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August 21, 2015

Jelena Jankovic


J. JANKOVIC/A. Schmiedlova
6‑4, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So did you find that to be a difficult match? I mean, what was your kind of take on it?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, you know, I thought that my opponent played very well. She was coming from quallies, and she's had some really good wins along the way to make it to the quarters.
I have never played against her. It was our first encounter, so it took me a little bit of time to, you know, figure out her game and the way she plays and what shots she likes.
You know, I thought it was a difficult match. It was very solid. You know, the conditions were a little bit slower and the balls were a little heavier in the evening. It's my first match, you know, at night. I played during the day, which is a little bit different.
But overall, you know, I fought very hard. There were some long rallies, some tough points out there, and I was able to stay strong and come out as a winner.
So it was a good win for me.

Q. You made the semifinals every other year here now, four times, seven years. What is it about this place that you do so well?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really love playing here in Cincinnati. You know, I think these conditions suit me very well. It's kind of similar ‑‑I'm not sure, but something reminds me of Indian Wells and the way something‑‑ you know, I have no idea what it is.
It's not as humid in Indian Wells, but the courts, the balls, and, you know, the fans are very supportive. It's nice to see that, and I appreciate that very much.
They are out there, you know, cheering and really pushing me on when the times get tough out there. I love it. I love battling and I love being out there. It's a great atmosphere. It shows, you know, with my results, you know, in the previous years.

Q. You were pretty tired yesterday when we spoke to you.

Q. You were pretty spaced yesterday. How are you feeling now? And obviously you got the potential...
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it was like weird that I only had match today and I was not here all day. You know, it was kind of ‑‑it feels awkward to spend sometime in my room other than, you know, here on site. (Smiling.)
But it was nice to get some rest. I had, you know, a longer sleep because I have been waking up quite early. I was like first on at 11:00 or second, and then I would finish late at night.
It's not easy, long days, but, you know, that's the job I chose to do and I cannot complain. Especially when you're doing well, you know, you don't want to complain. You know, it's like you're tired, but it's that good tiredness. You know, it's like you feel good because, you know, you have done a good job.
It's worse when you're losing and you're aching. It was the worst feeling. So when you're winning and you're tired, you're fine. You love it. You have a good sleep. You're like you're calm, you're happy. You have done ‑‑you had a great day.
So for me I'm happy, you know. I'm in the semis. Hopefully I can have a good match tomorrow, and I would love to make the finals one more time.

Q. How do you prepare for that? Obviously your opponents are battling it out now. Do you just count on your experience, or are you going to sort of sneak a little watch and see?
JELENA JANKOVIC: But I kind of know both of those players. You know, I played against Halep last week, and I played her in Indian Wells. You know, from last week it's different conditions. There was really windy and different balls.
Here, little more, you know, humid. The conditions are a little heavier.
So every match is a new match. Hopefully, you know, whoever I play I can be tough out there and play some really good tennis, execute my shots, believe in myself. We will see.
I think the most important thing is to believe that I can do it and that I can play really well, that I can win. That's what matters.

Q. Describe life being 30 and flirty.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Where did you come up with that?

Q. You tell me. You said it.
JELENA JANKOVIC: I go up there and, I'm like, I'm 30 and flirty. I'm like, Oh, my God, did I just say that? (Laughter.)
You know, that's just being me. Sometimes the things that I say and the words that come out of my mouth is just... Whatever. (Laughter.)
Q.You had a lot of loopy balls to her particularly in the second set. Was that part of the strategy and what you were trying to do to move her around?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, because, you know, I thought she had a really good backhand. She has a really good crosscourt and opens up those angles very well. You know, when the ball is in her striking zone she can be quite dangerous from that side.
I tried to kind of lift the ball up above her shoulders so that she cannot, you know, hit her shots. And then I move in and I try to open up and it kind of put pressure on her.
Because when the balls are right there, she maneuvers the ball very well, especially off that backhand swing. She can really take me off the court, and then I'm running all over the place.
So I tried not to really give her those angles and the ball that she likes to, you know, execute her shots.
So I kind of figured that out, and I tried to kind of mix it up a little bit with those high balls, and then when I had the chance push her to the sides and open up the court myself. So that's what I did.

Q. Mohamed can be very loud as a chair umpire.
JELENA JANKOVIC: He was. He really got into it, you know. He was super excited I think doing Federer's match. That's what it sounded like.
I heard him on Grandstand like he was doing my match. It was like, you know, I'm serving, and it's like, Oh, my God. I almost felt he's on my court, you know. I heard him more than I heard my umpire. It was crazy. It was too loud that microphone or something.

Q. Did it soften up in the second set?
JELENA JANKOVIC: He did. I think maybe they turned down the volume or something. Maybe they told him. He's such a nice guy and a very good umpire. But it was too loud.
I think ‑‑don't you think? She agreed, the chair umpire. It was kind of ‑‑you know, I go into my service motion, and then I'm like, Whoa. He's saying "out" or "15‑all" or something in the middle. It was a little bit distracting.
Like it is for me it is for the other girl, but I'm like, you know, I need my points. Give me a break. I need to focus here. He needs to be a little more quiet out there. I'm just joking. It's fine. No big deal. Do not take me seriously.

