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August 12, 2009

Jelena Jankovic


J. JANKOVIC/M. Kirilenko
7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Looked like a pretty tough match that you had to fight through out there today. Was it tougher than you expected?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It was a tough match, especially it's first round. First match for me, it's never easy. It takes time to get used to the conditions, you know, to playing you know matches again.
You know, I had trouble holding my serve, especially in that first set. I was returning well, but I wasn't putting many first serves in, and kept playing with the second serve almost throughout the whole first set. It gave me a lot of trouble, but I managed to win the first set.
In the second set it was a little bit better, but I have to improve on that. Hopefully I will be better in my next match.

Q. How important was it that you won the first set?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It was important. It's quite humid out there, and it's not easy to stay on court for many hours. You don't want to play three sets if you don't need to play three sets. You want to save as much energy as possible.
You know, I was glad that I was able to get that first set. It was very important.

Q. What are you expecting from Azarenka tomorrow?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. I haven't played against her in a long time. Last time was -- I don't remember. Maybe -- who knows. Maybe two years ago or something like that at Australian Open. It was the last time we played.
She hits, you know, the ball very hard. She, you know, goes for her shots. You know, I have to go out there and play my game. I just have to try to be -- to improve with each match and try to lift up my game. Then we'll see how everything will go for me.

Q. You were stretching outside the player's lounge. Could you elaborate on that? Any reason?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No. It's just important to run a little bit and get your muscles loose and then stretch. It's important, otherwise you need to play, you know, every day. You want to keep your body in shape and flexible as well. You don't want to be tight out there. Then injuries can come and all the rest.

Q. What would it mean to you to play deep into this tournament?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It would mean a lot to me. It would be really good for my confidence. I want to go deep in the tournament. I was the No. 1 player in the world, and I want to start winning big tournaments again.
I just need to start finding my game and start playing better and better and better. But the more I play, the better I get. The more matches I play, my game just keeps getting better and improving each time.
So I'm a player who needs a lot of matches. I'm not a player who likes to practice all the time and not play, play once a month or something. This is not for me. I'm a player who wants to compete and who likes the challenge and likes to be out there fighting for every point.

Q. Do you remember what it was like when you were No. 1, like the type of player you were and how close you are to getting back there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, there are still things I can improve on, especially the confidence. Especially, you know, being in those situations every day and handling those situations when it's important times of the match.
You need to -- those are the times when you need to play your best tennis and lift up your game. These things you get from playing quite a lot, and that's what I used to do before. I never used to give free points away when it was important times.
So I just to have try little by little to get better. So I hope -- I think I'm on the right track. I just have to be positive and have to look optimistic and just work hard to get better as a player.

Q. Tomorrow is just a third-round match, but it's two top 10 players. Does it feel like a big match?
JELENA JANKOVIC: You know, I take every match as a big match. You don't want to underestimate anybody. All the players here are good players and everybody knows how to play.
So you go out there and you try to play your best tennis. You always have to, every time, doesn't matter who you play, you want to be focused 100% and you want to go out there and give your maximum. Doesn't matter who it is out there, who you're playing against.

Q. You said that Monica Seles was one of your idols growing up. Would you like to think of yourself as a role model now that you've risen to the top? What advice would you give to younger aspiring tennis player?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. It would be nice if I can be a role model for some of the younger kids. I see a lot of fans, you know, they wear T-shirts with my picture on it, you know, with, "No. 1 fan of Jelena." You know, it's really amazing.
It's nice if you can inspire and motivate anybody in any manner. Especially coming from Serbia and a place where tennis wasn't popular and I didn't have anybody to look up to and how far I have made it, it's a really good accomplishment.
You know, I try my best to be, you know, a good role model for young kids and to be a good example. If I can do it, why can't they not do it?
The most important thing is they have to enjoy their sport and play with passion, because accomplishments don't come without passion. You got to enjoy and have fun and don't put pressure on yourself. These are the worst things.
You know, a lot of people from outside, they put pressure on their kids, on the players. But, you know, we, ourselves, are the ones who are putting the most pressure on ourselves because we want to do well and prove ourself and win.
That's something that you need to let go and just focus and just try out there to play your best tennis.

Q. How can you help but put pressure on yourself, though?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Because you care. You're not there trying to prove anything to anybody. You're playing because you want to play and you want to win. You want to do your best, and you know that you can win. This is why you're putting pressure, because you care. You care a lot.
If I didn't care, I would go out there and go like you're going to a picnic or going to have a vacation. You're loose and relaxed. You want to do well, and that's why you're a little bit tense.
But you need to learn how to take care of those situations where you can just let go of those emotions and just go out there and try to play the best that you can. Think about the points and how you need to construct the points. Don't think about everything else. Just focus one point at a time.

End of FastScripts

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