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June 16, 2015

Jelena Jankovic


J. JANKOVIC/T. Smitkova
6‑4, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Well played.

Q.  Unfortunately you were on at the same time as Vika, so we couldn't watch it.  Tell us a little bit how the match went.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah, it went very well.  I served very well from the beginning until the end, and I was waiting for my chances to break my opponent.
You know, my opponent had a really good serve, too, so it was‑‑ you know, we were even, and around 3‑2 in the first set I was able to break.  Then I held.  Same thing, I broke once more in the second set, and that was it.
So, I mean, on grass it's very important to hold your serve, to serve well, and to strike the first ball and try to be in control of the points.
I think I did very well.  You know, I had some really interesting, fun points.  It was fun to be out there.  I have not played well on grass last couple of years, and this year I decided to play in s'Hertogenbosch.
I'm grateful and delighted that I have gotten the wildcard to play here so that I can get some more matches before Wimbledon.
So far so good.  I'm really happy I'm here.

Q.  Trying to get that first strike in, is that something that's still not natural for you or have you gotten used to it?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  No, I think my serve has improved quite a lot in the last couple of years, you know, and the other shots to follow that are also a lot better than they used to be.
So I'm just trying to, you know, add some new things to my game and overall be a complete player.  You know, we'll see.  Play on grass is a little bit different than play on any other surface.  You know, the construction of the points and sometimes those tricky shots, you know, they work very well, and they wouldn't work on any other surface.
They would you be easy winners, and here the ball doesn't even bounce.  It just kind of sinks in and you're on the roll.  So it's quite fun.  It has been so far.  Hopefully it will continue being like that.  (Laughter.)

Q.  You said you were trying to add a few things to your game.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  You know, I think being, you know, a lot more aggressive, you know, slicing the ball, changing up the rhythm, going up to the net and finishing the points up at the net with some good volleys.
I have good overhead and drive volley, but a lot of times I would hit the ball and kind of go back, and now I want to just move in and finish a lot of points up there.
Just overall playing a little smarter.  You know, knowing what to do with the shots at the right times, making a little more better choices.

Q.  I noticed you were talking to your coach a lot?  Were you anxious or eager to finish the match?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  No, I wasn't talking as much as I normally do.  (Laughter.)  You know, there was a couple times, couple times during that hour and a half.  It's not much.
I just basically talk to myself.  You know, it's part of the game.  I think this sport needs personality.  I think there is nothing wrong in showing that.  It's the way I am.  It's my character.  I show it.  I show my emotions.
Sometimes it's good, sometimes bad, but that's the real me.

Q.  You've been to the final here three times; how tough will it be to make it No.4 with all the great players here this week?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  You know, the times I made the finals there were also good players that are really good on grass, like Sharapova and some of the others that were playing here.
I'm not really thinking about that.  I just want to enjoy playing my tennis on grass.  I love playing here in Birmingham.  I have a lot of fans.  I love this kind of grass.
I just want to play one match at time and have fun competing.  We will see.  I would love to go far.

Q.  Despite the fun you said that you had, will you welcome getting on to the center court?  Looks a lot better, the quality of the grass there.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  If I would play on center?

Q.  Yeah.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Court 1 was good, too.  I don't want to complain.  It was a nice court.  I mean, the only thing is we are next to each other and sometimes I watch the other player and I can lose focus.
Other than that, all the courts are the same.  It's only the surroundings.  You have a bigger seating area, bigger crowd, but the dimension of the court itself is the same.
So if you focus, if you're just focused on the play and not really looking around‑‑ you know, sometimes it's fun to see what the other players are doing, what the score is, but I'm kind of okay with that.
I can even do that and focus on mine.  I'm that kind of player, that I can talk the crowd and still play points and win it.  I'm kind of used to doing that, but some players are not.
You cannot say this is the right thing to do or that's a bad thing to do.  If you are able to focus as soon as you step on the line and serve it out and play your point, that's fine.

Q.  You have done well at Wimbledon in the past, but not the last three or four years, not so good.

Q.  You're obviously aiming to try and put that right.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yes.  One of the reasons I think that I have not played very well at Wimbledon the last couple of years is because I have not played any leadup tournaments before.
I would just do well at the French Open and then I would just appear and play Wimbledon without any matches, without any practice on it.  You know, couple days and then I would just go and play.
I would kind of feel rusty and not really kind of know what I'm doing on that grass court.  You know, really didn't matter who my opponent was, I had trouble playing against.  I just felt a little bit uncomfortable moving on it; I was a little bit afraid.
You know, in the previous years the court was a little bit slippery and I would fall a couple times and I would be frozen.  When you're moving bad on grass, it's a problem.  Then you just you're late on your shots and you get pushed back, you start framing, and you start missing all these balls.
So this year I decided to make a few changes just so I can give myself a chance to perform well.  I played semis in s'Hertogenbosch, and now I'm playing here.  I'm not playing Eastbourne.  Just here.
So hopefully I'll prepare very well and I can do a little bit better than I have done in the last few years.  I don't think that would be hard because I have lost in the first round.  I cannot do worse than that.
Hopefully I can do better.

Q.  The week between the clay court Grand Slam and the grass court Grand Slam is pretty important.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah, because it was a tight schedule.  And like I said, I would play quarters or semis and I would not have a lot of time to prepare.  I don't have grass courts in Serbia.  I would just come to Wimbledon I don't know how many days before without really a lot of matches.
Hitting balls on grass and playing under pressure is completely different.  You know how it is.  And especially in the beginning of each tournament, there are so many players that you cannot really get a lot of time on the court by yourself.
You're either sharing or there are a lot of us on it, so it's not ideal.  I've showed that I've had quite a lot of trouble playing on grass.
You know, grass is really not my favorite surface, but I think I can play well on it if I prepare very well, if I play very confident, if I play some matches.
The more matches I play the better I get, the more comfortable I feel, the more I know what I'm doing out there, as if I just kind of arrive and just all over the place.  I didn't even understand some of those shots.
Normally it would be an easy ball to hit and just drops dead.  Then I get angry.  It's a disaster.  Like I said, just want to have fun playing.  I don't really want to put pressure on myself.  Whatever I do, I do.  I just want to get better.
I've had quite a tough year this season.  I have had a lot of injuries.  Two months back, and then I tore my muscle in my leg.  Then the foot trouble, one month out before Rome.
So I did not play on clay much.  I was so kind of out of form and my body was not in shape.  Now I just want to ‑‑ my bowl goal is just to get that continuation, that I can work on a daily basis and get better and improve and kind of go to the next level.
I'm quite realistic.  I'm now at a stage of getting better.  I am not where I want to be yet.  It takes time.  It doesn't happen overnight, due to all that I said.  Out of maybe five, six months, three months I was at home doing rehab and healing my injuries, which is kind of tough.
Once you do that, you got to start from zero again and get back up there.  It's tough mentally and physically.  You fall out of shape so fast.  It takes some time to get your body in shape, to get stronger, to get firmer, to get kind of stable.
Then mentally again you have to start all over again.  In the beginning you feel so weak and so kind of slow.  You lose your speed, you lose your strength, you lose pretty much everything.  You got to work and believe in yourself you can come back.
You have to be patient, which is one of our toughest things to do, is to be patient.  We want to come back right away.  We want to play right way so well.  It's not going to happen.  It takes some time to get to the level where you can play.  That's it.
I think I've said more than enough.  Is that okay?

Q.  Brilliant as usual.

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