Q. We take you very seriously.

Q. Is there much trash talking in women's tennis?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, not really. I'm just joking around here.
No, I think the girls are nice and we are very professional. We try to play our tennis and we do the best we can, and that's it.

Q. What does it mean for you to have these runs: Indian Wells final and now here semifinals in Cincinnati, a good opportunity tomorrow. What does that mean for you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It means a lot to me, because, you know, it gives me a lot of confidence, and especially because, like I said, I had a lot of injuries in the beginning of the season and I could not really play, you know, more than two tournaments ‑‑no, one tournament.
Then I would be like out for a month. This is the ‑‑I played the grass season, and then now it's the first time that I'm able to play on the hard courts without having any, you know, breaks and delays.
So I hired a new fit coach a month ago, so I'm trying to get fitter and stronger and improve in every aspect of my game and get to that next level. Playing a lot of matches, competing, being out there, it's very important for me just to ‑‑because it's completely different when you're practicing, when you're hitting balls without pressure.
But being out there when it matters and playing those important points very well, doing the right things at the right time, you know, this is what you go kind of get and get more confident and more match tough when you're playing those matches on a daily basis.
And the more I play, the more dangerous I get, the better I get, you know, the more belief I get in myself. Overall, you know, you know, I kind of make those little steps forward and kind of I want to get to the next level and be, you know, compete with the best in the world and, you know, have those big wins, you know, a little bit more consistently, yeah.

Q. Age is just a number?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I feel, you know, I feel ‑‑if I'm able to work hard and really be fit and healthy, then it's fine. You know, for me it was a matter of because I was not fit, because I just‑‑ you know, how can you be fit if you're out for a month and then you have to start all over again?
It's amazing how fast you lose the strength in your muscles, the endurance, your speed, your stability. It goes away so fast.
It's a process, you know, to get, you know, strong again, to feel stable so that you're‑‑ you know, I had problems because I had a problem with my leg, with my foot, and my leg was so wobbly I go on one side and I felt like Bambi, I'm falling everywhere.
Then it takes time to kind of improve that and just overall put your body into, you know, the right balance and kind of be strong where, you know, your muscles are not compensating and you're not, you know, weak and having a risk of getting injured, you know, injuring something else.
So right now I'm trying to do that, and I'm really working hard on the court, off the court, to be strong and mentally and physically to sustain all these efforts that are needed to play at a high level.

Q. Can you talk about your favorite Fed Cup memories, playing for Serbia?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Favorite Fed Cup memory? There's lots of ‑‑I played for my Serbian, you know, national team, for about 12 years. We made it from‑‑ you know, we played in those Euro/Africa group. You know, we started there had and we made it ‑‑ it was a journey, and we made it to the finals of the Fed Cup, which was I believe maybe 2012, I'm not sure, against Czech Republic.
And there was, you know, there were many, you know, great ties against different countries where we won and we played as a team and, you know, sharing that, you know, those wins with the teammates and just overall, how to say, experiencing those moments, because it's completely different when you're alone on the court and playing for yourself and then playing with your teammates and for your country and, you know, having the coach on your bench and having your teammates support and go playing together.
It's unbelievable. And sharing, you know, the wins and the losses together, it's a special teamwork and special feeling. And I love playing for my country; I still do. I will always give my best; I enjoy every moment out there. I won I think two heart awards, you know, along those 12 years. Maybe if I could, you know, choose ‑‑ you know, we lost in the finals of that Fed Cup, but still was a great result for us. You know, like I said, coming a long way from, you know, those lower groups and making it that far was great.

Q. You talked about trying to regain your strength at times. Was it ever difficult to find out how much muscle you should carry around in the first place, especially considering how powerful Serena is at the top of the game?
JELENA JANKOVIC: You know, it depends of your body shape. It's all individual, you know. Some people want to be bulky and big and strong, and that's what suits their game.
I'm more of ‑‑I have to be fast and agile and I have to be able to move fast. I feel best when I'm kind of not too bulky and not too skinny, not too ‑‑kind of in the middle. That's where I feel like I have most energy and I feel really good moving around the court and striking my balls.
So it's all individual, and I try to do the best that I can with my team to be in the best possible shape to play against some of those really, really strong and powerful players.

Q. Didn't you struggle with that? Didn't you several years ago try to bulk up a little?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, and I did. I bulked up a little too much which made me slower. You know, nowadays when you're one step slow, it's not easy. You're behind. You're not able to hit your shots. Your options are limited.
The faster you are around the court, the better options you have, the better position you put yourself into to hit your shots wherever you want to hit them. And when you're slow, there is nothing really ‑‑not much you can do.
So that's what we all try to do, to be faster, to be, you know, dynamic, explosive so you can get to the ball and take it early and strike it quite fast with a lot of precision.
So that's professional tennis, and the better you can do that, you know, the results will be there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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