Day 12 - An interview with Jelena Jankovic - Thursday, June 7, 2007
Q. So, how do you feel, sad?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I feel -- no, I don't really feel sad. It was disappointing for me to lose like this. But I think Justine was a way better player than I was today, for sure. No doubt about that. And all the credit to her. She just played really well, flawless.
And when I had the chance, I didn't use it. So, for sure, all the credit, all I can say. And good luck to her in the semifinal.
But also good luck to Ana who is from the same country as I am.
Q. What would you do better? Any regrets?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I mean, I just -- I was not -- this was a bad day for me. I was not on my game and didn't have a good rhythm. Was making a lot of mistakes. Didn't have a good rhythm. But like I said, she was just too good.
Q. You were a little tense?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I was not tense. I just tried -- I played her so many times. I know how to play against her. But she was -- she didn't make any mistakes. She was just hitting the ball very clean. And I was not -- I was not doing that. I was making mistakes. Played with sometimes the wrong shot at the wrong time. And bad day for me. What else can I say?
Q. Obviously, you know you've played Justine so many times and you know Ana, so how do you see the final? What do you think's going to happen?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really don't know. Depending on, Justine, I think is the favorite, for sure. She won this tournament so many times. And I think she's the best player on clay. Unfortunately, I had to play her, so -- in the semifinal. And in general, I think, the top half is so much tougher, and all the great players, the favorites were right there.
But I wish Ana the best of luck. Hopefully she can do it and win her first slam.
Q. Is the fact that how Justine was playing today, making no mistakes and hitting the ball like that, is it driving the opponents crazy, desperate?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, a little bit. But I was really frustrated with myself, because when I had the chance, when I had to execute the shot, I didn't do it. She's not like she didn't give me a chance to come back in a match to do my -- to play my game, she did. But I just didn't use it.
And the times when she was playing well, I didn't have a chance. So when I had it, I didn't use it. When you do, when you add that all up, it just turns up 6-2, 6-2. But she was way better than I was, for sure.
Q. In Australia this year, I think you played -- you won a tournament and then you went to the final in Sydney, and you played the Australian Open. Here you played Rome, and then you played almost all the way through Strasbourg. Do you think in the future you might try to take that week off before a Grand Slam? Did it make a difference how strong you are towards the end?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, doesn't make a difference, what I played before this tournament. I was ready to play here. And I came to the semifinal. It's just that I had to come up against a very strong opponent who was just playing unbelievable today. And there is nothing I could do.
So I mean, doesn't matter how much I played or if I rest one week before. Even if I didn't play any tournaments, I could have maybe lost in the first round. That doesn't matter. But I felt very fit here. And very ready to play. I was ready to play my matches and to go all the way. Unfortunately, I lost against the best player in the world, and nothing to be ashamed of.
Q. You think that tactically she played different than in your previous matches?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know if she played tactically a little bit different, but she was just very solid. Very, very solid. And she played a flawless game. I mean, she was just too good. She didn't make any mistakes that she normally makes. She was serving well. And I didn't do any of those things.
And if you want to beat her, you have to be right up there with her. When you have a chance, you have to use it. And I didn't do that today.
Q. A tough question, but, what do you think you have to do, aside from not playing Justine, to win a slam?
JELENA JANKOVIC: What I have to do? I have to -- we have to go on a different sides of the draw and maybe play in the final next time (laughing). I mean, she's the player that I've lost to this year, that I had trouble with. Other players, I've beaten them, almost all of them. I mean, she's just the one who I have trouble.
And somehow I will find a way to win. And today I didn't do it, but I'm not discouraged. I'm going to be right there next time, and hopefully I'll have a chance.
Q. You already told us in Warsaw, I don't want to be in the half of Justine, I don't want to play her in Paris, and the next week you had her in Berlin again. What did you think when you saw the draw here?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, but I tend to have very difficult draws. But I think it makes me stronger as a player, and I see where my level is at. I want to have to work on what I have to improve. So sometimes can be a good thing, and also a bad thing. Because I would prefer to play her in the final or some time later in the tournament than to play her in the quarterfinal, the semifinal there, especially a Grand Slam.
But that's how it is, and hopefully I'll have many more chances to come.
Q. You were not able to make your move at the end of the game today, your bow and the symbol?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I will not say what it means, it's something that we're doing, our team. I will not say.
Q. Is there any moment when you're going to disclose it? When you're going to tell us?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know, maybe.
Q. Before, Ana came and said that when she was young, she had to practice in a swimming pool, because there were no courts, no facilities in Belgrade in wintertime. They put a court where there was the water, normally, they put a carpet?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it's a court that we have in Serbia, it was a swimming pool. And then they put some carpet in there. And that's -- I also practiced there when I was little for a little bit.
But, generally in Serbia, we don't have good facilities, and that's our problem, especially in wintertime. And if you want to prepare on hard courts, we don't have a good hard court. We have some court. Especially I was practicing, for example, this year, a little bit in December on some court that we have like a basketball -- how you say, basketball net or something on top of your head. And then behind, you have a soccer goal. So it just, the court is kind of like cracked.
And in the wintertime, when it goes up to minus 15, it's just the same temperature inside. So I was practicing with my gloves, and my winner hat, my jacket. That's how we were playing there.
But hopefully, they will build some tennis center. It would make it easier for us, and also for the younger generation.
Q. Do you think this is one of the reaps why you Serbians are so strong, because you had to pass all these difficult moments in your youth?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I think so. I think Serbians in general are very, very tough people, with a strong winning mentality. I'm like that, for sure. And I don't like to lose, and I never give up.
But I feel that I'm very strong, and as a player, and very -- I'm willing to do anything to win, to be the best in the world. So, I will be working very hard to do that.
