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February 14, 2009

Jelena Jankovic


Q. We could see some very big, big rallies, but it was not enough for you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It was tough, you know, because her game is a little different than most of the players because she uses the slice, and she kind of absorbs the pace. You know, when I hit hard and I want to attack and get rested, she does this little slices and kind of changes in the pace, which kind of slows my game down.
And I sometimes get stuck in the middle of the court. I don't do enough or I make a mistake, which was the case especially in the third set.
In the second I was dominating and playing really aggressive. And I had all the momentum behind me. And in the third, you know I started to make errors, and, you know, I didn't do enough when I was on the court.
There was some tight games, which, unfortunately, if it went maybe my way it could have been a different story and some close calls as well which make a huge difference here without the challenges.
So today was not my day. And she was the better one in the third as well.

Q. This game in the third set, the third game of the third set for 2-1 was very important, I guess?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, that game was really crucial. And that was, you know, a very close call out there. Unfortunately, it didn't go my way. That was the big game which made the lead, and she broke me. And then she took the lead, you know. And it was very tough for me to come back.
I was still there in the match, but I just was making a lot of errors and didn't do what I was supposed to do. So the match went her way.

Q. You seem to be struggling a lot with your first sets. How frustrating is it to take the advantage in the rallies or in the game like third set and being unable to just close it out with your serve?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, this is a shot that doesn't -- it's not working at the moment. It's something I need to improve. Because with my ground strokes, I can do a lot of damage, but with the serve, the serve needs to get better in my game. And I have to, especially the first serve, I need to get it up there and need to hit it and get a lot more free points, which will make my life a lot easier.
So I will work on that. It will be, I hope, a different story in the future. But here was a great, you know, experience for me, because I came here to play some matches and to compete, which was something I wanted out of this tournament. And I played some of the top players, and a lot of tight matches which is what I needed in this moment.
Hopefully, I can just keep getting better and better. And my confidence can get higher, and I can do better in the next tournament as well.

Q. Are there some positive things that you can maybe keep to welcome?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, there are positive things that I can take. Is that especially compared to Australia, I couldn't even -- if you saw the game from here to Australia, it's a huge difference already. It's a big step forward, and that is something that I'm happy about.
I'm moving a lot better than I moved in Australia. And my game is, you know, I'm hitting the ball a lot deeper and starting to play aggressive. And my confidence is rising.
I just need to work a little bit more on my first serve, and a little bit more when I'm out there on the court to finish up the points.
You know, there is always something to work on. I feel that I'm on the right track which is important.

Q. Amélie has been struggling a lot the last couple of seasons. Are you surprised to see her back at this level?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, especially here. You know, she has the crowd behind her. She has a lot of things going on for her in her favor. She's playing well at the moment. She's mixing up her game and she's serving well.
You know, this is something that was different. She served better than me. Took that to her advantage. So she saved some breakpoints and you know, coming up with big serves, with first serves. Because when we started the point, I more likely had the advantage, but with the serves, she saved a lot of game points.
Especially, in that third set when it was 1-1, I had a lot of breakpoints to go up 2-1, and she hit a lot of great first serves which I didn't have a chance to do nothing with. So she did well in those tough moments, and she deserved to win.

Q. Were you bothered today by your foot injury, the blisters?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I was not bothered by that at all. I wasn't actually, even if I have something bothering me, you know, I was sore, you know, from yesterday which was normal, because I played a three-hour match. And even though you sometimes you can practice six hours a day and you play a match, it's completely a different story, because you feel more tense and the next day your body is sore.
I felt sore especially in my practice and in the beginning of the match until I warmed up. Then I felt a little bit tight out there, but as soon as I started hitting the ball and as soon as I started competing, I forget about what's hurting and what's out there. Just focused on the ball, and then I'm fine.

Q. You've played Amelie Mauresmo before. Do you feel that she's back to her best? What is your feeling on the way she plays right now?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know what is her best because it's been a long time since I've played against her. You can ask her that question. She knows best how she played before and how she's playing now.
But she's doing well at the moment, so that's all I know.

Q. Compared to Australia, do you feel like your game, your timing is better, the pace with the balls? Because you need a lot of confidence to play your kind of style of game, how do you feel right now?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, compared to Australia, I feel that my timing is much better. I'm more behind the ball and have better balance. All of these things because in Australia, I -- I was late on every ball. I couldn't control the points. I completely kind of had no concept of my game.
It was just a disaster, and I didn't feel comfortable on the court, because I was not the same player. I didn't feel like I was doing anything right. But here I feel I'm just getting better.
I have to keep playing because I know that my potential is very high, and I still haven't reached that, so I have still a lot of room to improve and to get better. Just I have to keep working hard and playing matches is where I learn most.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, there is no damage to my confidence at all, because I know that my game will come, and my game will be there. It's just a matter of time. Just a little bit more work and I feel that my confidence will be there, and I will start to hopefully win matches easier, and start to be the player I was especially last year at the end of the year.

Q. Does it remind you the form you had before the US Open where you had some troubles with your shape? You were a bit tired? You had lack of confidence?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, especially it's tough during the year to keep the form throughout the whole year. You have some ups and downs. You have some periods where you're not playing so well. You have periods where you're really playing well.
Also, when I played the Olympics and before the Olympics I had an injury. I wasn't playing well. I was not happy with myself at all or with my game how I was performing on the court. And I kept working. I believe in myself. Little by little my game was rising, and I feel that I was on the right track.
Then all of a sudden, I started to dominate all these tournaments. I won three tournaments in a row. And you know, my game completely rose to another level, and this is what I want to do.
Now I know that I'm not playing my best tennis at the moment, but I have to work and I have to keep believing. And when I play the matches, try to do what I'm told and try just to keep going, execute my shots and be aggressive at the right times. I have to know what I need to do.
Anyway, it's this day, this match is gone now. I have to forget about it. I just have to focus on the next tournament.

Q. Do you have a favorite player for tomorrow's final?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. It's going to be an interesting match. Dementieva, I think, is playing very well. And Amélie's playing well, too. She has one advantage which is the crowd behind her. And this is, I think, a huge advantage because everybody is behind you and pushing you and supporting you, especially when you feel a little bit down.
But we will see. It's a final, and whoever. Dementieva has been playing very well since the beginning of the year. She has had great results. So she probably has more confidence than Amélie, but Amélie played well throughout the full tournament here. So you never know. But the better one will win tomorrow.

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