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January 8, 2008

Ana Ivanovic


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ana.

Q. Tough match?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it was tough. She was playing really well. Only in the second set I let her dictate too much and I was defending a lot and playing lots of shorts balls.
In the third set I had feeling I raised my game a little bit, but she was still confident and playing some good tennis.
On a 5-2 I had my back against the wall and I really was trying to focus on holding my serve that game and then look for any opportunity to break her. It was tough, you know. But I felt she was also a little bit nervous, so I looked for my opportunities. Lucky that I got some. Managed to also use them.

Q. You called the coach at 5-3. What did he say to you? What did you talk about?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. Well, the thing is that, as I already said, I felt like I raised my game a little bit in the third set and she was still dominating and winning. I was a little bit nervous and anxious, so I just looked for someone to calm me down and say, Okay, you're doing the right things. Keep playing the same way.
It is also nice to just relax for a bit and talk to someone about something. Yeah, he helped me a lot to calm down and to ensure me that I was still doing the right thing.

Q. Do you find that much of an advantage? To call the coach obviously hasn't been around for a long time. Do the players sort of appreciate that?
ANA IVANOVIC: At first I wasn't a big fan of on-court coaching because I think we are taught how to play on our own. We never had opportunity to have coach on the court, so now all of a sudden this change.
But it's -- as I can see it's becoming more and more used on tournaments, so I also start doing that, just, you know, just as something new. Obviously there are moments where it can really help.
At the other hand, when we play Grand Slams we are still alone out there, so I don't know how much helpful it can be.

Q. I don't want to read too much into the way you grew up practicing tennis in Serbia, but do you feel that maybe you have element of toughness that some players just can't match just knowing where you come out of?
ANA IVANOVIC: It can be. It can be coming from Serbia because we're all big fighters, but I think it's very individual and depends player to player. There are many players from other countries that are really tough and big competitors, so it's very hard to, yeah, to globalize that from country to country.

Q. Bu specifically like, I guess, playing tennis in a swimming pool. It wasn't exactly like doing it out of glitz and glamour.
ANA IVANOVIC: But the thing is we really appreciate that because we didn't have other opportunities. We were lucky at all to have somewhere to practice. I remember, you know, even in the pool we couldn't have a whole session. We had to care share with some other kids.
We would have 45 minutes on a big court and 45 minutes against the wall, and that was all we had. Obviously, you know, once I started traveling and seeing other facilities and other countries it was amazing.
You know, and it was only then that I realized from where I actually came, you know.

Q. Would you like to think now that you have the game -- obviously you've got to a Grand Slam final -- but you have the game and the challenge to win down in Melbourne?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, that's definitely my goal, and I work really hard for it. This match today gives me some confidence, because I am coming into the new season looking for some tough matches and to get through them and win those matches.
I'm really looked for other opportunities to test my game here before going to Melbourne. There are many opponents and players who want exactly the same thing, but I think I have a game that can get me to win a Grand Slam.

Q. There were some groundstrokes that went long. Did you find the court slow at all, or did it make any difference to you at all?
ANA IVANOVIC: I just came from Hong Kong and the conditions are very different. Their court was really extremely fast, so coming back here to the slow court many times I didn't move forward as much as I should have just because I'm used to the ball coming to me.
So that was definitely a thing that I was very frustrated with, but I tried to work my way with it and tried to even come to the net more often. I think I was pretty successful with it. I improve my volleys, so that's something that I definitely look forward to.

Q. Had you been in Australia some time in December?

Q. Doing what, practicing?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, exactly. I had preparation here because my fitness coach is from Sydney and lives in Sydney. Sven came over middle of December and we had three weeks of preparation here in Sydney, in Manly.
It's great because I really love this country and I enjoy spending time here. It worked well for me last year, so I wanted to do it again.

Q. Any particular things that you enjoyed that it nothing to do with tennis?
ANA IVANOVIC: Surfing. It was a lot of fun, although it's much harder than it looks. I managed to stand up a couple of times, so I got my joy out of it.

Q. Does hearing the fans add to your confidence?
ANA IVANOVIC: For sure it does. I mean, at the few moments I didn't feel really comfortable if they would say something between her serves. They're still learning how because they're used to watching team sports football or basketball, so tennis is completely different. It's also new for them.
So I really appreciate their support, and it helped me to get through this third set a lot. We have great supporters here in Sydney and in Melbourne, so I hope they can enjoy and watch us until the end of the week.

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