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~Kiera~
Jan 14th, 2007, 01:51 AM
Thought it would be a good idea to have a seperate thread to post news, articles, etc rather than clogging up some of the other threads.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2094-2547199,00.html

Playing with fire

Barry Flatman, tennis correspondent, in Melbourne

Jelena Jankovic says that there is more to life than tennis, but is determined to fulfil her potential on court

The hair is raven black rather than the emblematic blonde. The US became a means to a sporting education rather than a new home and an opportunity for a better life. The travelling bags are full of textbooks and the mind is more concerned with matters academic than forehands and backhands. Jelena Jankovic is not the stereotypical tennis prodigy. Yet with vacancies on offer at the top of the womenís game after the retirement of Lindsay Davenport and the imminent departure of Kim Clijsters, the 21-year-old Serb appears to be the new talent most likely to succeed.

Thus far on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in 2007 she has collected one title in Auckland and should have added another in Sydney, allowing a match point to slip in a tense final against Clijsters. Nevertheless, nine victories from 10 matches this year identify her as the form player going into the Australian Open, which will be devoid of world No 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne.

Three days of rest should be sufficient for the 11th seed to recharge before starting her campaign, and a favourable draw, beginning with a first-round meeting against Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, suggests she could at least equal her semi-final performance at last yearís US Open. There are other reasons to believe that Jankovic will be a contender when the womenís tournament reaches its climax in 13 daysí time. Six years ago, as Jennifer Capriati was outplaying Martina Hingis in the final, Jankovic became the junior champion and her ability on the Rebound Ace surface was confirmed.

Allowing the Sydney title to slip from her grasp rankled for a while, but she was soon willing to speculate on the future. ďI donít know if a new star is born,Ē she says with a smile. ďMaybe.Ē

It would be wrong to categorise Jankovic on the basis of this statement and view this daughter of a couple of economists as another self-centred youngster who cares only about her own potential. She is appalled by the mindset of young female tennis players who seem consumed by their own games. She grimaces at the routine followed by so many of focusing totally on the sport and living a continuous cycle of airports, hotel rooms, practice courts and self-analysis.

ďI donít want to be a typical tennis player, who knows how to hit the forehand and backhand but does not think about anything else,Ē says the girl who did not only have to cope with homesickness when she arrived at Nick Bollettieriís Florida tennis academy when she was 12 years old. In addition, she had to contend with the fact that Nato bombs were soon falling on her home city of Belgrade and her family were in peril.

ďThere is much more to life than tennis,Ē she says ďThis world is a fascinating place and we travel it all the time, stopping in all the great cities, which each have a story to tell. I look at so many of the other girls and think what opportunities they are wasting. They are tennis all the time and I was doing many other things. I like that balance. When I play, I like to focus, but when I finish, I like to do something else. I need to get my head outside of it and think about something else. I cannot think about tennis from morning until night.

ďOther girls on the Tour donít want to learn about the place they are staying or the culture. They are happy to fill their minds with tennis. That is not for me. I am different from the rest in so many ways. After tennis, I would like to do something as well. I think itís very important.Ē

Such an outlook clearly contributes to her ability not to be intimidated by opponents. Last yearís Wimbledon saw her beat defending champion Venus Williams in the third round, while her progress in the US Open provided wins over 2004 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva. The past week has seen her add the names of Hingis, a three-time Australian Open champion, and defending champion Amelie Mauresmo to her list of scalps.

In the same way that her parents view an economic situation, she rationalises her success over such esteemed opposition: ďBeating these players is something that must be done if you want to win big titles, but you must not allow yourself to think they are any more special than you. I respect them, but I will not be scared of what they have achieved.Ē

Yet not so long ago Jankovic seriously considered whether she wanted to continue her tennis career and felt the lure to put more impetus into her studies. She is the only member of her family who is not a traditional academic. Her parents and older brother have degrees, her younger brother is in college and she is in the second year of a course at Megatrend University in Belgrade.

She is keeping her options open. Last spring she was prepared to turn her back on the courts after suffering first-round exits in all but one of her first 10 tournaments. Her enjoyment of the game evaporated, practice became a chore, the pain of defeat all too familiar. Her mind apparently made up, she headed to the city she finds the most inspirational, not to revitalise her competitive spirit but to bring it to a close. Her mother, Snezana (which translates into Snow White in Serbian), accompanied her to Rome and the magic of the Eternal City brought about a change of heart. ďSometimes some things are meant to be,Ē says Jankovic. ďThey just happen to change the thoughts and your path of life. Arriving in Rome, I regained my hunger.Ē

Since then her appetite for competition has been ravenous, and after sessions with a sports psychologist she also enthuses over the powers of positive thinking. If she does win, her joy will be immense, but she will quickly put it into context. ďIt will just be one very memorable part of my life, but it will not figure in the rest of my life. Always remember I am different to the rest.Ē

~Kiera~
Jan 14th, 2007, 02:31 PM
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21058860-2722,00.html

'Angry' Jankovic learns to be winner
Margie McDonald
January 15, 2007

HER anger is curbed and her mind is focused. Now the results are coming for Jelena Jankovic.

What a difference a year can make. After the 21-year-old's second round exit in last year's Australian Open, she lost her opening match in the next nine tournaments to be 1-10 in singles by mid-May 2006.

By mid-January this year, she is 9-1 with one WTA title already from Auckland, while another was in her grasp last Friday night.

Jankovic held match-point against Kim Clijsters at the Sydney International before going down to the Belgian in three hard-fought sets.

The young Serb confessed she had been thinking about packing the trophy in her bag and heading back to the hotel, but has vowed not to let the loss rattle her for too long. Jankovic is one who learns from her mistakes and can be brutal in her self-assessment.

"I had it -- I should have won in two sets. It's just two points -- I just made the mistake. I would feel better if she really beat me, if she was really dominating and she beats me 6-2 6-2," Jankovic said. "Anyway, it shows I can compete with the best. I showed I can beat the best players in the world and hopefully I'll join them soon."

The 2001 Australian Open girls' champion said her goal for 2007 was to break into the top 10. If she had beaten Clijsters on Friday, she would be there now, just two tournaments into the season. Jankovic is quite likely to be there by the end of the month, considering she is the form player coming into the Australian Open.

Maybe Jankovic should move her goal a little higher. What about being No.1 one day?

"I need to work really hard and improve so many things in order to be that, but maybe there is a chance," she said.

"I don't want to go too far ahead. My goal first is to go into top 10 and then my goal is just to keep improving, to play better and better, and the results will come."

After defeating world No.7 Martina Hingis, No.3 Amelie Mauresmo and being a point from downing world No.5 Clijsters, Jankovic is demanding attention.

She beat defending champion Venus Williams at Wimbledon last year and beat Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva en route to the US semi-finals last year -- her best grand slam finish.

Clijsters puts Jankovic's rise down to the fact that she has curbed her on-court anger.

"She looks more confident out there ... she could get really uptight, like really angry at herself, before and lose a few games, give them away by just getting down on herself -- and I think it's really important that I think she notices that," Clijsters said.

Jankovic put herself through some rigorous self-analysis last year when she lost in the first round at Berlin -- her ninth exit in a row. She went to Rome and, instead of doing the hotel-courts-hotel round during her stay, she explored the Eternal City, soaking up its atmosphere and culture.

Revitalised, she reached the quarter-finals and did not lose in the first round again.

"Some things are meant to be," says Jankovic. "They just happen to change the thoughts and your path of life. Arriving in Rome, I regained my hunger."

Tenis Srbija
Jan 14th, 2007, 02:35 PM
Smart thread Kiera :wavey:

Now I can get some infos here when JJ wins AO :p :bounce:

~Kiera~
Jan 15th, 2007, 12:07 PM
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21063315-29277,00.html

Tennis clash shows 'Melbourne's problem'

By Robert Grant
January 15, 2007

MELBOURNE has a "problem" with the ethnic sporting rivalry between Serbs and Croats, according to top Serbian tennis star Jelena Jankovic.

Jankovic was speaking after 150 rival Serbian and Croatian fans were ejected from the Australian Open following a violent clash outside Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena today.

Both sides blamed each other for the violence, apparently based on old national rivalries but which recall previous clashes between Serb and Croatian supporters at soccer matches in Australia.

It's believed to be the first time such violence has occurred at the Australian Open, one of the world's most prestigious tennis tournaments.

Jankovic, the No.11 seed and runner-up to Kim Clijsters in last week's Sydney International, said the problem was one which seemed peculiar to Melbourne.

"I think just here in Melbourne there is this kind of problem," Jankovic Ė a 6-3 6-3 winner over Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak Ė said.

"Anywhere else in the world it's fine.

"When you play a Croatian girl or when there's matches Ė Serbian and Croatian Ė it's fine, but here it's just Ė I don't know what it is.

"Here in Melbourne, it's a little bit strange because I think it's just a sport and people should just come and enjoy the game," Jankovic said.

"It's not about where you're from, you either like the player and you'll cheer for them ... but you don't have to cheer against them just because they are from some country.

"I think that's wrong," she said.

Jankovic said she had no problems playing in the lead-up events before the Australian Open.

"I had such a big crowd in New Zealand, in Sydney," she said.

"It was a great atmosphere to play in front of such a crowd when they're cheering.

"I think this kind of atmosphere motivates both of the players to show their best tennis and it's a lot more fun to watch.

"But I don't like it when they are fighting against each other and kind of booing the other player just because they are from some other country," she said.

Croatian Mario Ancic, who defeated Japan's Go Soeda 6-4 6-3 6-2, said Croatian players had "the best fans".

"They're well-known for their good supporting, correct supporting and I've been here many years," Ancic said.

"They were great to me. They said, especially in last year's Davis Cup finals, it was all the time saying in the press how good the supporters were, no incidents at all," he said.

Police and tournament officials are expected to be on high alert tomorrow when Croatian Martin Cilic faces Serb Ilia Bozoljac.

~Kiera~
Jan 15th, 2007, 07:01 PM
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1065

Jankovic among other first round winners

Jelena Jankovic, currently one of the most in-form players on the Tour, was part of an impressive showing by the seeds on the first day. The No.11 seed cruised past Canadian youngster Aleksandra Wozniak, 63 63.

"She was a good player but it's always tough for me the first round because you never know how you'll play," said Jankovic, whose results leading in to Melbourne were winning in Auckland and finishing runner-up at Sydney. "It's another tournament. I played so much in the last couple of weeks. I haven't had much rest. But I'm happy that I won today and I hope to keep going."

Vaidisova
Jan 16th, 2007, 11:43 AM
J. JANKOVIC/A. Wozniak

6-3, 6-3

Q. Jelena Jankovic last year and Jelena Jankovic this year are different. What's the difference?

JELENA JANKOVIC: One year makes a big difference. And I think I'm older now. I think I'm more mature. I don't know, I just am improving and getting better and better, and that's the biggest difference.

Q. Big help from your coach now?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, I think my coach is helping me, and I'm also here with my sparring partner. It's going really well, and I'm really enjoying my game and playing well.

Q. Your opponent today, the Canadian girl, looked good?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, she was a good player, but it's always tough for me the first round because you never know how you'll play. It's another tournament. I played so much in the last couple of weeks. I had 10 matches in 11 days and didn't have much rest. But I'm happy that I won today and that -- I hope to keep going.

Q. And you feel well?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I'm a little bit tired and I felt a little bit slow on the court. I didn't feel so fresh and so -- I didn't have good energy, but I tried my best, and I'm happy to I won.

Q. How do you try to freshen yourself up when you get a day off tomorrow? What do you do to try to regain some energy?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Just try to rest as much as possible, and I'll have a like a light hit and a massage and just try to recover my body the best as possible because I had so many tough matches in the last couple of weeks, and it was just so tough on my body. I need to recover well in order to play well.

So I'm trying. I will just play a little bit tomorrow and try to rest as much as I can.

Q. What did you tell yourself after the end of last season to get yourself motivated for this year? Did you say, Yeah, now I've really turned the corner and I belong with the other players?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I think I believe more in myself. I know I can compete with the best players and beat them, and hopefully I will join them soon in the rankings because now I'm 11 in the world. And if I won last week I would have been in the top ten, so that's my goal: To go in the top ten.

My goal is just to get better and better, just to keep improving, and I think nothing is perfect . You can always get better, and that's my goal, just to get better than I am today. That's my goal. Tomorrow I want to be better than I am today. That's just my goal.

Q. Did you hear about all the fans being thrown out today, the Serbians?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I was playing, and I heard that there was some fights. But like I said, here in Melbourne it's a little bit strange because I think it's just a sport and people should just come and enjoy the game.

It's not about where you're from or -- you either like the player and you'll cheer for them, but you don't have to cheer against them just because they are from some country, and I think that's wrong.

Q. Do you think it's more football fans who have gravitated towards tennis because you have players from their countries now?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know, but I had such a big crowd in New Zealand, in Sydney. It was just a great atmosphere to play in front of such a crowd when they're cheering. I think this kind of atmosphere motivates both of the players to show their best tennis, and it's, I think, a lot more fun to watch.

But I don't like when they are fighting against each other and kind of booing the other player just because they are from some other country. I think that's not fair, so that's just my opinion.

Q. It's hard on the other player if they're booing double faults?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah. I think the game should just be fair and they should clap for good points and support the player they like, but they shouldn't be really mean and really bad and fight against the other just to make the other one feel bad.

Q. A Serb is actually playing a Croat tomorrow in the men's draw.

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, I heard it will be quite tough. You know, I just hope from will be no fights. I hope that it will go in a peaceful way. Because I think just here in Melbourne that there is this kind of problems. Anywhere else in the world it's fine.

When you play a Croatian girl or when there's matches, Serbian and Croatian, it's fine. But here it's just -- I don't know what it is.

Q. How did you find the crowd atmosphere in your game?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, the crowd for me was really great. I had so many -- the stadium was quite full. I think full completely, and I had so many Serbian fans and the other fans, as well, and they're just cheering. It's fun to play in such atmosphere.

~Kiera~
Jan 17th, 2007, 02:15 PM
By Matthew Cronin (tennis reporters.net)

Jankovic Won’t Choke, Harkleroad’s Divorce; Petrova’s Many Moves

Is Jelena Jankovic’s hot streak just a mirage, or is she a top four contender in Melbourne. It’s hard to say, because physically and technically, she’s already a top 5 player, but mentally, she’s flighty.

She doesn’t want to be called a favorite at the Australian Open because she doesn’t want to put too much pressure on herself.

But outside of the terrific threesome of Maria Sharapova, Amelie Mauresmo and Kim Clijsters, no other player with realistic title comes quickly to mind.

But Jankovic has glued her face to the marquee, because to open the season, she ran through the Hobart field and then took down Martina Hingis and Amelie Mauresmo to reach the Sydney final, where she held a match point against Clijsters but fell 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4.

On Tuesday, Clijsters called Jankovic a tournament favorite, possibly to deflect attention off herself, but it wasn’t a complete stretch, given tat when the Serb’s is touching her knees to the grounds and whaling groundstrokes, she’s hard to push backward.

Plus, she says that she won’t choke like she did against Justine Henin in the semis of the US Open, when she let go of a set and 4-2 lead and had a point for 5-2and totally imploded.

“That’s was my first time in the semifinals of the US Open and I was a little too excited,” she said. “ I was thinking I was already in the final and I let the chance slip away. Now I can focus I points better.”

Why she thought she was going to win is an open question, given that the Belgian is a far more accomplished big match player than she is.

“If you don’t think you are going to win in those situations, then you are never going to win,” she said. “I was really dominating. I felt I was the No. 2 player and I was No. 17 then. Mentally and physically, I was dominating. [But] I think I can handle this situations a lot better. Now I’ve been in those situations before.

Ranked No. 11, Jankovic in a great section of the bottom half of the draw, away from the Sharapova and Clijsters, which is a good thing, because the Belgian is one of the few players who really has her number.

“It would have been a great win but I’m not disappointed because we really both played a great match, one of the best I ever played, even though I lost,” she said of the Sydney final, where she held a match point. “There were some great points and both of us were fighting. I was one point to win the match, but it didn't happen. But that’s tennis.”

No, that’s Clijsters ability to defend a little better. On Wednesday, Jankovic handily took care of the veteran Virginia Ruano Pascual in straight sets. She’ll face up and comer Victoria Azarenka in the next round, which could be worrisome, as the former junior star is quite a slugger.

But Jankovic is a long way from the first half of last year, when she couldn’t win match and was depressed about the state of her game. It took her a few months to redevelop her love for the sport, but once she did, she soared up the charts.

Jankovic is continuing her studies, although now that she’s winning a lot and her mind is focused more on tennis, her progress has slowed. But her goal is to graduate from college and should she manage it while on tour, she’ll be one of the first top players to do so.

That long face she showed early last summer while discussing how much more stimulating her course work was than her career was has disappeared and she’s smiling more when discussing yellowball material.

“That was amazing,” she said. “It made me a lot stronger, I’m working a lot harder now and practiced hard in the off season, I have a lot of motivation to do well and I’m hungry to compete and that’s what I lacked.”

~Kiera~
Jan 17th, 2007, 08:35 PM
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1072

Jelena Keeping Busy Down Under

MELBOURNE, Australia - Not only has she been one of the most dangerous players on the court during the Australian season, she has been one of the busiest off the court. Among Jelena Jankovic's endeavors down under are visiting the Beach Patrol & Surf Rescue and blogging for Tennis Warehouse.

On a hot and sunny Tuesday, Jankovic visited to the Beach Patrol & Surf Rescue group in Brighton Beach, which is in Port Melbourne. She learnt some lifesaving techniques to begin the proceedings, and then enjoyed a little bit of jetskiing. A variety of photos from the visit can be viewed in the gallery (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=jankovic).

In addition to the beach visit, the Serbian star is also writing an Australian Open Blog for Tennis Warehouse. Presented by Prince, she writes about her stay in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, her matches and preparations that go into them, and her off-court life, among other things. Read her blog here (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/blogpage.html?ccode=JELENA001).

Jankovic has been one of the most in-form players since mid-2006, but has been on fire in Australia in particular; two weeks ago she earned her second career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title in Auckland, then last week in Sydney she had an inspired run to the final, defeating Martina Hingis and Amélie Mauresmo along the way before ultimately dropping a nail-biter to Kim Clijsters.

She is the No.11 seed this fortnight in Melbourne.

~Kiera~
Jan 17th, 2007, 08:39 PM
Vaidisova posted this over in GM, but it's worth posting them over here too.

Jelena Jankovic's Australian Open blog (http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/blogpage.html?cref=2185)

15th January

First day, main draw at the Australian Open! About 42,000 people came at the opening day. It was so crowded and everybody was so excited to start the tournament and enjoy some great tennis.

I was also so happy because this Grand Slam brings back memories from my first junior Grand Slam title and I am hungry to do well in the professional level as well. I got up around 9am and had a great breakfast with my mom and my sparing partner. We always enjoy and laugh a lot even though we just woke up! It's always nice to start the day with a smile on our faces!

We went to the site and I had good warm up for my match. I put on my new Reebok dress, the one I am only wearing which is nice, and I went and played my first round match against the Canadian, Wozniak. I played on show court 3 and the stadium was packed. I always enjoy playing in such an atmosphere and I think it motivates me to show and play my best tennis. First rounds are always the most difficult for me, you have to get used to the conditions, courts, etc. I won my match 6-3, 6-3. I didn't play great, but it was enough to win.

After my match I couldn't get through to my locker room because there were so many fans waiting for me to sign autographs and take pictures with them. I appreciate my fans and I signed as I many as I could. I had a lot of media requests such as interviews with Eurosport, ESPN, Star Sports... I don't like spending so much time in the player lounge because especially in the beginning of the tournament is full of people and very noisy.

When I finished all my obligations at the site we went back to the hotel and got ready for a nice Japanese restaurant. We went with some friends and enjoyed our evening. I feel very tired because I played a lot in these last couple of weeks. I won a tournament in Auckland and played finals in Sydney. I only had one day off so whenever I get a chance I like to rest and recover my body as much as I can! Tomorrow I am not playing and I hope that there will be some interesting things for me to write to you all!

Write to you soon!

Love,

Jelena

17th January

Dear Fans,

It has been a couple of busy days since I last wrote to you. Yesterday, I went with a TV crew and some photographers to St Kilda Beach to do some charity work. We ended up spending several hours there and I have since become a real pro on the jet ski. I have included a couple of pictures here so you can better imagine what my day was like and for those of you stuck in cold weather over the winter break, just know that yesterday, here in Australia the temperature reached 40 degrees Celsius - it was a complete sauna. Fortunately I didn't have to play but I am sure you could have fried an egg on court, it was so hot!

Today, I had my second round match against Ruano Pasqual. We have played each other before and now I am 2-0 up against her ;) After the match I had my usual press conference and in addition a number of media requests for interviews. I am not sure if any of you have been following the news, but there have been some Serbian and Croatian spectators that were escorted out for bad behavior! I think that sport should be a good way to bring people together and I hope that people learn to come out and just enjoy the tennis - be it a French, German, Japanese or Serbian.

A couple of funny stories in my life today- During my doubles match, a phone was ringing with a Serbian theme song from in the stands. My Mum was complaining and thinking "who is this person keeping their phone on during the match?" Eventually, she realized that it was her own phone! I love traveling with my Mum- we always have a lot of fun together. Tonight I had dinner with my team - Dianne from Reebok, Alastair and Nina, my agents and of course, my Mum. Only Tom was missing from Prince! Now we are eating some pancakes and my coach and hitting partner will join. Off to bed soon and looking forward to playing again on Friday.

See you all soon,

JJ

~Kiera~
Jan 18th, 2007, 06:24 PM
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/01/18/sports/webtennis.php

Tennis: Serbian players polish their image at the Australian Open

It has been a rough week for Serbia's image in the tennis world, with scores of young Serbian fans brawling with their Croatian counterparts in the usually more sedate alleyways of the Australian Open on opening day.

And yet it has been another fine week for Serbian tennis, with Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic all living up to their seedings and moving into the third round with perhaps much grander things to come.

"I think it's very exciting for all of us and also for the young kids back home; I hope that's motivation for them," said the 19-year-old Ivanovic after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, 6-2, 3- 6, 6-2, in the second round on a warm Thursday free of major upsets.

The game is booming in Serbia, generating increasing buzz in the media and the cafťs of Belgrade and generating plans for the national training center that its top players agree is lacking.

The 13th-seeded Ivanovic, a tall and elegant brunette with one of the better forehands in the women's game, might be sending her best to all the youngsters "back home," but the truth is that her talented generation had to leave home to make it.

Ivanovic went to Roger Federer's home city of Basel, Switzerland, to train. Jankovic, who is on the verge of breaking into the women's top 10, left for Bradenton, Florida, and the Bollettieri Tennis Academy at age 12, which was the same age that Djokovic, one of the most promising players in the men's game, left for Niki Pilic's Academy in Munich. He later trained in Italy.

"I think it would have been very difficult to have gotten where I am if I had stayed in Serbia," Jankovic said.

The gifted ones who stayed behind have made slower progress, like the 126th-ranked Ilia Bozoljac, who qualified for the men's main draw here but lost to Tommy Haas of Germany in straight sets Thursday. Bozoljac, 21, said he trained in his teens in Belgrade with a coach financed by the best Serbian men's player in history, Slobodan (Bobo) Zivojinovic, an unseeded Wimbledon semifinalist in 1986. But Bozoljac said he had received no financial aid from his country or its tennis federation.

"Zero," he said. "It's been me, myself and I. Economically, the situation in Serbia is pretty bad."

When Jankovic left for Florida, the Yugoslav conflict had yet to play out and Slobodan Milosevic was still in power, but she and her fellow stars continue to leave even with the nation at peace because they cannot find optimum practice conditions. Though Jankovic just bought a house in Belgrade, she also has one in Bradenton and spends only a few weeks a year in Serbia.

"Our facilities are not that great, especially in the winter time," Jankovic said, as she sat in the Australian summer sunshine. "The indoor courts at home are not heated. It's quite cold. You get sick. Plus, we don't have hard courts, so if you want to prepare for a hard- court tournament, it's very difficult. We have some kinds of carpet, but it's not the same as the carpet you find on the tour. It's always difficult to prepare, but we are doing our best."

Their best is increasingly impressive and for now, they have all continued to represent Serbia, despite Jankovic's father's being Montenegrin and despite British tennis officials holding some exploratory conversations with Djokovic last year.

"I had a few proposals, but I think I will stay Serbian. That's where I belong," Jankovic said. "I think athletes are the best ambassadors for our country. We show that we are talented. We try to represent Serbia in the best possible light, because Serbia is known as having wars and all these bad things. But now I think we are starting to change and show a better image of the country."

There is certainly no shortage of personality among them. Jankovic, seeded 11th, is an effervescent 21-year-old with an oval face that looks like something Brancusi might have sculpted. Born in Belgrade to a Serbian mother and Montenegrin father, she came relatively late to the game, starting at age 10, and is the kind of agile, speedy athlete who would have presumably thrived in any sport of her choosing.

Her two-handed backhand, particularly down the line, is one of the best in the game and helped her to her first major breakthrough last year, when she reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open.

Djokovic is a confident, communicative 19-year-old with close-cropped dark hair and a lithe yet powerful frame and balanced game. Despite all the attention focused on his very well-chronicled British friend Andy Murray, who is seeded 15th here, it is Djokovic who so far has had the most success of any men's player his age.

"On the one hand, Andy had it easier than me tennis-wise," Djokovic said in a recent interview. "He had the best conditions, best coaching, a lot of help from a country and everything. But because he had that easier way, on the other hand, he has a lot of pressure, because everybody expects everything from him, especially media. I think it's a great thing what he's done playing with such a pressure. It's a great achievement."

Still, it is Djokovic who has won three tour titles, including Adelaide this year. He also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open and fourth round at Wimbledon last year with a good chance of doing the same here on Friday against Thailand's surprising Danai Udomchoke. Mild tendinitis in his right shoulder and bicep has been causing Djokovic some discomfort, but he has yet to drop a set here.

Djokovic has known Ivanovic since they were 5. "My father and Ana's father know each other well," he said. "They went to high school together. My father owns a restaurant in the mountains in Serbia. He has owned it for 20 years. Ana and her father came for a skiing vacation there."

Djokovic's father, Srdjan, was a national-level skier in the former Yugoslavia, and Djokovic might have been a skier instead of a tennis player if the decision had not been made to build three courts in front of his family's restaurant. He was 4.

By age 7, he had decided he wanted to be number one in the world after his first coach, Jelena Gencic, told him that he had the talent to dream that big. Gencic was not without experience in the matter: She once advised one of Yugoslavia's greatest talents, Monica Seles, who reached No. 1 and won eight Grand Slam singles titles and who also had to become an expatriate to make it, eventually adopting American nationality.

Djokovic's goal no longer sounds quite so far-fetched with him sitting at No. 15 in the rankings and with a possible match against Federer looming in the fourth round. But it has not all been smooth to this point. Breathing problems in 2005 required him to have nasal surgery, and his outspoken nature and tendency to make liberal use of injury time outs has rubbed some of the establishment the wrong way, including Federer, who questioned Djokovic's integrity during Switzerland's Davis Cup victory over Serbia in September.

"I don't trust his injuries," Federer reportedly said after beating him in singles. "It's not funny. I'm serious. I think he's a joke, you know, when it comes down to his injuries. The rules are there to be used, not abused."

Presumably, Federer would not bother lecturing a player of little consequence. The Swiss is well aware of the leading pretendants to his throne, but being Serbian can make it difficult to compete commercially. Djokovic has complained in the past about the difficulty of attracting sponsorship as a Serb.

