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January 14, 2008

Jelena Jankovic


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. You came through, but you did it in a very hard way. How did you do it?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really don't know. I was playing not so well today, and I had trouble finding my rhythm. And my opponent was really solid. And she was making me work very hard.
But I was just trying to stay positive somehow and I found a way to win. It was unbelievable, when I was down those match points, and I was really in some tough points, and I was maybe lucky a few times. But overall, a win is a win.

Q. You had a thigh injury going into the tournament. Physically, were you okay today?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I was okay. I've been struggling with injuries, you know, this year. And I have no problem anymore with my glut muscle, but my back has been working very hard, so I've been getting stiff and getting treatments on that part. And that was what was bothering me today. Especially in the third set, I was getting very stiff. I was kind of restricted going one way, rotating my body. But I was -- you know, I received a treatment. I took some painkillers, and et cetera. So I managed to get through the match.

Q. Have you ever had a more dramatic match than that?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't think so. Actually, when I was playing, I wasn't thinking about the score, and then he just told me it was 12-10. I didn't know that. It was so long. And especially when you're down, you're just not thinking, you know, about anything. You're just trying to play one point at a time and somehow, you know, make those shots.
I made so many unforced errors. I watched the statistics, you know, after the set. And I was maybe -- we didn't finish the match, and I had like 56, so I probably had maybe over 70 or something unforced errors, which is not good to see. You cannot not win matches playing like that.
But this is important to somehow find a way when the things are not going well, when you're not playing well, don't feel that great on the court, but you still find a way to win, it's important, and it will give me confidence, for sure.

Q. Tamira was obviously feeling lousy after missing three match points. But for people that haven't been in that situation, how hard is it to win that last point?

Q. For anyone.
JELENA JANKOVIC: I mean, it's hard. I mean, we all want to win. And a Grand Slam is a Grand Slam, and we all fight very hard and we train very hard to be here and to perform and do our best. And maybe she got a little bit nervous. But I don't blame her, we all do. And so it's just a matter of staying calm and somehow keeping your emotions together so you can play those points well.
And I was just trying to -- because I gave her so many gifts throughout the match, and I was just saying to myself, Make her play. I mean, I didn't want to beat myself at the end, especially. So I was saying, You have to make the other girl make the shots. And if she can do that, then well done.
I was not my best. I didn't do the right things. So she was the better one, then she should win. So that's how I got through it.

Q. Do you think having such a long match first up, does that affect your chances in the tournament?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't think so, because tomorrow I don't play, so I have time to recover. And I hope that I will be ready.
I feel okay now. I'm just -- I'm a little bit -- the lower part hurts a bit. But mentally I really am happy, so that's the most important thing. When you get through these kind of matches, you feel -- I didn't play well, I'm not happy with that part, but just mentally, finding a way to win and hanging in there in those tough situations is what I'm really proud of.

Q. Would you have been able to do that one year ago?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. I mean, maybe I'm maturing, I'm getting little bit older. I'm a veteran on tour. You should expect these type of things to come out of me. If I'm not doing it now, when will I do it?

Q. You beat Tamira last year in Rome. What do you think about her development? She still is a teenager. Her movement got much better, right?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I think she improved a lot. She's quite solid and she has a great backhand. And my backhand is good. But I was playing against her, and I was sometimes scared to hit on that shot because she was just going for broke.
Obviously, when she's playing the No. 3 player in the world, or maybe actually now I'm No. 4 now, I forgot, so she has nothing to lose, and she can really play her game and she can go for it, and she's young. So she has a big potential. And she will be, you know, up there with the top players soon.

Q. There were a lot of breaks of serve particularly in that last set. Was there any reason for the poor serving?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I was tired and my back is stiff and sore. And also on one side, I was really angry because the sun was right there in front of my head, you know, on the top, and I couldn't see. I would toss the ball, and I didn't know where it was. I would just serve. And then when she would hit the first ball, I had no idea where I was. It was just like black, like plain black. So I was struggling.
But what you can do? It's the same for her and me, so who kind of gets those shots better and plays the important points better...

Q. The coach, is he coaching you too?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, he never coached me before. Not many people have coached me.

Q. When you're in this situation, do you say to yourself, My God, when is it going to end?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I was praying actually. I have to be honest. I was praying, Please, God, help me get out of the situation. When she was hitting those shots, and also I was like, Please be in. And, you know, I didn't want to go home, and that was what was driving me, what was pushing me to go forward.
And I never gave up. I always thought that somehow I can get through this match. And that's what happened. I really am thankful how everything happened. And really I was lucky. So it was like, God, please, you know, be on my side today. You know, I haven't had luck this morning. The driver kind of almost brought me to Albert Park. He was thinking I was going to practice (laughter). And I was like, Excuse me, which way? Are you taking the new shortcut? Where are you going?
He's like, Aren't you going to Albert Park?
I'm first match at 11.

Q. Where are you staying? Are you staying in the city?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I'm staying in the city, but I'm quite close to the courts. And we normally go one way, and he was going somewhere else. And I just wanted to make sure that he was going the right way, and he actually wasn't. So it was actually good that I said something, otherwise I would end up in Albert Park, would miss my practice. Who knows what would happen before the match.

Q. Maybe it's destiny you're going to be a Formula One driver in the future.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Actually, I was in a Lamborghini last night. I was almost flying in the streets, in a yellow one (laughter).

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