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August 31, 2008

Jelena Jankovic


J. JANKOVIC/C. Wozniacki
3-6, 6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. As in Wimbledon, she was able to take a first set from you, but you came back strong. What was the difference? What changed out there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: In the first set, you know, she played quite solid. She put all these balls back. She didn't make any errors. I was the one who was all over the place.
And I couldn't really find my rhythm in these kind of conditions. She took advantage of that. But then I really tried to stay composed, and I was staying really calm. I thought, you know, what I need to do, you know.
I had to change something to get myself together again and do the right things. You know, I did that. In the second set I started playing a little bit more aggressively from one side; I was hitting the ball harder from the other. I was putting a little bit more spin, so I did the smart things and it worked out.
You know, I just cruised through the second and third set, and happy to get through in this way.

Q. Today was the first time it looked like you could really win this tournament.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it's little by little every day I feel that I'm getting better and better. Physically-wise, you know, I feel that I'm moving much better. My condition is getting better and better. I'm feeling the shots a lot better than I did, especially in the beginning of the tournament in the first few rounds.
So that is my goal, to keep, you know -- I strive to keep improving day by day and try to get my game together again.
And, you know, I think I'm on the right track. I look forward to my next match.

Q. How much of a goal is it of yours to regain the No. 1 position? You had it just a few weeks ago.

Q. You talked over the course of the last week on how special that was.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it's a goal, but I want to win a Grand Slam. Of course, by winning a Grand Slam I will regain the No. 1 ranking again, and that is something I want really bad. I will try my best to achieve that.
I've been injured. I had a tough time this year, and finally I'm feeling good at the moment. I don't have any problems, and I don't want to ask for anything else. I just want to go out there and enjoy my tennis.
I'm happy that I'm getting better and better every time, and so that is the most important thing. Hopefully I can continue in this way, and I think I'm on the right track.

Q. You're the 10th player that Nick Bollettieri has helped to the No. 1 ranking. What has he meant to your career?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I came to Florida to his academy when I was 12 and a half, and I actually, as a young girl, I had no idea. I was always going to school. I played tennis only in the afternoons, unlike some of the other girls like Maria Sharapova and Tatiana Golovin who made it. Those were the girls that, you know, are now in the professional level.
It was, you know, difficult for me, you know, to be there as a young kid. I didn't know the language. But it made me quite strong, because there was a lot of competition over there.
Playing at his academy, playing with all the girls and having his help was amazing. I think he had, you know, quite a good part in my career when I was growing up, when I was developing at that early age.

Q. What's the key to how he succeeds?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think it's going to his academy overall makes you quite strong mentally, because you're there to compete with all of these players that want to succeed, that want to be the best that they can be.
So there is -- you learn how to compete from a really early age. You're battling at the back courts. It doesn't matter you're playing against a skinny player, a fat player, a tall player, big, whoever. Doesn't matter even the age. You're playing against anybody, and this teaches you how to really play the game, because it's not the same just practicing.
Anybody can practice. But, you know, to be a good professional, to be a competitor, you need to go out there and really battle it out over there. That's what I learned over there. That's what made me, you know -- that's how I came here.
And also, of course, receiving instructions from the coaches. There is a another side of the story, of course. You're improving your technical things in your game and developing different parts, as well.

Q. Next opponent could be Sybille Bammer. Could you tell us a little bit about that.
JELENA JANKOVIC: This year I haven't played her, but last year I think I played her many, many times. I think three times in a row around this time last year. I have a positive score against her. I think I only lost to her once, but I think the last four, three, four times, I don't know how many times, I have beaten her.
I know how to play against her. She's a left-handed player. She's an experienced player. You know, she runs very well. She's quite solid. But I will do my best.
I don't know who she's playing against.

Q. Bartoli.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Bartoli. So whoever wins. I know those players quite well, so I will do what I have to do in order to win.

