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September 5, 2011
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
S. WILLIAMS/A. Ivanovic
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What's the most difficult thing about playing Serena?
ANA IVANOVIC: Today was kind of wind. I mean, it was really gusty out there, and in the wind it's always gonna be even tougher.
In those kind of conditions, serve is the shot that it's gonna go away from both players because of the conditions. You know, it did a bit. My serve broke down little more than hers did. I still created lots of opportunities and I felt I was stepping up a lot, and I just felt that was the biggest difference today.
Q. After the Azarenka match, she said that when Serena is on a roll and really playing well, the best way she can describe it for the opponent is painful. When Serena is on her game at her best, how would you describe it?
ANA IVANOVIC: It is definitely tough. You know, you have both coming from either side, just, you know, sort of looking at the winners. But I think at that time you have to step up a little more and try to, you know, take it up to her and maybe try to get her out of her rhythm.
You know, I didn't feel like I was getting blown off the court today. I really felt I created a lot of opportunities even for myself. But, you know, she did play well. Like I said, I felt her serve held up more than mine did, and that was the difference.
Q. What do you think the chances are for other players as Serena moves on in the tournament?
ANA IVANOVIC: As I said even before the match, I think she's the favorite for the tournament. She's been playing really well, and it's gonna be tough, you know.
But also, you know, the conditions are different and every match is different, so you have to raise your level. She's doing that, so, yeah, I think she has good chance.
Q. In addition to Serena's power and her strokes, she can often be a very intimidating opponent. In the first set I think to go up 4-3 she fended off a break point, and for the first time really screamed, Come on. Did that episode rattle you or affect you? In general, how do you think you did with sort of the mind games or the psychology of facing her today?
ANA IVANOVIC: Not at all. I mean, I was screaming some "Come ons." She does try to intimidate. She stays close to the baseline so you feel like you have no space to hit to. That's something I expected going into the match.
I really try not to look so much across the net. I just tried to focus on my game and tried to do everything that I can.
I mean, I started off with lot of unforced errors, but I did have to be aggressive. It sort of came together a little bit throughout the match.
I did have opportunities, as I said, even in that first set; and then in the second set 1-2 down I had opportunities. So, you know, I really feel it was kind of close match.
Q. You might still be out there if your serve had been going better, it seems. What was it with the serves? Is it the wind or are you disappointed with the way you served?
ANA IVANOVIC: My serve is getting better, and it's on the way of becoming weapon. But like I was talking, it still has lot of more work to be done on it. Today it was even more challenging with this wind. Even tossing ball without wind is hard enough.
It's just how it is, and I really feel there was a lot of positives out there. Like I said, even with my base game not being at the level I want it to be, I still felt I had opportunities.
Q. Is it difficult for you to catch your toss? You've always had, it seems, a problem with tossing. But in these conditions you didn't seem to catch your toss even when it was going way out to the right.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I know. I know. I do have problems with that. Because I feel kind of bad stopping, but that's my problem. (Laughter.)
Q. Once again, we have a tournament where Serbians have done incredibly well. You have been asked this a million times, but please, what makes Serbian tennis so good?
ANA IVANOVIC: I really -- it's hard to say, but I think once a few players come up, the generation sort of follows. It's been great to have so many players playing so well. I saw Janko had a win. It's really exciting.
People back home are very thrilled, and they wake up in the middle of the night to watch our matches. We always get messages of support, which is great. That's something that also motivates us.
Q. On court, is there anything in particular, a certain kind of toughness or part of the game on court that is common to Serbs?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, I think Serbians actually have quite a combustible character, so it's very -- I don't know. Maybe that's good for tennis. Maybe that's something that drives us.
But sometimes we can have fired up emotions out there.
Q. Serena is considered to have one of the best serves in the women's game. But on second serve you were standing way inside the baseline to receive her. Is that what you normally do with her or with others?
ANA IVANOVIC: I do. I really try to step up, especially on the second serve and sometimes even on the first serve. But like I said, I felt that was my opportunity to take the ball early and to put her under pressure straightaway.
And also, considering, you know, that there was so much wind, you can't go full out on your serve because you toss the ball and it moves all over the place. That's something I tried to really use and tried to, you know, think maybe even stepping up more.
Q. If Novak does indeed advance to play Janko in the next round, do you have any insight into the emotions into Davis Cup teammates, two Serbians who know each other well playing each other? Are you generally supportive of one another? Will that, do you think, be a difficult dynamic?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think the guys, they have really good relationship with each other. I don't know if Novak and Janko played many times against each other, but I know Novak and Troicki, there was a period where they played every week against each other.
It's always tough to play someone from your own country. And especially from my point of view, I mean, we don't have too many girls out there. You know, I didn't play Bojanna yet, but when I play Jelena it's always tough because it's a lot more emotional and you're not used to it.
But I'm sure they'll be a great match.
Q. What would you say Novak's year and his Wimbledon championship mean to Serbia?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's huge. I mean, I don't know if you have seen the celebration after he got back. It's amazing. Wimbledon, it's the most traditional Grand Slam, and in Serbia they still call tennis white sport, you know, because of how it's been played in the past.
It's huge. You know, to have him win that made Serbia very proud.
Q. If he were to win it here, what do you think it would mean?
ANA IVANOVIC: It would be amazing, because then he's, you know, going for all four eventually. I think Grand Slam is a Grand Slam. You just want that victory.
Q. Novak, talk about his role in Serbia. Is he the most important person in Serbia?
ANA IVANOVIC: Over the president? (Laughter.)
Well, I think he's definitely most famous person, you know. We do have so many followers. I mean, tennis, it became the No. 1 sport in Serbia. No matter how old the person is, they know about, you know, Novak or Janko or Viktor or myself or Jelena.
It's exciting, I think. You know, that's what drives young kids to take up sport.
Q. He's known for his whackiness, his jokes. When did you realize this guy was special? Do you have an early story you could share with us?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I played with him tournaments under-10 and under-12 back home in Serbia, so we do go a long way. He always was joker, always making impersonations and laughing and trying to pull jokes.
One of the first professional tournaments that we played together, I think was in 's-Hertogenbosch in Holland and he was in the player lounge doing impersonations of all these players. I said, Come on, do an impersonation of me, and then he started like banging his leg against the floor. I was like, Do I really do that? It was kind of embarrassing, but it was fun.
Q. Has he ever done your fist pump?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, of course. Even the guy in Starbucks did that. (Laughter.)
Q. Have you and Nigel talked about where you're gonna set up like your training base for the rest of the year?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, it's, you know, early days, but we did talk a little bit about off season of course, because that's something that has to be planned.
But, you know, we gonna be a little bit between, you know, Spain and England and just see how it goes.
Q. Not having great results so far this season, what do you take away from the Open? It looked like you were pretty confident out there today.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think I had quite good summer considering from where I came. I did put a lot of hard work and lot of efforts. It's good to see that paying off.
I'm still aware I have to work a lot, but, you know, the base game, it's kind of there. I gained a lot more confidence from winning a lot more matches.
And also, you know, my serve is improving, which is kind of important, especially in today's game. But, yeah, no, it's exciting times. We are looking, with Nigel and Scott we are looking at big picture and what I have to do to get better and back to the top.
But, you know, winning a lot more matches definitely does help with confidence.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports