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January 7, 2008

Ana Ivanovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ana.

Q. You're probably the most acclimatized, less jet lag because you've been here the longest.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, actually I was in Hong Kong last week so I just came yesterday. So we had overnight flights and didn't get much sleep and three hours time difference, but last night I had really good sleep so I feel recovered already.

Q. You spent time in Australia before you went to Hong Kong?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, we were here for almost three weeks and I really enjoyed. I was here in Sydney, on the other side in Manly, and it was great. I just love being here. And I had a great preparation, so even for next year I want to do the same thing.

Q. When did you actually arrive in Australia?
ANA IVANOVIC: We arrived on I believe it was 13th. Yeah.

Q. Did you practice here?
ANA IVANOVIC: No. We never came here. We practice in Bob Giltanen (phonetic). He had a court here. He surfaced one court and it was very similar surface, so that was perfect for us.

Q. What did you do in the off-season, the few weeks that you did have off?
ANA IVANOVIC: You mean after the tournaments? I had some time off. I spend some time with my family back home, and then I went and visited my grandparents for a week. They have house in the mountains, so I just stayed there. It was a lot of snow so it was nice just relaxing a little bit before coming here.

Q. That decision to come early, was that with the Australian Open in mind, to get used to climate?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, that was definitely one of the reasons, but the other one is just I love Australia. My fitness coach is from Sydney and I have family in Melbourne, so every year I look forward to coming here.
Yeah, I wanted just to come earlier and enjoy nice weather and, you know, just be here and also seeing my relatives. They came along to Sydney for a week, so that was also very nice.

Q. Weren't you in England for a while?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes, after holidays I was in England for two weeks. I practice in Roehampton facility.

Q. Crazy thing to do.

Q. Weather's not nice.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, comparing to Australia the weather is definitely not nice, but they have great facilities there, and for tennis and preparation I think it's very good. And now in the new center they have six indoor courts and they are actually heating them, so it was quite warm there.
I think that's the closest you can get to Australia, in that time of the year in Europe, so I found it very interesting and very nice and I enjoyed my time there.

Q. What's your feeling now at the start of a new season? Do you set goals, or do you just like to go match by match?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely I set myself goals, but still I just have, you know, obviously not to look too much in advance. Just to try to play every match the best I can and focus on smaller goals. You know, what to achieve on a day-by-day basis, and that's the thing I really want to do.
I had a good preparation and I feel very fit, and I really hope I can perform well, also.

Q. Is there a different pressure on you or feeling towards you? I suppose you're known more because of Roland Garros. The back part of your 2007 season did you feel greater expectation or pressure?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, 2007 was a great season for me, and obviously coming into this season I expect myself to do certain things and achieve certain things, but then at the end of the day it's most important to still just enjoy my tennis and enjoy what I'm doing. I never been so high ranked and it's just the best time my career, and I want to take the best out it.
Obviously I don't want to stop here. I have much higher goals I set for myself. As I said, I don't want to think too much in advance. Just try to reach that goals by what I'm doing day to day and trying to each day accomplish something.

Q. You didn't play your best in the French Open and obviously Wimbledon. Do you think that those are necessary evils getting to the point where you'll handle the conditions?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, for sure. That was a great experience for me because in French Open I played every match so relaxed and enjoyed match by match. But then in the final I was emotional and I thought more about, Oh, what if I win? I might win a Grand Slam. That definitely didn't give a good result.
But, you know, I just think that's necessary experience, and next time I'm in that situation I will know what to expect, also.

Q. Were you angry at yourself after the French Open?
ANA IVANOVIC: Of course, and also disappointed. Soon as I went off the court and spoke with my coach I wanted to go back on and play once more but they didn't let me, so I have to wait for next opportunity.

Q. Even though you got to the final there, which Grand Slam do you think you have the best chance to win, where the conditions are best for you?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, it's very hard to say, because I -- my best result I had in had French Open. Also first time I played quarterfinal there and then reaching final. I enjoy playing on clay. This year I felt my game was best on clay tournaments.
Then also in Wimbledon it's very special. I have quite a good serve and my volleys are improving, so I can play well. I think I'm an all-court player, so I really also work towards that, to become an all-court player because it's important.
There are so many different kind of surfaces and circumstances. We have to adjust as a professional athlete. It's important to be able to.

Q. With all Justine Henin did last year, the tournaments she won, is there a feeling that she's beatable but she's still a bit intimidating?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, exactly. She achieved so much and won so many matches and she has a lot confidence and obviously you have certain respect for her to what she did.
I mean, I think there are many players who know, you know, no one is you know beatable. But still when you play against her you just at some point think what shall I do to beat her because she seems to give every ball back and to have answer on every single thing you do.
I think it's just a matter of staying patient and working hard for each point. I had great experience against her in Madrid and I had many chances, but I just wasn't consistent enough. If I could keep the level up for a whole two sets instead of just a few games at a time it might be different score, but that's something that you learn from. Next time it might be different.

Q. Did you follow the Hopman Cup at all?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I saw some matches. It was interesting. I mean, I enjoy my time there. It was -- it's fun. You know, you play mixed doubles and guy singles and girl singles. I remember being there. We had a lot fun, so I'm sure they enjoyed this year as well.

Q. Jelena was hurt and Novak was tired. Did you see the matches at all?
ANA IVANOVIC: I saw a couple of the matches, yeah, but they showed the match later so I already knew the scores so it wasn't that much fun watching. Still, I'm sure they wanted to win, and they were pretty close. I'm really sorry for them they couldn't win the title.

Q. It's very difficult to predict who's going to be a good player, but now that you're a big star and you go back home, do you ever see somebody and think, Wow, that kid is like me and could be very good?
ANA IVANOVIC: There are many really young kids now playing tennis because of us. When we played exhibition there for charity just after the -- actually after preparation we played one exhibition. There were some young kids before us playing. Some of them were playing really well. And it's not easy for them playing in front of 20,000 people, so it was nice to see that there are still motivated and they think they can achieve a lot of things.

Q. You spoke about Justine and how he's really dominated and hard to beat. Have you come into this season practicing any particular stroke to improve on, or something different on court to improve the ranking?
ANA IVANOVIC: I worked a lot on my serve. I think I can use it much more as a weapon, and last year, especially until the end, I didn't use it that much. So I worked a lot on that and also improving my backhand, stepping more into it.
Yeah, just general, you know, on the whole aspect.

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