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September 5, 2006

Jelena Jankovic

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What were your emotions in the last game?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I was actually not nervous. I was so excited. It's tough to play when you feel like that. But, you know, it's my first time to be in the semifinals, and I guess that's normal to feel like that.

Q. It seemed like you weren't getting a lot of power on your serve in that game. What does it feel like when your body is like that?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. It's tough. I was trying to control somehow. I'm lucky. I'm so lucky that I won that game, that I didn't have to play another one when she was serving.
No, I'm happy that I pulled it through. I'm so happy, I'm so excited to be in the semifinals.

Q. If we had told you she'd win three games and none of them on her serve, would you believe that?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I wouldn't believe that. I cannot believe that I won in two sets. What was the score? I don't even know the total score (laughing).
THE MODERATOR: 6 2, 6 1.
JELENA JANKOVIC: 6 2, 6 1? Oh, my God. Don't believe.
No, I mean, it's amazing. Especially we played in LA. She beat me 6 4 in the third. We played for like two hours and a half. Was such a tough match. Today I expected as well to have a tough, tough battle.
But I don't know what happened. I was just playing quite solid, playing aggressively, didn't allow her to play her game. I was also returning well.

Q. In the Australian, you lost in the second round. French, you got to the third round. Wimbledon, you beat Venus...
JELENA JANKOVIC: Fourth round.

Q. There's a...
JELENA JANKOVIC: Like I'm climbing up the hill or something (laughing).
I don't know. I think I have I'm quite talented, and now it's just that I'm really motivated, and I have the hunger to do well. I'm really enjoying my tennis. I'm so happy when every time I go on court I want to compete, I want to fight for every point. That's why I'm going further in, yeah.

Q. How much of that is confidence?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, also. I have so much confidence right now. In this tournament, I beat three top 10 players. You know, it's amazing. I don't know what to say.

Q. You don't like to talk about the past, I know. But what was that 0 for 9 streak like, just living it?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It was terrible, but what can I do? I think overall in life, you not gonna always have good times. There are gonna be bad times, as well.
I think when you go through something like this, it makes you stronger as a person. For me, as a player, as well, I feel like I appreciate my results a lot more, and I know what I'm doing and I know the right values. That's the most important.

Q. How do you explain what happened in light of what's going on now?
JELENA JANKOVIC: That's what has happened. Everything happened, I got a virus. I got sick. It was tough time for me. Took two months and a half or something to recover. I couldn't play. I was tired all day. It was a bad period.
And then I came on court. I don't know what was wrong with me. I didn't I couldn't play. Whenever I got on court, I didn't have the will to practice, didn't want to play. When I get on court, I don't want to win matches, it's just like I was it was not it was something weird. It was something that I never felt before, and I almost quit playing tennis. I just wanted to go and study and just go to regular university and just continue with my studies.
Right now, I'm in second year of university, so I was studying, as well, in that time. So I did something good. Now I'm doing good in tennis, so it's kind of a right balance right now (smiling).

Q. How close did you come to quitting tennis?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Because I am a person who is quite competitive and I don't like to lose, and when I started losing so many matches, that's not what I want to do. I don't want to just be in the draw and lose first round every time. If I can not go far in tournaments and compete with the best players and be there, be a champion, I don't want to play. That's how I was.
I was No. 1 junior in the world. After going to the top, I was always climbing up the rankings. When this happened, it was tough time for me. I don't like to lose. I don't think anybody likes to lose. But for me, I'm a bad loser kind of. It hurts a lot (smiling).
I just...

Q. (In Language Serbian.)
JELENA JANKOVIC: He's saying everybody was talking about me, that I'm like a Ferrari who is in the garage, who is in the garage, but then all you need to do is put oil and bring it out on the road so everybody can see it, you know.

Q. Was there a point, a moment, where you said, Yes, I'm just going to stop, and then reconsidered it later? How close?
JELENA JANKOVIC: You know, I was I started to play, and it was little by little, you know. I was feeling better and everything.
Then I came to Rome. My mom came with me. She was I was away my mother was not traveling with me, then she came to Rome.
Then since then, I have a different feeling. I made it to quarterfinals there. It was such a change, you know. It was something different. I didn't expect to go in the quarterfinals after ten losses in a row, nine losses how many, I don't know.
Since then, I won like 30 something matches out of 40. I mean, it's been amazing. But I think some things are meant to happen, and maybe if I didn't lose ten matches in a row, maybe I wouldn't be in the semifinals here. Maybe I would just be who knows. Maybe I would lose in the second round or something because I would be too loose to kind of care less, in a way.

