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June 21, 2008

Ana Ivanovic


THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Ana.

Q. What is your level of confidence coming off your first major championship and now on this different surface?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, definitely, you know, this is the best time for my confidence so far. I do feel very excited to be back on grass and to start competing again. Last few weeks gave me a lot of confidence, so I'm very, very excited about the new challenges.

Q. What is the biggest challenge for you?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, I think from first match on, you have to be alert. Especially on grass, everything is happening so fast and there are many girls that can give you trouble.
So, you know, just taking it step by step and working hard for each match.

Q. Emotionally after going through all you went through to win the French Open, will it be a challenge just to get the same fire back here again, the quick turnaround?
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously it was very emotional times. You know, you go up. Once you come down, you need a few days to realize what's happening to be back on earth.
But it's definitely going to be hard. But, you know, I work on it. Also through my practices I try to get a little bit into that match mentality and competition again, play some points.
Yeah, I can realize that I'll probably have to work harder than I did in French Open. But still it's a challenge for me.

Q. Your celebration after the French Open, you climbed into the stands and celebrated with your friends and family. It's a bit more conservative here. Will you celebrate the same way?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's a long way away still. It was very nice in Paris. I received a few phone calls after saying, Don't ever do that again. Don't climb that chair.

Q. Did you plan it?
ANA IVANOVIC: No, I didn't at all. It just happened. You never know how you're going to react. Whenever you win, whatever you feel like, you do it.

Q. What are some of the nice things that have happened to you since you came No. 1 and won the French Open?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, first of all, achieving two of my biggest goals: becoming No. 1 and winning Grand Slam. Then being able to go home for a couple of days, celebrate with people I know for a long time, friends, family, being welcomed by so many Serbian people in a square. Then also the president received my family. It was a very nice moment.

Q. Can you elaborate on what the celebration was like in Serbia and what the atmosphere is, given that in the first two major championships of the year two Serbians have won?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it's amazing. Obviously many times in the past the people would come on a square to welcome sports people, volleyball, basketball players. But it was always like a team sport.
After Novak won in Australia, now me coming back from Paris, it was the first time for a single person that they organized this. It was very thrilling to see how many people actually came there. And most of the people were very young, lots of kids as well. It's very nice. A nice thing to see. I really appreciate all their efforts. I always hear, wherever I'm at the tournament, how much they support us.

Q. What has been Novak's affect on your game and maybe yours on his? What have you meant for each other in your friendship and achievements?
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously we motivate each other. It's just a natural rivalry. You want to be better than the other. Now he did a great job in Australian Open this year.
Like I was saying before, when I was going onto the court for the final in Paris, I thought, Novak won a Grand Slam, I can do it, too. It would be a great thing to achieve. In that way you can learn through their experiences as well.

Q. London itself as a city offers a lot. You have sight-seeing, night clubs, shopping. Are you going to be able to spend any time away from Wimbledon soaking up a bit of that?
ANA IVANOVIC: I was here a few days early so I had some time to go and do some shopping. It's definitely a great, great city for that. I really hope after the tournament I'll have a chance to go again. Sight-seeing obviously I enjoy doing as well.
But night clubs, I'm not such a party person. I leave that for, you know, my brother or whoever else wants to go.

Q. Do you feel like a different player now that you've achieved your first two big goals?
ANA IVANOVIC: It definitely gives me confidence, but I just think I'm more experienced player. But still there are things in my game that I have to work on and improve.
Obviously No. 1, it's a great, great position and it's a dream coming true. But still I want to work hard and keep that position as long as I can.

Q. Just talk a little bit about your game on grass, because in some ways maybe it transfers as well but maybe it might be a learning process for you.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, grass is a very specific surface. The change from clay to grass, I think it takes some time. Also because it's completely different game to the game you play on clay, everything is happening much faster. You have to be much more alert, your center of gravity has to be much slower. Serve is becoming one of the most important shots. So you really have to also put a lot of work off the court, meaning on the footwork, just in balance.
But, you know, I think I have very, very powerful shot, so that in a way suits my -- my game suits the grass well. But, you know, still, like I said, there are some things I have to improve. I'm trying to come also more forward, play some volleys, which is very helpful here.

Q. How important for you is it to win this Wimbledon? Any special feel being at this tournament?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think Wimbledon, it's a very special tournament. Like all the Grand Slams, it's the biggest tournament of the year, and you want to try to do your best. Wimbledon is big tradition. I think it's a dream for every player to win Wimbledon one time. It's mine, too. So I want to keep working hard. Yeah, you never know.

Q. Have the other players been generous in giving you congratulations? If so, has that surprised you at all?
ANA IVANOVIC: Actually, yes. Lots of players. I receive messages also from other female players of congratulations. Also coming here a lot of people congratulated me. I'm very happy to see. Yeah, because there is lot of rivalry between the girls. I was a little bit surprised from how many people I received.

Q. The Williams sisters and Maria have done a pretty good job of balancing their tennis with a lot of outside interests. As the opportunities for you expand off the court, what is your game plan to balance that so it doesn't affect your tennis?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's a very important thing. I think, obviously, when you become top player, there is a lot of requests for photo shoots or also lot of sponsors which you have to do appearances for. It's very important to find the right balance and not to spend too much time doing those sort of thing and forget about what you have to do to keep playing well.
I have really good team around me who can help me also organize these things, telling me, Okay, maybe now you have some time off so you can do these things. Once the tournament starts or you have preparation, it's mostly tennis.

Q. Have you gotten to a point where you said, I don't think I should do this, it's getting to be a little bit too much?
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously sometimes. But not only because it was too much, just because I was tired and I preferred to have time, you know, maybe to relax a little bit. So, obviously, sometimes you unfortunately have to turn some things down. It's part of the job.
At the end of the day, all goals I have are considering tennis, so I want to keep practicing hard. I wouldn't miss a practice over a photo shoot.

Q. With Venus Williams as the defending champion and her sister having done so well here, Sharapova having done so well here, who do you look at as the favorite coming into the tournament?
ANA IVANOVIC: Probably them (laughter). I think Williams sisters are playing really well on grass. Maria has a game that suits grass very well. I think, yeah, they're playing also very good at the moment, but there are also many young girls that are coming up and can be very dangerous on grass.

Q. But the favorite you think is them, or do you see yourself as the favorite?
ANA IVANOVIC: You know, obviously I have a game and I beat most of them before. But, you know, you just wait for a tournament to start. I would really like to be able to keep the form from Paris and stay here the whole two weeks.

Q. Have you learned anything from Justine leaving the tour or Kim Clijsters leaving the tournament both at very young ages about the dangers of burnout?
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously that exists, and I think that's why it's very important to make a smart scheduling, not play too many tournaments, still have time to relax, have some holidays, recover, then start preparing again, make a right balance.
It's very sad to see both of them retire so early. But, you know, still there is part of your life when you just have different priorities. You know, they achieved so much. They were great champions. You know, Kim decided to have family, and probably Justine also wants to have some, I don't know, whatever makes her feel happy now.

End of FastScripts

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