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October 21, 2013

Jelena Jankovic


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.¬† Talk a little bit about just getting here.¬† It sounds like ‑‑I understand that you kind of made it a goal back in March and really believed that you were going to get back into the top 8 and into Istanbul.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yes, first of all, it's very exciting for me to be back in the Championships.  It's going to be my fifth time playing it, first time in Istanbul, so that's very exciting.
It's been, you know, a great journey, I think, coming to, making it to the Championships.¬† I have worked very hard since the beginning of the year.¬† I got injured in Australia, tore my muscle, and couldn't train for three weeks.¬† After that, I called my brother and I started, you know, working with him, and he told me from the beginning that we are going to ‑‑his goal is to bring me back to top 10 and to bring me back to the top.
So with the hard work, we believe‑‑ you know, I got new motivation and gives me great satisfaction that, you know, I was able to make it here and that all that hard work has paid off.¬† I'm very happy.

Q.  Did you ever have doubts you'd be able to make it back here?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  No, you know, once you have, once you did it, you have been here, I think you can do it all over again.  And not once; many times.  Like I said, it's my fifth time playing the Championships, so I know what it takes to be here to make it.
But it's not easy.  It's a difficult road.  It's a lot of hard work and determination and sacrifice.
But it's doable.¬† Everything is possible.¬† I'm one of those, you know, that it shows that even though you fall out and you don't play so well‑‑ I almost fell out of top 30, and, you know, coming back to the top 10, you know, top 8, it's a great achievement even though I was No. 1 in the world in the past, but still, you know, coming a long ways is great.¬† Hopefully I can continue in this way.

Q.  You're still only 28.  How high do you think you can go from here since you are only 28?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I want to try to improve even more.  I believe there is a lot of room for improvement in my game, and I think mentally, as well.  I feel so much more confident.
I want to get back to top 5.  That's my next goal.  So we will see.  That's for next year, of course.

Q.  I just wonder in some ways, is the run that you have had this year battling back into the top 10, is that even more satisfying than 2008 getting to No. 1?
JELENA JANKOVIC:¬† I think all these achievements are different and special in their own way.¬†¬† You know, achieving the No. 1 ranking in 2008 was very special, a dream come true.¬† I spent I think five years in the top 10, consecutive years, but, you know, once you have, you know, some difficulties‑‑ you know, I had a lot of injuries the last two years, and I haven't been able to, you know, work properly and, as well, as the time went on, my confidence was falling and I didn't feel, you know, great with my game, with, you know, what I was doing on the court.
So it was time for me to make some changes, to make a difference.  I was able to do that.  So like I said, I'm very proud of myself and my team, that I was able to make that step forward.

Q.  Did you realize in 2008, did you imagine it would take so much work five years later just to get back in the top 10?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yeah, of course I know how hard it is to make it to the top 10, to make it to No. 1.  It's a lot of hard work, but then I also believe that it's tougher to stay there.  I think every year the game is getting stronger and stronger and more powerful, faster, and I think you have to follow.  You have to, you know, continue to strive to get better, to improve, to develop your game, to add new things to your game if you're going to be a player, if you're going to continue to stay, you know, and lead the tennis game, to be one of the top players.
But, you know, when things do not go your way as you wish, when once you start getting injured, it's difficult, you know, to work on certain things.  You're not able to spend, you know, the time you would like on court.  You get frustrated.  You get, you know, a lot of times negative, which is you have to try to, you know, find a way to stay positive and try to find ways to, keys to get back on track once things start going the wrong way.
So, you know, I think as a professional athlete, it's normal to have ups and downs.  It's a miracle.  You can't stay up there forever.  That's not possible, of course.  I have been able to have that consistency in the past.  I spent four or five years in the top 10 consecutively, but then I fell out the last two years.
But here I am.  I'm back.  I'm in the top 10, which is great for me.  So I'm very happy to be here with the top 8 elite tennis players and looking forward to playing the Championships.

