Jelena Jankovic Needs Time To Adapt To New Physique
Jankovic struggles for rhythm
World No.1 Jelena Jankovic admits she may not have time to adapt to her new physique before the Australian Open after beginning her preparations with a below-par performance in a straight-set defeats by Venus Williams at the JB Group Classic on Thursday.
Jankovic, 23, struggled to find any rhythm in her season debut against the Wimbledon champion who hit the ground running and eased to a 6-2 6-2 win in 74 minutes as both players kicked off their warm-ups for the first Grand Slam of the year.
And with action in Melbourne beginning in less than two weeks Jankovic, who won a world-leading 65 games last season, is confident she can improve.
However, she admitted to finding it difficult to come terms with her larger frame after undergoing a busy off-season since losing to Williams at the season-ending Tour Championships in November.
"I struggled to get into the match, I felt very slow and I didn't get my rhythm but it is the first match of the season so I cannot expect myself to play the best tennis of my life, so I look forward to playing as many matches as possible and trying to get in form because I haven't played a match in two months," said Jankovic.
"I just came off training and it's so difficult to get back to the playing and finding the rhythm and consistency."
"I have also got a little bit bigger, I have more kilos than I used to have so it is a little bit different and I am not used to that at the moment, so it will take time for me to get used to my new body, the stronger Jelena."
World No.6 Williams stormed into a 4-0 lead with back-to-back breaks of the Jankovic serve to firmly take control of the first set.
The Serbian looked to have created a chance to pull a break back in a mammoth game six but was frustratingly unable to convert four opportunities as she missed several easy chances and Williams deservedly wrapped up the opening set in 41 minutes.
The 28-year-old American established a 3-1 lead in the second with a break in the third game before another break in game seven, backed by her powerful serve and accurate and impressive groundstrokes, saw Williams wrap up a comfortable and morale-boosting victory.
"I am feeling fresh after my break, I enjoyed my break and it was hard to come back to practice, but I did and I did a good job and hopefully this result shows that, but now I want to take this form into the rest of the year," said Williams.
"I am not surprised how I came back, I have always been good off the jump so that's the way I have played throughout my career, I have never played any big warm-up events. I have always been able to play well when I entered the big tournaments."
Williams' win kept Team Americas alive in the revamped Fed Ex Cup-style tournament following Wednesday's doubles defeat by Jankovic's Team Europe, and they secured a place in the final against Vera Zvonareva's Team Russia after Argentina's Gisela Dulko outlasted Hungary's Agnes Szavay 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-3.