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January 21, 2016

Ana Ivanovic

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A. IVANOVIC/A. Sevastova

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A long delay in the first set when you were a break up. Can you talk a little bit about how you had to regroup?
ANA IVANOVIC: Hi. Yeah, actually it was -- well, first I felt really bad. I was really shaking, because the sound of the lady falling was really loud. I could hear it. I stopped immediately.

So, yeah, it was really unfortunate. But, I mean, it was the same for both of us. It's similar like getting a rain delay. It's never good, never nice when you're completely cooled down. Especially we had to stay on the court, because we didn't really now what he was going on.

I was really happy I happened to win that service game, because didn't have much warmup and had to start serving straight up. I was very happy to close that first set.

Q. What was going through your mind when you hear that noise and hear the fall?
ANA IVANOVIC: Oh, maybe it's not a good tendency to think of the words, but just really didn't sound so good. So I just hope the lady was fine. It was actually good that we had to wait a little bit because I was really shaking, because I could imagine and it was not so nice.

Then they told us she was bleeding, so, yeah, I hope she's well.

Q. Your tennis, you said on court you describe yourself as a work in progress. Does it really still feel like that after all this time?
ANA IVANOVIC: Oh, yeah, definitely. I think throughout your whole life, you know, there is areas you always want to learn and improve.

In tennis, in my game, I still feel there is room for improvement. That's my challenge every day. I really try to push myself and to try to get better. There was tough moments in today's match.

Maybe score doesn't show it so much, but it was a battle out there. She started playing really well in the second set.

I tried to improve, tried to push myself. Yeah, it is also fun, you know, that's why we are here.

Q. We have seen so many seeded players in the last few days be eliminated, more so than usual. Can you put your finger on why that would be?
ANA IVANOVIC: I mean, it's tough. You see it through the years now, so many new players coming up. You know, their feel is they have powerful game and they are just dangerous. It's never easy playing first rounds.

It's completely different to when I started. I remember seeded even myself would you get to third, fourth round without dropping too many games.

So if you had 6-4, 75, they were like, What's going on? And now every match it's a battle, and, yeah, you just have to try and push yourself, like I spoke before, because it's all challenge. They are young girls and they're fearless.

Q. Do you think it's healthy for the game?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's definitely challenging for the top players. It's nice to have new faces around, as well. I'm sure there are few people who are disappointed to have the favorites maybe out.

And in US Open I was out first round, so it's never good. Obviously you try to do your best. And, you know, no one really knows what it feels out there.

Q. Do you not think that five, ten years ago you were that fearless?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, exactly. You know, I remember very first time I played Venus in Zurich when I played two tiebreak sets with her. I think I had something like 11 set points in both sets combined and I was like ranked 150.

You know, few months later I was in top 50, 40. So you have these girls constantly coming up, and that's actually exciting that you have new faces.

Q. Perhaps a meeting with Madison Keys in the next round. She hasn't played yet. What's your impression of her game and what makes her dangerous?
ANA IVANOVIC: She's very dangerous; big game. We played once on clay when she was just coming up and we had tough second-set tiebreak. She played well last year here; a big serve; a big, powerful forehand actually on both wings.

It's going to be the first shot, and I'm going to have to be composed also in my service games if I do face her. It's not going to be easy matchup, I think, but it's all about, you know, trying to find your way. I felt like my level today was better than from the first round, so hopefully I can improve.

Q. What plans do you have for Olympics? Doubles? Mixed?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes, I would like to play doubles. I was speaking to Krunic. She's my Fed Cup companion. She's really good doubles player, actually. We are trying to play few tournaments also leading up to Olympics.

Q. Mixed?
ANA IVANOVIC: At the moment, no. I think three disciplines would be pushing it a little bit, but let's see how the year goes.

Q. You have had plenty of extended battles in your career. Where do you stand on third sets and playing out past the 6-All point compared to like at the US Open where you have a tiebreak?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, the thing is it was funny you mentioned it, because today the chair umpire announces no tiebreak in third set. I'm just hoping I'm not in that position, because -- especially when it's hot here. And I have some battles. I played I think 12-10 with Makarova one year. So it is tough.

Obviously, you know, sudden death and tiebreak, it does take a little bit away. I think having advantage is fun as well, and for spectators, too. But maybe not always fun for players. But it's okay, I think.

Q. Do you feel like an older statesperson of the game now?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes, I do (laughter). Unfortunately, I do. It really feels I have been here a while. It is nice, because, you know, you sort of start to know yourself better, as well.

Like I said on the court, it is one of my favorite courts in the world, and I always enjoy stepping out here and competing.

You know, I will never forget the final I played in 2008. Even now with my parents, we talk, Oh, remember we did that? We did that? It's really a lot of nice memories.

Q. Does that feel like a long time ago?
ANA IVANOVIC: Definitely. It feels like other life.

Q. With such big names as yourself and Novak coming out of Serbia, how big is tennis developing in your country?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's huge, I think, at the moment. You can see that even in everyday life. You know, kids in school, where it used to be a basketball or football field, now they put a little court and they play tennis.

Also you can see like on the bus, people go with their racquets. It's a new trend, as well. It is exciting. I think sport is such a healthy way of life.

I mean, Aussies know a little bit about that, but I think it's great for young kids to be inspired by sports stars rather than, you know, some other idols they may have.

Q. I don't know how old you were when you played Venus that first time, but what was the feeling or emotions around a match like that against someone so established as her?
ANA IVANOVIC: Oh, I was obviously very nervous. I qualified, won my first rounds saving match points, and then playing her.

For me it was a battle. She was my idol. You know, I saw her and Serena winning so many titles, and then I had to play against her.

It was very encouraging when I could feel that I actually had a chance and I was close. Of course I got a little bit nervous. She played well. I couldn't close out the match, but maybe it was a good way for me to learn and to start up.

Yeah, it gave me a lot of confidence for the season. I came then -- after that I came here to Australia and made third round playing Amelie on central court. I have a lot of fun memories from that time, too.

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