"It's always more difficult when you are from Serbia than from the U.S.A. or some big country like that," Jankovic said. "But I think eventually if you are good enough, you are going to get what you deserve but maybe it will be more difficult and take more time."

It doesn't help your cause when some of your alleged fans spoil the festive mood at a Grand Slam event while wearing your national colors. But Serbian tennis remains more of a feel-good story, and the best feelings, judging from the look of Jankovic's backhand and footwork and Djokovic's forehand and serve, should be yet to come.

~Kiera~
Jan 19th, 2007, 12:18 PM
Australian Open: Jelena Jankovic, Jan 19, 2007
Jelena Jankovic
Friday, 19 January, 2007

J. JANKOVIC/V. Azarenka

6-3, 6-4

Q. A long two‑set match. How did you assess the match?

It was a difficult match for me. Especially we had to stop after 2‑All because of the rain. It's always difficult to go off the court and come back. I tried to stay focused. My opponent hits the ball pretty hard. It's a different game. But I think I was mentally strong when I needed to. I was quite solid. I'm happy to get through.

Q. A good match today if you're to progress further in the tournament?

Yes, of course. This was a good match to get under my belt. I played an opponent who doesn't have anything to lose. She has no pressure. It's always good to win like that. Next match I have quite tough, which is Serena Williams. I've beaten her before, but I expect a tough match and hope to do well.

Q. Would you have guessed you were going to play Serena?

No, no, no, I never. I was concentrating on my match. I wasn't thinking who I play the next round because it doesn't matter if I was going to play Serena and I lost today. So I just concentrated on my match. I'm looking forward to playing Serena. She's playing well. I will try to give my best and we'll see how it will go.

Q. Do you enjoy playing in matches where you're the favorite, the player expected to win? Is that pressure you enjoy?

I enjoy. No, doesn't matter if I'm the favorite or not. I always enjoy the challenge. I try to play the best that I can. Every time I step on the court, I try to give my maximum. Of course, I go to win the match.

Q. Having seen Serena play so well today, what can you expect when you play her?

Playing Serena, it's always tough. Doesn't matter if she just came from an injury or she didn't play, she always a great champion. I've beaten her twice before. My score against her is 2‑1, so I know how to play against her. I'll try my best. We'll see. It will be a good match for sure.

Q. Do you think it says more about women's tennis or more about her that she can come back after such a long time, really not playing much, and succeed like she seems to succeed?

She's a great athlete. She's strong. I think she has the experience. She won so many Grand Slams. It's different when you already been in this kind of situation. She knows how it feels. "Okay, she had a knee injury, didn't play. She's not in good form." You always have to expect she can come out and she can play unbelievable tennis.

Q. Have you ever been intimidated by a reputation of an opponent?

No, not at all. I don't think so. I respect every player. But when I go on court, I want to win.

Q. Do you think other girls do?

Maybe they get intimidated by some of the stronger players. For me, no, I don't get intimidated at all because I know I have the quality to beat them as well. I just go out there and play my game, that's all. I'm not thinking if she's No. 1 in the world or whoever she is.

Q. You're the fourth favorite to win this tournament. Do you think you can get it?

It's just tough to say. I mean, I'm just in the fourth round right now. I'm really not thinking about that. I'm just concentrating. I have a tough round against Serena next. I just want to concentrate on that and we'll see. Just want to enjoy and play the best that I can.

Q. You lost to Azarenka before when life was not so good. What does it mean? Does it show you how far you've come?

I lost when I was in the bad period when I was losing so many matches. But I knew that today I am a different Jelena. I am not the Jelena playing last year in the beginning of the year. I knew that I can come out today strong, as different player. I felt more confident. I knew I could do well. It showed with my kind of attitude on court, I was mentally quite strong. I was focused the whole time. Even though sometimes I felt quite tired, it was hot, long points, I did well, came through the match.

Q. How is the fatigue? You've played probably more than anyone this year.

I think I won 12 matches out of 13, which is a lot in the beginning of the year. I came out quite strong in the beginning of the year, which is good for me. I feel quite confident. I really am enjoying the game. Of course, I'm a little bit tired. I don't think about that. I'm just happy to play. I hope to get as many matches as possible.

~Kiera~
Jan 19th, 2007, 12:38 PM
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/articles/2007-01-19/200701191169205714703.html

Jankovic taking giant steps

by Naomi Levin
Friday, 19 January, 2007

For Jelena Jankovic, the beginning of 2006 was probably a time in her life that she would rather forget. Not so 2007.

The Serb, who is a month shy of her 22nd birthday, won only one match in the first five months of 2006 and was bundled out in the second round at the Australian Open.

This year though, has been a completely different story with Jankovic winning the first tournament of the year, reaching the finals of her second and is now considered to be the fourth favourite to take out the first Grand Slam of the year.

"One year makes a big difference," Jankovic said after her first-round win over Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak. "I think I am more mature."

It is that maturity that is standing Jankovic in good stead at Melbourne Park. She had a straight-forward first-round win against Wozniak 6-3 6-3 and then another easy victory over Spaniard Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2 6-2.

In her third-round match against Belarusian Victoria Azarenka she won 6-3 6-4, a real boost for her considering she lost to the lower-ranked player early last year.

"I know that today, I am a different Jelena," she said after her win over Azarenka. "I'm not the Jelena that was playing at the beginning of the year (2006)."

Jankovic's great start to 2007 began well before the Australian Open. She started the new year as the top seed at the ASB Classic in Auckland and went through the tournament without dropping a set until her final match against world No.24 Vera Zvonereva.

In a match full of errors Ė not helped by the windy Auckland weather - the Serb prevailed, beating her Russian opponent 7-6 (11-9) 5-7 6-3 in two hours and 45 minutes.

Cyclone Jankovic continued at the Medibank International in Sydney when she swept-away almost everything in her path. She notched up her seventh and eighth top-10 wins, beating Martina Hingis in the first round and then Amelie Mauresmo in the quarter-finals.

She was pushed to three sets in her semifinal against Czech glamour-girl Nicole Vaidisova before coming up against a barrier in the final.

Kim Clijsters, Jankovic's opponent in the Sydney final, looked sluggish to begin with and was making uncharacteristic unforced errors. Early on, the lower-ranked Jankovic seemed to have the better of her.

Jankovic took the first set 6-4 and had match point at 5-4 in the second set before Clijsters put her foot on the accelerator and forced her way back into the match.

At this point, having played 10 matches in 11 days, Jankovic was spent and Clijsters overran her to take the match 4-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Despite the loss, Jankovic was upbeat about her situation.

"I'm really enjoying my game and having fun out there," she told the WTA website following the Medibank International final. "But no pressure; I just want to go out on court and give my best."

"This week, I showed I can beat the best players and hopefully I'll join them soon."

It seems likely that Jankovic will soon rise to the upper echelons of women's tennis.

Currently ranked eleventh in the world, Jankovic's star is certainly rising. She had a career-best result at the US Open in 2006, meeting Justine Henin-Hardenne in the first Grand Slam semifinals appearance of her career.

She also reached the finals in Los Angeles where she lost to Elena Dementieva.

"I know I can compete with the best players and beat them, and hopefully I will join them soon in the rankings because now I'm number 11 in the world," Jankovic said. "That's my goal; to go in the top 10."

~Kiera~
Jan 19th, 2007, 01:36 PM
http://www.smh.com.au/news/tennis/no-snake-on-the-menu-but-jankovic-is-ready-to-strike-again/2007/01/19/1169095982555.html

No snake on the menu but Jankovic is ready to strike again

JELENA Jankovic is not particular about all things. Last September she played a tournament in Beijing and happily considered a suggestion she eat snake.

"My mum said: 'They can pay me and I still won't eat it, but I'll try'," wrote the Serbian in a blog. "I don't even know what it looks like, you pick it out of the tank and they just cook it. When I think about it, it's not something I'd normally do. But why not, while I'm travelling. It's not something I can do every day."

Jankovic beat Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-4 yesterday and moved into the fourth round playing tennis that was exact, pedantic, and had nothing laidback about it.

She stood impatiently several times, waiting to serve while her young opponent tried to catch her breath. And for the first point of each service game, Jankovic would accept balls only from the over-worked ballkid on the backhand side of the court.

If she's in a hurry, though, it's understandable. Jankovic has won 12 of her past 13 matches and intends to win a lot more but knows how quickly things can change.

This time last year, the Belarus teenager Azarenka was one of several players who beat Jankovic in a horror run that began on these courts and saw her drop 10 of her next 11 matches. She wondered whether going back to her economics studies might be more fun.

Jankovic went to Rome in May and somehow managed to turn things around, becoming a third-rounder at the French Open, a fourth-rounder at Wimbledon and then a US Open semi-finalist.

Her perfection became clear in London: Jankovic beat the previous year's winner, Venus Williams, on court two but was glad not to have played on centre court because she had a black eye that wouldn't have looked good on TV.

Beating Azarenka yesterday, Jankovic got fresh perspective on how completely her life had changed in the past year. "I knew that today I was a different Jelena," she said. "I am not the Jelena playing last year in the beginning of the year. I knew that I could come out today strong, as a different player. I felt more confident. I knew I could do well. It showed with my attitude on court, I was mentally quite strong. I was focused the whole time."

Jankovic will play Serena Williams tomorrow, and has never been one to let other players intimidate her. She would never expect Williams to play anything but "unbelievable" tennis. But she has beaten Williams twice, and believes she can do it again.

"I respect every player. But when I go on court I want to win," she said. "I just go out there and play my game, that's all."

In other matches last night, French second seed Amelie Mauresmo beat Czech Eva Birnerova 6-3, 6-1, and Russian third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated compatriot Maria Kirilenko 6-1, 6-4.

Princeza
Jan 19th, 2007, 02:45 PM
schett interviews jelena
http://www.eurosport.com/tennis/mc_vid32720.shtml

~Kiera~
Jan 20th, 2007, 12:47 AM
http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/6383816

Jankovic must maintain foucus vs. hungry Serena

Matthew Cronin / ********************
Posted: 11 hours ago

It's almost hopeless to say where Jelena Jankovic ends up when her career is finished. The Serbian strikes the ball well enough to maintain a Top-10 ranking in her career.

But Jankovic's mind has been known to wander.

The 11th seed at the Australian Open has been playing top-five level tennis since last August, the first time the 21-year-old has been able to maintain her focus for such a long stretch.

She's won 12 of her last 13 matches, and with top seed Maria Sharapova, Amelie Mauresmo and Kim Clijsters, she's considered one of the four tournament favorites ó another first for her at a Grand Slam.

"I'm just in the fourth round right now," she said after outlasting Victoria Azarenka on Friday. "I'm really not thinking about that. I have a tough round against Serena next. I just want to concentrate on that. Just want to enjoy and play the best that I can."

That Serena would be Ms. Williams, who all of sudden is back in major title contention after upending fifth seed Nadia Petrova in the third round. Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam champion who has won the Aussie Open twice. She's not in top shape, but she's hungry and more than anyone else in this tournament, knows how to win big titles.

She can be taken down, but it wilt take a smart, gutsy and consistent effort. Williams will not choke and can serve her opponents off the court.

Jankovic is striking the ball more cleanly off the ground than Serena is and owns a 2-1 lifetime record against the American, including a 6-4, 6-3 win in Los Angeles last summer, where she jerked her around the court.

But Serena is playing much better now and can smell another Grand Slam title, even if the scent is miles away.

"Playing Serena, it's always tough," Jankovic said. "Doesn't matter if she just came from an injury or she didn't play (much), she's always a great champion. She's a great athlete. She's strong. She has the experience. She's won so many Grand Slams. It's different when you've already been in this kind of situation. She knows how it feels. You can say, 'OK, she had a knee injury, didn't play. She's not in good form.' But you always have to expect she can come out and she can play unbelievable tennis."

So can Jankovic, who already this year has wins over Martina Hingis and Mauresmo. Jankovic won a title and held a match point against the formidable Clijsters in the Sydney final. She is super fast, has one of the best backhands down the line in the women's game, sports soft hands and is adept at reading her foe's serves.

The last time she defeated Serena, she won the vast majority of their extended rallies.

If the Melbourne heat is bearing down on them on Sunday, you have to like Jankovic's chances, unless Serena zones in and blows her off the court quickly.

"Serena has a chance if she can really start from the beginning, being very aggressive and take the lead," Petrova said. "She has a good chance. But if it comes to the third set, then the question mark of her fitness point will come."

Jankovic also has question marks. Last summer, she completely choked in her U.S. Open semifinal against Justine Henin-Hardenne. There she was, bending low, slinging unreachable groundstrokes, laughing away and suddenly, a bad call unnerved her. A set and 4-2 lead disappeared in a wave of her black ponytail.

"That's was my first time in the semifinals of the U.S. Open and I was a little too excited," she said. "I was thinking I was already in the final and I let the chance slip away. Now I think I can handle situations a lot better. I've been in those situations before."

The proof will be in the pudding with the talkative Serb. It's hard to forget what happened during the first half last year, when she lost all interest in the sport and entered late May with a 1-10 record.

"The whole half of the year it was like I was on vacation," she said. "I was studying reading and then I did my exams. I didn't even feel like a tennis player. There came a moment when I thought I really don't enjoy to play tennis any more. Sometimes I had bad situations. When you come on the court, you don't feel like you want to practice, you don't want to play the match, you're not excited."

Apparently, cracking the books refreshed her. Jankovic knocked off defending champion Venus Williams at Wimbledon and once she got on hardcourts, tore it up.

"I thought, I will just study, I want to focus on something else," she said. "I wasn't thinking as much about tennis. And I'm the person who wants to play just because I love to play, not because I'm playing just for no reason. But now I really changed the thinking."

Jankovic is still studying (primarily economics), but now that's she's getting one big win after another, she won't be graduating college any time soon. But that she's willing to keep with her studies shows just how committed she is to becoming a more intelligent person, and subsequently, a player. Her mental walkabout last year turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

"It made me a lot stronger, I'm working a lot harder now and practiced hard in the offseason, I have a lot of motivation to do well and I'm hungry to compete. That's what I lacked," she said.

Jankovic knows how to beat Serena and has just as much bravado. If she can avoid debating Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations in her head during a potential third set, she'll be in fine shape.

"I don't get intimidated at all because I know I have the quality to beat them as well," she said. I just go out there and play my game, that's all. I'm not thinking if she's No. 1 in the world or whoever she is."

~Kiera~
Jan 20th, 2007, 08:24 PM
http://www.smh.com.au/news/tennis/look-out-jelena-here-comes-the-81stranked-player-in-the-world/2007/01/20/1169096029407.html#

Look out, Jelena, here comes the 81st-ranked player in the world

US women's tennis might be at a new low, but Serena Williams is single-handedly trying to ensure it doesn't sink from view - at least at the Australian Open.

For the first time in the open era there is not one American female seeded in the women's singles.

Williams's injury lay-off last year meant she came into the tournament with a world ranking of 81.

Today, she meets one of the hottest players on tour, the fiery 11th-seeded Serb Jelena Jankovic, in what could be a watershed match.

Williams's form belies her status - her second-round win over fifth-seeded Russian Nadia Petrova was her first over a top-10 player in two years - and there is a feeling the whirlwind has every chance of rolling on.

Petrova, Jankovic and Williams herself believe she will be a force and Petrova even thinks the American has a chance of winning her third Australian women's singles crown.

Petrova said Williams's turnaround after languishing in the tennis wilderness had not surprised her. "If you watched the match, she came up with some unbelievable returns," she said.

Williams has had her confidence, a crucial part of her game, boosted significantly, especially by fighting back after losing the first set 6-1 against Petrova. Her old bravado is returning.

"I wasn't surprised," Williams said. "I think if you put your mind to it you can do anything. If I play well, then it's tough to beat me."

Jankovic holds a 2-1 record over Williams, although the American won their first encounter in San Diego in three sets in 2004.

Jankovic took the next after Williams had to retire through injury and the Serb won their previous match in straight sets in Los Angeles last year.

"I think she's a very solid player, a very good player, and I'm going to have to be playing even better [to win]," Williams said.

Jankovic says she has remade herself after reaching the semi-finals of the US Open and in Los Angeles in 2006.

"I am not the Jelena [who was] playing last year at the beginning of the year," she said.

Mentally strong and not so derailed by outbursts on court, Jankovic is rightly wary of Williams but is past being intimidated.

Tenis Srbija
Jan 20th, 2007, 10:13 PM
Kiera :worship: :hatoff:

~Kiera~
Jan 20th, 2007, 10:22 PM
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/interactive/radio/20070117.html

Trengove's Talent Time with Jelena Jankovic

~Kiera~
Jan 21st, 2007, 09:21 PM
Snippet from an article on the match:

Yet Jankovic was well on her way to losing before she registered that the match had begun.

"When I came on the court it was really quite weird for me," Jankovic tried to explain. "In the first few games she would hit a slow ball, I would hit it back, and then all of a sudden a 200-mile ball comes so fast.

"I didn't know which kind of game was that. She was just trying to get me off my game.

"It was 3-0 in a few minutes. It was just I didn't even turn around and it was 3-0.

"I just didn't put one ball on the court."

Jankovic never found her best game and couldn't understand why. She felt lethargic throughout and could not handle the raw power and aggression of Williams. Those times she looked over the net and saw Williams gasping for breath, her own lungs felt ragged.

"I just felt like from the beginning of the match I couldn't find my rhythm," Jankovic said.

"I wasn't hitting a clean ball. It was quite humid. The balls were quite heavy and her shots were coming at a fast speed.

'I just couldn't get used to it and get my timing. I felt really slow on court. I just wasn't there. I don't know how to explain it."

~Kiera~
Feb 18th, 2007, 11:28 PM
http://www.gulfnews.com/sport/Tennis/10105373.html

Hawk eye gets thumbs up from Henin and Jankovic
By Alaric Gomes, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Two of the top 10 players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour came out openly in favour of the Hawk Eye line calling system being implemented at this week's Dubai Duty Free Women's Open.

"I think the Hawk Eye technology is great for tennis as the game becomes more fair between two players," noted world number 10 Jelena Jankovic. "I hope they retain this as use of the latest technology can only be good for the sport," Jankovic added.

Also throwing her weight behind Hawk Eye is former world number one and top seed Justine Henin. "I think the use of such technology makes the game more exciting. This also helps build up relationships between players and the umpires. I think it is better for everyone," Henin stated.

"There is a lot of money involved in the sport today and therefore it would be nice to see all tournaments having such technology," Henin said.

Just a section of the article, the full piece can be found here:
http://www.middleeastevents.com/site/pres_dtls.asp?pid=1077

Star-studded line-up arrives in Dubai ready for the Middle East’s showpiece tennis event

Entering the fray is Serb tennis star Jelena Jankovic who is certain to be a top contender in a field that features many of the biggest names in the game.

Jankovic has been the player to beat in 2007 as she claimed the title in Auckland and went down in three tight sets to Kim Clijsters in the Sydney final. Then it took eventual champion Serena Williams to halt her progress at the Australian Open.

Now the amiable 21-year old will return to a city in which she has often enjoyed great success.

In 2005 she strode all the way to the final, beating Sania Mirza and then Serena Williams before taking number one-ranked Lindsay Davenport to three tight sets in the final. And that followed Jelena’s earlier visit to Dubai, when she left with the champions trophy after winning an ITF circuit event.

She was unable to repeat her success last year, after contracting a virus that drained her of energy and which was so severe that she contemplated retirement.

“It was a tough time for me and it took two and a half months to recover,” said Jankovic. Whenever I got on court, I didn't have the will to practice, didn't want to play. It was something that I never felt before, and I almost quit playing tennis. I just wanted to go to university and continue with my studies.

“But I think when you go through something like this, it makes you stronger as a person. For me, as a player, as well, I feel like I appreciate my results a lot more, and I know what I'm doing and I know the right values. That's the most important.”

Fortunately, things eventually turned around, and Jankovic did indeed return as an even better and stronger player than before. And she was rewarded for her resilience last month when she entered the top 10 for the first time.

“Jelena is one of the great characters of the game, and we are delighted that she was able to recover both her health and her game,” said Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of tournament organisers Dubai Duty Free. “She has enjoyed great success in Dubai, reaching the final in 2005, and she is certain to be one of the leading challengers for the title once again.”

~Kiera~
Feb 20th, 2007, 12:51 PM
http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/7527/jelenaacekp9.th.jpg (http://img148.imageshack.us/my.php?image=jelenaacekp9.jpg)

~Kiera~
Feb 21st, 2007, 09:41 PM
http://www.gulfnews.com/sport/Tennis/10106170.html

In-form Jankovic sees her chance against Hingis today

By Alaric Gomes, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Red-hot Jelena Jankovic is relishing a dream quarterfinal meeting against former world number one Martina Hingis today.

"She is always a tough opponent, but I have beaten her. I think the key lies in playing smart as she does not give away any easy points," Jankovic said.

In her second round match yesterday, Jankovic brushed aside Mara Santangelo 6-3, 7-5 for a mouth-watering meeting against Hingis.

The Serb was leading comfortably in the second set after taking the opening set 6-3. "And then I suddenly lost my rhythm as I found it a bit difficult to take some of her shots which tend to come in with an under-spin," Jankovic stated.

"I think it is always good to win even though you may not be often at your best."

The Serbian, a losing finalist here two years ago, holds a 1-0 advantage against Hingis.

Jankovic, now ranked 11th in the world, defeated the world number six in three sets at last month's Sydney Open.

"I want to play aggressive and just go for my shots so that I can put pressure on her," Jankovic said about her strategy for today's quarterfinal.

"I want to dictate the points early and see how things go for me," she added.

~Kiera~
Feb 22nd, 2007, 09:15 PM
http://www.gulfnews.com/sport/Tennis/10106400.html

Serbian star plotting Mauresmo's downfall
By Alaric Gomes, Staff Reporter

Dubai: Serbian Jelena Jankovic is again plotting her move into a second Dubai Duty Free Women's Open final when she takes on Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo in the semifinals today.

"I am enjoying my game at the moment and I do not want to put any pressure on myself by thinking about my ranking," Jankovic said after her smooth 7-6 (3), 6-2 win against former world No 1 Martina Hingis.

Jankovic is ranked No 11 on the latest Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, but is expected to move into the top-10 when the new rankings are announced on Monday.

This was a second straight win in as many meetings and months for the lanky Serbian. Her first win against her more accomplished opponent came in January this year at the Sydney Open where she battled Hingis over three sets.

"That one was different and I guess I have learnt my lessons from that by not giving her too many chances as she does not give you any free points," Jankovic said.

"Against Amelie, it is going to be different as she is a tough opponent. I want to just concentrate and think only of ways of how I can outplay her."

The Serbian was a losing finalist here in 2005 when she went down to top seed Lindsay Davenport.

"I know how to play her. She mixes her game so well. But I know the crowd here motivates me and that makes me look forward keenly to yet another great match," Jankovic stated.

~Kiera~
Mar 1st, 2007, 08:32 PM
http://www.tennis.com/features/hotshots/hotshots.aspx?id=64360

The New Generation: Hot Shots

The Tough Girl -- Jelena Jankovic

By A.S.

THE PEDIGREE: The 22-year-old Jankovic is the daughter of two economists (canít you tell?) from Belgrade, Serbia. But it was at the Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where sheís been training since she was 12, that she became a sure-shot prodigy alongside Maria Sharapova. After disappointing early results, Jankovic made her breakthrough in 2006, beating Venus and Serena Williams and reaching the semifi nals of the U.S. Open.

THE PERSONA: Jankovic laughs loudly and quickly and can talk about Serbian music and her university studies with equal aplomb. Sheís spunkiness personified, the tourís resident tough girl. Which makes sense, because she grew up in the middle of the Serbian civil war and started her tennis career only after it became too dangerous for her to travel crosstown for piano lessons.

THE GAME: When Jankovic hits a ball, she does it without fear, without regard for the last shot, the last game, the last set, or the last match. That clarity of purpose, and a lethal two-handed backhand, is how Jankovic pushed Justine Henin-Hardenne around like a sparring partner for the better part of two sets in last yearís U.S. Open semifi nals. But she can lose that clarity in a hurry: After a mild disagreement with the chair umpire, Jankovic blew her lead over Henin-Hardenne as quickly as she had amassed it. ďI had the match . . . I was dominating,Ē she said with a shrug afterward. ďThen I lost my concentration.Ē

THE PROGNOSIS: Thereís little doubt that Jankovic has game. One reasonable scenario is that she becomes the Jana Novotna of her day, winning the award for the Player Most Likely to Implode. But the other is that she tones down her gamblerís instinct just a bit and becomes a fixture in the second week of Slams.

Just Do It
Mar 1st, 2007, 08:39 PM
Thats great :yeah:

~Kiera~
Mar 13th, 2007, 04:37 PM
http://www.sportinglife.com/tennis/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=tennis/07/03/13/TENNIS_Column.html

JANKOVIC'S STRONGER NOW

After picking up her first tennis racket at the age of nine at the famous Red Star club in her native Belgrade, Jelena Jankovic quickly got used to her career pursuing an upward trajectory.

But it was how Jankovic came to deal with the first significant setback she encountered which would mould her more than anything else into the top 10 player she is today.

Jankovic swept all before her as a junior, claiming the world number one ranking and winning the 2001 Australian Open. She had cracked the top 100 within two years of turning full time to the senior circuit.

But a promising 2005, in which she firmly established herself inside the world's top 50, petered out in a succession of injuries which set her up for the nightmare start to 2006 which almost prompted her to throw away her racket for good.

"Everything happened. I was sick and injured and I took two and a half months to recover," said Jankovic. "I was tired all day and I didn't know what was wrong with me. I didn't have the will to practise and I didn't have the will to play.

"I almost quit playing tennis. I just wanted to go back to regular university and study. I was always climbing the rankings and this was a tough time for me. I found out I was a very bad loser."

After scraping through her first match of the year in the first round of the Australian Open, Jankovic embarked on a dismal series of 10 successive defeats, dropping 10 hard-earned ranking points in the process.

It was not until the middle of May in Rome that Jankovic was able to prove she was no spent force - and she turned things around to the extent that by the end of the year she was being talked of as a potential Grand Slam champion again.

"Overall in life it is not always going to be good times," Jankovic added. "There will also be hard times.

"When you go through something like that it makes you stronger as a person. It made me appreciate my results more."

Jankovic's resurgence was spectacular. She defeated defending champion Venus Williams at Wimbledon, sunk Serena en route to a runners-up spot in Los Angeles, and marched all the way to the US Open semi-finals.

She continued her stellar form into 2007, winning her second tour title in Auckland and following it up immediately with a runners-up spot in Sydney and a fourth-round berth at the Australian Open.

In doing so, Jankovic became the first Serbian woman to crack the top 10, but for somebody who has got back into the habit of rising towards the top, she insists that will not be the end of it.

"I believe in myself now. I know I can compete with the best players and beat them. I know nothing is perfect and my goal is to improve on things to keep getting better than I am today.

"One year makes a big difference. And I think I'm older now. I think I'm more mature. I don't know, I just am improving and getting better and better, and that's the biggest difference."

~Kiera~
Mar 31st, 2007, 10:14 AM
From tennis.com:

Jelena Jankovic’s Backhand

Aggression plus top-notch mechanics make for a fearsome shot.

By Rick Macci
Photos by David Kenas

Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic likes to clock the ball, and in a baseline battle she can hang with the best. Last year, she beat the likes of Nadia Petrova, Elena Dementieva, and Svetlana Kuznetsova on her way to a career-high finish of No. 12 in the world. While there’s lots to like about Jankovic’s game, it’s her two-handed backhand that stands out. It’s her go-to shot when she gets an opportunity to take a ball early and punish it.

http://img120.imageshack.us/img120/9691/jankovicbackhand1dw5.jpg

1. Jankovic is taking small adjustment steps, and you see space under both of her shoes. You can tell from her position near the baseline and the eager look on her face that this is going to be an attacking backhand. Also notice how she turns her shoulders and starts her backswing together. This is the key to getting good upper-body coil. Her grip is semi-Western with her left hand, and somewhere between a Continental and Eastern with her right.

2. Jankovic has loaded up and stored her weight on her back foot and is now ready to explode forward. She has done this so intensely and effectively that her right foot is off the ground a little bit. After starting her racquet high in the strike zone in the last frame, she’s now dropping it, forming the back part of the C that you want in a loop backswing.

3. This is what a world-class shoulder turn looks like. Jankovic is looking over her shoulder, and you can see that the muscles in her arm are stretched. It appears she’s readying for an aggressive, on-the-rise backhand. Her stance is open, and her racquet is behind her. It’s actually a bit too far back for my taste—I prefer to see the frame not break the plane of the body—but it’s OK if the ball is coming in slowly.

4. Jankovic has chosen to take a high-bouncing ball at shoulder height rather than move back and let it come down. In other words, she’s playing the ball and not letting it play her. Because of the height of the ball, she’ll be driving it slightly downward into the court. That’s why her right shoulder is tilted down a bit. I prefer the shoulders level, but sometimes your intentions will modify your mechanics.

http://img147.imageshack.us/img147/2388/jankovicbackhand2mq5.jpg

5. Contact occurs with the ball nicely centered on the strings, and Jankovic has exploded into the shot so much that she’s catapulted herself off the ground. This wasn’t her intention but the result of the momentum she produced with her legs, hips, and shoulders. Still, her eyes are fi xed on the point of impact.

6. Here you see her outstanding extension and weight transfer. Jankovic has hit through the ball and continues moving her racquet toward her target. Notice how she uses her shoulders to bring the racquet through—she doesn’t arm the ball—and as a result she’s using every part of her body for power. Players with the best two-handers use their bodies as a unit.

7. Jankovic has landed on her front foot, and there’s so much weight transfer that her back foot has kicked up just as it might on a serve. That’s because of the momentum she built up going into the shot; it’s not something she did on purpose and it’s not something you should copy. Depending upon your intention with a particular shot, the back foot can do many things.

8. Following her aggressive assault on the ball, Jankovic wraps the follow-through fully around her body as her racquet decelerates. Compare the position of her shoulders from the first frame to this one and you’ll see she’s gone from looking over her right shoulder to looking over her left.

~Kiera~
Mar 31st, 2007, 01:11 PM
http://www.unitedathletes.com/english/interviews/jjankovic.html

January 9, 2007

Interview with Jelena Jankovic
A Serbian flavour on the tennis court

Thomas Kieller

Athletic, talented and with an entrancing style, Jelena imposes herself on the tennis courts. In the spectatorsí boxes, the eyes turn more and more towards this young woman. The public appreciates her mostly for her passion. Jelena does not hide her Slavonic features. Emotional sometimes but very determined, she gives herself in the matches leaving nothing behind. Two steps away from being in the world top 10, she continues her progress. The Serbian player is not satisfied by her past victories in Dubai and Budapest only. To the contrary, her good results in 2006 demonstrate that she can beat the best players in the world and that she adores surmounting new challenges. Of course, a victory at one of the four major tournaments is still a far away objective. Nevertheless, it is most probable that one day Jelena will realize what many players dream off, meaning winning a Grand Slam. Will it be the one in Paris, London, New York or Melbourne? Only time will tell like Jelena says it so well!

The interview took place November 1st, 2006 at 20:50 in the press conference room of the Challenge Bell tennis tournament which was held in one of the buildings of the University Laval in Quebec, Canada.

Prelude - In front of the press conference room, the journalists and the reporters are waiting for Jelenaís arrival who defeated easily the Venezuelan Milagros Sequra by the score of 6-1, 6-3. During this pause, a Serbian journalist gives to Jacques Hťrisset, general director of the Challenge Bell tournament, the new Serbian flag in force since June 8th, 2006 in order that it can be clearly seen instead of the old flag which was suspended by error among the flags of Canada, United-States, Russia and France. Around 20h30, Jelena arrives to the press conference room relaxed. Sitting down comfortably in an armchair, she answers first the questions asked in turn by four journalists before conversing with me about sport and her country, Serbia, during thirty minutes.


The training and the preparation of a tennis player

Thomas Kieller: You are a professional since 2001 and you already had your share of injuries which forced you to withdraw from matches. Iím talking about back injuries, shoulder injuries, ankle sprains, thigh strains, abductor strains and even once you withdrew from a match because of cramps. You have played in the 2005-2006 season at least 70 single matches and many others in doubles. To play that much tennis at that level is it tough for the body?

Jelena Jankovic: Yes, itís very tough for the body when you play so many matches and also itís very dangerous. You can get injured easily because your body gets so tired. So, you have to stretch a lot and you have to do some running after the match to get the lactic acid out of your muscles, have some massages and you have to take good care of your body in order to stay healthy.

Thomas: The importance of fitness runs in your family. Does your brother Marko, who is a fitness coach, give you some tips about your physical condition?

Jelena: Heís helping me a little bit but heís also studying at the university. So, he is kind of doing his own work but heís helping me sometimes.

Thomas: During the season, what kind of exercises do you do for your physical condition (jogging, workout in a gym or on the tennis court)?

Jelena: Actually, Iím not the kind of player who likes to do a lot of weights in the gym. It makes me feel kind of tight and heavy. I prefer to work with very light weights and do many repetitions or do exercises without weights. I like doing a curl workout for my abs and other exercises for my back. This is a very important area to keep strong because from there everything goes. Also, I like to run. Depending on what I am doing, when I have matches or when I am practicing, I do long runs or sprints. So, I do all kinds of exercises to stay fit.

Thomas: And what kind of training do you do for the technical aspects of the game?

Jelena: I just practice when Iím in the tournament and I try to hit as many cross courts down the line as possible. I try to have precise shots and feel comfortable on the court. Thatís my main goal. So, when I play my match, I know what I am doing and I feel the ball really well.

Thomas: During a year, is there some more intense period of training?

Jelena: After the season which ends for me with the tournament in Quebec, Canada, Iím going for a two week vacation and then I will have a more intense training to prepare well for the next season. I will probably do more hours of training than usual. I do all of that because everything else will be easier.

Thomas: In football, American football and in hockey, during the training period before the season starts, the players work very hard. Some of them even work their fitness in the off season. Physical condition is very important. In tennis, there are examples of players who gave special attention to their fitness like Andre Agassi. He retired at 36 year old probably because he did not neglect his health and form. One of the best examples of that is the Austrian Thomas Muster. He did not have extraordinary tennis talent but he pushed himself very hard concerning his physical condition. He became number 1 in 1996. Do you think that in tennis in general men or women athletes focus more on the technical aspects of the game rather than on the physical condition?

Jelena (laughs): I think it is a personal decision. Some players like to work five, six or eight hours a day. Iím a player who likes to work two or three hours a day because I donít like to practice so much. I like a quality workout not quantity workout.

Thomas: Tennis can be physically demanding. Is there a type of court which is more demanding physically to play on?

Jelena: I think hard court may be the worst for your body because itís so hard for your back and for your knees. Grass is nice to play because itís soft and perhaps you donít have problems with the knees or certain joints. For me, itís the hard court which is the worst.

Thomas: Besides tennis, do you enjoy other sports or physical activities?

Jelena (tells on a happy note): I like to play basketball. Also, when I am in Florida, United States where I have an apartment I like to swim and for fun I like to play golf.


Her Serbian background

Thomas: Around 1995 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, was it difficult to have good tennis training conditions?

Jelena: We still have problems. For example in Serbia, we donít have hard court. So, when we have a tournament on hard court, I am practicing on a carpet. Itís a big difference. Itís not good to prepare on such a court. Hopefully, they will try to make some centers with different kinds of courts: hard court and clay court. So, it will be easier for the Serbian players to improve their game and also to have more newcomers.

Thomas: So if I understand well, the conditions in Serbia are not better than in 1995!

Jelena: I think itís the same. The worst is in winter. For example, there are three courts which are covered with a rubber structure. Itís a bit difficult to explain. From outside, it looks like a balloon. Like I said, you have three courts under there and itís full of players. They donít have much time to practice and itís so cold. There is no good heating. Itís tough! You can get sick. Itís how it isÖ

Thomas: When did you leave for Florida in order to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy?

Jelena: I think I was almost thirteen years old. Twelve or thirteen, Iím not sure.

Thomas: Now, you live in Bradenton (Florida), United States. First of all, why are there so many players who reside in Florida? What is so attractive about it, the weather?

Jelena (laughs): Yes, the most attractive is the weather because you can practice there all year long. You can play outside and you donít have to go indoors. The facilities are good and you have all kind of courts. You have a good fitness center where I am training at the academy. You have everything that you need to prepare well for the tournaments and to be quite ready.

Thomas: It is known that United States welcomes people of different countries. Was it easy or difficult to integrate yourself in the North American lifestyle? Was there a cultural shock?

Jelena: At the beginning, it was a little bit different especially as a young girl when I came there because I did not even speak English. I did not know anything and it was also difficult for me to be away from the family. I had to adapt to the people and to the new environment. It was a big difference. It was tough. But I think I got used to it and as the time goes on you learn more about the culture and the people. You just adjust and you become the same as them.

Thomas (surprised): You were alone. Your family was not with you?

Jelena: I was almost all the time alone. For example, my mother was staying with me for a month and than she was going back home. I was just staying alone there with the other kids. It was kind of tough especially since I did not speak English. I did not know what I needed to do particularly when I was going to school. I could not do my homework. When you have a difficulty, there is nobody to help you. So, you learn it the hard way. You learn to do everything by yourself. However, itís a good learning experience; it makes you more independent and stronger as a person. You know how to do everything by yourself so you donít have to depend on your parents or somebody else to do it for you.

Thomas: On another subject, you were part of the Serbian Fed Cup team from 2001 to 2005. You were the only player of your delegation, Serbia and Montenegro, to play tennis at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. This is something special. Are you proud to represent your country which is now Serbia?

Jelena: Yes, I am proud of my country. Iím Serbian and I play for this country. I try to represent that country under the best possible light. I think the athletes are the best ambassadors for their country. Itís good to promote it especially when itís in a good way. I think that Serbia is mostly known for the wars and for those bad times, but I think the athletes can bring a better image of my country. When you hear next time about Serbia, may be you will think of a good tennis player or a good basketball player.

Thomas: In 2006, there was a rupture between Serbia and Montenegro. You were born in Belgrade, which is now Serbia. Your mother was born also in Serbia. However, your father Veselin was born in Montenegro. How do you feel about that separation?

Jelena: You know, it was not my decision that Serbia and Montenegro separated. The government and the people, they have decided. Iím not so much involved in the politics and I donít like to know anything about it. I would prefer that they had stayed together especially since my dad is from Montenegro and my mother is from Serbia, but I live in Serbia and I choose to play for Serbia. At the beginning, the journalists were asking "who are you going to play for" and things like that, but I choose to play for Serbia and now Iím just Serbian.

Thomas: Iím sure you have talked about that subject with your father. What do you think are his feelings about the independence of Montenegro?

Jelena: I donít know. I have not talked to him about this. I donít know how he feels. However, it was a family decision for who I was going to play.

Thomas: As a professional tennis player, you travel a lot around the world and you can see different cultures. That gives you a perspective on what has happened back home in Serbia. To see the world is it something that you enjoy a lot?

Jelena: Of course. If I was not a tennis player, I would not have been able to travel so much, learn about the new cultures, meet different kinds of people and see so many different cities. I have almost been all over the world. There are only a couple of places that I havenít actually been to. As a 21 year old, I have seen a lot and I am really grateful that I have this kind of job so I can see the world, learn new things and have many good experiences.

Thomas: On the tennis circuit, you mix with players of different nationalities. Do you enjoy those moments and do you learn about different cultures?

Jelena: We talk to each other. We talk about what we do on special occasions. For example, Christmas in Serbia is on January 7th rather than December 25th like in America. So, we talk about our differences and itís good to learn about it. You can always have good knowledge from each other.


Next season and women tennis

Thomas: Since 2003, itĎs possible to see that you have improved tremendously in the major tournaments, meaning in Australia, in France, in England and in United States. For 2007, what are your objectives?

Jelena: I would like to keep going. My main goal is to reach my full potential and how much that is we will see. If I reach my full potential I will than be happy. Until then if I donít reach that Iím not happy. I will try and I will always improve my game everyday. Work on myself and things I need to improve because nobody is perfect. You can always get better. I want to keep going forward. Obviously I would like to win a Grand Slam. But now, my goal is to be in the top 10. I am currently 12th. I donít want to make big goals because you never know what tomorrow will bring. I can get injured, get sick or whatever. I had a virus in October 2005 and it was difficult to come back. I want to stay in the present and think day by day and what time brings it brings. Only God knows.

Thomas: Tell me, why a spectator should go see a women tennis match?

Jelena: I think women tennis is a lot of fun to watch. You can watch a lot of exciting tennis. You can see many different personalities and you can see girls in tennis skirts. Different outfits, it can be interesting for the spectators. (Jelena laughs). You know, Iím not a spectator and I donít watch the game from that prospect.

Thomas: Well done, Jelena.

~Kiera~
Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:16 PM
http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/040107/spl_8885983.shtml

4 TO WATCH

Sure, you probably know that Nadia Petrova won the Bausch & Lomb title last year and that Jill Craybas was a Florida Gators star.

But what about Craybas' superstitions or Jelena Jankovic's secret ambition?

To learn more about some of the tennis stars who will hit the clay at Amelia Island this week, Times-Union reporter Francine King sat down with four of them. They talked about life on and off the WTA Tour and what tennis fans might be surprised to know about them.

Jelena Jankovic

Country: Serbia.

Residence: Bradenton.

What you might know: Jankovic reached the U.S. Open semifinal last year, defeating three top-10 players en route (Nicole Vaidisova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Dementieva).

What you might not know: Jankovic enjoys acting and is listed on the Internet Movie Database in the cast list for Munje!, a Serbian comedy set in Belgrade. "I was actually offered a role in a movie in Serbia, but I didn't have time to do that," she said. "I just met also a film producer that was going to Monte Carlo, and he gave me his business card. That's something that I would like to do, but I don't know, it's so difficult with the tennis obligations. My priority is tennis, of course, and I want to concentrate now on my career. So maybe after or when I have time I would like to experience something like that."

How she describes her playing style: Aggressive. "I like to take balls quite early," she said, "and I hit it quite flat. I have a pretty good backhand down the line that I hit that destroys my opponent. I would like to improve on my serve and my volley."

~Kiera~
Apr 5th, 2007, 11:37 AM
http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/040507/spl_9073132.shtml

Jankovic strong in opener

The Serbian shrugs off her recent injuries to win first singles match at Amelia.

By BART HUBBUCH, The Times-Union


If Wednesday was any indication, Jelena Jankovic might want to play injured more often.

The No. 2 seed in this week's Bausch & Lomb Championships showed little, if any, ill effects of recent ankle and back injuries during a straight-set demolition of unseeded Iveta Benesova.

Jankovic, the ninth-ranked player on the WTA Tour, cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory in an afternoon match on the Stadium Court at Amelia Island Plantation that lasted just 56 minutes.

So much for any health issues on the part of the 22-year-old Serbian, who was making her singles debut on clay.

"The second set was a little tougher, and it was difficult to adjust my movement," Jankovic said. "I was sliding more, but I finished the match and was happy to get through."

Jankovic certainly didn't look like she was struggling to put away Benesova, a 24-year-old qualifier from the Czech Republic ranked 86th on the tour who defeated Japan's Akiko Morigami in the first round.

Although Benesova had beaten Jankovic in Tokyo two years ago in their only previous meeting, she was no match for Jankovic's overpowering serve.

Jankovic routinely hit 102-104 mph with her serve and never had it broken. She also was very strong with her first serve, winning 22-of-27 points.

Technically, Wednesday wasn't Jankovic's 2007 clay debut because she and American Corina Morariu lost a doubles match Tuesday night. But Jankovic said the clay still felt unfamiliar when she faced Benesova.

"I'm comfortable on clay, but I need some time to get used to it," Jankovic said. "I need to get my rhythm back on clay, which requires playing as many matches as possible."

Playing has been difficult for Jankovic, because her 5-foot-9, 130-pound frame hasn't cooperated very well this year.

She injured her wrist at Dubai in February, then tweaked her back at Indian Wells two weeks ago.

The season had started so promisingly for Jankovic, too, highlighted by a three-set victory over Russian Vera Zvonareva in the final at Auckland, New Zealand, in January.

She hasn't advanced past the fourth round in either of her previous two tournaments, but Jankovic - who advanced to face 16th-seeded Russian Alona Bondarenko this afternoon - has a feeling Amelia Island could be the start of her turnaround.

"I tend to kind of get injured a lot because my body isn't physically as strong as the other girls at the top," Jankovic said. "The biggest thing for me is staying healthy. This is a good start."

~Kiera~
Apr 16th, 2007, 12:54 PM
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1267

Jankovic Wins Family Circle Cup

CHARLESTON, SC, USA - One year ago she was in the midst of a 10-match losing streak and working her way down the rankings. It's funny how the wind can change direction at the drop of a hat, however; on an incredibly blistery Sunday afternoon in Charleston, Jelena Jankovic continued her awesome career turnaround and climb up the Top 10 with her third and biggest Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title at the Family Circle Cup.

Sunday's final was somewhat anticlimactic, considering Jankovic's marathon semifinal against an unseeded Venus Williams, which lasted for more than two-and-a-half hours, ending with the No.2-seeded Serb winning, 36 63 76(5). No.4 seed Dinara Safina provided little resistance in the windy final, going down in straight sets, 62 62.

"I had an awesome week here," Jankovic said. "Especially beating Venus. Today in the final it was a bit of a different story because of the weather. It was really windy and tough circumstances, but I gave my best, and I'm the champion. I'm so happy I won this title. It's my first Tier I title. It's a really amazing feeling."

Safina came out strong in the early stages of both sets, going up 2-1 in the first then 2-0 in the second, but every time Jankovic retaliated with a string of easy games, none of which even went to deuce. It was over in one hour, 11 minutes.

"It was not my day," Safina said. "I was struggling with the weather, but it was the same for her, so I think she was able to handle it better than me. I was giving away too many free points. With this weather you have to make someone play."

"She was having a difficult time, but I was also; it's not easy playing in this kind of weather, but there is nothing you can do about it," Jankovic added. "Especially when we were serving. I was just trying to stay focused and positive out there."

By virtue of reaching her second career Tier I final, having finished runner-up at Rome to Martina Hingis last year, Safina will return to the Top 10 on Monday, at No.10. She was No.10 for four weeks last year and three more in January. With a title here she could have risen to No.9, but she was still pleased with her week.

"I'm definitely happy," the Russian said. "I wouldn't have expected to reach the finals. If somebody told me I was going to be in the final I would shake his hand and say 'I'll give you half of my prize money.' Sometimes it just goes your way."

For Jankovic, the title win represents another giant step in her career turnaround. She was a first round loser at this event last season then fell out of the Top 30, but she was one of the hottest players of the year thereafter; she hasn't changed a thing in 2007, claiming Auckland in January, cracking the Top 10 soon after and, with her second title of the year here, moving up to No.7 on Monday.

"You see what I mean by the wind?" Jankovic joked. "Some things are meant to happen for a reason. Maybe if those things didn't happen I wouldn't be here. That period made me a lot stronger and now I realize some things and values. Now, I appreciate my results a little more; I appreciate things a lot more than before."

One of the things the 22-year-old will appreciate when she returns to defend her trophy next year is a banner of her among former champions at the event, which include tennis legends Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Arantxa SŠnchez-Vicario, as well as a smattering of active players like Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis, Mary Pierce and Justine Henin.

"I'm the new poster girl," Jankovic said. "Next year, when I come here, hopefully I'll see my picture up there. It's a good feeling!"

~Kiera~
Apr 16th, 2007, 03:58 PM
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1268

Jankovic Extends Lead in ACES Race

Jelena Jankovic tops the ACES Race this week in a 100-point lead over second-placed Ana Ivanovic. Family Circle Cup champion Jelena Jankovic participated in numerous activities throughout the week, including taking time to visit and meet several sponsors of the tournament in their private suite or at the player party.

Jankovic also gave her time to the fans, offering two autograph sessions. In addition, she enjoyed speaking to the media on several occasions, going above and beyond her obligatory press conferences.

Patty Schnyder was also busy last week, visiting the Medical University of South Carolina's Children's Hospital, taking part in the making of the draw, speaking to media and visiting with fans and sponsors throughout the week.

Below are the ACES Race 2007 standings as of April 16, following the Family Circle Cup (Charleston):

1. Jelena Jankovic - 305
2. Ana Ivanovic - 205
3. Tatiana Golovin - 200
4. Martina Hingis - 180
5. Nadia Petrova - 145
5. Svetlana Kuznetsova - 145
5. Justine Henin - 145
8. Amelie Mauresmo - 125
9. Kim Clijsters - 115
10. Patty Schnyder - 110

schorsch
Apr 16th, 2007, 05:49 PM
hehe you're just to friggin' fast kiera. me wanted to post the ace race, too. jelena loves sharing time with fans and thus she'll win this race for sure. what does the winner get? an award?

Kampi
Apr 16th, 2007, 06:26 PM
hehe you're just to friggin' fast kiera. me wanted to post the ace race, too. jelena loves sharing time with fans and thus she'll win this race for sure. what does the winner get? an award?

Hi schorsch, mein Freund, yes it's really a tough battle to compete against kiera :worship: in terms of "speed-posting". Most of the time you are only the "runner-up". :lol:

~Kiera~
Apr 16th, 2007, 06:50 PM
:lol:

I haven't a clue what they win. Probably an award or something, like you said. There's no mention of it in the articles I found on the WTA site.

predrag
Apr 16th, 2007, 10:50 PM
Ana Ivanovic's site mentioned in february "...the player who finishes top of the ACES Race 2007 will be given a special award during the end of season Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid. Svetlana Kuznetsova is the current holder of the prize."

I don't think it's been decided yet what kind of award will be given, but at least we know who will be on the recieveing end.

predrag
Apr 16th, 2007, 11:07 PM
Story in The Post and Courier, published in Charelston, reveals
how Jelena ended up in a black t-shirt:

http://www.charleston.net/assets/webPages/departmental/news/Stories.aspx?section=sports&tableId=139277&pubDate=4/16/2007

~Kiera~
Apr 16th, 2007, 11:11 PM
Thanks a lot, predrag! Great article.

Kampi
Apr 17th, 2007, 06:44 AM
Thx predrag:) , really a great article and a pleasure to read.:D Jelena is really fantastic on and especially off the court. Truly a down to earth kind of girl that attracts you with great sense of humor, charm, and personality. That story with the black t-shirt is a good example. She really has the ability to become a peoples champion and stay in the hearts of the people and in my oppinion this means more than any tournament victory. But it seems that she is on her way to combine great success off and on the court. Man, what a combination. :worship: :hearts: I'm starting to get lost in her eyes.:inlove: :scared:

schorsch
Apr 23rd, 2007, 04:58 PM
jelena Jankovic Wins 2007 Family Circle Cup

22-Year-Old Serb Uses O3 Red to Capture Third Career Tour Title and Career High Ranking


"My game and confidence have improved dramatically since I picked up the O3 Red."


Bordentown, NJ – April 16, 2007 – Jelena Jankovic kicked off her clay court season in dramatic fashion Sunday, winning the 2007 Family Circle Cup championship for her second WTA tour event title of the year and her first ever Tier I title. After defeating Venus Williams 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 in a thrilling, 2 hour 30 minute semi-final match, the 22-year-old rolled through the fourth seed, Russian Dinara Safina, in the finals, 6-2, 6-2. With the win, Jankovic captured her third career title and reaches a career high ranking of #7. Charleston marked her third appearance in a tour event final this year and helped her in her quest to break into the top five.

“I am very happy with how I played this week,” said Jankovic. “I had to make some changes in strategy during my match with Venus and I am glad I did. I felt as though I was hitting and moving well throughout the tournament and I think that showed in my match against Dinara. My goal is to crack the top five and I am going to continue to work hard to do that. Right now, I am just enjoying this win.”

Jankovic joined the Prince team in March of last year and immediately made the switch to the O3 Red. Since then, her ranking has skyrocketed forty-one spots from #48 in the world.

“My game and confidence have improved dramatically since I picked up the O3 Red. It gives me more power and helps me maintain ball control. That combination is key to playing my best tennis.”

Since being introduced, O3 racquets have helped players capture nearly 200 ATP and WTA tour events including six Grand Slam titles. There are now over 80 touring pro who join Jankovic in using the patented, revolutionary technology that transformed traditional pin sized string holes into giant O-ports.

“Jelena is not only a tremendous competitor and player, but a wonderful person and we are extremely proud of her accomplishment this week in Charleston,” said Linda Glassel, VP of Marketing and Communications at Prince. “If her goal is to break into the top five, we are sure she will accomplish it. There is very little Jelena cannot do on the tennis court and we are excited to continue to have her part of our team and watch her continue to succeed.”

About Prince Sports

Prince Sports, Inc., based in New Jersey, is a recognized leader in game-improvement technologies and engineering-based high-performance sports equipment. Since 1970, Prince and Ektelon have revolutionized tennis, squash and racquetball with innovations including “Oversize,” “Longbody” and “Extender” racquet technologies, Natural Foot Shape footwear technology, Synthetic Gut String and Electronic Ball Machines. Prince gives players speed, stability and a larger sweet spot with O3 racquet technology, building the brand with O3 Original Series (2005), O3 Hybrid (2006) and O3Speedport (2007). In 2006, Prince introduced M Series footwear with Precision Tube Technology, an innovation that gives players maximum cushioning, stability and ventilation. Prince Sports has operations on three continents and distribution in over 100 countries. For more information, please visit www.princetennis.com.

~Kiera~
Apr 23rd, 2007, 05:15 PM
Thanks, schorsch!

schorsch
Apr 23rd, 2007, 06:16 PM
i finally had an article that you didnt have. i feel i can be proud of myself now.

:haha: just kidding!

you're welcome kiera.

~Kiera~
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:42 PM
:lol:

predrag
Apr 23rd, 2007, 11:08 PM
Some snippets that got lost in the shuffle over the last few days:

- Jelena plans to cut participating in doubles in upcoming tournaments.
Rankings in doubles mean nothing to her, she'll appear only when
it suits her training schedule.

- Reebok shoes with her signature she started using at AO are finally
making a good fit.

- Jelena's plan to have her own fashion show with 30+ creations got
bumped aside by virtue of mama Sneki loosing all of the sketches.

- During that doubles match against Slovenia, Ana Timotic suddenly noticed
an unusual mark on her racquet. It turned out to be a bird's poo-poo.
That being the first time she was faced with a poo-poo on the racquet,
it crossed her mind it could be luck coming from above. Unsure how her
playing partner would react to a contaminated racquet, Ana turned to
Jelena for an educated opinion. "Luck it is!" decisevely snapped JJ.
So they finished the match with only one clean racquet. Now I'm confused.
What turned this match around in the third set? Sneki or poo-poo?
Help me here.

- All players on Fed Cup team recieved a present: Clinique eau de parfum
that goes by the brand name Happy.

~Kiera~
Apr 24th, 2007, 12:01 AM
Thanks, predrag!

- Jelena plans to cut participating in doubles in upcoming tournaments.
Rankings in doubles mean nothing to her, she'll appear only when
it suits her training schedule.

