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November 4, 2008
J. JANKOVIC/A. Ivanovic
LARRY SCOTT: Good evening. Nice to see everybody. Before you get started with Jelena's press conference, I just wanted to take the opportunity to officially commemorate what's been news for several weeks right now, which is that Jelena has ended the year World No. 1.
It's an amazing accomplishment in a year that's witnessed the most competitive race for quite sometime for No. 1. With Justine Henin's retirement during the year, it's very much been wide open.
We've had a very competitive race where there have been five different world No. 1s during the year, and it's been fiercely contested.
Jelena has risen to the top of the class, and absolutely proven herself a worthy No. 1 with as good a record as anyone on the tour. Won as many titles as anyone on the tour for, I'm sure, the most consistent player of the year. Semifinals or better, three of the four Grand Slams, and she definitely had her medal tested against the very best during the year.
So we're absolutely thrilled that Jelena is here No. 1. She didn't quite follow the script. We like to to come right down to the end of the championships. But she was so strong that she clenched it before the championships. Really on the heels of something that's also pretty astounding which is winning three tournaments in a row, three very tough tournaments this fall. Hasn't been done since Nicole Vaidisova in 2005 that a player won three tournaments in a row.
In this day and age and given the caliber of the tournaments Jelena's been playing, Beijing, Moscow, Stuttgart, to win those three tournaments playing against the very best in the world was quite an amazing accomplishment and made it clear to everyone that she'd been the best player this year.
So on behalf of all of your fellow players on the tour and all the tournaments on the tour, it gives me great pleasure to present to you this beautiful Waterford Crystal trophy to commemorate the 2008 year end Singles No. 1 to Jelena Jankovic.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jelena, please.
Q. Pretty strong performance.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah. It was a pretty strong performance, especially, the conditions were quite tough to today. It was very windy and not easy to play. And always against Ana I've had so many tough matches. But I was able to be strong today and very focused since the beginning of the match and was able to take charge and to finish the match in my favor.
Since the last time we played, which was in the French Open, I have improved so much. My game has gone to another level, so I was able to play some better tennis and really win in two sets in a good way.
Q. We didn't see one smile on the court today. Was it because you were tense, or the conditions were really tough?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I smiled a couple of times. Of but I smiled to my coach, maybe you haven't seen (laughing). It was a little smiles to my coach when I did some of the things which he told me. But I was very focused.
Like I said, it's never easy to play against a girl who is from the same country as you. You always have a little bit more pressure. It's really not easy, but I was able to stay calm and really just think about my game and really go for my shots.
I did all the right things at the right moments so I'm happy for that.
Q. You'd lost to Ana in your last five meetings. Was that becoming a major concern for you in terms of bragging rights within Serbia?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, not really, because it doesn't matter. Against some players you have a little bit more difficulties. Also doesn't matter the ranking that she is or whoever it is. Just the style of play doesn't really suit yours, and you have some trouble.
But like I said, I have improved so much since the last time we have played. I've been working very hard. I also haven't had injuries.
When we played in the French Open, I had a problem with my arm which didn't allow me to really play my game. I was suffering and struggling, and it really was not easy for me.
But since the Olympics I've had no health problems. Been able to work on my game and results are coming. I've been winning a lot of matches and I'm a completely different player.
Q. If you beat in an easily way in my opinion a player like Ivanovic, your real opponent for next year in your mind is Serena, is Sharapova or which one?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Doesn't matter. All of the players in the Top 10 are really great players and they deserve to be there. Every match that I play, whichever, whoever from the Top 10, it's really tough matches, and I need to be concentrated 100%. I have to play my best tennis if I want to win.
My goal is to keep winning a lot of matches. Stay as long as possible in the No. 1 position, and I would like to keep improving which is the most important thing for me. Keep improving so many segments in my game. Just keep becoming better and better every day. I would like to be the best one as long as possible.
Q. Your opponent when she was here earlier also complained about the conditions being difficult and windy, et cetera. But an extra disadvantage that she felt was that she was dehydrated?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Who, she was?
Q. Yes, she was dehydrated. You obviously weren't suffering from those affects. What more can you do to combat these conditions the next time out?
JELENA JANKOVIC: The conditions were quite tough. It was very windy, but at the same time it's the same for both of us. When we go on the court, it's not windy only for me or for her. It's a struggle for both, but it's the one who stays focused and who moves the feet very well and just watches the ball carefully.
You need to, from my opinion, you need to use a little bit more of a brain. It's not easy to hit some of the shots. And you need to know where is the wind going, what kind of shot you have to hit from a certain position, because the wind is going all over the place and it's really not easy. Some of the shots that you would normally hit, and some of the shots that would normally go out, somehow it curves and comes into the court. So it's really a battle, a struggle out there.
But, like I said, it's the same for both of us, and I was able to stay focused, and I really went out there and played my game. I didn't really care about the conditions, about who I was playing. I was just focused on myself and on executing my shots and doing the right things at the right times.
Q. When you become world No. 1 before a tournament like this instead of during it, it means that everybody's talking about it and telling you about it and reminding you of it.
