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January 24, 2008

Ana Ivanovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Could you tell us about the match, the start, which was not too good, and how you got back into it and the finish?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it definitely was a disappointing start for me. First game I was a little bit nervous and my serve didn't work very well, and I didn't move as good as I should have.
But, you know, after the first game I just had a feeling she was playing really good and I was always on the back foot and always defending. I didn't find my rhythm, and I knew I had to go for the shots before her, because she likes to dominate. I just couldn't find my rhythm.
I tried to hang in there, you know, to stay with her. In the second set in the first game I had a chance to win the game. I didn't and got a break down, but I just was so, so happy I managed to fight through that second set.
And then once I managed to win it, I felt much more comfortable, and also a lot more confidence.

Q. How do you avoid having a slow start in the final? You said you were a little bit more nervous at the start of this one. Obviously the nerves will be built up in the final. How did you overcome that?
ANA IVANOVIC: Definitely. I had experience in the French Open playing final. That's definitely something I have to look at and just try to deal with differently.
Also, the match before went quite fast towards the end, so I think I didn't get as proper warmup as I should have. It was kind of, you know, all of a sudden I had a feeling I was in the court.
It definitely was part of it, but still you know there is no excuse. She played really well, and I was just, you know, I was just so happy I got chances in the second set.

Q. Did it surprise you how strongly Daniela came out?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, she -- I think she didn't miss a ball, and she was making almost all first serves. The at the other hand, I still had chances in the first set. It was 6-Love, but still I had game points.
But I just tried to tell myself that she can't keep up that level throughout the whole match. I knew I would get a chance at some point, and that helped me a lot.

Q. Does a comeback win like that give you great confidence to go into a final against Maria?
ANA IVANOVIC: Oh, yeah, it definitely does. As I already said, I think I didn't perform the best I could today and my serve percentage was quite low. I just managed to fight through it, and conditions are totally different than yesterday.
Also, emotional match yesterday. It was little bit flat in the beginning of today's match. So all these things, you know, I'm facing for probably first time in my career. It's definitely something I can learn from, so I was just really proud of myself.

Q. Is Maria's form daunting as well?
ANA IVANOVIC: Maria had a good tournament. I mean, beating Justine in two sets and playing some really good tennis. It's going to be definitely a very, very tough match. We are 2-All and I beat her before, so I sort of know a little bit what to expect.
I just want to recover as much as I can, and I have a day off tomorrow. It's going to be good. I just look forward for a great final.

Q. How much of it is going to be about matching her intensity level, number one; and then number two, making sure you don't get off to a slow start and then she gets off on a roll and it just goes away?
ANA IVANOVIC: That's going to be so important on Saturday, because she likes to have that first shot. So I have to be there, be there with her from the first point on and try to get that first shot.
Obviously, I want to work a lot on my intensity from the first moment on, and it's going to be fighting for each point. That's something I know and I'm going to expect that, so I'm going to have good practice tomorrow, try to work a little bit on that and get my focus for Saturday.
But the first set is going to be very, very important.

Q. The break ball in the serve says a lot about your legs.

Q. The break ball in the serve, you have to retrieve the ball very difficult. You can do it with your legs; your movement was very good.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think in that game I had two balls that I hardly got to and managed to win the point. That's something that gives you so much confidence, you know. It was tough game, and I knew I had chances in this game, because she had opportunities before.
You know, 3-2 we had long game and I managed to win that game. And I knew she was probably mentally little bit down, wasn't happy with herself she didn't use opportunities. I had to step up and do something different. I managed to break her and I think it was a huge moment.

Q. Daniela was very upset with the amount of noise your shoes were making on the court. She thought the squeakiness of your shoes, particularly when you're returning serve, is a form of gamesmanship, and you're deliberately making a lot of noise with your shoes on the court.
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, I don't think so. If you see other matches I was doing exactly the same thing. It's just the way these courts play. And if you listen to the guys I think they're doing the same thing.
You know, I just tried to move my feet, to return the ball, so it really was not intentional.

Q. Are you a natural squeaker, or are these courts squeakier than other courts?
ANA IVANOVIC: This -- I don't know, really. I just try to move my feet, and I don't pay attention to the squeaking of my shoes make.

Q. Could you sense it was annoying her at the time?
ANA IVANOVIC: Once I saw she was complaining to the referee, you know. But there was nothing I could do, because if I want to move my feet to return a ball, you know, this was the sound I was producing.
And, also, during the point, if I want to run with small steps around the ball, it was exactly the same thing. So, you know, maybe she was just trying to pick on something, to get upset.