Q. You say one year ago you also say that you almost wanted to stop playing?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, but I think if you are going to do something, you have to enjoy what you're doing, and you have to love that sport. And if you don't enjoy the sport, and you don't want to practice, I don't think it's useful. So if you have the passion for a sport, you are willing to practice, you're willing to give hundred percent, your maximum, then I think that's -- then you can do that job.
But when I didn't enjoy, I didn't love to play, I didn't want to go on the tennis court and play. So I didn't think what is the point to play? And that is why I was about to quit. But now it's a different story. I'm very motivated, and I just want to do the best that I can. I want to be on the practice court. I think that I'm practicing very hard, and I'm doing the right things. So my time will come, for sure.
Q. I know you're very disappointed now, but it's been a remarkable surge by the three of you Serbs here. And I'm wondering, was there ever a time, considering you guys all came from the same background, with your parents or anybody, you said, I just can't -- during this French Open, I can't believe where we all were from, and now it's all coming together here and now?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I was talking, for example, yesterday to Novak's father. And I was saying, "Are you even aware of what is happening here? That we have three Serbs in the semifinal of a Grand Slam?"
For us was a big result when we were in third round, fourth round. We were celebrating. And then we are in the semifinal, it was just something amazing. There was like beers all over the table, you know, everybody getting drunk.
But, I mean, it's just a great accomplishment. And especially now, Ana in the final, it's just amazing. Unbelievable.
Q. Do you think you will attend the final, and cheer for Ana?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know where I will be. Depends on what I have to do. And when is the final, on Saturday? Depending on my plans. But I wish her the best of luck, hopefully she can beat the best out there, which is Justine.
Q. Again, on Serbia, you just said that the people from your country have such a strong mentality. Where does that come from in the Serbian culture, in the Serbian history?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. I just -- but if you compare all of us here, the players, the three players that we have in the Top 10, I think we all have that. We are just very strong. And we are -- when we go on court, it's like we go on a war. We don't care who is on the other side of the net. We're just there to win. And we just don't have -- for example, I respect all of the players. But when I go on the court, I don't respect anybody, what their ranking is, or whoever she is. I am just, I go out there to win.
Q. Well said. But the match today, did it reflect all that you've said now? Did you think you gave your very best, that you fought hard?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I just -- I couldn't -- I just couldn't find my game. She was playing very well. And I was trying to do my best, but it was just not enough. And when I had the shots, when I had to execute some of the shots, I didn't do it. And when you don't use your chances, especially against the best player in the world, the games are just going to go by very quick. And so that's what happened today.
Q. What's the name of the place with the swimming pool tennis court?
JELENA JANKOVIC: (Laughing) it's called Jedanaesti April (in Serbian). I don't know (laughing).
Q. I'm trying to picture it. It seems like you could run into the walls. Did that ever happen?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. But it's a weird thing. I mean, when you have to do that, you have no other choice. But if you -- as a little kid, that's where I practiced, where Ana practiced, where Tipsarevic practiced. It's something that you have to do.
But hopefully, we'll have some of the -- some of the better courts so that we can prepare to better win. Not just play on cracked courts and in the cold, and all this, you know. But better circumstances.
Q. Back to the performance today. Do you think that there's anything about the largeness of these circumstances that makes Justine play better or maybe caused you to struggle a little bit more?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think she -- she just did the right things. She was hitting the ball very clean. She was hitting them in the right shots. She didn't allow me to get into the position to hit -- to hit my shots, and play my game.
And like I said in the beginning, all the credit to her. She was way better than I was today. And in our previous matches, I was -- I thought that I was the better player. Now I almost had a chance against her and just a few points deciding the winner. But today was a totally different story. I just kind of let up and didn't do it. Didn't -- was just a bad day for me, for sure.
Q. Did the pressure of it being a Grand Slam semifinal have any impact whatsoever?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Not really. I was excited to be in the semifinal. I was ready for the match. I wanted to be in the final and to do something, the best in my career. But it didn't happen. But I'm young, and I'll have many more chances, hopefully.
Q. Sorry to push this, but it look like for a set and a half, you were trying different things and different tactics?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I was trying so many things, but everything I tried was wrong, it didn't work.
Q. Well, the question is, did you have a specific game plan going into that match, and what was it?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I did have a -- I did have a plan. But I was just -- I couldn't execute it on the court or the match. I was practicing -- in my practice, I was doing these shots. And then in the match, I came there, and I was just lost. I just couldn't do it. And everything that I tried, it was a mistake at the wrong time, and it was just -- nothing was right. And I was trying, kept trying, kept. I wanted to come back in the match, but couldn't do it.
Q. It's a very technical question, I don't know if you can answer, and if my colleagues can understand (laughing). We can see that your lipstick is difficult to make, and the make-up on the eyes, too. But to have the red cheeks. How can you do it? Is that natural or you put something there, too (laughing)?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, my God. I don't know. It's just -- you see Italian questions (laughing)?
No, on top of that, I have to go on my doping test, so it's just -- can I feel any better here?
I don't know. But all you Italians are thinking my nails, my lip gloss, my hair, you know, it's just all these things. And all I'm trying to think is about the ball, how I am supposed to win the match.
And the skirt, and how it went, what I did. You know, I was tying my shoe on the court, and I hear (whistling). And I'm like, I have to tie my shoe. Okay, I do. It's just -- but...
it seems like jelena doesn't truly believe she can beat justine... only if she's playing at the top, and justine is not. i think during a match, jelena needs to believe that she can win playing her own game, and just focus on that, and not treat justine like she's the best player in the world. when she's not in a tourney though, jelena could work on her serve and some power, but I think that's pretty much it.