Q. Caroline has been moving forward very fast, and she's top 20 now, 18. What is it she's doing so well, and how is she as a player?
JELENA JANKOVIC: She's a young player and she's quite solid. She has nothing to lose. She goes out there and, as you could see in the first set, she was hitting the ball and just going for her shots.
Really, she runs well. She doesn't give you many points free, so everything that you have to do, you have to earn it. It's tough to play against players like that.
So she's improving every time and getting better and better, and her results are showing. It's not easy to be in the top 20, as, you know, at that stage. She's very young, 18 years old only, so she has a good potential.

Q. When you were with Bollettieri, how much time did you spend in schoolwork during the week and how much of that was language, English language?
JELENA JANKOVIC: When I was -- I was going to school from I believe 8:00 in the morning till 1:15 or 2:00 in the afternoon, and then I would run -- you know, we would get in the bus and run, you know, just leave my bags, you know, outside of the cafeteria. I would go get in, grab some lunch quickly, run and change my uniform, you know, the school uniform, and put some shorts and shirt and go out and play.
That was, you know, how we did it. It was, you know, quite exhausting, you know, to -- it's not easy having your education and going to school and then playing your sport in the afternoon, because mentally, even though you're just sitting at classroom, you're not doing any running or anything like that, but mentally, it wears you out quite a lot.
So for me it was hard, but that was, you know, my first priority: to go to school and get my education, finish my high school. And then, you know, if I'm good enough, you know, maybe I will go professional, or whatever happens, happens.
But just to be secure, you know, to have -- to finish my school. It was very important for my parents and I, as well.

Q. With your coach and your mom this week, have they been saying anything to the effect that you can win a Grand Slam, your game is there, put the injuries aside?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I'm not really -- you know, I think I have a really good team around me at the moment. I have my fitness term, Pat Etcheberry, who has worked with many No. 1s in the world and many players who have won a Grand Slam.
He's doing really a good job so far, because I feel like I'm really getting better and better each day. I feel my body is getting fitter and I'm getting tighter. I feel that I can, you know, push off faster than I used to, you know, do it in the beginning of the week.
And everything, like, a little bit, pieces are -- I'm putting the pieces together with a positive atmosphere, with a great supportive, you know, system around me. My mom is always there for me and my tennis coach, you know.
I'm trying to also work on my tennis game. I'm trying to do my best to bring my game to the next level. You know, we will see how everything goes. I go one step at a time, and the most important thing is that, you know, I believe in myself, and I really want to do it.

Q. At the French and at Wimbledon when you had tough losses, you came in afterward and told us pretty good jokes, including the helicopter jokes. I wonder, do you actually consider humor to be an important tool for playing this tough tour? Because not a lot of players have it.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Humor, you mean?
I think it's part of my personality. It's just who I am, and I'm the kind of girl who likes to have fun, who likes to enjoy her time. I really -- as soon as I get off the court I become another person. I'm, you know, quite competitive, and a fighter on the court. But as soon as I step off the court, it's like two different girls.
I like to joke around, I like to laugh a lot, and probably if you would go -- you guys cannot go in the restaurant, I'm always probably the loudest one. I'm always laughing. I'm always saying so many things and just having a good time.
I think it's important, because we have -- it's not easy, you know, our sport and traveling so much and going from places to places all year and being away from family, being away from your friends. You really have to make the most of it and really enjoy yourself and have fun, whatever you do. Playing tennis, whatever, off the court, whatever you're doing. But it's important to be yourself, and I have a good time.
If you're not doing that, none of this is worth it. Even No. 1, Grand Slams, whatever, if you're depressed, if you're not happy.

Q. Seems like New York maybe more than any other Grand Slam city might fit your personality the best.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Actually, to be honest, this is -- you know, all of the Grand Slams, you know, I like them. They're special in their own individual way. But here I just have some special feeling, and I love the atmosphere.
It has so much energy, and especially those night matches when you play and you see that the crowd is really getting involved, and all these enthusiastic fans. It's quite unique and amazing.
So it really motivates you to kind of bring your best tennis, to try really your best and to push yourself to the limits and do it so that you can go really a long way and hopefully, you know, whatever happens, happens.

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