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August 26, 2008

Ana Ivanovic


A. IVANOVIC/V. Dushevina
6-1, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Must have been very frustrating, because sometimes you had your game; sometimes you didn't.
ANA IVANOVIC: No, actually, I'm very, very happy, because just to be here and to be able to compete, for me, it's already a great achievement.
I'm just so thrilled to be here and to have the opportunity to play, because after the Olympics it was obviously very disappointing. Since Montreal I haven't had chance to practice. I only started practicing this Monday.
So with so much in practice, I thought I did pretty well. When I went first on the court, I was very excited and I started to play really well. Obviously lack of practice showed off a little bit later, but just so thrilled to have an opportunity to slowly get into tournament and improve.

Q. This Monday, yesterday or...
ANA IVANOVIC: No, not yesterday. A week ago. It would be too much.

Q. Was your participation here ever in doubt? Did you worry that you would not be able to play here at all?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes. After Beijing I thought, you know, I might not be able to compete here, and I really tried to do everything possible for my recovery. I even went to Australia to see my doctor and to be able to practice.
So I came here last Sunday and was able to practice from Monday, so that was very good. Yeah, just once I started practicing, you know, I started to get better, and finally today and last couple days I was first time without pain. Just very happy.

Q. So you went from Beijing to Australia to New York?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. I went all over the world last couple of months trying to find what is the reason and to solve the problem I had.
So just happy finally to be without the pain.

Q. Your doctor in Australia, what was he able to do for you or give you that's made it better?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, I did lots of MRIs and lots of tests and x-rays. It didn't show any tendon problems, but they found few cysts that were causing inflammation. He just did lots of treatment to me. And also he is chiropractor, so he fixed my back and my neck, and everything was so connected.
So I started to feel better, because also before I had no power in my hand. I couldn't hold my racquet. So finally my power was back, and then slowly started, inflammation started to calm down.

Q. Pretty thrilling match for a first round for a No. 1 player with match points and everything. Were you a little nervous at the end?
ANA IVANOVIC: No, I was -- the last game I had couple of miss-hits, and, you know, I just tried to stay strong and to play actually for each point and to forget what happened. I'm so happy I managed to do that.

Q. When you're hitting the ball, are you doing it without worrying about the pain? Can you do it naturally now?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, umm, last couple of days I been totally without the pain, so it was really good.

Q. What has been the hardest part for you: the actual physical pain or just the frustration of knowing you haven't really been able to build on the momentum you gained from your French Open win?
ANA IVANOVIC: It was very disappointing. Obviously I was very motivated after I had holidays after Wimbledon, and I was really motivated to start working hard and to get my form back and to compete.
I think I started too fast and too much, and I got obviously injured. Since then, it was really frustrating, because I haven't really been able to practice as much as I want, and obviously frustration was building up.
And I was so much looking forward to Olympics, and very excited to compete there. When I had to pull out, it was probably one of the hardest days of my career so far.
So, you know, to go from there and then to come here and to compete and just, you know, to be able to compete at 100% and without pain, it's already a great achievement for me.

Q. Do you have enough experience now to be able to play your way into a Grand Slam?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely, and that's something probably that helped me in my match today. Obviously, you know, I could feel, you know, in some shots lack of practice, and sometimes, you know, even shot selection.
But the experience and just the calm has helped me to go through these matches. Obviously that's something I have to now rely more on, because obviously I didn't have as good preparation as I hoped for. But I have to use other, you know, tools and other -- other, yeah, other good things I can do out there.

Q. There are obvious advantages to having a quick and easy first-round match, but you can look at having a very difficult one such as you had today and the way you were challenged in a positive way, too? I would think insomuch you are able to fight through and maybe get some momentum and have a match like that behind you; do you feel that way?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely it's going to help me, because it was very challenging. I was sad in 4-2 up and had a couple break points and everything was looking fine. I just dropped my concentration for a moment, and then it was very hard for me to get back into the game.
So, yeah, definitely a match like is going to help me in the next rounds. Obviously I was missing a lot of my match practice, so I got a tough one today.

Q. Do you think your frequent flier mileage helped attribute to your near scare today?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think I can have the whole next year free.

Q. Considering the lack of practice time and everything you've been through, what are your realistic expectations here? You're the No. 1 seed, but do you feel you can actually get really far here?
ANA IVANOVIC: I'm very big competitor, so obviously I want myself to win. But I think at the moment it's a lot to ask for. I just want to take it match by match.
And obviously I think I have, you know, good potential to slowly get into a tournament and play fresh. I'm probably one of the few players who hasn't played so much lately, so I can try to use that in my benefit and try to compete each match the best I can.
Obviously I think I can still do well, and just want to basically enjoy each moment I'm on the court and work hard for it.

Q. Were you pleased by the way you went to the net when you needed to?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. It worked really well for me. I was really aggressive. I knew I had to step in, especially from when I had wind in my back and the ball wasn't coming to me.
So I used that really to step in and go -- follow it at the net, and my volleys were working really well, so I'm very pleased about that.

Q. Your fitness training has been very important for you the last couple of years. Were you able to keep that up even thought you didn't play, or did you even do more because you were bored?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I was complaining a lot because I was doing only physical. And I said, Can I go on the court at least? So we were doing lots of stuff at specific moments on the court.
But, yeah, we were making jokes at Olympics. I should try compete something else because I was just doing running and sprints. But it's obviously very frustrating, because every day I hoped I can hit, and then I was going, Oh, no, today I still have pain.
So we had to work a lot in the gym, and I think that helped me a lot because today on the court I felt physically really strong and was able to keep up the level without getting too tired.

Q. Can you describe the experience of coming into New York competing in this event as the No. 1 seed?
ANA IVANOVIC: I must say this is my, I think, fifth US Open, and this time I'm the happiest to be here, so I enjoy every moment of it.
And first couple days when I had some afternoons off I went shopping and to Central Park. I really tried to get best out of it. The weather was beautiful, so it helped a lot.
Yeah, just now focus on tournament, and then after the tournament maybe I'll have chance to see a few more things.

Q. Have you paid attention to the circuit since Wimbledon? And if you have, who is the player who's impressed you the most?
ANA IVANOVIC: Safina has definitely done a great job, and she's been playing really well and she has lots of confidence, I think. I think Dementieva also winning Olympics and coming into this week, she also has some confidence.
But, you know, all of the players can be dangerous. Williams sisters, they always play really good here. Yeah, there is a good chance for them.

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