well, until the middle of that second set.
Third, I just was up and down.Â I could not hold it.Â If I could hold one more time.Â You know, I was up again 3‑2.Â In the third set I was up a break, and I never could hold my serve.
And I needed‑‑ you know, if I just could call Karlovic to serve two serves, that would do the job.Â (Laughter.)Â I guess I didn't have that Karlovic serve in me, you know, when it mattered.
Q.Â He's coached you on your serve before, right?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â He did actually help me.Â When was that?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â Yeah, last year he did, and as well like in 2013.Â I really had a good year, a good season where I was serving so well.Â I was one of the top servers, you know, that year when it came to service percentage and winning on the first serve points and all this kind of things.
But, you know, now where was it?Â It was missing when I needed it.
But, you know, overall it was a great final, you know.Â It was a pleasure to be a part of it and to be at this stage.Â You know, it means really a lot to me.Â I never thought I was going to be, you know, here, you know, talking to you guys on the finals day.
It's been an unbelievable two weeks for me.Â I have gone through so much with injuries, with my back.Â I have torn a muscle.Â I just could not put myself together and just, you know, do my job and just enjoy playing tennis.
And then here I was like playing and battling with the No. 3 player in the world and I really had a chance to win.Â It's disappointing, you know.Â No one likes to lose, especially not in a final.
But still, you know, I can only be proud of myself and hopefully continue to rise up.
Q.Â It's been 14 years since you played here first time.Â What do you remember from that time and how do you compare yourself and like physically this tournament to then?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â What do I remember?Â I remember that I just turned 16 years old and I got my first wildcard into this tournament.Â I was No. 1 junior in the world.Â I won Australian Open juniors and I came here.Â I was like the kid in the candy store when I saw these professional tennis players that I saw on TV that I admired so much.Â I got to see them in person live and just be a part of the tournament.Â It was just so special.
And then I wandered around, which was like crazy overwhelming.Â I could not sleep that night when I won that first‑round match.Â At that time, for a 16 year old who just turned 16 years old, it was just amazing.
I mean, how far and how well this tournament has developed and, you know, the improvements that they made throughout the years have been tremendous.
You know, thanks to our tournament director, Steve Simon, and everyone who has played a role in making this happen.Â It's unbelievable.Â I love it here.Â I really do, you know.Â Truly, you know, it says it all.
I have been coming back for 14 years.Â I mean, there is nothing to not love about this place.Â It's so relaxing, so peaceful, and yet it's a big tournament.Â It's like a fifth Grand Slam.Â It's a two‑week tournament, and just does not feel like it.
The support that we have from fans, how close they get to us.Â You know, the motivation and inspiration that they give me, you know, throughout‑‑ they have given me throughout the years has been incredible.
So I appreciate that very much as a player, and hopefully I can keep coming back a few more years until I retire.
Q.Â Do you think this tournament is going to give you more ambitions or belief for the weeks to come?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â Yeah.Â I have showed, you know, once again that I can play and I can be up there and I can, you know, that I belong, you know, in the top, that I can play some good tennis.
It was just a matter of, you know, being healthy and as well believing in myself, not having doubts if I can do it, if I'm able to play at a high level or not.
But I have shown that I can do it again, and hopefully, you know, it will give me ‑‑and it has given me a lot of confidence and a lot of belief in myself that I should, you know, continue to work hard on my game and everything to be even better and compete with these top players, you know, week in, week out.
Q.Â Going back to your serve, you were saying that you struggled with it.Â Was it something you can pinpoint as to why you couldn't come up with the goods on your serve?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â I told you, the nerves.Â I got nerves.Â My arm was super heavy.Â I could not even lift it.
I mean, I don't know if you guys know, if you play sports and if you sometimes if you get nervous, but this is what happens.Â I don't know.Â The arm wouldn't go up.
It's just I could not hit through the shot.Â That's what happened.Â I'm saying it honestly.Â I'm not going to lie.Â I'm not going to say excuses.Â It's just the way it was, and that's it.
I mean, I'm human.Â I was so excited to win and to kind of do it all.Â You know, to be the champion once again like I did in 2010.Â Unfortunately it didn't happen, and that's it.
Q.Â She's usually a quiet player.Â She was making quite a bit of noise, grunting quite a bit.Â Are you aware of this when you're out there?
JELENA JANKOVIC:Â No.Â I was just focusing on my game, focusing on my play and what I needed to do to win.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports