TENNIS NOTEBOOK: Jankovic will do her best
By Phil Collin, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/21/2008 11:35:29 PM PDT
The tournament already has been hit by the withdrawals of Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Svetlana Kuznetsova, and top-seeded Jelena Jankovic arrived Monday complaining she's not quite at full strength, either.
"I'm not 100 percent ready to play this week, but I will use this tournament as preparation and play as much as possible, hopefully, to get ready for the big tournaments," Jankovic said.
"I don't know how this week will go for me."
Jankovic was asked about the new "road map" schedule the players on the WTA Tour will have next year. The tour will be streamlined and the season shortened in order to preserve the health of players who toil year-round.
In theory, at least.
"It will be easier for players to recover and not have any injuries," Jankovic said. "Last year I played over 100 matches and didn't have any injuries, but this year I have played not as many matches, but I am having more problems."
Jankovic, who lost in the fourth round at Wimbledon, will represent Serbia in the Olympics next month for the second time in her career.
"It will be a special feeling to be with all the Serbian athletes," she said.
"Last time I was roommates with a girl in ping-pong - how do you call this sport? Oh, table tennis?" she added, laughing.
"All I know is they were changing (the cover of the paddle) every day. The whole floor smelled like the glue they used."
Tennis-Jankovic hoping to crown ranking milestone with slam win
By Matthew Cronin
LOS ANGELES, July 21 (Reuters) - Jelena Jankovic's childhood ambition of topping the world rankings could be realised with victory at this week's Los Angeles Classic but the injury-prone Serbian would love to embellish the feat with a grand slam win.
"Since I was a young girl it's been my dream and every player's dream to become number one and by achieving that, you take the monkey off your back," Jankovic told Reuters ahead of the tournament at which she is the top seed.
"When you get older, at least one day you can say you were number one and no one can take that away from you. You are in history and it's a great achievement.
"But I would also like to win a grand slam, to take that step forward and go to the next level."
Jankovic has come close to topping the rankings before, falling in the semi-finals of this year's French Open to compatriot Ana Ivanovic with the number one spot of the line.
Up a break in a deciding third set, the match seemed there for the taking but Ivanovic played with more ambition while Jankovic seemed to feel the pressure of the moment.
"She was the better player," Jankovic admitted.
"It was a couple of points either way. She played a couple points where a big forehand went in rather than going out. It was her time, maybe mine will come later."
Jankovic, who has yet to reach a grand slam final, is refusing to pinpoint exactly when her time will come, however.
The world number two has only managed four days of practice since tearing the meniscus in her left knee at Wimbledon last month and although she has made a remarkable recovery, the Serb is still struggling to regain her famed agility around the court.
The 23-year-old is planning to peak at next month's Beijing Olympics or the U.S. Open, but insists her knee has to heal fully before she can make a strong run.
"The doctor told me that I was going to be out for a couple of months," Jankovic said.
"I don't know how I'm back on court already. It's surprising.
"At first, I couldn't go up stairs, I couldn't wear heels, it was frustrating but it's healing quite fast and I'm happy."
Jankovic said that the muscle around the affected area was still weak, so she was treating the Los Angeles tournament more as a warm-up than a stand-alone event that she believes she could win.
"It's shaking," she said of the knee.
"I try to move and my leg kind of collapses. I'm a little scared when I have to run for certain balls because I can break something and be out a really long time.
"It's a really important part of season with the Olympics and U.S. Open coming up."
This year, Jankovic has reduced her schedule in order to lessen the wear and tear on her body, but she says that that last year, when she played more than 100 matches, she felt healthier.
"This is how life goes -- you cannot predict anything," she said.
"There is a no right or wrong way. I've had so many problems with my health this year that it's amazing I'm still number two." (Editing by John O'Brien)
It's not that surprising, babe! Everyone already knows you're mad!