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May 18, 2007

Jelena Jankovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did the wind bother you, and if so, how much?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it was tough conditions out there, but it was the same for both of us. Some points were quite tough because the clay was going to our eyes and we couldn't see and the ball was just going everywhere.
But I was just trying to concentrate and just try to play as many balls as I can because you don't have a choice.

Q. At the beginning of the match you looked just a little bit nervous. Were you? What was the problem?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't remember. Maybe I was a little bit nervous because I didn't know what to expect and I didn't play her for a long time. Last time was in -- at the US Open.
And especially with these conditions, it's really tough. But I just got into the match and I started to feel the rhythm, and it was getting better and better. Started to control the points, play aggressive, and that was the key.

Q. It was a comfortable margin of victory for you. Did you expect it to be closer out there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know, because also at the US Open I beat her with a similar score. But the score doesn't mean anything. We had some tough games, especially the one at 4-1. It was so long, and she is really a tough competitor.
She doesn't give up and she just runs so many balls down and you have to really beat her. She's a big fighter.

Q. Most of your growing up, I believe, has been on hard courts. How you taking that? You seem to be playing like you like clay. I don't know if you do or not.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I used to think that I didn't like clay before and I was not really used to it. I didn't know how to slide, especially from practicing on hard court all my childhood.
Then I really, before these tournaments on clay, I practiced quite hard and was working with a Spanish coach and my sparring partner is Spanish, so I'm learning how to slide and I'm starting to feel comfortable on clay.
Winning in Charleston gave me a lot of confidence to even feel better and just more comfortable on clay. So I'm doing quite well, winning a lot of matches, and I'm happy.

Q. There's a strong possibility that you'll be playing Serena in the semifinals. How did you feel about that? And if not, how do you feel about Patty?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think either one will be tough. Serena, I had some tough matches against her. I think we're 2-All head-to-head or something like that. I'm not quite sure.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, 2-All. So I just will be expecting a tough match. I have to play the best that I can in order to beat her, but we'll see. It will be an exciting match whoever wins today.

Q. You are playing very well in this tournament. What does that mean for Roland Garros?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I'm not really thinking about Roland Garros. I'm just trying to play this tournament, and then when the time comes I feel I'm in form and I -- I'm healthy, that's the most important.
I just want to play every match one match at a time, and I don't really put any pressure on myself which result I want to make. I just try to play my game.

Q. But it would be a declaration of intent for the French if you were to do well here, wouldn't it?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Doesn't matter. But every match you win gives you more and more confidence, and that's the most important thing: That you go into a tournament, especially the Grand Slams with as many matches as under your belt as you could.
It's the confidence that helps you when you are going in a Grand Slam. I have a pretty good chance, but I'm not really thinking about that. I'm not putting anything in my head that I have to do this or that.
Like I said, I just want to be focused and stay positive out there and enjoy the games.

Q. (From Italian) Which are the improvement you feel that you have really done in the last few months, and what do you feel that you can improve, that you have to improve?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I have to improve on so many things. Nothing is perfect. So I'm really -- I have to work really hard on my serve, which is my, I think, one of my weakest shots, and also on the my volley.
But I'm just working hard every day on improving the things in my game, and also off the court on my fitness and just being positive and mentally tough. That's are the things I'm really trying to do.

Q. (From Italian) And which are the improvements?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Which are the improvements? I don't know how to say, because I'm just -- I'm improving little by little on everything. I'm just trying to play aggressive, to have this transition game, to go forward, and just dictate all the points.
I'm also working on the tactics so I that I play a little bit different. I cannot explain. It's something that I work on.

Q. When you were a child you were left-handed; is that true, or not?

Q. Why did you change?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Because they always taught me with the right and I wanted to write with the left and everything, and they taught me to do with the right since young age.
So then I became -- my right-hand became dominate. But everything that I do is better with the left, so like my backhand I keep with the left. But now it's late.

Q. Just from training, if you want to joke, you try to change?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I do. And they're amazed at how I can hit it. Maybe I can put another shot into my game, but I think my backhand is good enough. I don't think it could get better.

Q. You could surprise your opponent.

Q. There are two Serbian players in the Top 10 in the women's tour and one Top 10 in the men's tour. How well do you know Djokovic?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I know him. He's a really nice guy. I'm proud of him that he's done so well, especially at a young age. Hopefully he will stay healthy and keep improving. I think he has really big potential.

Q. He's a nice guy?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, I think so.

Q. After Yugoslavia became Serbia and Croatia, Croatian players were much better than Serbian players. Now it's at opposite. How do you explain that?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I know. Croatians also set a tradition in tennis, but we didn't. I don't know how we can explain that all much a sudden we have three Top 10 players in the world coming from Serbia.
It's really amazing, but it's a coincidence that at the same time we're coming through and at an young age. So it's really great for our country.
The sport is becoming more and more popular there and younger kids, we are motivating the younger generation to come also our way, and hopefully we'll have many more to come.

Q. You think there is influence in Monica Seles maybe?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. Everybody -- it's individual. Everybody, when they were young, had their own idols. It's different. Not only Monica, somebody like Steffi Graf, somebody Pete Sampras or Agassi. Depends.
I really don't know. Our biggest problem was the financial statute because the younger kids, they don't have money to travel and we don't have good facility to practice.
But a lot of players are going outside of the country to practice and develop their talents. Hopefully they're going build some tennis center that will help the younger kids to develop their games.

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