:woohoo:

maya-serbia
Apr 24th, 2007, 12:08 PM
http://www.kurir-info.co.yu/arhiva/2007/april/24/PDF/24.pdf


:bounce: :devil: :bounce:

Kampi
Apr 24th, 2007, 12:52 PM
Thank you maya-serbia:D
But I'm afraid some of us need a translation.:lol: :help:

p.s.: And personally I need a heart-surgery now, because the picture of JJ is killing me.....her legs are a "killer" :hearts: :help: :hearts: :lol:

~Kiera~
Apr 25th, 2007, 12:18 PM
http://www.charleston.net/assets/webPages/departmental/news/default_pf.aspx?NEWSID=140815

Still searching for Charleston's own star

BY JAMES BECK
The Post and Courier

One of these days Charleston should land its own pro tennis star, and not just for a week during the Family Circle Cup.

Wouldn't it be great if one of the world's top players claimed Charleston as home? Even Richard Williams called back to the Family Circle Cup after this month's tournament to tell tournament director Robin Reynolds, what a great time his daughters, Venus and Serena Williams, had in Charleston. It would be nice having at least one of them call Charleston their home, but that probably won't happen since they appear to enjoy the South Florida lifestyle so much.

But what about our latest champion, Jelena Jankovic? She resides in Bradenton, Fla., but she appeared to have a great time here. And she already has a Charleston T-shirt.

Don't forget, the area has two former pros from the famed Nick Bollettieri Academy. Fritz Nau even worked with Jankovic at Bollettieri's when she was a junior and Ean Meyer once was offered a traveling coach job to work with Jankovic by her mother about eight years ago. Nau and Meyer headline the staff at Mount Pleasant's Players Club.

So, if former Bollettieri's participant and Wimbledon semifinalist Alexandra Stevenson said she plans to call the Players Club her home base, why not Jankovic. That would be perfect. Jankovic could be close to Family Circle Tennis Center, the site of her greatest accomplishment. Winning her first Tier I title in tornado-like conditions was quite an accomplisment.

Meyer, who worked for seven years at Bollettieri's, said he was traveling in Italy with his own player when Jankovic's mother, Snezana, approached him about working with her daughter. At the time, Jankovic might not have been able to afford Meyer's services. That's changed now for the Serbian star.

Kampi
Apr 25th, 2007, 01:31 PM
Thank you Sarah:wavey: :D

Speaking of the article, right now I can't imagine that JJ is moving to Charleston. For me that is just pure speculation. I think she will stay mainly in Belgrade and sometimes at her other residence Bradenton. So I don't take this article too serious.

predrag
Apr 25th, 2007, 06:07 PM
http://www.charleston.net/assets/webPages/departmental/news/default_pf.aspx?NEWSID=140815

:lol:

In just two hops, James Beck goes from watching, to gushing,
to inviting Jelena to live in Charleston. Dare we say it, a ring
is on the way?

predrag
Apr 25th, 2007, 06:49 PM
http://www.nhregister.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18256446&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=7592&rfi=6

Article in New Haven Register states :

Worcester said it was likely that No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 7 Jelena Jankovic, No. 9 Nadia Petrova, No. 13 Elena Dementieva and No. 14 Daniela Hantuchova will play in the Pilot Pen, which will be held Aug. 17-25 at the Connecticut Tennis Center.

The same article addresses a burning question of Mauresmo
entering late a Warsaw tournament.

predrag
Apr 25th, 2007, 06:55 PM
Extensive Eurosport coverage of Berlin tournament starts on Tuesday, May 8
with 7-hour slot.

Kampi
Apr 25th, 2007, 07:43 PM
:lol:

In just two hops, James Beck goes from watching, to gushing,
to inviting Jelena to live in Charleston. Dare we say it, a ring
is on the way?

:lol: :lol: :lol: James, you are trying too hard man, just trying too hard...:haha: Courtship behaviour in the worst possible form...:lol: My advice for James is: Don't forget to take your pills...and take two:lol: :tape: :help:

~Kiera~
Apr 25th, 2007, 07:54 PM
:lol:

Poor James. Smitten with Jelena ;)

Just Do It
Apr 25th, 2007, 07:54 PM
http://www.blic.co.yu/zabava.php?id=2367

predrag
Apr 27th, 2007, 08:40 AM
http://www.blic.co.yu/zabava.php?id=2367

Article that Danilo posted was published on Thursday
(before press conference). Short summary:

Jelena's sketches may be lost, but Mona's CEO announced
that a collection of 20-30 designer articles, created
with heavy input from JJ, will hit the shops in a month.
The line will go by name "Mona and Jelena Jankovic".
She then expalins that originally it was Mona's idea, not
Jelena's, to create a collection with JJ signature and that
winter collection is also being cosidered. Fashion show
promoting the line is not scheduled, but could happen.

The following day, on a press conference, Jelena mentioned
that whole collection is in silver, gold and black. The dress
Jelena was wearing (see pics posted by kiera) is part of it.

~Kiera~
Apr 27th, 2007, 08:55 AM
Thanks, predrag! I was curious as to what those articles were talking about.

predrag
Apr 27th, 2007, 09:34 AM
The painting presented on a press conference (see pic posted
by kiera) was, again, the idea of Mona's CEO, Nada Momirovic,
a birthday present delivered late. Painting was made by
great Olja Ivanjicki (on the pic with Jelena).

Olja's site at:

http://www.oljaivanjicki.com/

Kampi
Apr 27th, 2007, 09:52 AM
The painting presented on a press conference (see pic posted
by kiera) was, again, the idea of Mona's CEO, Nada Momirovic,
a birthday present delivered late. Painting was made by
great Olja Ivanjicki (on the pic with Jelena).

Olja's site at:

http://www.oljaivanjicki.com/

Thx predrag:wavey:

predrag
Apr 27th, 2007, 11:43 AM
Now to that press conference. Looks like it was anti-climatic.
Jelena spoke on Fed Cup draw, feeling sorry the match against
Slovakia will not be played in front of a home crowd, while
not being overly worried about facing Hantuchova. She still
counts on Ana joining her in July.

She still feels emotionally and physically drained, after
two eventful weeks, picking up the racquet for the first
time on Thursday.

As expected, she'll play Warsaw, Berlin and Rome, but she
never mentioned Strasbourg. I'm pretty sure she'll skip
that Tier III, here is why: Jelena is starting to THINK BIG.
Playing on 3 red-clay tournies, in her own words, "will only
be the way to prepare" for one thing that clearly occupies
her mind - Roland Garros. Jelena realizes that she's at the
point in her career where only winning Slams will count.
Same goes for improving her rankings - cherry-picking some
additional points, here and there, is not going to do it.

And speaking of press conferences, check this out:

The Sony Ericsson Open has shamelessly tried to sell guest reporter passes, where fans could purchase access to the Key Biscayne press room and the press conferences in the interview room.

http://www.insidetennis.com/0507_the_buzz.html

~Kiera~
Apr 27th, 2007, 12:15 PM
Thanks, predrag. I do hope she becomes much more selective about which events she plays.

Kampi
Apr 27th, 2007, 12:20 PM
Now to that press conference. Looks like it was anti-climatic.
Jelena spoke on Fed Cup draw, feeling sorry the match against
Slovakia will not be played in front of a home crowd, while
not being overly worried about facing Hantuchova. She still
counts on Ana joining her in July.

She still feels emotionally and physically drained, after
two eventful weeks, picking up the racquet for the first
time on Thursday.

As expected, she'll play Warsaw, Berlin and Rome, but she
never mentioned Strasbourg. I'm pretty sure she'll skip
that Tier III, here is why: Jelena is starting to THINK BIG.
Playing on 3 red-clay tournies, in her own words, "will only
be the way to prepare" for one thing that clearly occupies
her mind - Roland Garros. Jelena realizes that she's at the
point in her career where only winning Slams will count.
Same goes for improving her rankings - cherry-picking some
additional points, here and there, is not going to do it.

And speaking of press conferences, check this out:



http://www.insidetennis.com/0507_the_buzz.html

All about BIG:lol:
One again BIG THX to you predrag:worship: , for giving us this nice report about the press conference. And I really welcome the point that Jelena is beginning to think BIG. All of us mentioned this so many times, that's the way for her.;) A really BIG tournament is just around the corner.;) Believe in something BIG.:angel:

Think BIG and BIG:wavey:

GO JJ:worship: :D :kiss:

predrag
Apr 28th, 2007, 05:54 PM
Thanks, predrag. I do hope she becomes much more selective about which events she plays.

Before US Open she had a 10-day rest, after giving Ana w/o in Montreal
and consequently withdrawing from New Haven. To the opposite, before
AO she managed to play 10 matches in 11 days. Get this Strasbourg place
out of her schedule, please.

On the less obvious note, she enjoys being in Belgrade but can't
properly train here. It's almost like she enters tournaments to
both compete and as a training vehicle for the following one, all at once.
And to work on physical conditioning she needs a hideout, not a 1-hour
time-slot on a court next to shopping district involving Mona.
If she is in a think-slam mood, she needs to find the place where she
can prepare accordingly.

predrag
Apr 29th, 2007, 01:01 AM
We were all befuddled, at some point, by Jelena's decision to
play Strasbourg (I sure was) and here comes the light on the
subject.

From that interview with Jelena that Luka has finally put together
(in Serbian, http://tenissrbija.blogspot.com/ ), it's mostly recycled
stuff, but at the very end, there is a quote worth translating (Jelena
is talking about Strasbourg):

I'm not sure I'll play that tournament. It all depends on what I'll do
in preceding weeks. That tournament is my Gold Exempt (required, except
in the case of injury). I'll see what I'll do, there's plenty of time
till then.

Gold/Silver Exempt status is detailed on pages 11-33 in "2007 Official
Rulebook", which can be found at:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/global/pdfs/shared/thewtatour/officialrules/rules.pdf

But if you are not up to reading the legalese jargon, and, additionally,
you are a little short on time/patience/<INSERT YOUR OWN EXCUSE HERE>
stick with the translation.

Gold/Silver Exempt list of players is formed after US Open every year
as a combination of rankings and some other formula. Jelena has finished
in the Gold Exempt 14-20 group (she was ranked 17th at the time).
Players from that group must commit to 3 Tier III tournaments in the calendar
2007 year. Then there is a category of Tour Placements Tournaments (TPTs)
where the Tour picks up one Tier III in each half of the year for 14-20
group. I assume these 2 Tier IIIs are inclusive of 3 Tier III commitments.
Basically the WTA Tour picked up Strasbourg tournament for Jelena.

If Jelena withdraws from Strasbourg, in the case of Bona Fide Injury
or Illness fine is $2,500, otherwise it's $5,000.

Sigh!

schorsch
Apr 29th, 2007, 02:58 AM
bah, i'd rather pay the money myself in order to keep her chances for RG higher. but its sad for the peeps in strassbourg. and of course she would win it :p at least she wont have this problem anymore in 2008.
does a tier iv count, too? coz then she would at least not have to play three Tier III event anymore -> auckland.

predrag
Apr 29th, 2007, 08:18 AM
does a tier iv count, too? coz then she would at least not have to play three Tier III event anymore -> auckland.

No, Tier IVs cannot replace Tier IIIs.

The previous year, calendar 2006, Jelena was also Gold Exempt 14-20.
The Tour designated her to play Strasbourg in the first half
of the year and Guangzhou in the second. She also played Ordina,
Cincinnati and Quebec by her own commitments.

It's funny that Jelena has played 99 matches in the previous
12 months (not counting the recent Fed Cup week), more
than any other TOP 20 player by a mile. This number will hit
100 in next two weeks. By comparison, most matches played
in a calendar year in 2005 was 84 by Schnyder, in 2002 79 by Dokic,
or in 2000 87 by Hingis. And now she's on the verge of being fined
for not visiting Strasbourg? This Gold Exempt game needs
amendments badly.

Kampi
Apr 29th, 2007, 09:10 AM
No, Tier IVs cannot replace Tier IIIs.

The previous year, calendar 2006, Jelena was also Gold Exempt 14-20.
The Tour designated her to play Strasbourg in the first half
of the year and Guangzhou in the second. She also played Ordina,
Cincinnati and Quebec by her own commitments.

It's funny that Jelena has played 99 matches in the previous
12 months (not counting the recent Fed Cup week), more
than any other TOP 20 player by a mile. This number will hit
100 in next two weeks. By comparison, most matches played
in a calendar year in 2005 was 84 by Schnyder, in 2002 79 by Dokic,
or in 2000 87 by Hingis. And now she's on the verge of being fined
for not visiting Strasbourg? This Gold Exempt game needs
amendments badly.

Hi predrag:wavey:
I totally agree. This is really a pretty ridiculous kind of rule made by the WTA. They have to reconsider that stupid regimentation in the future. I'm pretty aware what the goal of this rule is, because in the end all the players are representatives of the WTA-tour. But when it comes to represent the WTA, I think everyone agrees in saying, that our Jelena has done and is still doing a lot to represent them.;) On the other hand, it shouldn't be a big problem for her to pay that silly $5.000 fine to get rid of that needless Strasbourg event. We all know that there are BIGGER tasks ahead of her.:angel:

~Kiera~
Apr 29th, 2007, 11:54 AM
Thanks for shedding some light on that, predrag!

predrag
Apr 29th, 2007, 09:24 PM
On the other hand, it shouldn't be a big problem for her to pay that silly $5.000 fine to get rid of that needless Strasbourg event. We all know that there are BIGGER tasks ahead of her.:angel:

Exactly. Write a check, get that monkey off the back. :wavey:

schorsch
Apr 29th, 2007, 10:04 PM
still i feel for the people in strassbourg if she should skip this tournament. i mean they wouldnt get to see jelena. that's pretty much one of the worst things that could happen to them :p

predrag
Apr 29th, 2007, 10:36 PM
still i feel for the people in strassbourg if she should skip this tournament. i mean they wouldnt get to see jelena. that's pretty much one of the worst things that could happen to them :p

There is a solution: commute to Paris during Roland Garros.

predrag
Apr 29th, 2007, 10:44 PM
http://www.politika.co.yu/detaljno.php?nid=26883

There was yet another piece on Jelena published on Monday.
Here are some quotes:

Recently, CNN broadcasted a ten-minute profile of me. They told
me the length of the spot was unusually long, it was rare that
such a spotlight is put on any athlete, including Americans...
It wasn't critical for them that I'm Serbian or the situation
we have at home, they chose me because I differ from others,
because I'm open, spontaneous, natural...

Women's tennis has unthinkably progessed in a sense that physical
conditioning has become the most important factor. My body is
weaker compared to other players so I'm trying to counter that
by fighting it out, but I'm more inclined to injuries...

I cannot be a perfect player, but I'm trying to improve my
serve and my volley...

My immediate goal is to crack the Top 5, where I belong, then
try to boost my ranking even higher.

predrag
Apr 30th, 2007, 11:30 PM
Polsat Sport has broad coverage of Warsaw for Polish audience.
http://www.polsatsport.tv/

It's almost certain that all of Jelena's matches will be shown
in Serbia (Avala), for others I can't find a streaming link yet.
Or try finding a link here:
http://www.tennisform.com/

Kampi
May 1st, 2007, 06:56 AM
Polsat Sport has broad coverage of Warsaw for Polish audience.
http://www.polsatsport.tv/

It's almost certain that all of Jelena's matches will be shown
in Serbia (Avala), for others I can't find a streaming link yet.
Or try finding a link here:
http://www.tennisform.com/

I'm afraid that I have to go (once again) with the very exciting:rolleyes: image of the live-score until Jelena will hopefully:angel: reach the SF. Damn, in germany the coverage of tennis is getting weaker and weaker. I remember the good old days, when almost every tournament was shown in tv. Right now it seems that the only possibility to catch some tennis is Eurosport 1. And their coverage cannot fully please me. Especially when I look at the shedule for Warsaw coverage. :mad: They will not show anything until the semis and then only show the first SF:confused: and the final on Sunday. Right know they are having such a huge coverage of the Snooker Worldchampionship. I like to watch Snooker, but Eurosport should remember that they also have a duty and responsibility to show other sports. Snooker is very popular and ES has obviously great success with their coverage of it, but they should remember that the channels name is not "Snookersport" but "Eurosport".:fiery:

Just Do It
May 1st, 2007, 05:43 PM
It's almost certain that all of Jelena's matches will be shown
in Serbia (Avala), for others I can't find a streaming link yet.


Do you really think Avala will show ALL Jelena's matches ? NO WAY !!!
They will show only matches which will EuroSport show !

Just Do It
May 1st, 2007, 05:46 PM
Predraze, odakle znas tolko stvari o Jeleni ... ono, izgledas mi skroz upucen u sve sto Jelena radi, gde se krece, dosta stvari za koje prvi put cujemo ! Gde nalazis te 'socne' informacije ? :lol:

predrag
May 1st, 2007, 07:25 PM
Danilo, it's only fair that we write in English, so I'll first
translate your post. Agree? Thought so.

Predraze, odakle znas tolko stvari o Jeleni ... ono, izgledas mi skroz upucen u sve sto Jelena radi, gde se krece, dosta stvari za koje prvi put cujemo ! Gde nalazis te 'socne' informacije ? :lol:

How come you know so much about Jelena, Predrag?....it seems that you know everything she does, where she goes, some other things that we've first heard from you! Where do you find all that 'juicy' info? :lol:

Frankly, I didn't post anything 'juicy' yet. What I consider 'juicy'
would be the fine print in contract between Jelena and Octagon,
for example.

I only have two sources on Jelena: Serbian dailies and weeklies
(sports daily Sportski Zurnal being the best one by far, sorry
folks, it's not available on www) and the web. It's all in front
of you. Read Matt Cronin's site (http://www.********************/)
and you'll become an instant expert on JJ. But read ALL of it.
Publicity Jelena recieved during the US Open was mind-boggling
for me, so I read pretty much ALL of it. Read, comprehend,
connect the dots, write. That's all. :)

predrag
May 1st, 2007, 07:39 PM
I'm afraid that I have to go (once again) with the very exciting:rolleyes: image of the live-score until Jelena will hopefully:angel: reach the SF. Damn, in germany the coverage of tennis is getting weaker and weaker. I remember the good old days, when almost every tournament was shown in tv. Right now it seems that the only possibility to catch some tennis is Eurosport 1. And their coverage cannot fully please me. Especially when I look at the shedule for Warsaw coverage. :mad: They will not show anything until the semis and then only show the first SF:confused: and the final on Sunday. Right know they are having such a huge coverage of the Snooker Worldchampionship. I like to watch Snooker, but Eurosport should remember that they also have a duty and responsibility to show other sports. Snooker is very popular and ES has obviously great success with their coverage of it, but they should remember that the channels name is not "Snookersport" but "Eurosport".:fiery:

ATP is making some strides in offering coverage through live streaming,
and it's only a question of time when WTA will do the same, on some
level. Few tournaments are already being streamed. Imagine the day
when all of the matches are being offered on subscription basis. I don't
think that's too far away. In which case snookerish Eurosport would
become irrelevant (78 down, 922 to go...oh..uh...).

Kampi
May 1st, 2007, 08:47 PM
Danilo, it's only fair that we write in English, so I'll first
translate your post. Agree? Thought so.





Frankly, I didn't post anything 'juicy' yet. What I consider 'juicy'
would be the fine print in contract between Jelena and Octagon,
for example.

I only have two sources on Jelena: Serbian dailies and weeklies
(sports daily Sportski Zurnal being the best one by far, sorry
folks, it's not available on www) and the web. It's all in front
of you. Read Matt Cronin's site (http://www.********************/)
and you'll become an instant expert on JJ. But read ALL of it.
Publicity Jelena recieved during the US Open was mind-boggling
for me, so I read pretty much ALL of it. Read, comprehend,
connect the dots, write. That's all. :)

Obviously, Danilo was trying to test you or something like that. Maybe he tried to find out if you have some kind of insider information.;):lol:
You know, sometimes we have to take a deeper look at someone's post and sometimes we have to read between the lines. And maybe we find something that is quite obvious. Maybe you should reflect on your on text above. And maybe you also find something.;)

Just Do It
May 2nd, 2007, 09:47 AM
Obviously, Danilo was trying to test you or something like that. Maybe he tried to find out if you have some kind of insider information.

Actually, no :p I just was curious where he is finding these informations !

predrag
May 3rd, 2007, 01:45 PM
Do you really think Avala will show ALL Jelena's matches ? NO WAY !!!
They will show only matches which will EuroSport show !

I don't think Avala's programming is tied to Eurosport,
as both channels are not producing, just transmitting,
as far as tennis is concerned.

So Jelena's match against Vesnina wasn't on, which led
me to call Avala and try to figure out their decision
making, since Polsat has surely shown Jelena's match.

Few phone calls later, all I can say is this: on Friday
they will show one match, either at 15:00 CET or 17:00 CET.
They still don't know if it's going to be JJ-Chakvetadze
or Djokovic-Garcia-Lopez.

Explanation provided for all the confusion over their
coverage of ATP/WTA I'm keeping to myself, because
it's :bs: .

Kampi
May 3rd, 2007, 02:35 PM
I don't think Avala's programming is tied to Eurosport,
as both channels are not producing, just transmitting,
as far as tennis is concerned.

So Jelena's match against Vesnina wasn't on, which led
me to call Avala and try to figure out their decision
making, since Polsat has surely shown Jelena's match.

Few phone calls later, all I can say is this: on Friday
they will show one match, either at 15:00 CET or 17:00 CET.
They still don't know if it's going to be JJ-Chakvetadze
or Djokovic-Garcia-Lopez.

Explanation provided for all the confusion over their
coverage of ATP/WTA I'm keeping to myself, because
it's :bs: .

Wow. Avala is a serbian tv station right. So when not even a serbian channel is going to show all of Jelena's matches and btw, it's even more embarrassing that they will show one match tomorrow, but they are still not sure if it's Jelena's (important) match against Anna Chak. or maybe some other :o ::confused: :mad: So how in god's name can we complain about the Eurosport coverage?!? And even when this is a pretty "pathetic" one, too.

Just Do It
May 3rd, 2007, 07:23 PM
Wow. Avala is a serbian tv station right. So when not even a serbian channel is going to show all of Jelena's matches and btw, it's even more embarrassing that they will show one match tomorrow, but there still not sure if it's Jelena's (important) match against Anna Chak. or maybe some other : So how in god's name can we complain about the Eurosport coverage?!? And even when this is a pretty "pathetic" one, too.



No,no ! Avala is a new TV station in Serbia, and they dont have sport programmat all, so showing at least one Jelena's match would be great :yeah: In the past 2-3 months they were showing some wta events where Ana and Jelena played, but those matches were aired on ES too, tho !

Anyway, Avala :yeah:

Just Do It
May 3rd, 2007, 07:27 PM
I don't think Avala's programming is tied to Eurosport,


But in the past they were showing only matches which ES and ES2 were showing :shrug: So i thought they are buying a licence from them :scratch:

Just Do It
May 3rd, 2007, 07:37 PM
Today when i was in the school, i bought Serbian most popular GOSSIP magazine, and while i was reading it I saw Jelena's interview there !! It is full of juicy things ... she was talking about her (ex) boyfriend, also she said she bought a flat in Belgrade, and now she is decorating it, also she is planning to buy a flat in Bogota ( what the hell ) ... then she said she will launch new collection ( clothes ) soon !Also she didnt want to take a plane from Bulgari to Serbia because she wanted to travel with Serbian fed cup team in a bus. They were eating pljeskavica ( Serbian national food) and were celebrating a victory with Serbian FOLK music :haha: Unfortunatelly I cant find that article on the web because it includes some interesting pics ( Jelena's disigned dress ) :sad:

http://www.svet.co.yu/ There you can see a picture of that magazine and in the down-left corner you can read Jelena Jankovic :)

I almost forgot : OF COURSE they asked Jelena about Ana and she said : I called Ana to have a lunch with me, I am not a good cook, but I will make something for us, we would talk about fed cup and of course we would invite other girls from Serbian fed cup team ... Then journalist asked Jelena is it true that you send an email to Ana and Jelena said : I dont wanna comment that :shrug:

It's a gossip magazine, so they were aksing her some really rude questions which Jelena didnt want to comment - like why did she break up with her boyfriend and some other things about her private life !

~Kiera~
May 3rd, 2007, 08:22 PM
Thanks, Danilo :)

also she is planning to buy a flat in Bogota ( what the hell )

I imagine she's intending to continue training out there with Sanchez.

Kampi
May 3rd, 2007, 08:31 PM
Wow, thx Danilo, my friend.:wavey:
Some really spicy news about our lovely girl.;) She obviously has a new hobby: "Collecting flats". :lol:
But seriously, I really like that part with traveling by bus back home, with the whole serbian Fed Cup team. That is a clear and important signal for everyone, that she doesn't feel as the big star. Very good Jelena.:D :worship: My desire to gush is growing in me.....once again....:lol:

predrag
May 3rd, 2007, 08:53 PM
After the match with Vesnina today (6-2, 7-5) Jelena was quoted
in Serbian media:

I'm not satisfied with my game today, I wasn't motivated, wasn't moving well. Immediately after the match, I went to train some more to be able to play on much higher level tomorrow. Central court in Warsaw is much softer than the one we're training on, so that's additional reason for a sloppy game today.



While all other players have been accomodated at Sheraton hotel,
organizers of Warsaw tournament, namely Director Stefan Makarczyk,
have chosen to separate Top 4 players to diferent luxurious location
(Regina?). Jelena was surprised when Makarczyk himself went to
the airport to greet her on arrival. Makarczyk then went on asking
Jelena about Belgrade's bombed-out building on Nemanjina street
(he visitied the city in 2002).

It seems that same Top 4 players have also been provided training
sessions that are not open to public. Jelena trained with Kuznetsova
on Wednesday so they took an opportunity, during lenghty conversation,
to remind themselves on junior days (both born in 1985).

Pics taken during Whirlpool promotion were showing Jelena making
all sorts of pastry for fans (everything gone in record time).
Now that she's also feeding fans, that Aces Race 2007 is turning
into a dud. :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

predrag
May 3rd, 2007, 09:02 PM
also she said she bought a flat in Belgrade, and now she is decorating it,


It was mentioned in another paper that the place will be
set for moving in in the second half of May. One more reason
to skip Strasbourg.

~Kiera~
May 3rd, 2007, 09:35 PM
Interesting. Thanks for the information, predrag :)

~Kiera~
May 4th, 2007, 01:08 PM
http://www.jandscup.pl/eng/news.php?i=303

Semifinal for Jankovic
May 04th 2007 | 14:21

Jelena Jankovic is the first semifinalist of the J&S Cup. The Serb advanced after playing just a quarter of a set with Anna Chakvetadze. The Russian had to retire due to an injury - a pulled right arm muscle. It is still unceratin how long she be recovering.

- I noticed that suddenly in the tie-break she started playing much worse. Before that, we were on the same level. I knew it had to be an injury.I really feel bad for Anna and hope she will quickly recover. But on the other hand, I'm glad my game improved since yesterday. After my last match I practiced a bit to get used to the court - said Jankovic.

In the semifinal Jankovic will face either Justine Henin or Mara Santangelo. Jelena and Justine met on the court three times so far: in 2005 and 2006, both times the Belgian won, giving away one set to her opponent in Doha. The Serb has a much better match history with Mara Santangelo: three matches (all played this year) - two wins and one loss.

predrag
May 4th, 2007, 04:40 PM
Jelena speaking on a press conference after the win
against Chakvetadze (translated):



I never liked when the match ends this way, because I know how
it feels to be hurt, when you can't continue. That's something
I don't wish happening to anybody. I played much better than
yesterday, I felt better, moved better, I'm happy with my
performance today. In the first set I made a lot of errors, but
then I got into rhythm, I played agressive, she returned a lot
of balls waiting for me to make a mistake. Tomorrow, there's
another difficult match, I hope I'll play even better.

(speaking about Henin)
She's one of the best clay players, but I don't pay any attention
to that. I have to play offensive tennis.

Kampi
May 4th, 2007, 05:49 PM
Thx predrag:wavey:
Relating to her words about Henin, I welcome her statement. Show respect to your opponent but have no fear. That's the key for everything.

"Listen young Jankovic. Respect you must have and focused you have to stay. Your mind you have to clear, fear is not your way. Aggression you must control, but offensive you must be, Like a thunder you must roll, then successful you will be." MASTER YODA has spoken.

~Kiera~
May 5th, 2007, 03:33 PM
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/05/sports/EU-SPT-TEN-J-S-Cup.php

WARSAW, Poland: Top-ranked Justine Henin beat third-seeded Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 Saturday to reach the final of the clay-court J&S Cup.

Henin jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first set before Jankovic leveled at 4-4. The Belgian then regrouped, and at 6-5 hit a forehand winner before Jankovic knocked a backhand wide to give Henin the break and the first set.

"I don't know how many times I've lost against her and it's always been in the third set. Very tough, a few points deciding the winner," Jankovic said. "She's a lot more experienced than me and I think that's the difference."

Jankovic, who won the Family Circle Cup last month to move up to No. 7 in the WTA rankings, stole an early break to lead 2-1 on her way to winning the second set.

Then in the third, Henin broke to take a 2-1 lead when Jankovic knocked a backhand wide. But the Serb responded in the next service game with a backhand winner before Henin pushed two groundstrokes long to hand Jankovic the break.

At 5-4, Jankovic knocked a forehand long to give Henin a match point.

"At the end I just made some stupid mistakes," Jankovic said. "I wanted to win really bad, but unfortunately I didn't do it."

Henin, the 2005 J&S Cup champion, has now beaten Jankovic in three sets in all four of their meetings.

Later Saturday, third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia was to play unseeded Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine in the other semifinal.

And a longer quote:

I donít remember how many times I have lost to Justine. Our matches are always close; she is the more experienced player and knows when to play it safe and when to attack. The first four games? She was just playing unbelievable tennis. Maybe she made one mistake. Later the match evened out and in the third set we were both tired. With a match that is this close the winner is sometimes simply luckier, there is a bad bounce and you lose, but what can you doÖ

Kampi
May 5th, 2007, 03:37 PM
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/05/sports/EU-SPT-TEN-J-S-Cup.php



And a longer quote:

So true Jelena. Great girl. :worship: And of course, thanks to you Sarah.:wavey: :worship: :kiss:

predrag
May 5th, 2007, 09:10 PM
Very similar quotes in Serbian media, she mentioned
a lost opportunity to take a break at 4:4 in the third
set. She was pleased how she served in the second set,
rare for Jelena to say a nice thing about her own serve.

After the match ended, a smile on her face appeared again
when a boy, whose name is Machek, gave her a rose
and congratulated her on excellent play.


-

~Kiera~
May 5th, 2007, 09:52 PM
Thanks, predrag. Sweet story :)

schorsch
May 5th, 2007, 11:06 PM
toldcha she was serving well !

~Kiera~
May 7th, 2007, 03:37 PM
From the All Access Hour:

"Iíve already won two tournaments this season. Perhaps it will be my breakthrough year. Iím happy with my game right now, Iíve worked really hard. Thereís no definite goal for the Qatar Telecom German Open since I donít want to pressure on myself Ė even though the draw is tough. However, I want to have as many matches as possible under my belt so that Iím well prepared for the French Open in Paris. I used to dislike clay courts but that has changed. I enjoy the special atmosphere of the Qatar Telecom German Open with itís Arabic tents, they remind me of Doha.Ē

predrag
May 7th, 2007, 08:35 PM
will reebok please design a new dress for her?

Hoi und gruezi!:lol:

As far as I know, Jelena will premiere new dress on every Grand Slam
this year. Few more weeks and you wishes will get answered. However,
if at any point in the future you suddenly start feeling a deep longing
toward "a white dress with yellow stripes', you should know that
the dress is already on a display in Belgarde's Museum of Sports.
It's the one she beat Venus in, from recent Charlston tourn.
Yes, it's signed. Hoi.

Kampi
May 7th, 2007, 09:17 PM
Hoi und gruezi!:lol:

As far as I know, Jelena will premiere new dress on every Grand Slam
this year. Few more weeks and you wishes will get answered. However,
if at any point in the future you suddenly start feeling a deep longing
toward "a white dress with yellow stripes', you should know that
the dress is already on a display in Belgarde's Museum of Sports.
It's the one she beat Venus in, from recent Charlston tourn.
Yes, it's signed. Hoi.


Guten Abend predrag:hatoff: :lol:
Wow, that's great. I'm still hoping for a new black dress.;) Because black looks good on her.:worship:

predrag
May 7th, 2007, 09:22 PM
In Berlin Jelena will be joined by Richard Brooks, her hitting
partner (this guy could be British) and physical therapy
specialist Milos Jelisavcic. Mama Snezana wasn't with her
in Warsaw, won't be in Berlin, but will join the troops in Rome.
Says Jelena (about herself and two guys):



We constantly laugh, we're healthy, it's a great atmosphere!


-

predrag
May 7th, 2007, 09:35 PM
I'm still hoping for a new black dress.;) Because black looks good on her.

If Reebok designs a black-coloured dress they would
sure put it on Jelena, I don't think Mauresmo
or Vaidisova would go with black. But I'm waiting
for a new Reebok campaign, replacing current
'I Am What I Am'. How things are going, Jelena
could be at the centre ;) of it.

predrag
May 9th, 2007, 12:28 PM
Jelena's Reebok shoes, the ones she was playing
in Charleston, will be offered on WTA's Charity
Auction. I don't think this item is on display yet.

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/thewtatour/charity/

predrag
May 9th, 2007, 08:01 PM
Bonnie DeSimone of espn.com notices Jelena:

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/columns/story?columnist=desimone_bonnie&id=2863763


6.9: Average number of tournaments played this season by the top 10 women in the WTA rankings, several of whom have been idle for long stretches. Somewhat surprisingly, the men's numbers aren't that different: the top 10 ATP players have logged an average of 7.1 events. Serbia's Jelena Jankovic leads all top-10 players, men and women, with 11 tournaments played; she hit a career-high No. 6 this week and has won titles in Auckland, New Zealand, and Charleston, S.C.

predrag
May 11th, 2007, 08:28 AM
Auckland Tennis in conjunction with the WTA Tour made
an annual review of ASB Classic (which Jelena won this
year).

http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/536641/1115491

predrag
May 11th, 2007, 08:37 AM
Qatar's The Peninsula offers a fine read
on stringing-racquet habits by some players.
Jelena's there, too.

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Sports_News&subsection=Tennis&month=May2007&file=Sports_News2007051171741.xml

Kampi
May 11th, 2007, 09:36 AM
Thx a lot predrag:wavey: :)

predrag
May 11th, 2007, 09:52 AM
Thx a lot predrag:wavey: :)

With all that rain, gotta find the way
to amuse myself. :) :wavey:

Kampi
May 11th, 2007, 09:58 AM
With all that rain, gotta find the way
to amuse myself. :) :wavey:

:lol:Me too my friend.:lol: But I'm still at work and I'm afraid, no signs of amusement for me.:sad: :lol: But my weekend starts in 40 minutes.:bounce: So you god damn rain....go away....and go away pretty quick...:mad:

~Kiera~
May 12th, 2007, 03:34 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/6649861.stm

Henin battles back to reach semis

Justine Henin flirted with defeat before edging past Jelena Jankovic to reach the last four at the German Open.

The world number one resumed trailing 3-6 4-4 after play was halted by bad light on Friday, and looked in control when she took the first two games.

But Jankovic stormed into a 4-0 lead in the final set before Henin recovered to win 3-6 6-4 6-4.

Henin will face Svetlana Kuznetsova later on Saturday for the right to play Ana Ivanovic in Sunday's final.

Serbian teenager and number 12 seed Ivanovic was leading her semi-final 4-3 when unseeded Ukrainian Julia Vakulenko retired.

Jankovic admitted she had not been able to handle Henin as the Belgian reeled off six straight games to take the deciding set.

"I don't know how that could happen," said the Serbian.

"I thought I had everything under control and I am really upset, I was so close to beating her. It was slippery out there and I didn't feel safe on the court.

"But it was all my own mistake that I lost, I wasted all my chances to win."
Henin said: "It's always difficult to explain how that happens but I fought all the way. I think she was a little nervous at the end."

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/12/sports/EU-SPT-TEN-German-Open.php

BERLIN: Top-seeded Justine Henin rallied from 4-0 down in the final set against Jelena Jankovic to win 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 Saturday and reach the German Open semifinals.

Henin, chasing her fourth title at the key French Open tuneup, completed the comeback with an overhead smash that set up a semifinal matchup later Saturday against third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova.

They will be fighting for a place in Sunday's final against 12th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, who advanced in the rain-hit tournament when Julia Vakulenko quit with a right wrist injury while trailing 4-3 in the first set.

Having slipped 4-0 down in the deciding set, Henin played flawless tennis against the fifth-seeded Jankovic.

"She played unbelievably — she didn't make a mistake until it was 4-4 or something," Jankovic said. "I'm very disappointed."

Henin's array of winners down the line, drop shots and pinpoint passing shorts forced a scream of frustration from Jankovic at one stage.

The match at the key tuneup for the French Open was stopped Friday due to darkness — with Jankovic ahead 6-3, 4-4 — then halted twice by rain.

Jankovic has shot up to sixth in the rankings after two recent titles, but this was her fifth straight three-set loss to the world's top-ranked player.

Henin also charged back to win at the U.S. Open semifinals against the Serb when trailing 5-3 in the second set.

"She is a champion. She is the only one I have trouble against — I have beaten all the other Top 10 players," said Jankovic, who also was eliminated last week in Warsaw by Henin.

Henin is chasing her fourth title at the German Open, while the 19-year-old Ivanovic will play her second final.

Kampi
May 12th, 2007, 04:21 PM
Thank you Sarah:wavey: :kiss:

~Kiera~
May 12th, 2007, 10:23 PM
http://www.german-open.net/podcast2007/en/QTGO_radio_show_en_sat.mp3

I'm really upset right now. I've been so close to beating her but, you know, I made some mistakes and she played really unbelieveable, she didn't make any mistakes until 4-4 or something so it was really a solid game from her. She was a champion - she's the only one I really have trouble with. It's really... I've been so close this time and hopefully when I will do it for once I will know how it feels to do it, especially as she's the best player on clay - she's the toughest to beat.

Kampi
May 13th, 2007, 12:05 AM
Thank you Sarah:wavey: :D

predrag
May 13th, 2007, 08:56 PM
While in Belgrade after the Fed Cup week Jelena gave few
interviews to non-dailies and they're starting to pop up slowly.
This one is from the magazine called Bazar, it's not available on the web.

Part 1 follows:

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
Maybe you think that my biggest success story is tied to
tennis courts, that it's a title or one particular win.
No, my greatest achievement is that I've stayed the same
little girl celebrating everyday life, loving my friends
and childhood buddies. I'm so proud of the fact that I haven't
allowed myself to be a star.

And your biggest failure is...?
I don't think I've lived through the major disappointment.
I was brought up to take any minor failures in strides
and to look forward to the next day like nothing bad
ever happened. There lies my power. When I fall I bring
myself up quickly and move on.

If you were not a tennis player, you would have been...
An actress. Since when I was little I was dreaming to
be an actress. I like the limelights, I enjoy to give
people what I posses - sense of humor and energy.

What was your most thrilling traveling experience?
In Colombia, when I was in training camp in December,
they have treated me like I was Shakira herself,
who, by the way, was born in the same place I've
been training in. People have been stopping me
on the street, asking for autographs. I can't say
I didn't enjoy that kind of attention. And Colombia
is a beautiful country - colours, aromas, sounds,
the real explosion of life with simple people
who are not blinded by desire to live in a luxury.

Are you religious?
Yes, I'm going to the church and celebrating St. Nicholas.
(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slava).

schorsch
May 14th, 2007, 06:33 PM
Hey guys, I translated Jelena's interview from Italian to English. Please don't forget that I DONT speak Italian just Spanish so it isn't the best translation in the world! :p

JELENA JANKOVIC : "Rome is a really special tournament for me"

Jelena Jankovic is playing at the Internazionali for the fifth time now. The 22-year old from Belgrad reached the quartefinals last year where she was beaten by Venus Williams.

Afer Charleston you played for Serbia's Fed Cup team. You must be exhausted. How are you feeling right now?
It was tough indeed, because I didn't take a break and in Bulgaria I played 16 sets in 4 days! However I'm happy to have helped my country advance: that was my goal. Anyway I'm fine.

Today you sort of had to dance...
Well, not really. But it was the funniest press conference I've ever been to.

How about this tournament?
Rome is really specially tournament for me, because everything started here last year for me: now I'm the #5 in the ranking and I'm leading the Race. The progress I've made is incredible! So, I'm happy to be here again and I hope I can go on like this.

How do you feel playing on clay?
I prefer hardcourts, but lately I've played a lot of matches on clay and I feel very comfortable on it at the moment: I'm confident and I think I can do really well especially in Paris which is my big goal.

How emotional do you get when it comes to Slams?
But I'm always emotional. That's just who I am. It's not always good having strong emotions, but I couldn't do anything without them either.

Do you think a woman could win 77 matches on clay in a row like Nadal?
You'd have to be Wonderwoman. I think it would be really difficult just because the women are a bit weaker physically then the men. It's certainly possible, but the field of a clay court tournament isn't as open as in women's tennis.

As Ivanovic is in the top10 now do you see each other as enemies or do you support each other?
No we're not enemies literally, but we drive each other to get better. That's a stupid conclusion the Serbian press drew about a small thing. Well basically, because there's a Serbian guy in the topten of the ATP as well. We didn't have anyone in the top10 before, but now we're three.

Will you play together for Fed Cup?
I hope so. I hope we can get to the World Group. I'm sure we can do well.

What are your goals for Rome?
Just to play one match at a time. I know a can win five matches: It's just a matter of concentration in order for me to advance day by day.

Who's the most dangerous claycourt player in your opinion?
Certainly Henin to who I lost so many times. I was close to victory. I hope I can beat her next time.

Let's talk fashion. Is this 2-piece something you designed?
It's because of Reebok I can wear this. Anyways you're the sixth journalist to ask this. It's starting to get very funny.

Do you think that you get to the very top?
Yes, I've made a lot of progress and my tennis's got so much better. I've worked so her and I always give my best, so we won't have to wait long for the good results.

Out of all the fourt Slams does Paris stand out to you?
All four of them are special and as you play on different surfaces at each one of them you can't really compare them.

How about Paris as a city?
It's one of the most beautiful places. Come on let's go there together now!

But won't you visit Rome first a bit?
Tennis comes first, but if I have a little spare time I would love to.

predrag
May 14th, 2007, 06:42 PM
Thanks schorsch a lot! That was fast. Nothing wrong with
your Italian, apparently. :)

~Kiera~
May 14th, 2007, 06:55 PM
Thanks, schorsch! I was waiting for that to show up in English :lol:

And thanks, predrag, for the previous item. Must have missed that yesterday. Nice words from Jelena there.

schorsch
May 14th, 2007, 07:29 PM
actually i dont like italian at all! if it werent for jelena i wouldnt have done it :haha:

predrag
May 14th, 2007, 07:54 PM
Follow up (part 2) of that Bazar's interview.

Any special rituals before the play starts?
I am totally relaxed before every match. I even dance sometimes..ha, ha!
What's your favourite way to spend money?
I like to help people. I've seen so many tragedies in the last few days, it's my biggest pleasure if I can give something, if I can ease the pain, to put the smile on the face...That's what makes me happy.
What do you usually do when not training?
I like to spend time with my friends, to relax with music, dance, to crack jokes.
What's one thing you cannot live without?
Mobile phone. That little technological breakthrough means a lot in my life, because I'm always on the planes, in hotels, airports. It's my connection with the world, with the friends and most importantly, with my family.
What was your most romantic encounter?
It was a dinner, with candlelights, by the Pacific Ocean, listening to low-tempo music.
And your biggest love...?
It has yet to come.
The person you fall in love to has to be...
With great sense of humor, sincere, charming, masculine and considerate, of course...
What do you like to wear?
Jeans and dresses. I like to change my look very often, but I feel most comfortable in jeans, that's me then.
When you're traveling, what you always bring with you?
A good book and a player. When I'm on the plane I like to "drift away" with music and good read.
Who is the person you can always rely on?
My mother. She's my best friend and my best buddy. Anything that bothers me, I can tell to her. My best comfort and support. Her love is endless.

Kampi
May 14th, 2007, 09:09 PM
Thx a lot to predrag and schorsch. :wavey: Great work guys.:worship:

schorsch
May 15th, 2007, 07:44 PM
Newsroom
May 14, 2007


Off-Court Buzz In Berlin Boosts ACES Race

BERLIN, Germany - With the rain constantly putting the playing schedule on hold, several of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's biggest stars took the time to meet the fans at the Qatar Telecom German Open last week; and those player activities in the German capital added to the points tallies in the ACES Race 2007.

Among the world's elite taking the time out to meet the masses were Justine Henin, who happily signed autographs and more items at the Sony Ericsson booth Tuesday afternoon, also giving everyone the chance to meet the world's No.1 player. The autograph sessions continued throughout the week with the likes of Ana Ivanovic, Anna Chakvetadze, Svetlana Kuznetsova and No.1 doubles duo Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur, all taking time out. Martina Hingis, Dinara Safina, Daniela Hantuchova, Amélie Mauresmo and Nicole Vaidisova all took part in an off-court photo shoot for Sony Ericsson in a Berlin studio. The most unique gig came on Wednesday, when Nadia Petrova visited the Qatar village then dressed in a red Arabic dress, signed autographs and was then asked to dance.

Below are the ACES Race 2007 standings as of May 14, 2007, following the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Germany.

1. Jelena Jankovic (370)
2. Ana Ivanovic (225)
3. Justine Henin (210)
4. Nadia Petrova (205)
5. Tatiana Golovin (200)
5. Martina Hingis (200)
7. Svetlana Kuznetsova (195)
8. Kim Clijsters (155)
9. Amélie Mauresmo (150)
10. Anna Chakvetadze (140)

schorsch
May 15th, 2007, 07:45 PM
why wouldnt they let jankovic do something :(?

~Kiera~
May 15th, 2007, 09:54 PM
Here's the extended version of the interview schorsch posted yesterday.

ROME, ITALY

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. When you play, you don't wait that much. I mean, your game is faster, isn't it, no?

JELENA JANKOVIC: When I play I try to concentrate. I try to finish as fast as possible, but this is different.

Q. When you are in Charleston the week after you had to play Fed Cup and I don't know how many ties so you were probably exhausted. How do you feel?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I was. It was really a tough time for me because especially after winning in Bulgaria and played 16 sets in four days. But I helped my team to finally pass this group, which was my goal. So I was really happy and exhausted at that time. But I played it and that was the most important thing.

Q. You could rest afterwards?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Now I feel Okay. I feel good and I'm ready to play here.

Q. When you were there in Charleston did you experience the local dance?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I didn't.

Q. The Charleston? Listen (dancing).

JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, my.

Q. So it's nice to come to Rome, huh?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it is. I always have the most fun press conferences here, for sure.

Q. So what are you expecting for this week?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I think Rome is really special for me because it all started for me here last year after I had bad period from the beginning of the year.

Here is where I won my first match and where it all started and I gradually started improving. Here I am No. 5 in the world and I'm leading the race so it's really amazing what I did, and I just want it continue like this and I'm really happy to be back here.

Q. You even remember which one was your first match, because I have very bad memory?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Likhovtseva. I beat her here in the first round and then I started.

Q. And the crowd was helpful or not?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it was. They were helpful, yeah.

Q. Let's talk about clay, because you have some very good results on clay, and most of the players now they are more used to play on hard court. You like better to play on clay?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, not really. I prefer to play on hard courts, but I'm getting used to the clay and I'm adapting my game to these conditions. But I played a lot of matches on clay and I feel now quite confident. I think that I can do really well. Especially I hope to do really well in the French Open, which is my main goal. And there I have to speak French as well.

Q. Are you very emotional when you play a Grand Slam tournament?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I think I'm emotional doesn't matter which tournament I play. It doesn't matter. I'm quite an emotional person, which is something that I don't really like about myself, but this is the nature.

Q. Do you think that in the future we can find a woman player that wins 77 games on clay like Nadal did?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know.

Q. Maybe a monster, or not?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Really. A women who's a monster, super woman or something. But it will be really tough whoever can do it, or even if it's possible to do it, because women are not so strong like the men and the game is more close. So anybody can beat anybody and you never know, but it can happen.

Q. Two Serbian players now in Top 10. Do you think it's good?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes.

Q. Or is it a competition between you and her?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No. There is not really competition because this is individual sport and both of we are trying to do the best we can and we are trying to improve. We are maybe pushing each other to go forward and to do better and better.

It's just amazing how it is for such a small country like Serbia to have two Top 10, Top 5 and one Top 10 player, and also in the men we have one Top 5 men's player.

So it's really amazing for a country like Serbia to be doing so well in tennis, because before we didn't have such a tradition in tennis and now it's amazing.

Q. Are you looking forward to playing Fed Cup together next year?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I hope so. I always try to play Fed Cup and I always try to help my team. Finally we pass this group, so we have a chance to get into the world group and we can do really well if we play in the strongest team.

Q. What's your goal in this tournament? You could be happy to advance?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I just want to play one match at a time and we'll see how it goes. I don't really look too far ahead I would liked to this or that. I think that I can beat any player in this draw, but I just have to concentrate and play one match at a time.

Q. For you who is the dangerous player on clay at the moment?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Henin, Justine, which I lost to her so many times. It's been quite difficult for me. I always came so close and I never managed to pull it through, but hopefully sometime I will do it.

Q. Let's speak about fashion, because, you know, in Italy we are sort of capital of fashion. What you are wearing, this is just something you did it by chance, or is it special model? Because you have a nude shoulder and some silver and then a black thing.

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah.

Q. Is that model, or no?

JELENA JANKOVIC: It's the model of Reebok, so what can I do? They made it like that.

Q. You wear it nicely.

JELENA JANKOVIC: You have the best questions, I must say. The most interesting ones for sure.

Q. Because I don't know the game well.

Q. In the women ranking it's a different situation from the men. We have Federer and Nadal and all the other players. You can think to go to increase your position in the ranking and so there is a place for you to the top of the ranking in the future?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, I think so. Like I said, I'm improving almost every week and I'm getting better and better. But the most important is that my game is improving and I'm working really hard on and off the court. So it's really important for me to do that.

I don't really concentrate so much on the rankings. I just try whenever I get on the court to play the best I can, give my maximum, and we'll see the results are coming.

Q. Among the four Grand Slam tournaments, how do you rate the French Open?

JELENA JANKOVIC: What this mean, out of all the Grand Slams?

Q. The four Grand Slams.

JELENA JANKOVIC: I think each is special and you cannot compare them to each other because all different surfaces and all have special things about them. So I cannot really rate one or the other.

Q. And about Paris?

JELENA JANKOVIC: It's really amazing. I love Paris. I love Paris and I love French Open.

Q. Have you plans for the city, to visit?

JELENA JANKOVIC: We'll see. I came here to play, and we'll see. If I have time I will go to the city and do something, but I'm here to do my job.

Demska
May 16th, 2007, 07:23 PM
http://www.lta.org.uk/Newsroom/GeneralNews/070516Jankovic.htm?BSMGuid=23e34b3a-643e-472c-8756-1e27edfb0ab0

Jankovic will play the DFS Classic as a warm up tournament before wimbldeon. No doubt she will probably top seed.

~Kiera~
May 16th, 2007, 07:27 PM
Thank you :)

predrag
May 17th, 2007, 06:17 PM
Anne Worcester, Pilot Pen Tennis tournament director (New Haven) and the CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour from 1991 through 1997, has mentioned Jelena as a 'likely' participant in New haven Tier II just before US Open. That was few weeks ago.

Worcester said it was likely that No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 7 Jelena Jankovic, No. 9 Nadia Petrova, No. 13 Elena Dementieva and No. 14 Daniela Hantuchova will play in the Pilot Pen, which will be held Aug. 17-25 at the Connecticut Tennis Center.



Yesterday she has changed a tune (from Connecticut Post):

http://www.connpost.com/sports/ci_5905078

SLOW START — Pilot Pen Tennis tournament director Anne Worcester admits she's a bit behind schedule.
With just two commitments — James Blake, the 2005 men's champ, and Amelie Mauresmo on the women's side — Worcester is expecting to announce another entry the last week of May and perhaps one more before Wimbledon begins on June 25 when she plans to fly to England and do some more recruiting.
"The players are definitely entering a little bit later this year," Worcester said following Tuesday's Pilot Pen Free Tennis Lesson that featured Thomas Blake at the Connecticut Tennis Center.
"The men won't enter until after Wimbledon. I think we'll have a few more women early, but everything else will fall in after Wimbledon. I have a lot of work to do this year at Wimbledon."
One player, in particular, Worcester is trying to lure is Serena Williams, who has never played in the tournament. But her sister, Venus, hasn't lost a match in New Haven, winning the title four times from 1999-2002.
Also on Worcester's list are tournament regulars Daniela Hantuchova, who has played in New Haven the past six years; Anastasia Myskina, a five-time entrant; and Elena Dementieva, who has played in the tournament the last seven years.

predrag
May 18th, 2007, 07:18 AM
Time magazine has a feature on Serena, and a quote
from Jelena (their names do rhyme). Lets use this
opportunity as a reminder that the first person
who matter-of-factly said that Jelena will be Top-5
player is actually Richard Williams, Serena's
father, immediately after she defeated bootylicious
one in the semis at Carson, last year.


http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1622574,00.html

-

predrag
May 18th, 2007, 09:40 AM
Much has been made of Ana and Jelena playing together
in Fed Cup competition. I'll do a summary with some recent
developments, because this issue does affect Jelena.

Ana's manager, Dan Holzman (spelling?), has notified
TSS (Tennis Association of Serbia) in November of 2006
that Ana won't be able to play the Fed Cup in 2007.
He did it by e-mail.

After Jelena's heroics in Plovdiv Ana expressed
a sincere desire to play again. TSS notified Holzman
that Ana is, indeed, welcome. They did it by e-mail.
Wrong choice. Soon, they (TSS) have discovered that a
full-blown contract is needed to lure Ana to play,
the way it should be. It took a week or two to put
some wording together, then amendments started
piling-up and that's where we stand. Final decision
on Ana's playing in Fed Cup is expected to be
made after Roland Garros.

The exact same version of the contract will be
offered to Jelena as well, or to 'Jankovic family'
as described by TSS. This again confirms that
Jelena is completely autonomous in her decision
making on her own career.

Match against Slovakia is scheduled for 14/15, July.
It will not be played in Bratislava, but in
hockey venue "Stil arena" in Kosice (capacity 6500).
Slovaks chose Greenset (hardcourt, medium-speed).