Q. Was it something your mother said or did?
JELENA JANKOVIC: My mother and my parents overall, they are supporting me so much. They've been I'm so happy. I'm so grateful that even in those bad times they were with me and always giving me support. I mean, without them, I couldn't I wouldn't be here.

Q. Did she say to you, Don't quit?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, she was always, like every time I would lose a match, she would always give me support and tell me that I can do it, I have the potential, I have, you know...
And somehow, I pulled it through. I'm really happy to be here. But that's not something I am thinking right now. It's something that's the past. It's gone. I mean, you can't bring back time. Now I am looking at the present and the future, what I will do and what I will achieve. I'm so happy right now.
So I'm not really worrying about what happened.

Q. What are you studying in university?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I study oh, my God you can imagine. When I was in the beginning of the year, I was studying economics, political economics, statistics. All this tough subjects. Can you imagine when you are losing, you are studying that (smiling).

Q. Maybe it made you lose.
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, it didn't. It didn't. I just, after I studied, I started studying and doing more frequently the exams. That's what I was doing. Right now I am giving it quite slowly, because I am studying on the road, and then when I get back home, maybe when I get back home now, I will maybe book some appointments for October or something so that I can give some more because my ambition is to finish university. That's my goal, and that's what I would like to do.
I don't want to be a typical tennis player who knows how to hit the forehand and a backhand. That's all. I think this career is quite short and I think there is life after tennis, as well, and I need to look after my future.

Q. When you first came to Bradenton, you were 12, 13? How old were you?

Q. There was a whole group of players that would become stars, Maria?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it was a quite good group. I mean, I think we pushed each other. We were competing against each other. I think it was a good little group. Few of us made it from the academy. It's good. It's good for I'm glad that I had such company like that.

Q. Who else besides you and Maria were there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Tatiana Golovin and maybe Jamea Jackson. Who else was there? I can't remember right now off my head.

Q. You had some practice matches with Maria when you were young?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, we were always competing. I mean, we would go in the back courts. That's where we'd play our matches. We would compete.
The good thing about the academy was every day we played matches. Didn't matter who it was, like two year old or 50 year old, we'd play big players, fat players, skinny, anybody. We were just competing. That's the good thing. You learn how to be competitive from an early age. That's what the game is all about. If you're not competitive and you don't know how to win matches, then...

Q. Can you talk about Dementieva's serve. You broke her every time. Is it coming in flat? Is it slow and you can tee off on it? What was it today?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know, but in LA, I was talking about her serve. I had a problem with her serve because I am not quite used to some serve like that. It has some little slice on the ball and it's quite it's a lot slower than all the other players.
For me, I prefer I can return easier Serena's serve than Dementieva's serve. I mean, when I played in LA, Serena would hit a 125 mile serve, and I would hit it even harder back, hit a winner back. But then I played Dementieva, who hits 80 mile serve, and I can't even make it over the net. I don't know what it was.
But now I got used to it somehow. I found my rhythm. It was I didn't have a problem with that. I think when I was returning well, I put a little bit more pressure on her. Then she was making double faults.

Q. Do you think you've ever played such a match where you won every time your opponent served?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. I have no idea. I didn't even know that I broke her every time, you know (smiling).

Q. When you won the fifth game of the second set with that spectacular run against her overhead, what was the feeling like after hitting that winning shot?
JELENA JANKOVIC: My God, I don't know. I was so surprised. It's an amazing feeling. I don't know how to explain. You can only know this feeling until you really you are there and you experience it. I mean, it's something amazing. It's a great feeling to be in a semifinals, especially in Arthur Ashe, in a big stadium. It's something amazing.

Q. Studying economics and statistics, what do you have to do after tennis?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. The first two years are a little bit of everything. I'm studying to see a little bit what I would like to do. Little bit of business. Little bit of I don't know. We will see. Then in the third year I will decide what I would like to major in. Right now, I'm really I have really no idea what would suit me the best. I don't want to make a mistake and just study something for a couple of years and then I say, Oh, I don't like it, and I just wasted my time. I want to take it easy.

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