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May 20, 2007

Jelena Jankovic


JOHN DOLAN: Jelena is the first player since Concita Martinez 13 years ago to win this title without dropping a set, and tomorrow she'll move to No.4 on the Sony Ericsson WTA ranking. Questions, please?

Q. It was probably decided by that first set, wasn't it? Countless service breaks. You hung on in there and held serve more often, which is quite unusual, and breaking serve more often?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know, I broke her so many times. She has really a tough serve, but I was just returning well. And I knew that my serve was not going so well, so I need to really concentrate on breaking her, and that's what I did.
I was just trying to hang in there, because she's just a powerful player. Her balls come with a lot of pace, and it was just quite difficult. The key was that I was moving really well and I was getting a lot of the balls back, and I got her really tired so she couldn't handle it.

Q. You said you were surprised but, you were playing so that you couldn't be that surprised, the whole tournament?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, it's especially against Svetlana. She's one of the best players on clay and she's done so well. She's been in the final of French Open, so it just shows that she's just amazing.
Of course I didn't expect that -- I was hoping that I could win, but not really in two sets, and 6-1 in the second. So I was surprised by that. I was expecting a tough battle and fighting for every point and hopefully I can make it through, but not in a short time and not in two sets, for sure not.

Q. The wrist seemed to bother you occasionally out there.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Her shots are really powerful, especially when they go and I'm a little bit late. It just tends to bend my wrist and it hurts.
But I was just trying to block it and try to get the balls on the rise and just play them and just keep changing direction and not giving her anything for free.

Q. But it's not an injury?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, it's not. It's fine.

Q. I thought you were going to dance the Charleston?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really don't know that dance. If you ask me some other dance I really will do it.

Q. Clarice didn't teach you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, he didn't have a chance to. Where is he now? Maybe he can show me.

Q. Media find you very nice, very attractive, and they like to talk to you and make you a lot of the questions, and you smile a lot. What about the players? Do they like you? Have you got a very good relation with some of them? If you have to go out with some of them, who would you choose?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think I'm quite friendly with everyone. I'm an outgoing person, so I like to talk to everyone who is there. But Svetlana is a really cool girl, and she's one of the most outgoing, especially in the locker rooms.
Today, this morning, she gave me a charger to charge my phone, so that was nice of her. She is a really nice girl.

Q. How did the shopping go?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I been going every day, actually. It's like -- you know, it's like if I spend a lot money maybe it will come, so this was a good philosophy here.

Q. No.4 in the world. That's incredible. Would you have believed it a year ago that it was possible?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, not really. Like I said, one year ago I almost was about to quit playing tennis here in Rome, and it was where everything turned around in my career.
It's just amazing how after one year I'm here holding the trophy and I'm the winner here in Rome. It's just unbelievable what a year makes. I'm really thankful for what happened.
But it made me stronger and I feel like I'm more experienced, and here I am No.4 in the world on my way up. It's just unbelievable.

Q. You started the season by winning in Oakland and then you almost won in Sydney, then Charleston. How would you sum up the first half the season?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It's really amazing. I won almost 40 matches, and I think I lost 11. Just unbelievable.

Q. Ten.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Ten. Oh, I don't know. So it's been going great. I won three tournaments, two Tier 1s, which is unbelievable, and two of them came on clay. This is also another surprise for me, because I play better an hard courts, faster surfaces.
But here I have two Tier 1s on clay, so everything has changed this year and I cannot ask for more. It's just going very well.

Q. I was going ask you about Strasbourg. Is it still your intention to play there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It's my commitment. I will try, but not really no pressure. I just have to get ready for the French Open. It will be like my practice. I will practice like normal, and then maybe just play matches and then we'll see.
But it will not be like my -- I will not be so concentrate that I have to do well. Just maybe play a couple matches and we'll see.

Q. (From Italian) Besides the tournament, what did you appreciate most here in Rome this week?
JELENA JANKOVIC: What this mean?

Q. Besides tennis did you visit something?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No. I didn't have a chance because every day I had my matches, and when I finish it's already -- everything is too late to do and I have to play the next day, so I have to rest and recover for to be ready for my matches. So I didn't really have a chance much, but hopefully next year.

Q. You won two big tournaments on clay this year, so you have to consider yourself a favorite for sure the French now?

Q. Yeah.
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. I mean, you know what, it's -- I won this tournament and you know why? Because Henin didn't come. That was the reason. Because the last two tournaments the player who I tend to lose to, it was Justine.
It was in Warsaw and Berlin. And then I came here and I didn't see her in the draw and I said, Oh, here is my chance. But it was true. I mean, I was -- and when she's playing I'm always in her half of the draw.
I said, Please, let me play somewhere in the end and then we can meet later in the tournament. I think she's one of the favorites. She's won it, I don't know, I think a few times.
So for me she is the one, and Svetlana is playing really well. We'll see, anything can happen.

Q. Being No.4 in the world, you have 50% chances to avoid Justine?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I hope so. No, I mean she's just a great champion. It's just so tough to beat her. I'm always so close and always lost 6-4 in the third, a few points deciding the winner, but I always came out as loser each time.
So I just need to win one match and we'll make some kind of -- it will be easier for me.

Q. You want to say thank you for the results, the wins, in the season?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I just really work hard and I -- you know, off-season that was the big difference for me. I work hard with my sparring partner and also the coach who's not here with me.
But he has a lot of impact on my game and he has helped me a lot. I don't know if -- he at the moment doesn't want me to really say the names, but when he will become the coach then it will be official. Hopefully sometime soon.
But I think I'm the only player in the top without a coach, so you can imagine if I had a full-time coach who traveled with me. It would make I think a big difference as well.

Q. Is he Serbian?

Q. Is he Spanish?

Q. And you're No. 1 in the race. What does it mean to you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. It's really amazing because it just shows that I played really well for the first half of the year.
I'm No. 1 in the race means I'm very fast, no? I'm sprinting quite well, no? No, it's just -- I just hope I will stay as long a possible and just keep making results and I can stay there in the top. We'll see. Me and Serena are 5-Love

Q. Why did you learn to fly the helicopter?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I didn't. It was just when I was in New Zealand we have some friends who own a helicopter and they said, Okay, let's go for a ride. It was just the day before my final and I said, It's not a good thing to do.
Who knows how I will feel the next day. And I came up and I was sitting next to the pilot and my mom and some friends were in the back. I go up and I look down and it's just so high and I started shaking already. I was like uh-oh.
The pilot gave me the -- so that I'm driving, and then I said, you know, we have these earphone phones and I said to all the people, Listen guys, your life is in my hands.
And I was doing it and you make a little move and the whole helicopter moves. I was just frozen but I was really, really focused. At the end we landed and it was all fine and I did a great job. But I was all sweaty and I turned white in my face.

Q. How about the others?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think they were worse. I think they were like, Thank God we are on the ground, you know. It was unbelievable experience.

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