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March 20, 2008

Ana Ivanovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk about that match a little.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I started really well. I thought I played some best tennis since my matches here, so I was really happy about that.
In the second set I had a break up and little bit lost concentration in that game, and start to get a little bit more, you know, emotional and trying to go for too much and lost my rhythm a little bit.
But I was just happy that at the end of the second set I managed to keep calm and play good.

Q. When you get up in the morning and you know you have to play Vera, good veteran player but someone you're better than, and then you see you have to play Jankovic or Davenport, can you really avoid thinking about that?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. I really try to take it match by match. I haven't looked at the draw at all, so I didn't know each match. After I played I was like with my coaches talking, and then they ask who I play now, because I don't want to look too far ahead. Obviously Vera is a tough opponent, we had tough matches in the past.
She beat me few times quite easy, so obviously I knew I had to be active and sharp from the first moment on to put pressure on her. Because I think, you know, she's kind of player who can play really well.
But if you get her little bit out of her zone she can make some mistakes, so that was my goal today, and that's what I tried to keep doing.

Q. Was it your best match of the tournament so far?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think so, and also the third set against Francesca was some great tennis, too.

Q. To look at a match like this, do you sometimes make things a little bit hard for yourself? Looks like you were starting to take charge in the second set.
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously I was not happy with myself. I couldn't keep that break early in that second set, and give her hope that she can come back. Obviously it's always different against these players, especially so far in the tournament.
Just learning experience, and then you have to deal with these things during the matches and there will be many matches. I'll be in the same situation so this was, yeah, another experience.

Q. You came into this tournaments as the top seed. Do you feel like you're the favorite? You look around, and Mrs. Maria is in the draw, and other people. Do you actually feel like you're the favorite going into these tournaments, or do you still feel like your ranking is up there, but really you're not at the top top level of the game?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, coming into this tournament obviously I felt a little more pressure being top seed, but I just try to not think about it. I know I have a game to beat anyone if I play well and if I do what I supposed to do out there. All these players that are in the draw, I beat them before, so obviously that gives me lots of confidence.
But it's just different, different kind of pressure, different experience. But I'm just happy I manage to fight through my matches, and it wasn't easy against Francesca. She was playing some great tennis, but I managed to go in there and win that match. These kind of matches give you confidence.
And today the way I started, you know, I showed that, and I was ready to compete for it and win a match.

Q. What did you call the trainer for?
ANA IVANOVIC: Just a breathing problem. It was -- just the first day was quite hot and first match, so, yeah.

Q. You won the first four games in 10 minutes. Did it occur to you you might be out of there in like 25 minutes?
ANA IVANOVIC: I try not to think about that, because obviously I felt the ball great. You know, I was in a zone and I didn't miss, I think. Obviously I knew that I probably couldn't keep up during that whole match, and she would raise her level and try to do something different.
I just tried, even if I made the mistake not to get upset with myself, because that's part of the game. I think I did that really well, so I was really proud of myself.

Q. How long did it take you to realize that you could win matches not playing well?
ANA IVANOVIC: It took me a long time, actually. (laughter.)
But probably, you know, beginning of the year when I had off-season and Sven was there preparing with me, helping me out a lot, and we obviously spoke a lot and I learn new things.
He just made me realize some things, and one of his things was that. I think it's such important thing, because I used to put too much emotions and wanted, you know, to start in fifth gear from first match on. I wanted to play perfect tennis.
But you just realize it's maybe not necessary and you can save this energy that can maybe help you later in tournament. That's something that I am now very comfortable with, and obviously you can get very tough matches from the first moment on. But it's important to fight through and to realize what strengths and weaknesses you have and use it.

Q. So what gear were you in today?
ANA IVANOVIC: I started really, really high, and in probably fifth gear. But then it's also different kind of pressure, because if you started in the fifth gear you only can go down a little bit. So my goal was not to go too down, just to keep the level up.
And obviously there were a few games in that second set when I lost my concentration for a bit, but I caught myself in time and managed to finish the match.