-

predrag
May 18th, 2007, 03:13 PM
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/breakingnews/feedstory/0,,-6643518,00.html



Impressive Jankovic sweeps into semi-finals

ROME, May 18 (Reuters) - Third seed Jelena Jankovic continued her good form on clay when she swept aside former French Open finalist Elena Dementieva 6-2 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the Italian Open on Friday.
The 22-year-old Serb, who is trying to win her second claycourt title of the season after her success in Charleston last month, dragged her Russian opponent round the court with angled groundstrokes.
"I was a little bit nervous at the start but then I got into a rhythm, started to control the points, play aggressively, and that was the key," said Jankovic.
Enjoying her best claycourt season on the circuit, Jankovic has also reached the quarter-finals in Amelia Island, the semi-finals in Warsaw, and the last eight in the German Open.
"I used to think that I didn't like clay. I wasn't used to it and I didn't know how to slide," she said.
"Then I worked with a Spanish coach, I learned how to slide and I got a lot of confidence, especially after Charleston. I'm starting to like it out there."
After an early exchange of breaks, Jankovic took control by breaking in the sixth game and then again in the eighth, chasing down a drop shot to stroke a forehand winner down the line to take the first set in 35 minutes.
She continued to dominate in the second set, holding off break points in the opening game, before whipping a backhand past her rival to break in the second game. She went 4-0 up when her opponent double-faulted on break point.
Tenth seed Dementieva, who finished runner-up at Roland Garros in 2004, pulled one break back, but Jankovic rallied to restore her two-break cushion in the following game before holding serve to close out the contest.
In the semi-final she will face either 2002 champion Serena Williams or 14th seed Patty Schnyder.

~Kiera~
May 18th, 2007, 03:23 PM
Thanks, predrag!

~Kiera~
May 18th, 2007, 03:29 PM
http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=176699

Jankovic sweeps into Italian tennis open semis
05-18-2007, 13h03
ROME (AFP)

Serbian number three seed Jelena Jankovic, seen here, has swept into the semi-finals of the Italian Open on Friday after defeating Elena Dementieva 6-2, 6-1.
(AFP)

Serbian number three seed Jelena Jankovic swept into the semi-finals of the Italian Open on Friday after defeating Elena Dementieva in straight sets.

Ranked fifth in the world, Jankovic won 6-2, 6-1 and will next face either American eighth seed Serena Williams or Swiss 14th seed Patty Schnyder.

Jankovic, winner of two WTA singles titles this year, insisted the match was much harder than the score suggested.

"There were some really tough games and the final result didn't really reflect how difficult it was at times," said the 22-year-old Florida resident.

In the two other quarter-final matches, sixth seed Dinara Safina faces Russian compatriot and second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, while Slovakian 10th seed Daniela Hantuchova takes on unseeded Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues.

predrag
May 18th, 2007, 05:49 PM
Shocker!!!! :eek: Jelena is a lefty!!

While she plays right-handed with a double-handed backhand, Rome semi-finalist Jelena Jankovic revealed on Friday that she is actually naturally left-handed. Many top athletes, even if not officially ambidextrous, are good with both hands and both feet.

QUESTION: When you were a child you were left handed; is that true, or not?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah.

QUESTION: Why did you change?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Because they always taught me with the right and I wanted to write with the left and everything, and they taught me to do with the right since a young age. So then my right hand became dominant. But everything that I do is better with the left, so like my backhand I keep with the left. But now it's late.

QUESTION: Just from training, if you want to joke, you try to change?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I do. And they're amazed at how I can hit it. Maybe I can put another shot into my game, but I think my backhand is good enough. I don't think it could get better.

Kampi
May 18th, 2007, 05:58 PM
Shocker!!!! :eek: Jelena is a lefty!!

WOW...that's news. Thx predrag:wavey:

predrag
May 18th, 2007, 06:17 PM
WOW...that's news. Thx predrag:wavey:


It reminded me on Wertheim's Mailbag on SI.com.
Let me try to find that piece that was absolutely
hilarious...............Bingo! :wavey:


(published on Aug, 15, 2006)
I recently played tennis with someone who was ambidextrously trained and played with two racquets at the same time. Is this legal, even if they played within the same tennis rules and regulations?
-- Anny Huang, Los Angeles

Boy, I don't have a rule book handy, but I can't imagine it's any more legal to wield two rackets than it is to swing two baseball bats or brandish a pair of hockey sticks. I can't even picture how your opponent served. About the closest thing I've seen is an ambidextrous player (Evgenia Koulikovskaya) switching the racket from one hand to the other in order to hit nothing but forehands.

~Kiera~
May 19th, 2007, 02:00 PM
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/breakingnews/feedstory/0,,-6645527,00.html

Jankovic thrashes Schnyder to reach Rome final

ROME, May 19 (Reuters) - Third seed Jelena Jankovic reached the final of the Italian Open in Rome with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Patty Schnyder on Saturday.

The 22-year-old old Serb, bidding for her second claycourt title of the season after winning the Family Circle Cup in Charleston last month, overcame the Swiss 14th seed in an error-strewn match.

Schnyder, who knocked out former world number one Serena Williams in the last eight on Friday, dropped every one of her eight service games.

Jankovic was also well below her best, but went through to her first Rome final when Schnyder shanked a forehand into the tramlines.

"I'm really surprised at what happened. I went into the match very concentrated and expected a more difficult match," Jankovic said.

In the final she will face the winner of the later semi-final between second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova and ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova.

Kampi
May 19th, 2007, 02:19 PM
Thank you Sarah:wavey::D

~Kiera~
May 19th, 2007, 04:14 PM
http://www.tsn.ca/tennis/news_story/?ID=208230&hubname=tennis

Jankovic cruises into Italian Open final

Associated Press

5/19/2007 11:44:17 AM

ROME (AP) - Jelena Jankovic of Serbia routed 14th-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6-1, 6-3 Saturday in the Italian Open semifinals.

Schnyder upset American Serena Williams in a third-set tiebreaker on Friday and appeared out of energy. She was late arriving to the ball, missed routine ground strokes and committed costly double faults.

''She played unbelievably yesterday and it's really hard to play two days in a row like she did,'' Jankovic said.

Schnyder cited a cold.

''I couldn't breathe,'' she said. ''I had trouble in the long rallies.''

Jankovic, ranked a career-high No. 5 this week, dictated play from the baseline and occasionally came forward to end points at the net.

Schnyder never held her serve.

''I really don't know what is going on,'' Jankovic said. ''I expected a really tough match . . . she's a lefty and her balls have a lot of spin and bounce really high. I just tried to play to her backhand a lot so she couldn't use spin with her forehand.''

Jankovic said she hurt her wrist slightly at the beginning of the match.

In the final, Jankovic will face either second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia or No. 9 Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia, who were playing later.

This tournament is an important clay-court warmup for the French Open, which begins May 27.

http://www.turkishpress.com/news.asp?id=176838

Jankovic storms into Italian Open tennis final

05-19-2007, 15h38
ROME (AFP)

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia serves to to Switzerland's Patty Schnyder during their semi-final at the Italian Tennis Open in Rome. Jankovic beat Schnyder 6-1, 6-3 to reach the final of the Italian Open.
(AFP)

Serbian number three seed Jelena Jankovic beat Patty Schnyder 6-1, 6-3 to reach the final of the Italian Open on Saturday.

Jankovic, whose impressive form this year has lifted her up to fifth in the world rankings, was rarely troubled in a one-sided semi-final against the Swiss 14th seed.

Schnyder, a runner-up here in 2005 and conqueror of eight-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in Thursday's quarter-finals, failed to hold her serve in the entire match.

Jankovic was surprised to win so easily at the Foro Italico.

"I have to admit I was expecting a harder match," said the 22-year-old Serb who won the WTA's Most Improved Player of the Year Award last year.

"But I am delighted to win and I'm very excited to be in my first Rome final.

"I'm sure the final is going to be tougher, but I hope to win my third title of the year."

In the second semi-final Russian second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion, takes on Slovakian ninth seed Daniela Hantuchova.

predrag
May 19th, 2007, 07:54 PM
Press conference after the match with Schnyder:

An interview with:
JELENA JANKOVIC

Q. Another convincing win. Your confidence must be really high now on this surface.
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really donít know whatís going on. I expected a really tough match because Patty played really well yesterday against Serena. I donít know what was going on.
And she also has a really difficult game, especially because sheís a lefty and has a really tough spin. Her ball bounces really high so itís a little bit different game than the other girls have.
But I was trying to play more to her backhand so she cannot spin it a lot with her forehand, and I did it.

Q. What happened to your serve in the last game?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really donít know. It was terrible. It is just terrible. I was like, Oh, my God why this has to be on TV? No, but I donít know. I just was a little bit tired in the end for some reason and my serve just didnít even go over the net. Almost bounced on my side, but thatís okay.

SCANAGATTA. This happened other times?
JELENA JANKOVIC: It happens to everybody.

SCANAGATTA . To you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Itís not only me, itís everybody. It can happen on your serve, it can happen on other shots. But what I can do?
I just try to play try to somehow get back and try to start the point and just hang in there and try to win.

Q. Comparing to Charleston where you won on clay, is this one more difficult or not?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I donít know. I cannot compare these two tournaments, but Iím really happy that Iím in the final again.
Iím just trying to hopefully I can win another title this year. It will be my third one if I do it tomorrow. But I just want to enjoy it, and I am looking forward to playing again tomorrow.

SCANAGATTA. Are all your relatives and the family 100% Serbian, because you have these eyes that could be more oriental in a way?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I donít. My parents are both Serbian.

SCANAGATTA . Grandparents?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, no. I just got this look from somebody, postman or who knows. I donít know.

Q. Who is your coach now, your father?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No.

Q. Not anymore?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I have a sparring partner sparring with me, but hopefully in some time soon I will have a coach that will be full time.
But for now I have a part time coach who helps me off and on in the Grand Slams and in the bigger tournaments, so for now itís like that and weíll see.
Weíre working to have so that I have a coach all the time, full time.

SCANAGATTA. Can you give us the names of those people, sparring partner, coach?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Sparring partner is Richard Brooks.

SCANAGATTA. American?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, heís actually Spanish but his father is from England. But he lives in Spain and was born in Spain.

Q. (From Italian) This was already asked, but she had a problem with the camera. It was an easy match. Did you expect that?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I didnít expect an easy match. Sheís a really great player, and itís always difficult to play a lefty. I really expected a tough match because she played so well yesterday, and beating Serena was really unbelievable win.
But I donít know how I did it today. It was also in an hour and fifteen minutes, and I really didnít expect that at all. Especially on clay she plays really great. Itís her best surface.

Q. Who would you prefer to play in the final, and who do you expect to play in the final?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really donít know. For me doesnít matter. I just try to concentrate on myself and try to put the serves in. You know, Iím just (laughing) it really doesnít matter who is on the other side. Either Kuznetsova or Hantuchova. I just want to try to play the best that I can and weíll see.

Q. How do you feel physically, tired?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, Iím not tired. I feel pretty good and I just had a little bit of a problem in the beginning of the first set when Patty served a big serve and I reached for a shot and my wrist was a little bit it was like, Whoa, because I didnít hold it tight and it fell a little bit.
In the middle of the first set I felt a little bit pain and I was scared, but now it feels fine. Weíll see when I cool off. Thatís the only concern. But other than that I feel fine and Iím healthy hopefully with this.

Q. What part of your game do you think you can most improve?
JELENA JANKOVIC: The serve for sure. No, the serve and my volleys. I need to be really ready when I come in because I have good groundstrokes, and when I come to the net I need to cover the court a lot better and just come in and have better volleys.
So at the moment Iím No. 5 with this game, so if I improve it can be a big difference.

SCANAGATTA. The answer you gave before to him when he asked you who do you prefer, all the players always say the same thing: It doesnít matter.
JELENA JANKOVIC: For me it doesnít really. It does not.

SCANAGATTA. Theyíre technically different.
JELENA JANKOVIC: But you have to match up. You have to play all the players, doesnít matter. You eventually play either of them. Maybe I can play Kuznetsova tomorrow, other tournament Iíll play Hantuchova.
So it doesnít really you just have to concentrate on how you have to play and on your tactics and your shots and try just to find a way to win.

SCANAGATTA. But each would be different.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, a little bit, but mostly you have your own kind of way how you play. You adjust a little bit to the other player, but not so much, yes.
They can adjust to my game.

Q. Will you play next week?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I donít know yet. I donít know. Weíll see. Iím playing here in Rome now, so I want to be at this tournament and try to enjoy it and I will think about it when the time comes.

Q. Patty appeared to use a nasal spray out there. Did you detect any physical problems on her part?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No. Didnít look like she had any problem, but I donít know what was going on with her. Maybe she was sick or something if sheís putting that.
But when she was playing the points you cannot really tell whatís going on, but I just was trying to say focused on myself and on my game.
But she had a little bit difficulty adjusting because she couldnít play her game the way she likes it. She likes to open up the court and get you out and start spinning, and it really messes up your rhythm.
Because all her balls bounce high so you cannot really attack and youíre off your balance. So I didnít let her really do that, and her serve was not really going very well, so I donít know.
Maybe she played unbelievable yesterday, so itís really hard to play two times, two days in a row like that, like the way she did.

Q. (From Italian) You have made a lot progress. Itís visible. Which part of your game do you think brought you to this difference in your tennis?
JELENA JANKOVIC: He asked me that yesterday. No, I really donít know. No. Itís not just one shot that has brought me here. Itís all together, like a package. Your shots, your game, the attitude on the court, the hunger to win.
Every time you go on court you want to find a way to win even though youíre not playing well, and just all together. Itís not one shot that has helped me to come here.

SCANAGATTA. Do you remember to have seen the tournament of Rome on TV when maybe Monica Seles was playing? Did you ever think that you would have been able to reach a final one day, and what that means for you? Because Rome is kind of a sort of tradition.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Itís a Tier 1 tournament and a big tournament. Itís unbelievable to be in the final. I remember when I was younger that I watched some matches here in Rome.
Itís unbelievable that after many years Iím here and Iím playing and some other young girls are watching me, so itís great.

SCANAGATTA. WERE you watching Seles?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I watched her and I watched Graf and the other players as well.

predrag
May 19th, 2007, 08:06 PM
And the full press conference after the match with Dementieva:


JELENA JANKOVICíS INTERVIEW

Q. Did the wind bother you, and if so, how much?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it was tough conditions out there, but it was the same for both of us. Some points were quite tough because the clay was going to our eyes and we couldnít see and the ball was just going everywhere.
But I was just trying to concentrate and just try to play as many balls as I can because you donít have a choice.

Q. At the beginning of the match you looked just a little bit nervous. Were you? What was the problem?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I donít remember. Maybe I was a little bit nervous because I didnít know what to expect and I didnít play her for a long time. Last time was in ?? at the US Open.
And especially with these conditions, itís really tough. But I just got into the match and I started to feel the rhythm, and it was getting better and better. Started to control the points, play aggressive, and that was the key.

Q. It was a comfortable margin of victory for you. Did you expect it to be closer out there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I donít know, because also at the US Open I beat her with a similar score. But the score doesnít mean anything. We had some tough games, especially the one at 4?1. It was so long, and she is really a tough competitor.
She doesnít give up and she just runs so many balls down and you have to really beat her. Sheís a big fighter.

Q. Most of your growing up, I believe, has been on hard courts. How you taking that? You seem to be playing like you like clay. I donít know if you do or not.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I used to think that I didnít like clay before and I was not really used to it. I didnít know how to slide, especially from practicing on hard court all my childhood.
Then I really, before these tournaments on clay, I practiced quite hard and was working with a Spanish coach and my sparring partner is Spanish, so Iím learning how to slide and Iím starting to feel comfortable on clay.
Winning in Charleston gave me a lot of confidence to even feel better and just more comfortable on clay. So Iím doing quite well, winning a lot of matches, and Iím happy.

Q. Thereís a strong possibility that youíll be playing Serena in the semifinals. How did you feel about that? And if not, how do you feel about Patty?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think either one will be tough. Serena, I had some tough matches against her. I think weíre 2-All head-to-head or something like that. Iím not quite sure.

JOHN DOLAN: Yes.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, 2-All. So I just will be expecting a tough match. I have to play the best that I can in order to beat her, but weíll see. It will be an exciting match whoever wins today.

Q. You are playing very well in this tournament. What does that mean for Roland Garros?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Iím not really thinking about Roland Garros. Iím just trying to play this tournament, and then when the time comes I feel Iím in form and I ?? Iím healthy, thatís the most important.
I just want to play every match one match at a time, and I donít really put any pressure on myself which result I want to make. I just try to play my game.

Q. But it would be a declaration of intent for the French if you were to do well here, wouldnít it?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Doesnít matter. But every match you win gives you more and more confidence, and thatís the most important thing: That you go into a tournament, especially the Grand Slams with as many matches as under your belt as you could.
Itís the confidence that helps you when you are going in a Grand Slam. I have a pretty good chance, but Iím not really thinking about that. Iím not putting anything in my head that I have to do this or that.
Like I said, I just want to be focused and stay positive out there and enjoy the games.

Q. (From Italian) Which are the improvement you feel that you have really done in the last few months, and what do you feel that you can improve, that you have to improve?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I have to improve on so many things. Nothing is perfect. So Iím really ?? I have to work really hard on my serve, which is my, I think, one of my weakest shots, and also on the my volley.
But Iím just working hard every day on improving the things in my game, and also off the court on my fitness and just being positive and mentally tough. Thatís are the things Iím really trying to do.

Q. (From Italian) And which are the improvements?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Which are the improvements? I donít know how to say, because Iím just ?? Iím improving little by little on everything. Iím just trying to play aggressive, to have this transition game, to go forward, and just dictate all the points.
Iím also working on the tactics so I that I play a little bit different. I cannot explain. Itís something that I work on.

Q. When you were a child you were left?handed; is that true, or not?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah.

Q. Why did you change?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Because they always taught me with the right and I wanted to write with the left and everything, and they taught me to do with the right since young age.
So then I became ?? my right?hand became dominate. But everything that I do is better with the left, so like my backhand I keep with the left. But now itís late.

Q. Just from training, if you want to joke, you try to change?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I do. And theyíre amazed at how I can hit it. Maybe I can put another shot into my game, but I think my backhand is good enough. I donít think it could get better.

Q. You could surprise your opponent.

Q. There are two Serbian players in the Top 10 in the womenís tour and one Top 10 in the menís tour. How well do you know Djokovic?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I know him. Heís a really nice guy. Iím proud of him that heís done so well, especially at a young age. Hopefully he will stay healthy and keep improving. I think he has really big potential.

Q. Heís a nice guy?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, I think so.

Q. After Yugoslavia became Serbia and Croatia, Croatian players were much better than Serbian players. Now itís at opposite. How do you explain that?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I know. Croatians also set a tradition in tennis, but we didnít. I donít know how we can explain that all much a sudden we have three Top 10 players in the world coming from Serbia.
Itís really amazing, but itís a coincidence that at the same time weíre coming through and at an young age. So itís really great for our country.
The sport is becoming more and more popular there and younger kids, we are motivating the younger generation to come also our way, and hopefully weíll have many more to come.

Q. You think there is influence in Monica Seles maybe?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I donít know. Everybody -- itís individual. Everybody, when they were young, had their own idols. Itís different. Not only Monica, somebody like Steffi Graf, somebody Pete Sampras or Agassi. Depends.
I really donít know. Our biggest problem was the financial statute because the younger kids, they donít have money to travel and we donít have good facility to practice.
But a lot of players are going outside of the country to practice and develop their talents. Hopefully theyíre going build some tennis center that will help the younger kids to develop their games.

~Kiera~
May 19th, 2007, 08:12 PM
Thanks, predrag. I keep seeing these on the site in Italian but they only ever translate small chunks into English.

predrag
May 19th, 2007, 08:24 PM
Thanks, predrag. I keep seeing these on the site in Italian but they only ever translate small chunks into English.

I've found these at:

http://www.blogquotidiani.net/tennis/

A guy who is in charge of results on Luka's site
(great job there, Djuka) provided a tip.

Where did you find that first press conference? Was it from
the official site?

-

~Kiera~
May 19th, 2007, 08:33 PM
I've found these at:

http://www.blogquotidiani.net/tennis/

A guy who is in charge of results on Luka's site
(great job there, Djuka) provided a tip.

Where did you find that first press conference? Was it from
the official site?

-


Thanks :)

I found the first one at http://www.tennisnews.com/ They usually all appear on there eventually. Yesterday's one just showed up a short while ago.

predrag
May 19th, 2007, 08:50 PM
I found the first one at http://www.tennisnews.com/ They usually all appear on there eventually. Yesterday's one just showed up a short while ago.

I see. Thanks. :)

~Kiera~
May 20th, 2007, 11:20 AM
http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/tennis/articles/2007/05/20/stop_and_shop____and_shots?mode=PF

Stop and shop -- and shots
Lively Jankovic in market for title
By Bud Collins | May 20, 2007

ROME -- One year ago, she came to Rome to die. Not a bad place for it.

Did she book a location in the Catacombs? Or the lovely Protestant Cemetery, where the poets Keats and Shelley are planted?

"No, no, no," says the effervescent Jelena "Jelly" Jankovic, seated in a small room at Il Foro Italico. She clarifies, meaning death as a tennis player.

"I decided I would enter here to say goodbye to the game. Rome is also the best place to go shopping."

She was so desperate and discouraged about life on the WTA Tour that she decided to go back to college in Belgrade. Better, at least, than doing a Tosca -- taking a high dive from the Castel Sant'Angelo into the River Tiber. Jankovic's ranking had taken a similar plunge, to No. 40, as she lost match after match.

However, abruptly, instead of an 11th straight defeat, "I started my comeback," she says. "I don't know why. I guess it was my destiny to get it together in Rome." She beat a good Russian, Elena Likhovtseva, and was on her way to the quarterfinals. "I lost to Venus [Williams], but I beat her a few weeks later at Wimbledon."

Destiny is working well for Jelly, the 22-year-old Belle of Belgrade with a sweet game and personality. Today, another Russian is in her way, 2004 US Open champ and third-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova, but it's at the top, the Italian Open final. If Jankovic passes that test she'll be No. 4, and among the favorites at the forthcoming French Open.

She beat Kuznetsova at last year's US Open en route to the semis, and finished the year at No. 12. Quite a resurrection in 12 months.

Jankovic got her title shot yesterday by laboring for 69 minutes to beat Swiss lefty Patty Schnyder, 6-1, 6-3, a screwy encounter during which serves melted like gelato in the fierce sun. There were more breaks than in the old days of Boston's Charles Street Jail: 12 in 16 games.

Jankovic held four times, but Schnyder found serve as impossible to hold as an electric eel.

Kuznetsova got past No. 14 Daniela Hantuchova, 6-4, 6-2, with powerful forehands, and has a 2-1 lifetime edge on Jankovic.

Schnyder, No. 17, the eliminator of Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, couldn't duplicate that fine performance because, she says, "Every time I thought I had an opening in a corner, Jelena was there. I had a bad cold, some trouble breathing, but her movement was too good. She takes the ball very early, and that's difficult to play."

Jankovic says she had to move into her strokes quickly because her formative years were spent on fast hard courts at Nick Bollettieri's tennis camp at Bradenton, Fla., not her native clay in Belgrade. Her rip-roaring double-barreled backhand is her best stroke "because I'm a natural lefty, with a strong left arm. But when it was time to learn to write, my parents showed me righthanded and I do everything righthanded."

Since conversion from southpawing also happened to three Hall of Famers -- Ken Rosewall, Maureen Connolly, and Margaret Court -- it can't be too bad.

Jankovic says, "I tried to keep the ball on Patty's backhand. She's so terrific with spin, but she can't do as much damage from the backhand side."

A Florida homeowner for almost a decade, might Jankovic be a candidate for US citizenship? American tennis forces need some help.

Laughing again, she says, "Oh, no. In Serbia, we're doing OK, maybe better than you. Especially for such a small country which could fit in . . . where? Maybe Nick's place in Bradenton?

"We've got me and [No. 8] Ana Ivanovic. And for men, [No. 5] Novak Djokovic. This is all new. We don't have much tradition."

Jankovic remembers watching Monica Seles winning the Italian title seven years ago on TV.

"Monica -- also a Serb -- is my heroine," she says. "I couldn't even dream of winning it -- but maybe now. And little kids will be watching me. That's thrilling."

She loves the give and take of press conferences, a smart lady who promises to finish her college degree. But yesterday, she was eager to leave my interview -- to go shopping.

"I have to spend some of this money," she says. "A necklace, I think."

Could be $181,980 for winning, or a minimum of $92,410. I wished her happy glitters. Why not? Any woman will tell you Roman shopping is to die for.

~Kiera~
May 20th, 2007, 11:21 AM
http://sport.independent.co.uk/tennis/article2562721.ece

Jankovic breaks through pain barrier

Serbia produces another world-class performer who has seen the tougher side of life

By Ronald Atkin, Tennis Correspondent
Published: 20 May 2007

Since it holds a special place in the hearts of so many, Rome tends to induce tears, of whatever variety. Twelve months back it was tears of frustration for Jelena Jankovic, who turned up at the Italian Open having lost 10 matches in a row and contemplating the abandonment of life as a tennis professional. Last week she was back, this time weeping tears of disbelieving joy at a change in her fortunes so spectacular that she is ranked five in the world and has won more matches in 2007 (36) than any other woman.

"Here is where it all started," said the raven-haired Jankovic in a room below the Campo Centrale at the Foro Italico, "because I was in that slump. Here I got back on track." From Rome in the spring, Jankovic's career lifted off in some style. In Wimbledon's third round she eliminated the champion, Venus Williams; at the US Open she reached her first Grand Slam semi-final. She ended the year ranked 12th, and this season, tournament wins in Auckland and Charleston helped her become the first Serbian woman to crack the top 10.

Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, Jankovic confesses that it is usually tears. "Doesn't matter what tournament I play, I get very emotional. It is something I don't like about myself, I cry so quick. I wish I was sometimes more cold, able to control my emotions. But this is how I am," she pointed out - with a smile.

Fortunately, she is also tough; someone hardened by what has happened to her country and by how she had to struggle to make the tennis grade in a nation where the facilities remain primitive, which makes the achievements of Novak Djokovic on the men's tour and Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic on the Sony Ericsson circuit all the more praiseworthy. "This has happened all of a sudden, and I don't know how. Before that we didn't have anybody. When I first got into the top 100 it was a big result for us. Then it was top 10, now top five. It is just amazing how such a country has three world-class players.

"We are very solid as a nation, we always had that, but financially we had some problems, with poor training facilities. For instance, we don't have a national tennis centre. We don't have any hard courts, just one in Belgrade that's completely broken, with hoops above your head because it's also used for basketball, and a goal for soccer behind you. We don't have the best material, or courts, and we practise in the cold weather, with no heat, nothing. You learn better that way than when you have everything. It makes us stronger."

Having delivered this oblique criticism of the pampered ones in Britain and, increasingly, the United States, Jankovic paid tribute to an American tennis academy, the Nick Bollettieri school of hard knocks, for honing that toughness which has proved so useful.

Her arrival in Florida at the age of 12, accompanied briefly by her mother, Snezana, preceded the war in Serbia by a few months, so she found herself resident in a country conducting hostilities against her homeland. "I was watching them on CNN bombing buildings I knew in Belgrade. My whole family was back there and I was worried. But that's the past now, though it was tough at the time, being alone and not speaking English.

"I learned to do everything the hard way, to be independent. It was a good thing, it made me stronger. I was like a soldier. From early morning when I had to make my bed there were all these rules. If you did bad things you got zeros and if you got enough zeros you had to clean things. But that's good at a young age for discipline and motivation."

She has an apartment close to the academy in Bradenton, for use when her playing schedule involves North America, but for the rest of the time bases herself in Belgrade. "I have never considered moving or changing my nationality. Professional athletes are the best ambassadors for our country, especially after those crimes and the war and the bad things written about us, so we are trying to present Serbia in a better light."

