Tennis-Gloomy Jankovic says she is a shadow of herself
Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:44pm GMT
By Martyn Herman
DOHA, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Jelena Jankovic admitted her game needed a drastic overhaul after an error-strewn 6-2 6-3 defeat by Victoria Azarenka in the opening match of the WTA Championships on Tuesday.
The gritty Serb, who began the year ranked number one in the world but only crept back into the top eight last week in Moscow, struggled to keep her groundstrokes inside the lines as she handed 20-year-old Azarenka a surprisingly easy victory.
"I basically gave her everything. I beat myself. That was really unfortunately the case. My game was completely off," said the 24-year-old after launching 33 unforced errors at the Khalifa Tennis Centre.
"I would hit one or two balls and then the third one would go everywhere except in the court. I was a shadow of myself."
Jankovic will have to improve drastically in her remaining White Group matches, starting with world number one Dinara Safina on Wednesday, if she is to match her performance last year here when she reached the semi-finals.
However, she hinted that there might not be a quick fix for the problems that have afflicted her game for most of the year, admitting that pretty much everything needed fixing.
"I just have to try to clean my game," she said. "I need to get back to playing good points, hitting the ball, being aggressive, really cutting down all the errors, serve much better, return much better.
"I kept pushing myself to play better and I wanted to play better, but I just couldn't get into the match. I just hope that tomorrow I can play better.
"I will have to do a lot of work in the off-season to get back to my level and get to the top. That's all I know. There is really a lot of work to be done.
"I know that I have to make some changes and I have to improve my game because what you have seen today, really I gave the match away."
Azarenka, making her debut at the WTA's glittering showpiece after rising to sixth in the rankings this year, was more than happy to profit from Jankovic's woes, firing back at the Serb's opinion that she had been gifted a victory.
"I'm glad she gave me the match and she was not in the mood. It worked out pretty well for me," she told reporters.
The Belarussian will face fellow debutant and close friend Caroline Wozniacki on Wednesday when another victory could all but seal her place in the semi-finals.
"I expect a good match from her," she said "She's a great fighter, a good girl, and I'm sure we're going to have fun." (Editing by Sonia Oxley; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com