Q. When I look at your team I see obviously Sven is very involved in the tennis. What do you think goes on with your mom watching match after match? She's pretty shy. How do you think that is for her?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think emotionally it's very tough. Just watching matches, you know, she can't do anything about it. It's me on the court. I'm in control and she can only be there and support me. But I like that she doesn't show too many emotions while I'm playing, you know, because if I'm nervous or I'm playing good, she's there always to support me, but she never goes, Oh, I can't -- why did you miss?
That's something I really enjoy, and even if I don't play good she's there to support me, and I think that's the biggest strength.

Q. Do you ever talk about the tennis with her?
ANA IVANOVIC: Not much, no. Obviously she says, Well done, Good fight, or Great match. Why were you nervous or something like that. But we never discuss anything about the tactics.

Q. Back even when you were a kid she was pretty quiet?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, actually when I was a kid my mom didn't travel so much. If I played tournaments within Serbia my dad usually went with me, and he liked to talk to me about the tennis. I spoke to him a lot, and he helped because he was sportsman himself, so he knew little bit about how the mind works when you're on the court and when you have to handle pressure, different concentration. So with him I talk more about tennis than with my mom.

Q. Have you seen a video of the final of the Australian Open? And if you have, what do you think about it?
ANA IVANOVIC: No, no, I haven't. I haven't seen it yet.

Q. I was talking to some ball kids yesterday and asking who the nice players are and the bad players are (laughter.) You're one of the nice players by far.
ANA IVANOVIC: Thank you.

Q. So do you think about the ball kids when you're playing and not being too nasty to them?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, I saw in some matches players can be really nasty to the ball kids and the towel or balls and get upset. But, you know, at the end of the day they are just kids and nervous too. Everybody's watching them, and maybe saying, Please don't drop the balls.
You know, you have to realize that, so I really try to be nice to them and not get upset.

Q. When you came into Sydney early in December and started training over there, do you feel that a lot of that work is paying dividends now, or is it going to be a little further down the road this year?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's paying off now, definitely. And also in Melbourne during Australian Open the work has paid off. Obviously that's what you want to see when you put so much effort worked really hard. You want to see the results.
And then I tried to make good play, but also in between tournaments I have time to rest, recover, and then start playing again. You have the basic preparation at the end of the year, but you kind of have to top it off during the year. It's important to have these -- I had one before Doha, and so that's something that was good for me, obviously.
And, yeah, I feel now the work from there, it's also paying off.

Q. What was your experience playing Fed Cup with Jelena for the first time?
ANA IVANOVIC: It was very different, because I played Fed Cup two years ago, but I was still quite young, so I didn't remember much. This time I felt completely different. It's different kind of pressure. And playing for a team, I enjoy playing for a team, and I always give maximum support.
But then also when you're on the court you're kind of feeling little bit nervous or anxious because you're not playing only for yourself. You also play for a team so you have much more responsibilities, and, you know, everyone is talking during the points or giving you advice.
I'm like, What's happening? Why you keep talking? Just be calm for a while. Obviously it was a lot different. And also, we were in a group, so we didn't feel, you know, like really whole weekend was about the Fed Cup. Now when we going to play in April it's going to be obviously the real thing, so...

Q. What I meant was you were with Jelena and you've been across the court from her five times. This is the first time you two have been together in the same place. So did it change your relationship at all?
ANA IVANOVIC: We played doubles together and we work well on the court. We manage to win that match and we had fun out there. But obviously we still have different interests and different personalities.
So I can't say that make us become best friends, but, you know, just -- we did the job like we had to, and we played well in doubles.

Q. Can you talk about the next round playing either Jelena or Lindsay?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it doesn't get, you know, easy from here. It only gets tougher every match. They're both great players, and I think it's going to be very interesting match against Jelena. We play many times before and we always had close matches and very good ones. It's going to be interesting.
Against Lindsay I never played before, so I would like to have the challenge and the opportunity to play against her.

Q. Do you remember watching any of Lindsay's Grand Slam finals? Any memory of, say, Wimbledon or the US Open, Australia? Nothing?
ANA IVANOVIC: Not really, because I was thinking I watched a lot of Monica Seles, but then I was thinking I haven't watched the other matches much. I realized tennis wasn't really popular back home and they wouldn't show the tennis back home, so I didn't have opportunity to watch that much tennis.

Q. No more squeaky shoes?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think so, yeah.

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