Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Somewhere in the space!
My interview with Jelena Jankovic
‘I am very grateful that I am doing this job.’
Serbian No. 1, who just reached the Birmingham final last week, Jelena Jankovic has been interviewed by Inside-Tennis.Net prior to her Hastings Direct International tournament appearance. We were glad to speak about Jeca’s tennis, on and off court attitude as well as her personality. What has been quite amazing for us is how her success didn’t change her character and how she still is one of the nicest players on tour. We wish, this shy 20 year old, best of luck in the future!
I-T.Net: When did you start playing tennis and when you started to feel you are going to be a professional player?
J.J: I started playing tennis when I was nine and a half years old. I started competing in tournaments because I really enjoyed playing tennis. I didn’t think of tennis as of my job back then. My parents introduced me to that sport so that I would have something to do after school.
I-T.Net: Is there any coach that helped you game the most? Can you point out someone who had the most influence on you?
J.J: I had a lot of coaches in the past and I wouldn’t like to choose just one. I have to admit, that every coach I had, taught me something and improved my game, so I really can’t point out just one person.
I-T.Net: How would you describe your style of play? What’s your favorite surface?
J.J: My favorite surface is hard-court. I would describe myself as an aggressive baseliner who tries to attack every ball from the ground.
I-T.Net: It seems that lately you tried to be even more aggressive. Is it true?
J.J: Yeah, I try to be even more aggressive, to improve my serving in order to get some free points of serve and to dictate the play.
I-T.Net: In Berlin semifinal you played really aggressively for one and a half set and also in the third. However you played defensive tennis for a long period in the second set…
J.J: It seems that it happens when I begin to feel fatigued. I am not yet so physically strong. That is something I will try to improve in the future for sure.
I-T.Net: You already played a lot of good matches. If you had to choose just one, which would you rate as the best?
J.J: Every match is special for me and is a bit different experience. It would probably be final vs. Davenport in Dubai which I lost.
I-T.Net: Which aspects of being a touring pro do you like the most?
J.J: I like to travel, I have also have opportunity to see many different countries and people. When traveling you get to know numerous cultures and traditions, so I am very grateful that I am doing this job and seeing whole world.
I-T.Net: It seems that you are often playing one tournament really well and next one rather badly. Is there any explanation for that?
J.J: In my case it is about physical preparation. My body gets fatigued and I am not 100% prepared for next tournament. I can’t restore energy that easily. That’s why I have those letdowns.
I-T.Net: During the Dubai final you were very emotive. You reacted to the fans behavior. Don’t you think it took some of the concentration you should have used in the match?
J.J: No, I think that for me it was very interesting to play in that kind of atmosphere. This was actually the first time I saw something like that. People cheered for me and my opponents. I don’t know really … Maybe it took a bit of my concentration. I had chances to win, but it is as it is …
I-T.Net: Who is your favorite WTA player? Why do you like her?
J.J: I like and respect Monica Seles a lot. She is my mentor. Monica is a legend of tennis, what can I say more …
I-T.Net: Can you explain to us how does your co-operation with your mentor – Monica Seles work?
J.J: Well, she is my mentor, so when I have some questions or problems I ask her for advice via e-mail or phone. There are a lot of things I can learn from her because she is so experienced person and player. She went through a lot in her life. I am grateful I can work with her.
I-T.Net: How do you spend free time when you are playing tournaments and how when you are not playing?
J.J: During tournaments I try to rest, read books or listen to the music. When I am not playing I like, as every girl, to go shopping or hang out. Everything depends how I feel and what mood I am in.
I-T.Net: What are your goals for this year and career in general?
J.J: I don’t really know. It is hard to say, I wouldn’t like to state ‘I will be ranked this or other number’. What matters for me is to improve my game in all aspects and work on it. The results will follow if I will try hard enough.
I-T.Net: Thank you very much for an interview.
J.J: Thank you too.