Q. It's one thing to think coming into a tournament your form is there and your fitness is there and you're ready to get back to a Grand Slam final, but it's another thing to really know it. Coming in, did you know, yeah, I'm a little different player now, I can really bring up my game this time?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely I felt like different player since, for example, US Open last year. I felt much more experience. I was -- I felt fitter also, and obviously injury-free. And, you know, match by match I had feeling I was raising my form and I was playing better and better, so it's something that gives lots of confidence.
So, you know, now I'm starting to believe I'm one of the top players, and I think that's the biggest difference in my game. And, also, when I'm out on the court, you know, I just believe I can beat anyone, and that's, I think, a big step for me.

Q. May I ask you, when you talk in Serbian, do you always talk like that, the way you talk in English, all breathless? Especially when you talk to your boyfriend, do you talk like that?
ANA IVANOVIC: I tend to get -- when I'm excited I talk fast, so I'm going to try to slow down. But, yeah, in Serbian, I also tend to talk very fast. I hope everyone understands me, though.

Q. In an ideal world, would you have preferred to have a match like Maria's in the semifinal or the match you had going into a final?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think there is benefits from both, because obviously you want a little bit easier match so you feel fresher. But at the other hand, these kind of matches I had today gives you lots of confidence.
And managing to fight through the match and win it like this, it's something that's definitely very positive. And at the other hand, I feel really fit. As I said, it's just important to have no injuries. So I just want to stay that way and take my chances on Saturday.

Q. Everybody's been talking about the wind coming from the eastern European countries. But then at the end, you were raised up as a tennis player more or less in Switzerland; the other three girls in America with Bollettieri. So is that real, the eastern wind or is nothing to it?
ANA IVANOVIC: I don't know about raised in Switzerland, because I only went there like 14 or so, so most of my life I spent in Serbia. And, yeah, definitely we had -- once we had opportunity to practice abroad I felt my game improved so much, because for the first time I had my private coach and someone working only with me.
Before that, until I was 14, I was practicing one-and-a-half hours a day in a group with four other kids, three other kids. You know, it's definitely -- so it's a big opportunity, yeah.

Q. You're the new No. 2 in the world. How it feels?
ANA IVANOVIC: Really? No, really? Oh, okay. Well, great. I really didn't expect that. Thank you for that.

Q. It's printed in the notes of the WTA.
ANA IVANOVIC: Oh, really? That's definitely good, so one more spot to go.

Q. Players have come off post-match and said they had injuries going into the game. Do you go into the final absolutely injury-free?
ANA IVANOVIC: That's something I'm very happy about, because I worked hard in off-season, and that prevents lot of injuries.
Through the Grand Slam, you know, I have tough matches, and there's always here and there something that hurts a little bit and you try to solve it. So another day off and, you know, massage and recovery, so it's going to be good for me. But, no, no injuries.

Q. Why do you think people were supporting you so much? Because you play very well or for other reasons?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, no, I feel really comfortable here, and I feel like I have a great support. And, yeah, I just -- I just love being here, so it's great to see that fans are giving me support, because today they really helped me get out of that -- you know, in that second set to help me raise my level and try to fight for each point.
So I'm so pleased to see that, because, as I said, I just enjoy so much coming here to Australia, so it's great to see I have lots of fans here.

Q. You didn't answer the question. Why?
ANA IVANOVIC: I don't know. Maybe you can ask them.

Q. Is it difficult to keep your concentration when Maria is going through her routine for service? How do you keep your focus on?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, I think it's very individual for all players. We all have our own routines. Some players take more time. Some not so much.
So, you know, it's just important to focus on your own thing and what's your ritual before returning or serving. You just have to accept it and go with it. There is no other opportunity.

Q. What would be the qualities you admire in Sharapova?
ANA IVANOVIC: She's definitely a big fighter and she never gives up. And, you know, that's also something I feel like we have little bit in common, because I also, you know, try to fight for each point.
It's going to be, yeah, a big battle, I think. She has a good serve, and, yeah, she just goes for her shots.

Q. In all the time you've played tennis, has any other opponent ever complained about the squeakiness of your shoes?
ANA IVANOVIC: No, no. And also, you know, I think since I improve my movement I don't think I was moving as much before, so maybe I didn't produce so much squeaking.

Q. You still have relations to Switzerland?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes, of course. I am resident in Basel, so I go often there.

Q. When were you there last time?
ANA IVANOVIC: Last time I believe I was in off-season during winter.

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