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January 20, 2008

Jelena Jankovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you feel tonight on court? You looked incredible.
JELENA JANKOVIC: You think so (laughter)?

Q. You hadn't been feeling all that well, have you, in previous games?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No. But I was trying to be very focused. I know that playing an Aussie, it's always difficult. The whole crowd will be against me. It's very loud out there.
So I just tried to -- I didn't really play my game. It was humid out there and the balls were very heavy, and I couldn't even hit my backhand shot. I mean, I was just trying to make her play. I didn't really know too much about her game. I just tried to put as many balls in the court as possible and just stay focused throughout the match.
And I thought that she was playing very, very well. Maybe she was trying to go for too much because maybe I was getting a lot more balls back than she's normally used to.
But overall she had a great tournament and she beat so many good players. It's a great run for her at the Australian Open, for sure. And I'm happy to win, to get through this match, and be in the quarterfinals.

Q. You said prematch and you just said again you felt the crowd would be against you. You still had a fair bit of support. Crowd seemed generous to you.
JELENA JANKOVIC: There's no reason not to be for them. I mean, I think the Australian crowd is quite fair. Even though I'm playing an Aussie, they still applaud for good points, and I think it's quite fair. It's a great crowd. It's a great atmosphere to be playing on Rod Laver, especially a night match. I had so much fun out there and really happy with the win.

Q. You played Casey in Bali last September. Do you see improvement? What do you make of her game generally?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I completely forgot that I played her over there because I just came -- when I played in Bali, I came from US Open, where I played quarterfinals. I didn't really think about that match.
But I think she improved quite a lot. And she's become a lot better player. She did quite well. I had a difficult time on court, especially with the big balls. It was humid out there, and the balls didn't really go. So I would prefer if it was faster surface, I could execute my shots.
But I did the best that I could and finished the match in two sets, which I'm really happy about because I played the last couple matches three sets. And especially not being in the best form, having all these injuries, it's good for me to get through like this in this way.

Q. Second point of the match, she stopped playing, right? There was a question whether they would replay it? What happened there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, that ball was actually -- somebody from the crowd called it out, and we both stopped because I thought that was a lines person who called it out. And then the umpire told us that it was somebody from the crowd, so we have to repeat the point. And she obviously didn't challenge it, so the ball I guess was in.

Q. It was your choice to replay the point? He said he couldn't.
JELENA JANKOVIC: I didn't understand what he was saying actually because I didn't know if my ball was out or what happened. And somebody from the crowd called it out, so I stopped. And then she agreed to replay. I agreed to replay the point. So that's how it ended.

Q. You said Casey went for probably a few too many big shots. Did you think she might be quite brave in that way? Did you predict that?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think she had to do that. How else she is going to beat me? She has to come up with great shots, with flat shots, and really be brave and go for it. Otherwise I'm not going to give her anything.
Even though I'm not in the best form, I'm still -- I have my legs that kind of keep me going through. And then I fight, even though I don't feel my shots that great, even though I'm not that accurate as I maybe used to. But I'm still fighting out there. I'm very strong. I don't give up at any point.

Q. Some stages during the game, your face seemed to have a look of pain. Everything okay? Not too many problems there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, no, no, I'm still carrying on. Like I said before my match, I've been through soreness and, you know, tough times and pains all over my body. I guess it's normal, after having surgery, after having injuries, all of a sudden starting to play intense matches and getting into competition, which is a lot of tough matches for me. And my body's not that ready. So, of course, it's going to happen.
But I have to go through this in order to get stronger and get better.

Q. Feeling the way you do, does that lower your expectations against Serena?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Not really. I know that I can lift up my game. Each match is different and special, and you prepare in a different way.
So I know that against her I have to come up with a lot better level of tennis, and I have to go for my shots and try to be very accurate, and also serve well, it's very important, it will be the key. So we will see. You know, I've beaten her a few times. I know how I have to play. But I know that I have to play really, really great tennis if I want to win because she's a strong girl. She's stronger than me twice - twice my size. So I have to be -- it's not so easy (laughter).
Sometimes I feel like she's going to blow me off the court. But I have to stay there and play my game and go for the win.

Q. Last year when you played her here, she was not in great form. You almost came in as the favorite. You didn't play your top level. Maybe it's a special motivation to go out against her and show you can play at your best?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, last year she was not the favorite. This year I'm not the favorite. So who knows what can happen. We will see. I mean, it will be a tough match, for sure. And I will just go out there and try to play my best tennis.
She's a great champion, of course. And you have to really play your best if you want to win against her. So we will see. I will just try to have a good time. Who knows what God gives me.

Q. You were saying your body is sore. You've been saying that for the last nine or ten days. Are you going to be able to run as well as you need to against her if it's a long match?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Hopefully I can make her run so she can get sore a bit (smiling). I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding.
I mean, of course, like I said so many times, of course I'm going to be sore if I played -- out of like three or four matches, I played three sets. The first one especially was three hours. I was on the edge of losing. Not just playing for a long time, but just those intense moments, when you are so tight and fighting out there, it takes a lot out of you - even mentally and physically. You need time to recover and get back.
Ask Federer how he feels, you know, after his match yesterday, or Hewitt. He finished at 4:30 in the morning. Who knows what time he went to bed. Who knows what time he woke up today. It's not easy (smiling).

Q. What do you think about that? Should you be playing Grand Slam tennis at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know how I would react. Probably I would have to have coffee on the court (laughter). I don't know. I was really amazed. I woke up in the middle of the night and I turned on the TV and there was Hewitt still playing. I was like, My goodness. I don't even know. And those guys were really fighting. It was an unbelievable match. It was unfortunate that one of them had to lose because they were both great, playing unbelievable tennis. And I was really -- I felt sorry for Marcos because he played such a match. He's a great guy, a great character.
When I saw him cry at the end, I felt sorry for him. I know how it feels. But playing at that time, you know, of the day, at 4:30 in the morning, I don't know how they done it. I mean, your body at that time almost all the time sleeps, except the few times you go to party till 4:30 or 5 in the morning. But that doesn't happen that often, especially not in Grand Slams (laughter).

Q. Where do you rank Serena's serve in the women's game?
JELENA JANKOVIC: In the ATP Tour, you mean (smiling)?
She goes more than 200 kilometers per hour, so she's up there with the guys. I mean, she has one of the best serves in women's tennis, no doubt about that. Her and her sister.
I cannot say anything about that. I can only give her compliments. If I start giving her compliments, I can keep going all day, so I have to stop (laughter).

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