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February 16, 2011

Jelena Jankovic


J. JANKOVIC/C. Scheepers
6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. So anything you've got to tell us? You normally have.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Don't have anything. Just won my match, so happy to get through.

Q. Nothing exciting?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Happy to get through.

Q. No adventures around Dubai?
JELENA JANKOVIC: My win is exciting for me, so that's the most important thing.

Q. It was pretty quick, wasn't it?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It was. But to be honest, it was my first match, and I haven't played much. It's just the beginning of the year.
I just have couple matches under my belt, so I'm trying to get match tough again and feel comfortable and get my confidence back, and especially playing those important points. I really feel loose out there. I was a little bit nervous. There's no lie about that. I was a little bit tight.
But, you know, it's normal. I haven't played much. So hopefully I can just get better and build on my confidence.

Q. You didn't look nervous.
JELENA JANKOVIC: I was a little bit. You know, maybe I didn't look like, but I was a little bit. But that's okay. You know, I care; I'm here to play.
I would like to come back to the top again and start going deep into the tournaments. In order to do that, I have to play my game and enjoy it out there.

Q. So in between Australia and here, you went to Bollettieri's, didn't you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I was in Arizona and I was practicing over there.

Q. With?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Andrei Pavel. And just training. You know, I feel really good. I'm healthy and I have no problems. I feel that my game is there. It's just a matter of transferring what I have done on the practice court to the matches. You know, just feeling comfortable and playing the right shots.
Sometimes I think I have to step it up and I have to really start dictating a lot more. That comes with confidence as well, by playing more matches day in and day out.

Q. Why did you choose Arizona?
JELENA JANKOVIC: You know, because he lives there. He has a house. You know, just somewhere new after Australia, because we just started working together. So, you know, different place for me.

Q. With your increased confidence, did you find yourself at any point challenged in that game that you just had?
JELENA JANKOVIC: What do you mean challenged? I think you always get challenged. Every day in a way is a challenge when you step on the court, no matter who you play. Most important thing for me is challenging myself and outperforming myself.
Because if I am confident, if I am relaxed, if I am in a good state of mind, I think I can achieve really good things. But if I start getting negative and start being too self-critical at times, that's when the times get tough for me on the court. I really put myself down and my game falls apart.
But I'm trying to, you know, be positive and have fun no matter what.

Q. Now, maybe you could talk about your health issues last year and where you are now. Is that just last year or does it go further back?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Last year after I got injured in Wimbledon, I injured my back, and then I played in Slovenian Open after Wimbledon and twisted my ankle, which took me a while to recover. That was a tough injury for me.
Then I pretty much the whole second half of the season I was struggling with injury and really couldn't get back on track and couldn't play my game and had a tough time practicing.
But that is the past. I really don't want to talk about it. Now I'm happy, I'm healthy, and I have no problems. So I can just go out on the court and play my tennis. Sometimes I will play well and sometimes not, but that's the game.

Q. What about your eyes?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Ah, I as well had -- I forgot about that. So many things. I can't keep even, you know keep track of what I had, you know, injuries. Yeah, as well I had surgery on my left eye in the off-season. So that as well took a couple weeks of to recover. Couldn't train.
But, you know, like I said...

Q. Was that an injury or what was the...
JELENA JANKOVIC: That was to remove something. It was like...

Q. A cyst or something?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. I had something, and I had tough time seeing, especially at night. And when it's windy and the air is dirty or dry, I would have like blurry. I couldn't really see. So it was giving me a really tough time. I had to get it done, and so I'm able to see again.

Q. How was this off-season?
JELENA JANKOVIC: In the off-season. It was bothering for me for, you know, a long time last year, so I had to end it. But, you know, nobody -- you know, I don't really care about that anymore. I don't really talk about my injuries or all this negative, bad stuff that happened.
But those are all part of sport, part of life. You know, people have many different things. In a way, it's just minor things when you think about all the other people having more serious, you know, things.
For me, I'm just, you know, happy in this moment I have nothing. I'm injury-free. I'm healthy. I have a good family. There's nothing more I can ask of myself.

Q. Not to continue with that, but sounds like that was probably, in terms injury, that was your worst year.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Actually, yeah, it was one of my worst years when it comes to my injuries. You know, I kind of didn't have many in my career, not big injuries that took me off the court for a while.
So last year was a tough year for me when it came to injuries, because I came back to No. 2 in the world after Wimbledon, and I started with all these injuries. I had a tough time, you know, coming back. But...

Q. I mean, was there a point last year -- because the only time I saw you was in Doha, and it was kind of unfortunate. You came in there with the flu.

Q. I saw you playing, and you really weren't -- you really did your best, but you were struggling. I mean, was there a point with these injuries where you said -- you know, you see all these players retiring, where you thought maybe it was time to put the racquet down? What were you thinking during all this?
JELENA JANKOVIC: To be honest, I still think I have a lot have tennis ahead of me. And when the times get tough, I think the easiest thing to do is, you know, give up. I'm not really a person who gives up that easily. I'm a fighter, and I always believe I can come back and I can be stronger.
Like I said, injuries are part of the sport. Sometimes you have a little bit of bad luck, and that's how things go. I think I have, you know, a couple, you know, more years. Who knows.
As long as I'm enjoying it -- and I am enjoying my tennis right now. I'm always looking for ways to, you know, have fun in the practice courts, and as well trying to have fun in the matches, too, trying to have a smile on my face no matter how good or how bad I play.
I think it's just a game, and you have to enjoy it while I can, you know. I think tennis is short. It's a short career, so you have to enjoy it.

Q. After not doing so well in Australia, what are your goals this year? I mean, getting back it No. 1? Winning a major? What goals have you set for yourself?
JELENA JANKOVIC: To be honest, I just want to begin to play good tennis again. I just want to kind of start getting deep in the tournaments -- not just in Grand Slams, but in other events -- and start building my confidence, start beating the top players again and being up there again.
So that's my goal for now. It's a short-term goal. You know, by playing good tennis and making right choices is going to help me propel in the rankings, and as well win big tournaments.
In order to do that, I have to work hard and believe in myself and have the confidence I can do it.

Q. Svetlana was just in here saying that one thing she's noticed across her years on the tour is a difference in the early rounds, that the caliber of the person you run into keeps getting tougher and tougher and tougher. Same?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes. Every round, you know, from the first round till the last round is tough. You going to be challenged by different players no matter what their ranking is. You can never underestimate anybody. You have to go out there and really try to perform at your highest level and always be very focused until the last point, so...

Q. But is the usual first-round opponent better than, say, they used to be five, six years ago?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It's tough to say. I'm already in the -- I have no idea. I'm already for four or five years in the top 10. I've been playing quite a lot in the last several years. I don't know if I can say maybe the first rounds are easier than before.
But I can say that the girls nowadays are very fit and very strong physically. Everybody is working hard. Maybe five, seven years ago the emphasis was not so much on the physical part. It was more technical and girls kind of played tennis.
Now it's becoming very, very powerful. Girls are serving up to, you know, 200 kilometers per hour serves, which before was just in the men's.
So you know, over the years it's improving and getting better and better and stronger and stronger.

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