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July 1, 2006

Jelena Jankovic


THE MODERATOR: Jelena Jankovic.

Q. How does a player who started so slow this year, you were 1 in 10 into Rome, come in here and knock off the defending Wimbledon champion?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. It all started in Rome. That was my second match that I won of the year. I was studying a lot and I was giving exams. I wasn't concentrating so much on tennis. And I lost a little bit the confidence, as well.
So now I'm really -- you know, it's a different story. I'm really enjoying the tennis, more concentrating. But I also, besides from tennis, I want to have an education and continue with my school with the university.

Q. What are you studying?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I'm studying -- I'm in first year university. First two years are basics, and then your third year I will choose what I want to study because I don't know what I would like yet. So I'm a little bit of everything at the moment.

Q. Which university are you at?

Q. Since you're studying, what did you learn about the last two times you played Venus that allowed you to beat her today?
JELENA JANKOVIC: We played in Rome. That was kind of a turning point. I played quarterfinals out of nowhere, and I didn't win a match before that. I was up against Venus set and 4-3, 40-15, in Rome. I kind of served two first serves and played -- I risked too much. It cost me the match.
But this time, I was really -- you know, I'm so excited that I won this match. You know, I just wanted to go out on the court and give my maximum and just enjoy the play. At the end, I was just so nervous. I think I felt like the racquet was 30 pounds (laughter). It was just such a strange feeling. But I just thought, I was telling myself just to hang in there and hopefully I will pull it out.

Q. Do you know the history of Court 2?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I really don't know it. But I was disappointed a little bit, I wanted to play on the Centre Court. But actually not, I was not disappointed. Because yesterday in the doubles, I got hit in the eye. Yesterday my eye was so swollen, I thought I would come today with a black eye. So it doesn't matter I didn't play on the Centre Court.

Q. You don't want to be in front of the camera, okay. You showed a lot of determination today. At one point, you were 4-1 down in the second?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I was down 4-1 in the second. I could have come back. I had a breakpoint. But I don't know, I don't remember now, because I'm really still kind of nervous at the moment. But I think, you know, sometimes at the breakpoints, she played well. Like in the match point, she served like 115 miles serve and 112 or something, was so hard for me. And my racquet, I was shaking there. You know, even if the serve came 80 miles per hour, I would have trouble.

Q. She didn't like how fast you were serving, not in terms of miles per hour, but...
JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, yes, I know that. The umpire told me, I think you need to slow down the pace a little bit. And I was joking. I said, I need to slow down the pace? I thought, you know, the ball, not how fast I serve, how fast I play the points. And the crowd started laughing.
But I really respect every player. I was just trying to play my game. I didn't think that Venus had a problem with that. But after she told me, I tried to wait until she was ready, and then I would serve. You know, I wasn't doing that on purpose, it's just the way I play the points, it's just my rhythm. But then after, I think -- I don't think she had problems after when the umpire told me. I tried to be a little bit more to slow down when she was ready.

Q. You served for the match, then she broke you.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, I think I was so nervous (laughter).

Q. What was going through your mind as that game was lost? Did you say you lost your chance or...
JELENA JANKOVIC: Okay, I lost that serve. I was obviously -- obviously, I was disappointed because that's -- when you are serving, you have an advantage. When you're returning, especially when Venus is serving, you're thinking, Oh, my God, if she's going to make the first serves, I have no chance. You know, it's a very low chance.
But I was -- I had hopes because the serve -- the game before I served for the match, she served three double-faults or something. It looked like she was nervous or something was wrong, as well. So I was really just telling myself just to hang in there and just play, just try somehow, just put the ball in the court, even though I was really nervous and wasn't -- I was really -- I don't know how to explain.

Q. Last year you were saying that physically you were getting tired, you weren't strong enough when you get into the third sets. Today, a long, hard match, it looked like physically at least, you held up very well.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes. I think, you know, obviously I'm stronger as a player, and also physically I improved a lot. I can play three-set matches. But obviously I'm not the same like Venus. You know, she can play, I think if she could, she could play five out of five sets after this.
But me, I was getting tired sometimes. On grass, if you lose your focus just a little bit, the games go quickly. Like in the second set, in two minutes it was 4-1 for her. Then I started coming back. I was trying to focus again, put things together. I almost came back in the second, but unfortunately I didn't do it. And then the third.
I was also down a break in the third set and then I came back somehow. Just was a lot of ups and downs.

Q. Is she quite an intimidating player to come up against?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, of course. It's not like you'll beat a defending champion, a champion like Venus, it doesn't happen every day. I mean, it's a huge win. Also, for example, was really different for me in the warm-up. I think we didn't hit two balls together. Was just one ball, then winner, one ball, winner. Was really strange for me. You know, it was something different.
But I just tried to focus. I really enjoyed the match.