JELENA JANKOVIC: About being No. 1?
Q. About being No. 1.
JELENA JANKOVIC: It's a nice thing.
Q. It's a help rather than a hindrance, is it?
JELENA JANKOVIC: For me being on the No. 1 position is really a dream come true, and it is something that I always wanted. Now achieving that and finishing the year as the No. 1 player in the world is really an amazing feeling.
For me it doesn't feel any pressure at all whatsoever. I just feel more motivation and determination, and it even inspires me to keep going forward and keep getting better and better each time.
Every time I go on the court I feel like I'm the No. 1 player in the world, and I go with that confidence. I just I believe in my game and in myself. I just keep going, and I would like to keep winning as long as it is possible. As many matches as possible, and finish the year in a good way, in the best possible way, hopefully.
Q. So you actually feel different on the court, do you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I do feel different. Because I believe that I deserve to be the No. 1 player in the world. I really worked so hard all the year. I broke a lot of sweat, a lot of tears and blood everywhere. It's not easy. All of the girls have done the same. We all fight very hard, and it has been a long year.
I was able to get that prize and finish and spend my winter days on that No. 1 position, so I'm quite proud of myself and quite happy for that. So I can go on vacation with a huge smile on my face.
Q. So does that make you feel that you can win here or do you still take it just match by match?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I just take it every time I go to a tournament, I take it one match at a time. I'm only focused on my next opponent, and I don't know who that is. I just keep trying to keep getting my rhythm. Especially, I haven't trained as much before I came here because I was a little bit tired mentally and physically, so I took some days off. When I started to train, I didn't train as hard.
When I came here to Doha, I started pushing myself to the limits as much as possible to get as soon as it is possible in form for this tournament. Every day I feel like I'm getting better and better. But it's not easy, especially in these conditions with the wind. We're not able to get some rhythm and some feel on the shots.
Especially this is the first match I've played outdoors for quite a long time. All of the tournaments I played were indoors. It's almost the first time I've seen the sun in two months when I arrived to Doha. So I'm getting a little bit of a tan, which is nice and just having fun here.
Q. You said earlier that you smiled a couple of times at your coach when you did what he told you to do. What specifically had he told you to do?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, well, I don't think it's nice to say that, you know (laughing). I have my tactics and the things that we are talking with each other and organizing my game. Seeing the weaknesses and the weapons from my opponent and knowing what I can do and what I have to do in order to win my match.
He told me a couple of -- he gave me a couple of advices. You know, key points what I need to do, and I have done the right things and that helped me.
When you're tactically very well prepared, it helps you quite a lot. I've played against her many, many times, but I haven't been able to do those things that I was told. Now I'm doing that and I feel confident I know that I can do those things that he's telling me with the confidence which is a different story.
Q. Ana made the point before that she could detect a greater degree of confidence on the other side of the net. Does that work both ways? Did you detect that she perhaps wasn't as confident about beating you as she had been in the past?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. I didn't really look at her so much. I was just really focused on myself, and I didn't think that if she is confident or not confident or however she is feeling.
I know that I'm confident and I go out there as the No. 1 player in the world, and I go out there to play my tennis, and that's all I was thinking really.
If I get involved if she's confident or not confident or she's feeling like this or that, then you get confused and you really forget what you are out there to do. I was just out there to play my tennis, that's all.
Q. Do you feel it's good that you can impose yourself more from the No. 1 position on your rivals for that status?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, for me being on the No. 1 position, I have no pressure whatsoever. For me, I want to be the No. 1 player in the world. I want to feel that it's a challenge, really. All of the players who play against me, they want to beat you. They want to be better than you. They want to steal that spot from you, and everybody's going after you. So it's a bigger challenge for you.
But I'm willing to take that as a challenge, and I'm really looking forward to all of those matches. A lot of tough ones, and I just want to go after it. I don't really think too much about pressure or whatever. I just want to enjoy it.
Q. You say you don't really think about what your opponent is thinking, you're just focusing on yourself. Let me ask you a personal question, do you sleep at night wondering about who your next opponent's going to be and what the future is?
JELENA JANKOVIC: If I was sleeping at night and actually before going to bed if I was thinking too much about my opponents and getting nervous and all of that, I wouldn't get a good night's sleep; and I would be so tired and exhausted and really unprepared for my match.
I don't really think about my opponents until just, you know, I don't know how long before the match. I speak to my coach, we prepare what I need to do, what are my tactics as well as on the practice court.
When I am on the tennis court, I'm thinking about who I'm playing. I'm thinking about what my game plan is going to be and I really work on that. But as soon as I go off the court I don't really talk about tennis. I don't really think about tennis. I'm enjoying my time with my team. I have a great team, very positive people around me. That's all.
Q. You you talk about vacation. Where?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know yet. But if I would tell you, it wouldn't be a good thing (smiling). I wouldn't like to see any journalists, while I'm on vacation, asking me questions. I want to rest my mind and body from everything.
It has been a long year. I would like to recharge my batteries and do other activities other than tennis, and then start with my preparation nice and fresh.
End of FastScripts