Well, with all this Jelena Jankovic bashing, I think it's important that GM posters try to highlight what is so great about her game that enables her to beat all the other players who some GM posters claim should be #1 instead
. We can also comment on what she needs to work on to become an even stronger #1 and win some Grand Slams.
While you can be silly and say there's nothing good about her game, your efforts are unoriginal and possessed by anger and jealousy. She may not be the most steely and the most talented of past #1s in anybody's eyes, but that doesn't mean there's absolutely nothing remarkable about her game. And that is not the point of this thread.
So I shall start.
Jelena is a great mover, who anticipates the ball extremely well. When she's on the defensive, she doesn't always go for broke; when she doesn't go for some amazing passing shot, she usually plays an intelligent, well-placed shot that gives her time to stay in the rally, giving the illusion that she is a better mover than she really may be. Some of the flick-wrist lobs that she makes while she's on the defense are truly remarkable, some of the best I have ever seen.
She very rarely over hits the ball or makes a silly mistake. If you look at almost all
the players on the wtatour, including past champions, they would miss easy shots or the final shot in well-set up points noticeably more regularly than Jelena. Additionally, Jelena usually
has a comparatively low unforced error count. If you have been following her career a little bit, you may notice that in recent years, she has been playing with more aggressiveness and as a result has had both more winners and more unforced errors than in the past. Before, she would often have both single-digit winners and single-digit unforced errors after finishing a three-setter.
Jelena constructs points very well. While I won't go so far as to say she's brilliant, her consistent shots allow her to set-up points beautifully, and enable her to turn defensive points into ones in which she has a control. Whenever there is a drop shot or a ball that dribbles over the net, Jelena will almost never overplay the shot; Jelena will place the ball exactly where she needs to, using mostly wrist and forearm to make the shot rather than going for a full stroke. This is obviously enhanced by her great anticipation. With great anticipation comes great court awareness, she knows where her opponent is and where she (the opponent) will be going, and the types of shots she may have trouble getting to.
In the early rounds, she often just does what she needs to do to win. She'll often play at some sluggish, mediocre level and then raise her game only when or if she needs to. This can both be advantageous (saving her mental energy for later rounds) but dangerous (staying on court longer than she needs to and requiring to fight hard and flirt disaster if the match gets close). That being said, while she does work for every point, she often beats many lower-ranked players very handily, meaning not winning more than 4 games.
A good percentage of her shots are attackable, especially when she isn't playing with depth, and not doing anything deliberate with the point. This is why she often has problems with players such as Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova who can consistently generate a well-disguised powerful shot. The rally will be going on normally, no big shots from either side, and then boom, a powerful opponent just smacks a winner, catching Jelena off-guard. This includes Jelena's mediocre serve.
The good thing about Jelena's serve though is that she gets a very high percentage on her first serve. Obviously, she has been trying to beef it up recently, but this would be excellent if she can develop a powerful first serve with only a slight drop in percentage; or if she could use her current first serve as her second serve as well. If I were her, I wouldn't worry about beefing it up too much however since the danger of creating currently non-existent shoulder and arm problems may arise.
Another issue Jelena has worked on but still not conquered is the mental aspect of her game against the top players. When things get close with a top player, she has difficulty maintaining a lead or gaining one, and thus loses the match. This is why her H2H against Henin is atrocious, even though most of their matches were long three setters. For example, in the Ana Ivanovic Roland Garros 2008 Semifinal, instead of really being aggressive, flaring her emotions, and pumping herself up, she played passively and her demeanor was like she had already accepted the possibility that she might lose. In the Miami 2008 Final against Serena, Jelena pretty much played tennis from far behind the baseline (which is unusual for Jelena (another positive element I forgot to bring up earlier)) for a large portion of the match, just feeding lobs to Serena waiting for her to miss.
Even though Jelena is a big fat drama queen publicly, you will notice that she still internalizes a lot of emotions, suggesting there is much more to be left for us to see that we may never. She is clearly comfortable showing the humorous, fun side of her and also the diva side of her, but we cannot limit our understanding of Jelena (or anyone for that matter) to simply what is obvious. You can tell that there are a lot of thoughts circulating in her head, especially when the match is tight against a top player. She probably does not behave this way consciously, but if she can learn to really fight against the top players in the big occasions like a true champion, get the audience more excited on her side, we may see her winning some Grand Slams.