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March 23, 2008

Ana Ivanovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations.
ANA IVANOVIC: Thank you.

Q. Very confident victory, and in the final match, as well. You probably can tell us how many winners you hit down the line, but as well what does this win and the championship mean to you and for the future of your game and this season?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it's great victory for me. We always have tough matches. You know, usually our previous matches we both started nervous and it was always either side the first set.
But today I think we both played good tennis from first point on, so that was -- I was really happy with that. We both kept level. When I managed to break her on 4-All it gave me confidence, and, yeah, went strong from that point on.
Because that game I stepped up a little bit more, and I realized that's what I got to do. I'm happy I managed to do that later.

Q. This is the first time you've come into a big tournament, Tier 1 as the top seed with pressure, and you came through. Can you talk about that process and how it feels?
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously I was a little bit nervous coming into this tournament because it hasn't happened that many times. It's such a strong field and still I'm No. 1 seeded. Obviously more pressure comes into the play.
The first few matches I was more nervous, but then I just started to focus on each match and not even think about who I play against, just to do what I have been doing in practice. I've been practicing really well and working hard on my fitness. That's something I tried to focus on when I was on the court.
So thinking technically what I got to do and as the tournament was going on and on, I played better. So I was really happy about that.

Q. What parts of your game were you most happy with today? Could you describe them?
ANA IVANOVIC: I was most happy about my aggressiveness, so I was staying low and following the shots and taking my opportunities, knowing when she would hit the short ball, I would try to attack and take away time from her.
I was serving really well. I had quite a few aces, and that was important.

Q. You always mention how Monica Seles was your idol and you watched her as a young kid. It seems that the biggest similarity between you and her is that mental toughness that you have. Like in the eighth game of the first set you had those unforced errors and you then you came back roaring with like three points. Do you think about that at all, or that toughness comes naturally to you.
ANA IVANOVIC: I'm a big fighter and I hate to lose. I think that also comes into play. I felt I was doing much better as I progressed here was that I kept my composure so I didn't get upset about some mistakes that I would usually get upset about.
So just try to do it next time better. In that game on 4-All, the first return I had chance, and I really made a big error. But then the very next point I went for it again, and it was a good shot.
Because I practiced that well. And I felt comfortable about it. I just had to take a risk and I had to be aggressive and it paid off today.

Q. Svetlana talked about at some point in the match she felt like the pressure was starting to build and maybe she lost a little bit of her confidence. From the other side of the net, can you tell when an opponent is starting to lose it a little bit or maybe there is a slippage of confidence that you can jump on?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. You can tell, but you have to be also, you know, sharp and know when to look and where to look. It's obvious you can tell by their body language, shoulders get down, they're not so comfortable, they're not confident, so you have to try to use that opportunity. Go for your shots, but still not overpower.
So in that game on 3-All, I noticed she was -- in second set I noticed she was little bit struggling with her forehands. I tried to keep my composure and to technically play as I should. Yeah, I managed to win that game. I think that was really, really important moment.

Q. With Milorad Cavic, what happened with him with the suspension, is there pressure on prominent Serbian athletes to kind of make their voices heard in the situation going on with Kosovo?
ANA IVANOVIC: You know, it's hard to say, because we are athletes and we're trying to do the best we can on the court and promote our country in the best possible way. I'm really sad to hear about this.
But then at the other hand, I'm really not -- I don't know much about politics and I don't get involved in that area. You know, I just -- when I'm out here playing I just want to represent my country in the best possible way. Whatever's happening, you know, it's tough, but still, it's very hard for me to say anything about it.

Q. What would be more important for you to win this year, the Wimbledon or the Olympics?
ANA IVANOVIC: Oh, it's hard question. Can I have both? (laughter.)
Yeah, I mean, they're both very special. Obviously Wimbledon, it's very traditional and I feel my game can fit very well grass if I keep working on my volleys like I've been doing. But on the other hand, the Olympics are very special, and you have opportunity to play them once in four years.
So it would be really special to win a medal.

Q. Novak is very careful to talk about the future. I'll go back to my original question. How high you're setting the goals for your season at this point.
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, obviously I have big goal, you know, to make it one more step in the rankings and to become No. 1. It's very tough competition, and I think there are many, many players that are really close in achieving that.
So that's my goal definitely. But as I said, I don't want to get, you know, overexcited about it. But I'm really enjoying my time and I'm playing some good tennis and I worked hard for it.
The hard work is paying off, so I'm just happy to see that.

Q. It was very sporting of you to apologize for the fans who cried out in the middle of points. But how does it affect you on the court when something like that happens?
ANA IVANOVIC: It does. People don't understand, but it affects both players, I think. You know, I really -- I really wanted to apologize, because it's not my fault. But then at the other hand, they're just very excited. They had basketball that was really popular and football and they are allowed to scream during the game, so, you know, they just need some more time to get used to in tennis you have to be quiet in between serves.
But, you know, they are just -- they're also learning, and I think they're doing a good job.