At the age of 22, she is already preparing herself for life after tennis. She is in the second year of a course in media management, economics and business at Megatrend University, Belgrade, though her zoom up the rankings means she has had to set aside her studies this year. "But it is my ambition to finish the course," she said. "Tennis is not all my life. I look at so many of the other girls and think what an opportunity they are wasting. I cannot think about tennis from morning till night, as they do."

Jankovic emulates the interests of the Williams sisters in her liking for showbusiness, acting and fashion design. "I have quite a talent for acting. I was offered a part in a movie comedy but it is not easy when you are on the road all the time. I decided it was not possible. But I am working with a Serbian fashion company. I don't want to be one-dimensional."

With her high-cheekboned, almost Oriental face, which she describes wryly as "unique", and that mushrooming talent, there is little prospect of Jelena Jankovic appearing one-dimensional at the upcoming Grand Slams of Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Kampi
May 20th, 2007, 12:27 PM
Thank you Sarah:wavey::worship::D
Great article. Also thx to predrag fro bringing us the whole transcription of some of Jelena's press conferences. And I agree, the postman kind of thing is so typical for Jelena.:lol: She is really a great entertainer, too.:worship:

predrag
May 20th, 2007, 01:48 PM
http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/tennis/articles/2007/05/20/stop_and_shop____and_shots?mode=PF

Thanks, Sarah. I like when I get home and two
fresh articles are waiting for me. :)

Last year, during the US Open, Bud Collins, Boston
Globe columnist, also wrote a great article,
his first on Jelena.

At the time, Jelena was wearing a black baseball cap
with "Jankovic" in italics on it. The cap was a gift
from a fan in LA, or San Diego, I can't remember. So,
after their conversation was close to the end, Jelena
surprised him, snapping: "Bud, what are you going
to give me, now?". And Collins finishes the article
with: "An admiring column in Boston Globe!".

predrag
May 20th, 2007, 07:13 PM
Press conference after the Rome Final:

J. JANKOVIC/S. Kuznetsova

7 5, 6 1

JELENA JANKOVIC

John Dolan: Jelena is the first player since Conchita Martinez 13 years ago to win this title without dropping a set, and tomorrow sheíll move to No.4 on the Sony Ericsson WTA ranking. Questions, please?

Q. It was probably decided by that first set, wasnít it? Countless service breaks. You hung on in there and held serve more often, which is quite unusual, and breaking serve more often?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I donít know, I broke her so many times. She has really a tough serve, but I was just returning well. And I knew that my serve was not going so well, so I need to really concentrate on breaking her, and thatís what I did.
I was just trying to hang in there, because sheís just a powerful player. Her balls come with a lot of pace, and it was just quite difficult. The key was that I was moving really well and I was getting a lot of the balls back, and I got her really tired so she couldnít handle it.

Q. You said you were surprised but, you were playing so that you couldnít be that surprised, the whole tournament?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, itís especially against Svetlana. Sheís one of the best players on clay and sheís done so well. Sheís been in the final of French Open, so it just shows that sheís just amazing.
Of course I didnít expect that I was hoping that I could win, but not really in two sets, and 6 1 in the second. So I was surprised by that. I was expecting a tough battle and fighting for every point and hopefully I can make it through, but not in a short time and not in two sets, for sure not.

Q. The wrist seemed to bother you occasionally out there.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Her shots are really powerful, especially when they go and Iím a little bit late. It just tends to bend my wrist and it hurts.
But I was just trying to block it and try to get the balls on the rise and just play them and just keep changing direction and not giving her anything for free.

Q. But itís not an injury?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, itís not. Itís fine.

Q. I thought you were going to dance the Charleston?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really donít know that dance. If you ask me some other dance I really will do it.

Q. Clarice didnít teach you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, he didnít have a chance to. Where is he now? Maybe he can show me.

Q. Media find you very nice, very attractive, and they like to talk to you and make you a lot of the questions, and you smile a lot. What about the players? Do they like you? Have you got a very good relation with some of them? If you have to go out with some of them, who would you choose?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think Iím quite friendly with everyone. Iím an outgoing person, so I like to talk to everyone who is there. But Svetlana is a really cool girl, and sheís one of the most outgoing, especially in the locker rooms.
Today, this morning, she gave me a charger to charge my phone, so that was nice of her. She is a really nice girl.

Q. How did the shopping go?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I been going every day, actually. Itís like you know, itís like if I spend a lot money maybe it will come, so this was a good philosophy here.

Q. No.4 in the world. Thatís incredible. Would you have believed it a year ago that it was possible?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, not really. Like I said, one year ago I almost was about to quit playing tennis here in Rome, and it was where everything turned around in my career.
Itís just amazing how after one year Iím here holding the trophy and Iím the winner here in Rome. Itís just unbelievable what a year makes. Iím really thankful for what happened.
But it made me stronger and I feel like Iím more experienced, and here I am No.4 in the world on my way up. Itís just unbelievable.

Q. You started the season by winning in Oakland and then you almost won in Sydney, then Charleston. How would you sum up the first half the season?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Itís really amazing. I won almost 40 matches, and I think I lost 11. Just unbelievable.

Q. Ten.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Ten. Oh, I donít know. So itís been going great. I won three tournaments, two Tier 1s, which is unbelievable, and two of them came on clay. This is also another surprise for me, because I play better an hard courts, faster surfaces.
But here I have two Tier 1s on clay, so everything has changed this year and I cannot ask for more. Itís just going very well.

Q. I was going ask you about Strasbourg. Is it still your intention to play there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Itís my commitment. I will try, but not really no pressure. I just have to get ready for the French Open. It will be like my practice. I will practice like normal, and then maybe just play matches and then weíll see.
But it will not be like my I will not be so concentrate that I have to do well. Just maybe play a couple matches and weíll see.

Q. (From Italian) Besides the tournament, what did you appreciate most here in Rome this week?
JELENA JANKOVIC: What this mean?

Q. Besides tennis did you visit something?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No. I didnít have a chance because every day I had my matches, and when I finish itís already everything is too late to do and I have to play the next day, so I have to rest and recover for to be ready for my matches. So I didnít really have a chance much, but hopefully next year.

Q. You won two big tournaments on clay this year, so you have to consider yourself a favorite for sure the French now?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, really?

Q. Yeah.
JELENA JANKOVIC: I donít know. I mean, you know what, itís I won this tournament and you know why? Because Henin didnít come. That was the reason. Because the last two tournaments the player who I tend to lose to, it was Justine.
It was in Warsaw and Berlin. And then I came here and I didnít see her in the draw and I said, Oh, here is my chance. But it was true. I mean, I was and when sheís playing Iím always in her half of the draw.
I said, Please, let me play somewhere in the end and then we can meet later in the tournament. I think sheís one of the favorites. Sheís won it, I donít know, I think a few times.
So for me she is the one, and Svetlana is playing really well. Weíll see, anything can happen.

Q.Being No.4 in the world, you have 50% chances to avoid Justine?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I hope so. No, I mean sheís just a great champion. Itís just so tough to beat her. Iím always so close and always lost 6 4 in the third, a few points deciding the winner, but I always came out as loser each time.
So I just need to win one match and weíll make some kind of it will be easier for me.

Q. You want to say thank you for the results, the wins, in the season?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I just really work hard and I you know, off season that was the big difference for me. I work hard with my sparring partner and also the coach whoís not here with me.
But he has a lot of impact on my game and he has helped me a lot. I donít know if he at the moment doesnít want me to really say the names, but when he will become the coach then it will be official. Hopefully sometime soon.
But I think Iím the only player in the top without a coach, so you can imagine if I had a full time coach who traveled with me. It would make I think a big difference as well.

Q. Is he Serbian?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No.

Q. Is he Spanish?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Heís Spanish.

Q. And youíre No. 1 in the race. What does it mean to you?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I donít know. Itís really amazing because it just shows that I played really well for the first half of the year.
Iím No. 1 in the race means Iím very fast, no? Iím sprinting quite well, no? No, itís just I just hope I will stay as long a possible and just keep making results and I can stay there in the top. Weíll see. Me and Serena are 5 Love
Q. Why did you learn to fly the helicopter?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I didnít. It was just when I was in New Zealand we have some friends who own a helicopter and they said, Okay, letís go for a ride. It was just the day before my final and I said, Itís not a good thing to do.
Who knows how I will feel the next day. And I came up and I was sitting next to the pilot and my mom and some friends were in the back. I go up and I look down and itís just so high and I started shaking already. I was like uh oh.
The pilot gave me the so that Iím driving, and then I said, you know, we have these earphone phones and I said to all the people, Listen guys, your life is in my hands.
And I was doing it and you make a little move and the whole helicopter moves. I was just frozen but I was really, really focused. At the end we landed and it was all fine and I did a great job. But I was all sweaty and I turned white in my face.

Q. How about the others?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I think they were worse. I think they were like, Thank God we are on the ground, you know. It was unbelievable experience.

predrag
May 20th, 2007, 07:18 PM
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/05/20/sports/EU-SPT-TEN-Italian-Open.php


Jankovic marks turnaround with Italian Open victory
ROME: It's been quite a turnaround for Jelena Jankovic.

A year ago, the Serb came into Rome on a 10-match losing streak and contemplating retirement. On Sunday, Jankovic beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1 to win the Italian Open and join Justine Henin as the only three-time winners on tour this year.

"One year ago I was about to quit playing tennis here in Rome, but this was where everything turned around, and now I'm here holding the trophy," Jankovic said.

Last year, Jankovic snapped her losing streak here with three straight wins before falling to Venus Williams in the quarterfinals. Jankovic has been one of the best players on tour in the year since, winning 81 of 108 matches, breaking into the top 10 in January and the top five this week.

On Monday, Jankovic will move up to a career-high No. 4.
"It's an unbelievable win for me," she said. "I'm not putting any pressure on myself. I'm just playing and improving. Every week I'm getting better."

Jankovic also won at Auckland, New Zealand, to open her season in January and took a clay-court title in Charleston, South Carolina, last month. This title ó also on clay ó established her as one of the favorites for the French Open, which begins next weekend.

Kuznetsova dropped to 0-4 in finals this year. She was also runner-up in Doha, Qatar; Indian Wells, California; and Berlin last week.
"It's something mental I have to work on, because I have the game," Kuznetsova said. "I didn't play the game I could have played. I had so many balls and I didn't finish, that was the key."

Jankovic became the first woman since Conchita Martinez 13 years ago to win this tournament without dropping a set.

"I didn't expect to win like that," Jankovic said. "She's one of the toughest players on clay. She's been in the final of the French Open. I play better on hard courts."

Jankovic broke to take a 4-2 lead in the first set, but then committed two double faults to let Kuznetsova break back and even the score at 4-4.

A series of baseline errors by the second-seeded Kuznetsova let Jankovic restore her lead and the Serb held to close out the set.

After trading breaks in the second set, Jankovic won the final five games.

"In the end she played better," Kuznetsova said.

Both players struggled to hold serve ó Jankovic because her serve deserted her for long stretches and Kuznetsova because she committed too many baseline errors once she put the ball in play.

Jankovic's foot-speed enabled her to make Kuznetsova play more balls than she may have wanted in several long rallies.

"That was the key, I got so many balls back. She's such a powerful player," Jankovic said. "Maybe she had in her head that she had to play amazing shots."

Jankovic leads the season-long points race, ahead of Serena Williams.

"I just hope to stay there as long as possible," Jankovic said.

Jogi
May 20th, 2007, 07:31 PM
Q. I thought you were going to dance the Charleston? lol
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really don’t know that dance. If you ask me some other dance I really will do it.
...
But Svetlana is a really cool girl, and she’s one of the most outgoing, especially in the locker rooms. :o

Q. (From Italian) Besides the tournament, what did you appreciate most here in Rome this week?
JELENA JANKOVIC: What this mean? :hug:

Q. You won two big tournaments on clay this year, so you have to consider yourself a favorite for sure the French now?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, really?
Q. Yeah.
:tape: :lol:

Q.Being No.4 in the world, you have 50% chances to avoid Justine?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I hope so.
;)

Q. And you’re No. 1 in the race. What does it mean to you?
JELENA JANKOVIC:
I’m No. 1 in the race means I’m very fast, no? I’m sprinting quite well, no?
:haha:

lol, entertaining interview, thx for posting

~Kiera~
May 20th, 2007, 08:02 PM
Thanks, predrag! Jelena is seriously funny at times :lol:

But Svetlana is a really cool girl, and sheís one of the most outgoing, especially in the locker rooms. :o


On a serious note, I often feel like Sveta goes into her shell on court. Off court she seems to have a really fun side to her, but it seems to disappear a bit once she steps in front of a crowd.

Kampi
May 20th, 2007, 08:18 PM
Thanks, predrag! Jelena is seriously funny at times :lol:



On a serious note, I often feel like Sveta goes into her shell on court. Off court she seems to have a really fun side to her, but it seems to disappear a bit once she steps in front of a crowd.

Hi Sarah:wavey::kiss:
Yes, Sveta was trying way to hard today. Jelena was very consistent and played a good length. Sveta had a lot of trouble with that. And our girl also launched some impressive backhand winners down the line.:worship:

Btw, it was obviously a mistake to change my old (big) avatar without beeing at least a "premium". Now look at my small little avatar. Pathetic.:rolleyes: Damn, right now I'm not having a credit card, money yes, but card no.:mad: Even on paypal WTAworld only accept a credit card.:o

~Kiera~
May 20th, 2007, 08:27 PM
Btw, it was obviously a mistake to change my old (big) avatar without beeing at least a "premium". Now look at my small little avatar. Pathetic.:rolleyes: Damn, right now I'm not having a credit card, money yes, but card no.:mad: Even on paypal WTAworld only accept a credit card.:o

96x96 does look tiny now. I'm used to a similar size (100x100) on other forums, but then the rest of the place is much more compact so it fits in well. It's probably worse since we can all remember what 140x140 looks like.

I couldn't live without my credit card ;) :lol:

Jogi
May 20th, 2007, 08:49 PM
lol Kampi, I wanted to warn you first when I read that you still had the old (big) avatar and were about to change it... I better did so ;)
please don't waste your money just for minor things like the size of avatars
whatever these new "ideas" with "premium lifetime members" are about, supporting this site or whatever, it sounds bit shit to me
next step will be that they'll make us pay for using this board...

predrag
May 21st, 2007, 07:42 PM
As expected, Jelena is in today's edition of AD-IN, AD-OUT
by John Wertheim:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_wertheim/05/21/ad.in/index.html

Serb quietly continues her ascent, winning the Italian Open for her third title of the year. Anyone else thinking we might have a new player ready to win her first Slam?

predrag
May 21st, 2007, 07:53 PM
Jelena's again the centerpoint of Bud Collins' (the picture) column
in Boston Globe on Monday. The same column is
published in today's International Herald Tribune
as "Jankovic continues rise to women's top ranks".

http://img377.imageshack.us/img377/9062/collinsbud1yg8.jpg

http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/tennis/articles/2007/05/21/nice_and_airy_at_the_top/

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/21/news/tennis.php

Nice and airy at the top

ROME -- They are pals -- but adversaries.

"Yeah, Svetlana is a really cool girl. She's one of the most outgoing in the locker room," Jelena Jankovic says about the sturdy Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova, the US Open champ of 2004. "This morning she gave me a charger to charge my phone. That was so nice of her."

Nice, but Jankovic gave Kuznetsova the wrong number at sunny Il Foro Italico yesterday: 7-5, 6-1, figures that made her the first Serbian champion of Italy.

Even more punishing was this wrong number: 34 unforced errors for No. 3 Kuznetsova. Jankovic had 16, and kept pumping balls back for the Russian to miss.

They zigged and zagged through the opening act like tipsy waiters dropping trays of glasses -- seven breaks in 11 games until Jankovic managed to hold for the set.

Their ups and downs were accompanied by a horrific racket made by a ghastly toy new to Italy: ThunderStix imported from the United States and given away by a local bank.

Jankovic's quick feet and deadly two-handed backhand were more than enough to counter Kuznetsova's superior serve and forehand.

"She was always making me hit one more shot, and returning very well . . . and then I'd miss," said the loser, defeated in a final for the fourth time this year. "It's something mental. I play good until the final."

Jankovic, ascending to No. 4, had her third title of the year, and was straightforward about why. "Every time I go to a tournament, I look to see if [No. 1] Justine Henin is there. If she isn't, I think I can win. But I can't beat her.

"Justine wasn't here, so I felt very good. I put on fiery pink nail polish -- different color every week -- and was ready to win." Impressively.

Jankovic is the first to sweep the Italian without losing a set since the Spaniard, Conchita Martinez, 13 years ago.

The 22-year-old out of Belgrade was pleased to tell reporters that "I'm the only one in the top 10 without a coach. Of course, I did get some advice from somebody who's not here with me. He has helped me a lot."

Who?

"Oh, I can't tell you. He doesn't want me to. Maybe someday."

So she's guided by a mystery figure? She gave a puckish smile, then moved on to her shopping expeditions. "I go every day. It's like, you know, if I spend a lot of money, it will help the economy.

"Maybe because my comeback [from No. 40 and 10 consecutive losses] began here last year. I could never have imagined holding up the trophy a year later. I'm moving fast, sprinting well, no?

"The first half of the year I can't believe: 37 wins, only 10 losses. We'll see what happens."

What happened when she won New Zealand as the year began "was a little scary. A friend of mine owns a helicopter, and said let's go for a ride.

"It was the day before the final, and I thought it wasn't a good idea. But I went, and I was sitting next to the pilot. My mom and some friends were in the back. He let me drive, gave me the controls. And I was like uh-oh.

"I started shaking. I looked down and it was so high. I made a little move and the helicopter moves. This isn't like tennis -- you lose here and you really lose. I was sweating, but I was focused.

"I think the others were scared, too. Thank God when he set us down on the ground."

Nevertheless, Jankovic says she felt even higher when Kuznetsova's last shot fizzled and she became, as the trophy presenter exclaimed, the Queen of Italy.

predrag
May 21st, 2007, 09:07 PM
Jelena will, after all play in Strasbourg. In Tuesday
editions of Serbian media she is quoted (translation):

I have a fine opportunity to win another trophy, even though that's not my concern in Strasbourg. I'd like to play some more on red clay and prepare myself for Roland Garros. I have to admit I'm in love with red clay.


Asked about Bud Collins' column, she said:

I answered him that I'm staying Serbian, and even our country is small, we have 4 Top-10 players and we're better than all of you.


Jelena then again goes on and on bashing her own serve
(yes, she'll work on it), but also reveals that immediately
after arriving in Rome she was asked by local TV stations
to accompany her during training hours as well as shopping.
And while on shopping spree she found time for make-a-wish:

I dropped a coin in the famous Fontana di Trevi and made a wish to win in Rome. Here I am, my wish has come true.

~Kiera~
May 21st, 2007, 09:20 PM
Thanks, predrag!

She gave a puckish smile, then moved on to her shopping expeditions. "I go every day. It's like, you know, if I spend a lot of money, it will help the economy.

:lol:

schorsch
May 23rd, 2007, 05:46 PM
:p lol what an excuse !

predrag
May 23rd, 2007, 08:12 PM
James Beck (the picture), the tennis columnist for
Charleston Post & Courier is eyeing Jelena as
Roland Garros winner:

http://img395.imageshack.us/img395/5534/jamesbeckjg2.jpg



From nowhere to top?

It's possible. Three weeks from now, formerly virtually unknown Jelena Jankovic could be the top women's player in the world.

All she has to do is win the French Open, while two-time defending champion Justine Henin falls early and second-ranked Maria Sharapova doesn't make a deep run.

Jankovic's easy victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova in Sunday's final in Rome pushed the Family Circle Cup champion to a career-high No. 4 ranking.

~Kiera~
May 23rd, 2007, 09:17 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/6685481.stm

Jankovic on a roll
By Piers Newbery

Tennis has seen its fair share of miraculous comebacks and Jelena Jankovic can now join the honour roll.

A Grand Slam title would cap an incredible 12 months for the Serbian and from nowhere she has become a serious contender for the French Open.

The 22-year-old has stormed up to fourth in the Sony Ericsson rankings by winning three titles this year, including the Italian Open in Rome last week.

This run of form has been all the more remarkable as Jankovic was so low heading to last year's Italian Open that she almost called it a day.

An appalling run of 10 consecutive defeats meant the former world junior number one did not enjoy a single victory between the middle of January and the middle of May.

"Last year in Rome I was thinking it was going to be my last tournament and that I don't want to play tennis any more," she told BBC Sport.

"That first match in Rome I played against Elena Lkihovtseva, I won one round and everything changed.

"I made the quarters to end the losing streak and it all started from there. Every tournament was getting better and better and I was feeling more and more confident.

"After five months I finished number 12 in the world, which was really amazing. Then this year in Rome I won the title - it was unbelievable how I almost quit playing tennis and one year later I'm holding the trophy."

So what has been the secret behind this turnaround in fortunes?

"Everybody has been asking me that and I don't know," she said. "I'm working very, very hard. I've improved my fitness a lot, I feel like mentally I'm a lot stronger and each shot is getting better.

"Nothing's perfect so I'm working hard every day. The confidence plays a big role and every time I step on the court I want to give my maximum.

"Sometimes when I'm not playing my best I find a way to win and that's the key to success."

Jankovic made a breakthrough by reaching the semi-finals at last year's US Open but knows that more is expected of her at the French Open as a top-five player.

"It feels a bit different but I don't put any pressure on myself, I just want to do well," she said.

"My best surface is hard courts but it's been amazing that this year I won two Tier One titles on clay.

"I feel I'm learning how to slide on the clay and I'm moving a lot better. If you move well on clay it makes a big difference and I'm doing that well right now."

If she is to lift the trophy at Roland Garros there is every chance that somewhere along the way, Jankovic will have to beat defending champion and strong favourite Justine Henin.

That would be a tough task for any player but especially one with an 0-5 record who has lost three desperately close matches against the Belgian already this year.

"I think I can beat her," insisted Jankovic. "I was so close so many times and she always beat me 6-4 in the third with a few points deciding the winner.

"Experience plays a big role between the two of us and she is the one who plays more solid.

"I tend to risk more and make mistakes at the wrong times, but I think I'm learning from each match and hopefully I'll beat her some time soon.

"And when I do it once I think it will be a different story. I know that she doesn't like to play me either."

predrag
May 23rd, 2007, 09:48 PM
Jon Wertheim's Mailbag finally addresses Jelena:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_wertheim/05/22/mailbag/1.html

I was looking at the rankings in the WTA Tour Web site, and in their Race to the Year-end Championships, Jelena Jankovic is actually at the top spot! Granted that Justine Henin didn't play the Aussie Open and Serena has only played in five tournaments this year. Does this mean Jankovic is the third best player in the WTA Tour right now?
-- Alvin, Manila, Philippines

I don't think that's a reach at all. Amelie Mauresmo is decidedly rusty. Kim Clijsters is out. Maria Sharapova and Martina Hingis are injured. Same for Nadia Petrova. After Serena and Henin, I think Jankovic comes next. A year ago, she looked to be on the road to an early retirement. Suddenly she may have inherited the mantle as the "best player never to have won a Slam."

predrag
May 24th, 2007, 06:01 AM
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1371

Fresh from her second career Tier I title in Rome last week, No.2 seed Jankovic proceeded into the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 63 75 win over Thailand's Tanasugarn. The 22-year-old Serbian was not at her best against the World No.70, but did just enough to notch up her Sony Ericsson WTA Tour-leading 38th singles victory of the year. Next up for the World No.4 is Italy's Maria Elena Camerin, who defeated Japan's Aiko Nakamura, 63 62.

"I think she played really well today. She hit a lot of lines and she made me compete hard," Jankovic said. "it's my first round here on the clay in Strasbourg and it's a little slower than last week in Rome. Every match is different and I always look for a way to win. I just try to do my best, taking one match at a time and we'll see what happens."

predrag
May 24th, 2007, 11:55 AM
UAE's Xpress goes Jelly.

http://www.xpress4me.com/sport/uae/tennis/20001107.html

Serb And Volley: Jelena’s Flight To Glory

By Rohan Alvares, Sports Reporter

Her Italian Open triumph last weekend has seen Serbian star Jelena Jankovic ascend to a career-high number four in the WTA tour rankings.

With the French Open to get under way on Sunday, Jankovic appears to be gaining momentum at the right time in order to have her say on Paris clay. But has the moment finally arrived for the scintillating Serb to shine on the big stage?
“Yes, because last year I played the semi-final of the US Open and was so close to going to the final,” Jankovic told XPRESS.


"This year, I think I have pretty good chances but it would be a dream come true to win a Grand Slam." Jelena Jankovic


“I got that experience and it was good for me to learn from my mistakes in the semi-final. This year, I think I have pretty good chances but it would be a dream come true to win a Grand Slam.

“I did it in my junior’s career where I won the Australian Open but it would be really amazing if I could do it on the professional tour, it is one of my goals,” she revealed.

The happy moment she is living right now seemed a distant dream a little over a year ago when an illness threatened to bring her promising career to an abrupt end.

The 22-year-old however, insists she has emerged a stronger person from the harrowing experience.

“I think last year was a year for me where I really learned a lot, especially at the beginning of the year,” she recalled.

“I didn’t play well and lost my confidence and it was a really tough period for me. Before that I was sick with a virus and it was just tough to deal with everything. But from this period I learned a lot and I think I’m stronger as a person and also as a player.

“Now every time when I go on court I just want to enjoy myself and sometimes I’m happy to just be there because I was almost at that stage of quitting during that period.”

Jankovic said the constant support of her family had helped her immensely. “My family is number one in my life and without them I wouldn’t be where I am now. They are really supportive and are by my side when I’m doing well or when I’m doing badly and I’m just so thankful to them.

“My mom travels with me most of the time and sometimes my father travels but it’s very difficult because everybody has their own lives though they all watch and support me on the TV.”

Dubai has been witness to the Serb’s unquestionable talent on more than one occasion and she agreed the place usually brings out the best in her.

“I won my first pro tennis tournament in Dubai and two years ago I played the final [Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open] losing to Lindsay Davenport, 4-6 in the third. I have good memories of Dubai, I really love playing in front of the crowd and it’s a great atmosphere,” she said.

~Kiera~
May 24th, 2007, 06:36 PM
http://www.miamiherald.com/673/story/116929.html

Amazing rise for Jankovic

BY MICHELLE KAUFMAN
mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

Jelena Jankovic began the year with a thrilling -- albeit frightful -- helicopter ride in New Zealand, and she continues to soar, up to No. 4 in the world rankings after taking the Italian Open last weekend.

This charismatic Serbian, arguably the most entertaining woman on tour, enters the French Open as one of the favorites, along with Justine Henin and Svetlana Kuznetsova. She beat Kuznetsova in the final in Rome 7-5, 6-1 for her third title of the season. She is the first player in 13 years to win the tournament without losing a set.

The fact she is in the top 10 is remarkable, considering a year ago, she was ranked 40th and contemplated quitting after a 10-match losing streak. She ended up winning the WTA's Most Improved Player of the Year Award

''One year ago, I was about to quit, and it's amazing that I'm here now holding the trophy,'' Jankovic said Sunday.

Although she said her confidence is at an all-time high, Jankovic remained humble, reminding reporters she is 0-5 against Henin.

''Every time I go to a tournament, I look to see if Justine Henin is there. If she isn't, I think I can win,'' Jankovic said. 'I won this tournament and you know why? Because Henin didn't come. That was the reason. Because the last two tournaments, the player I lost to was Justine. I saw she wasn't here, and thought, `This is my chance.' I put on fiery pink nail polish -- different color every week -- and was ready to win.''