Q.  What was going through your mind when you were falling and getting closer into the top 30?  Secondly, sometimes players feel like, they feel like the game develops a little bit faster and they aren't able to adapt.  I'm wondering if you ever felt that way about your own game or felt like you were there, it was just a matter of chasing a few things?
JELENA JANKOVIC:¬† No, first of all, once you're used to being in the top and winning a lot of matches, and once that changes, you're not used to ‑‑you don't enjoy it.¬† I think no one likes to lose, of course, but that's not in our nature.¬† But like I said, you have to try to make some changes.¬† There is a reason why you were losing, why you were not doing so well.
So you have to, you know, figure out a way to win again and try to do the right things.  And over the years, I think I have learned a lot.  I have made, you know, a lot of mistakes, you know, as far as what has not worked, and I have learned what works for me.
So now as a 28‑year‑old I can use that to my advantage.¬† I have a lot more knowledge, a lot more experience.¬† You know, I think I can do and show a lot more in my tennis career.
So I'm ready to work hard and to show the world, you know, some great tennis performances.  I love the competition.  I love the satisfaction of winning.  I love playing against, you know, the best tennis players in the world, and that's what I enjoy.  I enjoy spending time on the court, and as well I enjoy spending time on the practice court which was at times, you know, not the case.
I think without spending time in the practice court or in the gym, you're not going to be able to perform at high levels.  So now I'm putting in a lot of hard work, and that hard work is paying off.

Q.  After the China Open you pulled out of two tournaments.  What did you do in the past two weeks?  How do you feel right now?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  Yes.  I injured a little bit my hip in the finals against Serena in Beijing, and I was not able to compete in Osaka, in Moscow.  It took time for me to recover to be 100%, and as well for me to prepare for the Championships.
So it was important for me to do that.  Now, in this stage where I do not want to play when I'm not 100%, I always, when I go on the court, I want to give 100% and I want to, you know, be healthy so that I can perform at a high level.
I don't think anyone enjoys to play injured, and there is no reason for me to go on court and kind of limp and not be able to, you know, play my best tennis.
So unfortunately I was unable to play in Osaka.  I have never played there before.  And Moscow, as well.   It was a decision I had to make.

Q.  This is your first time in Turkey, but you obviously have a lot of experience in Championships and other venues.  What are your first impressions of the country and of the tournament?
JELENA JANKOVIC:  No, I was actually there for the opening, for the launch of the Championships a couple of years ago.  Here I am for the closure of the Championships, as well.
So I was actually one of the first players to be here and to come to Istanbul and for the Championships, for the launch.
Due to all the activities that we have that I had back then and now, spending time with you, spending time, you know, doing, you know, practices and getting ready for the competition, I have not been able to see much of the city.  And as well it was holidays here.  A lot of things were closed.  I wanted to go to the Grand Bazaar and do some shopping, to enjoy my time a little bit there.  But unfortunately it was closed.
I think I will do, as well, I will do a lot more sightseeing to see what the city has to offer, to explore a little bit more after I finish, you know, my tournament.¬† I think that is way more relaxing. ¬†You can really enjoy the nice scenery and have fun.¬† Right now it's a little more‑‑ we are focusing on the, you know, on our, you know, matches, on the tournament, and you want to keep my mindset there.

Q.  It's pretty much a veterans group here.  That's been the case.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  I'm one of them.

Q.  Yes, you are, 28.
JELENA JANKOVIC:  No, I'm one of the youngest one.  I'm still below 30.  What's wrong?  (Laughter).

Q.  A lot's made about the physical element of the game.  Can you talk about maybe the mental element, maybe being able to sustain a high level all year, maybe teenagers you don't see breaking through so much anymore breaking through top 8?
JELENA JANKOVIC:¬† I can talk on my behalf.¬† Now I'm 28 years old, and I feel great.¬† You know, there was times in the past where I kind of felt like, oh, my God, everything is aching and hurting and I don't feel like ‑‑I feel like I'm getting older.¬† I cannot be up there and all this.¬† I had some doubts.
But now at this stage I feel that, you know, I can achieve a lot, and I have a lot of belief in myself.  I know I can bring a lot more to the table.
There is no reason for me not to, you know, perform at such a high level like this tennis, like tennis today is, you know, needed.
So I do not feel old.  I do not feel old.  It shows, like people like Serena, at 32, she's playing her best tennis and having the best year of her career, and I think that inspires, you know, as well, all of us.
I see it from my perspective, that I can, you know, I feel great right now.  I enjoy the sport.  Like I said, as you get older, I think you get wiser.  You get more mature, and you can use that knowledge to your advantage and that experience as compared to some of the youngsters, that they are going through some of those things for the first time.
So you have that advantage, and it helps you if you're smart enough, of course.  So I think the most important thing is you've got to enjoy what you do.  You've got to put in a lot of hard work.
You have the talent.  You know, I think you can achieve great things.  I still believe there is a lot of things for me to achieve in the future.

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