Q. Do you think you have quite a tough streak yourself? Is it true Robert De Niro is your favorite actor?
JELENA JANKOVIC: That was a long time ago. I change my actor so many times.

Q. Who is it now?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I have to think. Right now my brain is kind of shot. I'll tell you later maybe.

Q. I was wondering where you get your inspiration from, your inner toughness. Where does that come from?
JELENA JANKOVIC: My inspiration on the court?

Q. Yes. Your tough, fighting streak, where does that come from?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think you just have that inside yourself. I mean, I never want to give up. I was just fighting till the end. Even 4-1 down, 5-Love, doesn't matter the score, I just was telling myself, Just hang in there. I always believed that I will win. Like I just want to win, and that's what kept me going.

Q. There's one American woman left in the tournament.

Q. There are two Serbian women left in the tournament.
JELENA JANKOVIC: That's really strange stats (laughter). We're such a small country. Especially now that we split, Montenegro is now separated from Serbia. So really, we are.

Q. You're not SCG any more, just S?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know yet. My father is from Montenegro, my mother is from Serbia. We don't know what is happening now.

Q. You might play for Montenegro?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know yet what is going on. It's the politics. I have nothing to do with that.

Q. You were a top 20 player.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes. I dropped from 17 to 40.

Q. The game was really sliding. Was there a point where you thought maybe you blew your chance, maybe you weren't going to be a top 20 player, maybe you just wanted to study and this wasn't the sport for you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: There came a moment when I thought I really don't enjoy to play tennis any more. Also I had a virus after I played finals in Korea last year in October. Two months I needed to recover.
Since then, I started, you know, not to enjoy tennis as much as I did before, like I do now. Sometimes I had bad situations. You know when you come on the court, you don't feel like you want to practice, you don't want to play the match, you're not excited. And that's what happened to me.
I thought, I will just study, I want to focus on something else. I wasn't thinking as much about tennis because I didn't really enjoy. And I'm the person who likes to do things and I want to love tennis and I want to play just because I love to play, not because I'm playing just because for no reason, I don't enjoy.
When I stop enjoying, I will just hang my racquet on the wall and I won't play any more. But now I really changed the thinking. After all this bad period, I think I learned a lot. It was a big experience for me, a learning experience. I think I just became stronger as a player and as a person as well.
I think more positively about life and about everything else. So I think it was -- sometimes some things are meant to be just to change the thoughts and your path, kind of, of the life.

Q. Your country has been in turbulent times. What kind of effect has that on you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: When I was younger, when I was 14 years old, when it was a war, I remember at that time I was really scared. At that time I was in America and my family was in Serbia. We were just looking like on the TV, watching the TV, bombs there, bombs there. My father calls, they have no electricity. You know, so many things happened. At that time I wasn't even playing. I didn't play any tournament when I was 14 years old.
So it was a tough period for every, you know -- for every person there. But now it's the past. I don't want to think about that. I just want to think about the present and enjoy the good moments.

Q. How is it now with Serbia and Montenegro splitting for you, with your mother and father?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It's okay. We live in Serbia. I really don't know because it's not -- my parents have to discuss all these things and see how it's going to go. I really don't know yet what is going on.

Q. You have no inkling what you want to specialize in study-wise?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, because I didn't want to make a mistake to start studying something and then give up after one year or two years because I don't like it. So I want to do two years a little bit of everything. I have many subjects at the moments like economics, political economics. I'm trying to see what I would like. Then third year, I will really choose what I would like to major in.

Q. What are you good at in studying?
JELENA JANKOVIC: You know, just -- it's not like I'm trying to be - how you say - I was always one of the best students in every class I attended. I went to diplomatic school in the French embassy, and also in America I always had good grades, always A's. I really didn't have anything -- any favorite subject. I was just good in everything mainly.
But I was always good somehow in grammar and maths. I didn't like history. That was because I had to always read a lot, and I'm not a person -- I just listen to the teacher and I would pick up all the material, and I would never study at home.
My mother said, How do you get all these good grades and you never open a book at home? It was just one of the those things. I was just study and listen in school. That's how I did it.

Q. Is it really possible that tennis can take a backseat, despite your success, that your studies are going to be more important?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, no, no, I just want to keep going both. I really think tennis is a short career. And after that, I think I need to think about the future. I need to have an education because I don't want just to know how to hit a forehand and a backhand, I want -- after tennis, I would like to do something as well. So that's why I want to continue both. I think it's very important.

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