Q. Some players, like Sharapova or Hingis or Seles or Graf came to No. 1 as teenagers, 17, 18, win Grand Slam titles. You're 20 now and you keep rising. Do you feel like you needed more time to get yourself personally, mentally, technically together?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. I just had feeling I had -- I needed more time to get mature and to realize that potential I have. You know, because my coaches obviously always believed in me by working with me, and they always said I had potential to win Grand Slams.
You know, as long as I didn't believe it inside it was impossible for me to do it. But now slowly I believe that I can do it, and also competing against top players and beating them regularly. And, you know, trying to win a big tournaments, that's also something that gives you confidence and it's necessary in order to win a Grand Slam. I think I'm in a good way.

Q. When did that belief begin to take off? When did you really feel that, Hey, I've got it going?
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously last year in the summer I had a great tournaments winning Berlin final, French Open semifinal, Wimbledon. But it kind of all happened quite fast. It was hard for me to absorb it all at the same time.
And then in off season I had time to think about the previous season and to figure out where, in areas I have to work to improve. And that was the time when I realize, you know, I'm actually the top player, and I can achieve even more.
So coming into this season, I felt more confident and also more determined to do it.

Q. Have you and Novak ever had the same coach? I ask because there seems to be some similarities in the way you play, you know, the hard forehand?
ANA IVANOVIC: No, we never, no, the same coach.

Q. Are there any areas of your game that you want to improve, that you think need improvement right now?
ANA IVANOVIC: Right now, I wish I could be little bit more coming to the net more often, because many times I hit a good shot. Even today she was defending really well, but I thought there were some points where I could finish at the net and come in with a spin volley or volley, and that's something I'm working on.
I have to do it in the matches, and in the practice I do it often. But when I play matches I still have to be able to do it. But, you know, it's just progress, and also I'm still working on my serve. So, no, it's good to know that you still have place and possibility to improve.

Q. You said you don't know too much about the politics, but you know history, and the history between Russia and Serbia was always good. Maybe great. Isn't it difficult for you to beat your close friend Svetlana from Russia, who was always friendly to Serbia?
ANA IVANOVIC: When we are on the court we are all enemies and opponents. Obviously, no, it's hard to play against people you know well and friends. But then on the other hand, the best thing you can do is not focus on that and play like you have to play against anyone. I'm sure she also wanted to beat me today, so it's both sides.

Q. You talk a lot about keeping your emotions in control on court, and even though you have a good disposition, looks likes sometimes you're fighting with yourself to keep emotions in check. When you win the tournament you let out this squeal, this squeak that pierces everyone's eardrums. Can you just talk about the moment of winning, what it feels like and everything coming out then?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. I try during -- obviously during the match to keep it inside and to control it, you know. Even if I'm angry or when I'm positive sometimes I do little squeak, squeaky, but it just happens.
You know, I don't try to do it or I don't try to control it. Obviously I'm just very happy, especially when it's -- when I play a good point like I did against Jankovic, the match point, and today with both winners.
It was a lot of emotion and tension built up inside, so it was just sort of moment of happiness and, yeah, just happiness.

Q. How are you going to celebrate this great win? Now your mother is here. Are you going to be with your team or here or somewhere else?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes. We're going to have lunch later or dinner, whatever it happens. But with the team, definitely, and then obviously my father and brother, they're going to come to Miami, so I'm looking forward to see them.

Q. One of the things you see the No. 1s and the champions do is win a big tournament and then follow it up, not going second round, third round out. But mentally and physically you're being able to keep it together. Is that part of the process going forward for you?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. That's something I'm now trying to work on. Obviously I want to enjoy this victory and have couple of days relaxing and maybe just light practice. The good thing is I have almost a week to recover for the next tournament.
But that's definitely my goal, you know, to continue strong next week. There are tough opponents even in the first few rounds. Like I said, the nerves are a little bit more involved in the first few rounds.
But coming from this tournament I have confidence and, yeah, I just want to still enjoy it on the court and not put too much pressure on myself.

Q. I remember last year when you won LA Novak won Canada, but I don't think on the pro tour you've won in the same place. Did you ever win a junior tournament on the same day or same place together?
ANA IVANOVIC: Not that I can remember, no. No, I don't, sorry.

Q. A lot of the fans that were up in the upper deck, they come from Texas and San Francisco and Phoenix, far away, to kind of watch you and Nole play. Can you describe how maybe your success as individuals or in a group are important to people in Serbia?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think it's very important, you know. They really love tennis now, and they love to wake up in the middle of the night. It's a cool thing to do to wake up and watch us play. I really appreciate their efforts, because everywhere we go, you know, people -- maybe they don't live in that particular place, but they come from all over the country just to watch us play.
You know, you don't realize that they're like, Please, can I have your signature? Actually it means a lot to them because they made an effort to travel there to come and support us.
So I really appreciate all their efforts and it's amazing, you know, how much support we get.

Q. Does that sort of speak to the pride and Serbian culture that people have amongst each other?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it is. And also, we are very -- I think people in Serbia are very emotional and, you know, you can even see a man when they greet each other they hug each other, you know. It's not common in many other cultures.
So that shows their emotion, and that's why they are maybe so much more talkative even during the points. But, yeah, they just -- they're just proud to be Serbians, like I think everyone is in their own country, so, yeah, they're really patriotic.

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