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January 9, 2008

Ana Ivanovic



Q. What sort of shape do you feel you are going into the Open?
ANA IVANOVIC: Definitely I had good preparation and I'm really happy that I managed to win last couple matches and had a chance to get slowly into it. It's a new season and we haven't had matches for a long time, so I was coming into this tournament looking forward to some competition and slowly getting into it.
Winning a couple matches definitely gave me some confidence, and coming into the Australian Open I definitely feel much better.

Q. Gradually sort of getting closer. What do you need to do make the breakthrough to win a Grand Slam?
ANA IVANOVIC: Last year was a very successful year for me and the best year of my career so far. I reach final of a Grand Slam, semifinal of another Grand Slam, and that I see all as steps necessary for me to win a Grand Slam.
So I really hope that this year I can take a step further and maybe even win it, but obviously it's very tough and it requires a lot of experience, you know. And also, the last year was the first year that I played quite a few matches on center courts and that's something that I didn't experience before.
Also playing against top 10 players and being favorite, you know, that's something that I'm facing for the first time in my career and something that I also learned from. You know, experiences I'm learning how to deal with it.

Q. The Australian Open because of the heat has always been a little bit of a survival of the fittest. You trained in Australia in the off-season. Do you feel you're in the right sort of condition to make this the one?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I enjoy so much being out here and I really don't mind the heat. Last year it was very hot in Melbourne I remember. It's something we have to adjust to be able to play also in the heat.
We are lucky that they can close the roof on two major courts in case it gets too warm. It's the same for all players, and I feel well-adjusted to it.

Q. Do you think this surface suits your game well to be successful at the Australian Open?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. I really enjoy this surface because it's not that fast. But still if you hit a ball with lots of spin it takes the spin really well and I enjoy it. Last week I played in Hong Kong and it was much faster and I didn't like it that much. I'm really, really happy to be back here, yeah.

Q. Svetlana was here before and she said that when Justine Henin is at her best she's probably the hardest player to beat. Who do you think are the main contenders for the Open?
ANA IVANOVIC: She's definitely one of them. She's playing great and she has such a different game than anyone else. Are many girls that are coming into the Australian Open in good shape. Sisters Williams and Sharapova and Kuznetsova and even Jankovic. They're all playing well at the moment and they're all probably looking for a Grand Slam title, so it's going to be a very tough competition. But it's very hard to pick one. I think it's possible that anyone can beat anyone.

Q. We just saw you with a Koala. Is that your first encounter with a Koala?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. I was a little bit afraid of claws, but everything went well.

Q. You thought they're just cuddly, tame creatures?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, they seem so lazy and they seem like they're not going to hurt you at all, but they have very sharp claws.

Q. You've had a few days in Sydney now. What do you think about Sydney?
ANA IVANOVIC: Not much. Last couple days it's been really busy with practicing and couple of matches. But, you know, I really enjoy -- this is one of my favorite tournaments also considering the position of the hotel. Darling Harbour, I love to go there for a walk.
It's great to have opportunity not just to go in front of the hotel and have so many things to do.

Q. If you had time to do something in Sydney, what would it be?
ANA IVANOVIC: I would love to go back to Bondi or Manly for the breakfast on the beach. I just love this culture. You can see people at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning going for their jog or swim and then breakfast at the beach. That's something I love, and I would love to have a chance to do that again.

Q. In the match today, what happened in the second set?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, in the second set I was -- I thought I was playing even better than in the first set towards the beginning, 3-1 up and 40-Love. And then at 40-30 I had very easy ball on the second serve from my forehand and then I mishit -- missed it, and I think that's something that I couldn't let go.
I kept thinking about that point and what it would be if it was 4-1. I couldn't finish the match in two sets, and that was very disappointing for me. Obviously I tried to just forget about it, but didn't really manage to do that.
But I was really happy that in the third set I could put my game back together and take more time and don't go for too big shots too soon. Just be patient and build points slowly, and it worked well. I was really pleased with the final results.

Q. Did the noise of the Serbian fans distract you or help get you back in the match?
ANA IVANOVIC: There were times that they were a little bit noisy between the points, even between the serves talking. But as I already said yesterday, they're used to, you know, being at the football games and basketball games. Even during the match they were asking me who I am for. Nothing to do with tennis. They also have to learn, but they're great supporters.

Q. So you wouldn't be for, say, like the World Team Tennis where the fans can cheer during the whole match? You prefer it quiet during the points?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, well, during the tournaments it's definitely better because that's something we're used to. It's very hard for me to imagine what would happen if we would play a Fed Cup. It would are crazy, I think.

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