Jankovic grew up playing on hard courts and was never a fan of clay. But she recently began working with a Spanish coach and Spanish sparring partner, and they're teaching her how to slide and feel at ease on the dirt. Her victory in Charleston, S.C., was huge, she said.

Despite the success, she still would pick Henin to win the French Open, which begins Sunday in Paris.

''I believe Justine is [the] favorite for the French Open,'' Jankovic said. ``She's won it three times and is so tough to beat. But, you know, anything can happen.''

Jankovic has become a crowd favorite and one of the more popular players in the locker room. Her sense of humor comes through in her interviews. Last week, she had reporters chuckling with her helicopter-ride anecdote.

'When I was in New Zealand, we have some friends who own a helicopter and they said, `OK, let's go for a ride,' '' she said. 'It was just the day before my final and I said, `It's not a good thing to do. Who knows how I will feel the next day?' But I came and I was sitting next to the pilot and my mom and some friends were in the back. I go up and I look down and it's just so high, and I started shaking already. I was like, `Uh-oh!'

'The pilot gave me the [controls] so that I'm driving, and then I said to all the people, `Listen guys, your life is in my hands.' You make a little move and the whole helicopter moves. This isn't like tennis. If you lose, you really lose. I was just frozen, but I was really, really focused. At the end, we landed, and it was all fine and I did a great job. But I was all sweaty and I turned white in my face.''

Nothing she will face at Roland Garros will be that daunting. Jankovic will be ready.

~Kiera~
May 24th, 2007, 06:38 PM
http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_tennisblog/2007/05/red_clay_paris_.html

May 24, 2007

Red Clay, Paris: What Else Do You Need?

PARIS -- It was the end of a three-week traipse around France -- from Strasbourg, down the Alsace Wine Trail, with overnights in Lausanne, Switzerland, and a splendid little hotel in little Breil-sur-Roya, about 40 kilometers north of Ventimiglia, Italy.

The rest of the time was spent dining on olives in the south of France. Let's see. Will I have the kalamatas, the garlic olives or the ones stuffed with almonds today?

By 10 a.m. this morning, I've kicked back in the upper deck of the 160 mph TGV, which is gliding over the tracks from Avignon to Paris in a brisk two hours and 35 minutes and smiling up at the cartoonish cell phone characters with its eyes closed, there to inform passengers that this is a voiture silence.

Or, shall we say, if you got 'em, turn 'em off. The French, they are often a very civilized people. Now if they would just do something about the omnipresent cigarets.

Even with a no-cell car, I'd be smiling, on the way to the French Open again, arriving around noon on the second day of qualifying and trying to keep one eye on a couple of young U.S. players (Ahsha Rolle from Miami and Madison Brengle from Delaware) while waiting for Jelena Jankovic's third-round match to start over in Strasbourg. She's my 2007 French Open darkhorse.

She's the only top player here without a coach, though Nick Bollettieri will be happy to regale you with stories about her years at his Bradenton academy.

I watched her play nerveless tennis in the final at Rome last week against Svetlana Kuznetsova and, while that doesn't guarantee she's not going to start shaking if she goes deep into the draw here, I have a strong feeling she's ready for a breakthrough.

No one through five rounds played better tennis on the women's side at last year's U.S. Open and when Jankovic sprinted out to a one-set lead over Justine Henin in the semis, it wasn't surprising. And then she plummeted. Nerves. The Moment. The Shakes. She had all of that.

The next day she was walking out of the upstairs players lounge and WTA CEO Larry Scott was walking the other way. He consoled her, told her how it was all a learning process and that the next time she'll know how to handle it.

Will she? She's playing with confidence but there probably will always be something not quite fully positive about her.

After her triumph at Rome, she told reporters that when she shows up for a tournament and Henin isn't there, she's convinced she can win. "But I can't beat Justine," she said. A startling admission for most players. But Jankovic, who is one of the most charming chatterboxes in tennis, is not most players.

The draw is tomorrow and she'll be seeded No. 4, which means she couldn't play Henin until the semifinals if they're in the same side of the draw.

Kampi
May 24th, 2007, 06:44 PM
Thank you Sarah:wavey::D

schorsch
May 24th, 2007, 08:49 PM
ajde ! thx sarah

predrag
May 25th, 2007, 12:29 PM
Odds game is well underway. At this moment Serena
has dropped some at bookmakers and is currently at 6.8,
Henin is at 2.7 and Jelena is third at 8.2. This
article is one day old.

http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/comment/0,,2087923,00.html

Justine Henin also has a chance to claim a third consecutive (and fourth career) French Open and is 6-4 with Hill's and VC Bet to do so. The Belgian, who did not play in Rome to enjoy more rest ahead of the action in Paris, is certainly a better option than either of the Williams sisters. Neither is suited to clay-court tennis with Serena's odds incredibly short at a general 7-2. Venus can be backed at 33-1 with VC Bet.

France's Amťlie Mauresmo is sure to have the backing of the supporters in Paris, but even at Paddy Power's 12-1 she does not appeal given her lack of match practice. She has only recently returned to action following appendix surgery.

Again, today's draw will be crucial but Jelena Jankovic has every chance of progressing to the latter stages and looks a solid each-way option at 8-1 with Hill's. The Serb has won three titles this season (the most along with Henin), including in Rome on clay, and has taken Henin to three sets on the five occasions that they have played each other.

predrag
May 25th, 2007, 05:16 PM
Some nice words on Jelena in International
Herald Tribune:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/25/sports/SRWomen.php

Jelena Jankovic seems to be healthy and thriving, winning often, including last week in Rome. Her resourceful, deeply athletic tennis remains a delight to watch and her free-flowing interviews a pleasure to hear. But she has yet to get past the semifinals in a Grand Slam event and has lost twice to Henin on clay this spring. Others might have taken a break to savor Rome and recover, but Jankovic was back in the draw in Strasbourg, France, running down shots in the corners.

predrag
May 25th, 2007, 06:37 PM
SI's Jon Wertheim breaks down the WTA draw for
Roland Garros. He is taking Jelena over Henin:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_wertheim/05/25/french.womens/index.html

1. Justine Henin: Two-time defending champ usually saves her best stuff for the Slams. Has the good fortune of playing at a time when the rest of the field is banged up, bored or missing entirely. We eagerly await the quarterfinal ("Let? What let?") match versus Serena Williams. Then Jelena Jankovic awaits in the de facto final.

2. Maria Sharapova: Second seed in name only. Nobody's clay-court specialist, Sharapova hobbles in with questionable confidence. Will be lucky to beat crafty lefty Emilie Loit in her first match.

3. Svetlana Kuznetsova: Regarded as the best clay-courter of the Russians, Sveta is always a contender -- and she was a finalist in 2006. Still, she seems to lack ballast when the match is on the line.

4. Jelena Jankovic: We're playing bandwagon-hoppers here and putting our euros on the streaking Serb. She's playing well and no one else is. Absurdly overloaded schedule is a concern, but at least she comes with plenty of match play. Provided she can keep her head together in a likely semi against Henin, Jankovic could hold the trophy on June 9.

Semis

Henin vs. Jankovic
Kuznetsova vs. Schnyder

Final

Jankovic vs. Kuznetsova

Winner

Jankovic

Kampi
May 25th, 2007, 06:58 PM
Thank you Predrag:wavey:
Wertheim is a fortune teller.;) Let's hope so, by goodness.:angel:

~Kiera~
May 25th, 2007, 07:26 PM
Thanks, predrag :)

schorsch
May 25th, 2007, 08:42 PM
i hope wertheim's prediction will be true when it comes to jelena. not so thrilled about his comment on masha though ;/

~Kiera~
May 26th, 2007, 01:34 AM
http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/6849174

Henin will have plenty of competition

Matthew Cronin / FOXSports.com
Posted: 3 hours ago

She is the Rafael Nadal of women's tennis. Or perhaps more accurately, Nadal is the Justine Henin of men's tennis.

Like her male counterpart, Henin will be gunning for a third straight French Open title when the two-week tourney kicks off on Sunday. The Belgian will attempt to garner her fourth crown overall, something Nadal can't claim, as she won titles in 2003, 2005 and 2006. And while she fell to Svetlana Kuznetsova in Berlin, Henin is still a substantial favorite to win the 2007 crown. The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's top-ranked player loves the locale, is more comfortable sliding on dirt and is a true shotmaker on the surface, mixing power, touch and precision.

Thankfully, for entertainment's sake, the Roland Garros fortnight won't be a one-filly race. Here are five other women who could steal Henin's thunder:

Serena Williams: If fans are ever going to doubt the eight-time Grand Slam champion, it's on clay. Even though she won the title in 2002, Serena has suffered some ugly losses on the tricky surface and hasn't made an appearance at the event since 2004, when she was clubbed by Jennifer Capriati.

Still, Williams is excited about her chances, perhaps because she outlasted Henin in the 2007 Miami final and wants another crack at her in Paris, the scene of one of Serena's most difficult and emotional defeats.

In 2003, it was Henin who stopped Williams' attempt at five straight Slam crowns in a highly controversial semifinal that saw defending champion Williams accuse Henin of cheating. (In the third set of their semifinal match, Henin held her hand up to indicate she was not ready to receive Williams' serve. The umpire did not see Henin's hand go up, and Henin said nothing to the umpire when Williams' serve hit the net. Williams was forced to play her second serve, and subsequently lost that service game ó and the match.) The two have since gotten past the incident, but Serena knows that if she's to win her second French Open, she'll likely have to knock out Henin. But given that Serena is coming in as the No. 8 seed, she's slated to face the Belgian prior to the final.

When asked recently who the favorites were, Serena named herself, Henin and her sister, Venus, a far-out choice considering her older sibling has done little of note on dirt this year.

But if Serena can work her way into the second week of the tournament, she has a terrific shot at the title because her groundstrokes are clean, she has an incredible competitive drve, and has the best closer's instincts out there. Yes, she went down in a third-set tiebreaker to Patty Schnyder in Rome, but she also lost in an Australian Open warmup tournament and went on to win the title.

Now she's in significantly better shape and, more importantly, she's taking dead aim at the calendar year Grand Slam.

"I think it can be done," Serena said. "I play well on all surfaces so I'm a good candidate to do it."

Jelena Jankovic: This incredibly talented Serbian is ready to break through and win her first Slam crown ó if she can find a way to dig a little deeper.

She's already won two Tier I clay court titles this quarter (Charleston and Rome), and recently cracked the top five in world rankings. She's incredibyl quick, has deadly groundstrokes and isn't afraid of anyone ó save for Henin, who seems to always beat Jankovic 6-4 in the third set of their classic tug-of-wars. But it's not Henin or Serena that the 20-year-old really has to worry about ó it's herself. As sound as she can be mentally when she's locked in, she's a flighty person who can get distracted. If Jankovic can avoid fiddling with her ponytail too much in between crucial points, there's little to stop her from giving Henin or Serena hell during the final weekend.

Svetlana Kuznetsova: This superb Russian sprinter finally toppled Henin in Berlin, breaking a long losing streak against the Belgian, but still lost in the final to Ana Ivanovic. She then reached the Rome final the following week with impressive wins over Dinara Safina and Daniela Hantuchova, but fell to Jankovic. She reached the final at Roland Garros last year, only to be crushed by Henin.

Still, Kuznetsova grew up playing on dirt, was trained in Spain and brings a man's inside-out forehand to the table. The breadth of her arsenal is a little bit lacking, as is her inner-self belief, which is why she hasn't won another major since taking the 2004 US Open crown. But this cycling champion's daughter cannot be counted out simply because once she gets on a roll, she can steamroll almost any foe.

Ana Ivanovic: Every few months, this tall, strong Serbian teen busts out like she did in Berlin, where she inched past Kuzenetosova in a third-set tiebreaker. Her physical attributes combine with a carefree attitude, and it all complements a gorgeous all-around game ó when she's clicking. Still only 19, Ivanovic may be a year away from fully reaching her potential, but she's a No. 7 seed in Paris and is more than comfortable teeing off on the crushed orange brick. The big question for the Serb is whether she can develop the killer instinct necessary to step on her foes at crunch time during a Grand Slam. As one of the main contenders, that's a question will be put to the test during the fortnight.

Nadia Petrova: The clock is ticking for this daughter of two athlete parents who had a great clay court season last year prior to Roland Garros and then got injured in practice before her first match. She'll turn 25 at the end of the tournament, a great age for a player to peak, but Petrova is hurt again and is unsure whether her body will hold up for the full two weeks. The Russian is way overdue though, and should she catch fire the first week, the rest of the field must be very wary of her.

The Others

With injuries still plaguing the tour, it's hard to get a definitive read on how many of the WTA's standout players might perform, but here are 10 other women with quarterfinal potential:

Tall Czech banger Nicole Vaidisova reached the semifinals last year but is contending with a wrist injury. She may not have enough staying power to last deep into the tournament;
Venus Williams may still be shedding rust after a nearly worthless 2006, but the chronically-injured five-time Slam champ still has the experience and will to clay her way deep;
Teen icon Maria Sharapova is just back from a shoulder injury, but even on her least favorite surface, she'll fight like a demon;
Talented Russian kids Dinara Safina and Anna Chakvetadze are clamoring for the spotlight;
Israeli Shahar Peer is gritty enough to exhaust tons of foes;
Slovak Daniela Hantuchova still loves three-set battles;
Czech lefty Lucie Safarova showed Down Under that she's capable of taking big cuts at the elite.
Three notable veterans who haven't been mentioned will likely fall in the first week. French hopeful and two-time Slam champ Amelie Mauresmo chokes horribly in Paris; 2004 finalist Elena Dementieva is struggling to come back from the first significant injury of her career, though she is playing well in the Istanbul Cup; and Switzerland's Patty Schnyder loves the dirt, but doesn't seem to have her head in the sport this year.

Kampi
May 26th, 2007, 07:23 AM
Thank you Sarah:wavey::D

predrag
May 26th, 2007, 06:38 PM
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/story/0,,2088770,00.html

Serbian goodwill army advances on France

Steve Bierley in Paris
Saturday May 26, 2007
The Guardian

The barbarity and pity of war will continue to scar Serbia, yet wherever this nascent state had searched for a little redemption it could hardly have conjured up three ambassadors of greater charm, perseverance and ambition than Novak Djokovic, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. They have all risen this year into the world top 10, and have set about changing the worldwide perceptions of their country.

"I have never considered moving or changing my nationality," said Jankovic. "Professional athletes are the best ambassadors for our country, especially after those crimes and the war. So we are trying to present Serbia in a better light."
Djokovic, a year younger than Andy Murray and already world No6, was briefly linked with a move to Britain but now seems happy to be part of the Serbian goodwill tennis army. Ivanovic recently won her first major clay-court title in Berlin. "The first time I met Novak we were both four," she said. "His uncle went to school with my father, and they owned a restaurant in the mountains. We played, and then a few years later we met again playing tennis. It's unbelievable what has happened. We didn't have good facilities and the tennis federation didn't support us as they should.

"It's pretty amazing that both of us, and Jelena, have all come such a long way. It's a very thrilling feeling and good motivation for the younger kids in Serbia. They know it's possible, and hopefully people will invest more into the sport."

Ivanovic, 19, and ranked No8, remembers the bombs falling on Belgrade, while Jankovic, three years older, was already at Nick Bollettieri's tennis school in Florida, and fearing for the lives of her family and friends as she watched the war unfold on CNN. "It was a very difficult time for me, and I want to forget about it." Yet out of adversity has come shining strength, with the two young women being spoken of before the French Open, beginning today, as "the new Belgians", a reference to the startling rise of Justine Henin, the reigning Roland Garros champion, and Kim Clijsters, recently retired.

Ivanovic's win in Germany and Jankovic's even more recent triumph in Rome, which took her to a career-high No4, sees them arrive in Paris amid high expectations, particularly in Serbia. "Back home people didn't talk much about tennis when we were young. Now, because of us, it is much more popular," said Ivanovic. "That puts pressure on. Sometimes the pressure disturbs me a bit because you always want to convince people of your worth. But I know I am good, and that one day I will get the big results."

Such pressure almost saw Jankovic sling her rackets away last year and head for the showbusiness world. As a youngster, because of financial restrictions, she had to ditch the piano in favour of tennis: "If I had made a different choice who knows what I might have become!" Already she has been offered a part in a film comedy, but that came after she had risen out of the worst playing trough of her life when she won just one of her first 11 matches in 2006. Now tennis is her life again. She beat Venus Williams at last year's Wimbledon, reached the US Open semi-finals and has won three tournaments before this week.

"I was really close to quitting. I was studying for my degree and doing other things and didn't really enjoy tennis. Now I want to play, want to fight, to become better and better every day. This is why I'm doing well and the results are coming." The degree, in media, economics and business studies, has been put on hold.

Ivanovic and Djokovic, both previous quarter-finalists at Roland Garros, continue to chat on the phone. "Sometimes you get a little bit lonely. Sometimes I think I have not spoken Serbian for such a long time," said Ivanovic. Now it will be heard with growing frequency, for Jankovic, Ivanovic and Djokovic are on the fast track as Serbian tennis heads for previously undreamed of heights.

predrag
May 26th, 2007, 06:45 PM
June issue of Inside Tennis breaks it down nicely:

http://www.insidetennis.com/0607_racing_form.html

Justine Henin: Finally took a decent-sized loss in Berlin to Kuznetsova, but in her beloved Philippe Chatrier Stadium, the three-time champ knows how to pick foes apart.

Serena Williams: If you are ever going to doubt the eight- time Slam champ, do it on clay, but the Ď02 champ is fired up to win the calendar-year Slam and wonít go down easily.

Svetlana Kuznetsova: Superb Russian runner finally toppled Henin again and loves to pound inside-out forehands on dirt. Mental makeup at the Slams still in question.

Jelena Jankovic: Incredibly talented Serbian is ready to break through to first Slam crown if she finds a way to dig a little deeper.

Ana Ivanovic: Every few months, the tall, strong Serb teen busts out like she did in winning Berlin. But may be too nice to win a Slam.

Nicole Vaidisova: Tall Czech banger on the verge of something great, but must keep temper in check and think her way through tough spots.

Nadia Petrova: The clock is ticking on this enigmatic athleteís daughter, but the Russianís potential for great feats is still there.

Venus Williams: Some may say that putting her amongst the top 8 is showing home-country bias, but if you are looking for potential winners who know how to close, look no further than this chronically injured five-time Slam champ.

Spoilers: Russian kids Dinara Safina and Anna Chakvetadze, Russian vet Elena Dementieva, the chatty Frenchwoman Tatiana Golovin, the gritty Israeli Shahar Peer, the smooth Slovak Daniela Hantuchova, and Czech lefty Lucie Safarova.

Probable FIRst-Week Casualties: The injured Maria Sharapova, the fading Amelie Mauresmo, the clay-hating Na Li and Shuai Peng of China, and Ai Sugiyama of Japan.

predrag
May 26th, 2007, 09:18 PM
The editors of TENNIS Magazine and TENNIS.com
weigh in with their predictions on who will be
victorious at the 2007 French Open. Three of
them are picking Henin, two Serena and two
Jelena.

http://www.tennis.com/tournaments/2007/frenchopen/frenchopen.aspx?id=80130

Steve Tignor, Executive Editor
"Justine Henin-- Sheís still the best on clay and is getting back into form."

Jon Levey, Senior Editor
"Jelena Jankovic-- Seems like Jankovic has got one Slam victory in her career. This one is as wide open as any."

Tony Lance, Associate Editor
"Defending champ and three-time winner Justine Henin is the player to beat. Her fitness and will to win should take her through to her fourth title."

David Rosenberg, Photo Editor
"Jankovic-- Sheís ready to shed her headcase status."

Sarah Unke, Assistant Editor
"Serena Williams-- Serenaís up for her second French title and she still has some ďdoubtersĒ to prove wrong."

Kamakshi Tandon, Online Editor
"Henin -- On this surface, on this tournament, very few players can currently give her trouble."

Melanie Hendel, Assistant Photo Editor
Pick: Serena Williams

~Kiera~
May 26th, 2007, 11:11 PM
Nick Bollettieri's picks (I'm not sure where he got the idea that Ana is French though :o)

http://www.nickbollettieri.com/aboutNick/tournamentArticle.cfm?artID=122

2007 French Open Women's Preview

Justine Henin

1. Rank: #1
2. Nationality: Belgian
3. Age: 25 on June 1st
4. Height: 5í6Ē
5. Weight: 126 lbs.
6. Right handed
7. One-handed backhand
8. 3 French Open titles overall (í03, Ď05, í06). 1 Australian Ď04, 1 U.S. Open Ď03
9. Finalist at all 4 Grand Slams in í06 winning only the French
10. Record in í07: 22-3 (Titles at Dubai, Doha, Warsaw)

Justine has many of the qualities of a champion which include:

1) Mobility and Balance - She can be in position to strike 99.9% of all balls because of her great anticipation, movement, recovery, balance and determination
2) Forehand Ė Can spin it, drive it and angle it. She can do it all, including the inside out and inside in forehand.
3) Backhand Ė There is none better in the ladies game. Her one hander is beautiful to watch. Many people sit and watch and think to themselves how much they would pay to hit one ball the way Justine hits the backhand.
4) Serve Ė Better than the average serve, in fact, itís darn good BUTÖ. Second serves can be attacked when the pressure is at a high point.
5) Return of serve Ė If you push the serve she will be on top of you at all times and teach you a lesson that this will not cut the mustard against her.
6) Volley Ė She has great technique and court postioning around the net. She can sneak in on you when you donít expect it as well as come in behind any defensive ball you give her. Her volleys are classic!

Justine has had an interesting year both professionally and personally. She must get on and off the court in the early rounds and not waste time on court. She also must try to stay on an even keel emotionally so as to not drain her energy.

She is definitely the lady to beat but her success will hinge on how she handles herself
mentally with all the pressures surrounding a Grand Slam.

Maria Sharapova

1. Rank: #2
2. Nationality: Russian
3. Age: 20
4. Height: 6í2Ē
5. Weight: 130 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Two-time French Open quarterfinalist, lost in Round of 16 in 2006
9. 2004 Wimbledon champion and 2006 US Open champion
10. Record in í07: 12-4

Maria has not bee on the easy road especially with a shoulder injury which many tennis experts feel is caused by her serving motion. The 2007 season started out with a thrashing in the finals of the Australian Open by Serena Williams and was repeated once again in the Round of 16 at the Sony Ericsson Open.

The questions at large Ė Can the competitive spirit to win be enough to take Maria into the 2nd week of the French Open? Red clay will not be so easy for Maria to hit her crisp pounding groundstrokes on the rise. Letís add to all of the above her mobility! This is not a favorite of Maria as she stands 6í2Ē.

Svetlana Kuznetsova

1. Rank: #3
2. Nationality: Russian
3. Age: 21
4. Height: 5í8Ē
5. Weight: 161 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. 2006 finalist at the French Open
9. 2004 US Open Champion
10. Record in í07: 28-10

Svetlana has one of, it not, the strongest ground floor foundations on the WTA Tour. Much of her power is generated by her lower body strength which then enables her to pound forehands and backhands.

At times she loses her focus and falls into a pattern of hitting one unforced error after another. When she is in the zone she can beat anybody on the Tour. She knows one way to hit the ball Ė hit it early, hit it flay, go for it and control play. This strategy is darn good, but to win on clay it will demand a little variation from the baseline including height, depth, and spin.

Jelena Jankovic

1. Rank: #4
2. Nationality: Serbian
3. Age: 22
4. Height: 5í9Ē
5. Weight: 130 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Best result at the French Open was in 2006 when she reached the third round
9. 2006 US Open semifinalist; reached the fourth round of the 2007 Australian Open and at Wimbledon in 2006
10. Record in í07: 37-10 (Titles at Auckland, Charleston, and Rome)

Jelena was a student at the NBTA for many years and was in the company of 2 other students who arrived at a very young age: Maria Sharapova and Tatiana Golovin. Can you imagine these three talents all training at the same place but never together unless it was drilling? They were forced to lay it on the line during some of our academy tournaments, but at the time Maria was far more mentally prepared for competition than Jelena or Tatiana.

Jelena struggled early on deal with frustration and often could not curtail negative emotions. She always seemed to find an excuse for losing. Jelena was always a superb athlete with movement similar to a tiger chasing down its prey.

A week before the Australian Open Junior Championships when Jelena was 16 or 17 years old, I decided to change her forehand grip from what was darn near a full western to a semi-western. It seemed to click right away, which I felt helped her go on to win the title that next week.

The question mark on Jelena was not whether she could be a real player, but whether she could hold up mentally and emotionally to whatever may happen during the course of a match. She is now number 4 in the world and with her powerful groundstrokes, superb movement, improved serve and confidence level off the charts, Jelena is now ready to take on anyone in the draw.

Jelena winning the Italian Open by beating Kuznetsova in the finals is not just noise, but solid results. She can go to the final weekend at the French Open, the question is can she stay calm now that she is a top dog and not go down to a player who wants to be the spoiler.

Amelie Mauresmo

1. Rank: #5
2. Nationality: French
3. Age: 27
4. Height: 5í9Ē
5. Weight: 152 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. One-handed backhand
8. Two-time French Open quarterfinalist, lost in the Round of 16 in 2006
9. 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion
10. Record in í07: 14-6 (Title at Antwerp)

With her two Grand Slam titles last year Amelie put to rest all doubts about her mental toughness. The majority of all tennis viewers, including some from the coaching stables, are concerned about Amelie lack of firepower especially from the forehand side. This in itself will hurt her on the clay because spin set up the point, but you must also hit the big ones off defensive shots.

Amelie must come to Roland Garros with a sound mind and body. She must try to offset her weaknesses by playing aggressive and using her topspin and slice backhand to win points. She has to come in to the net and keep coming in over and over because in my opinion she canít do well just from the baseline.

Nicole Vaidisova

1. Rank: #7
2. Nationality: Czech
3. Age: 18
4. Height: 6í0Ē
5. Weight: 139 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Reached the semifinals of the French Open in 2006
9. 2007 Australian Open semifinalist
10. Record in í07: 17-6

Nicole had one heck of a run at the 2007 Australian Open and many say she should have beaten Serena Williams in the semifinals. Her style of play is very aggressive, which is backed up by one of the best serves on the Tour.

Itís time she takes down some of the Big Dogs!! Clay demands movement, recover, sliding, and great timing. These are all areas that are question marks right now. She must control her emotions at all times. She is coming off a wrist injury that has kept her out of play since the Fed Cup in late April.

P.S. I will be in her box or close by cheering her on with her outstanding father who is also her coach!

Ana Ivanovic

1. Rank: #8
2. Nationality: French
3. Age: 19
4. Height: 6í0Ē
5. Weight: 160 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. French Open quarterfinalist in 2005, lost in the third round in 2006
9. Reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2006
10. Record in í07: 24-9 (Title at Berlin)

Ana Ivanovic continues to show she belongs among the elite in the womenís game. She will be flying high after a big win on the dirt in Berlin and is proving she is capable of winning on any surface.

The knock on Ana has always been her movement. There is no question she can bring power with big groundstrokes off both sides. She likes to hit fairly flat and is not afraid to rope one up the line. She does this so well that it is difficult to attack her movement because she keeps her opponents on defense so often.

Mentally Ana may not be ready just yet to battle through two grueling weeks on the dirt and claim a title, but donít be surprised to see her put a scare into one of the big dogs before itís over.

Serena Williams

1. Rank: #9
2. Nationality: American
3. Age: 25
4. Height: 5í9Ē
5. Weight: 135 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. 2002 French Open champion, hasnít played at Roland Garros since 2004
9. Three-time Australian Open champion (í03, í05, í07), two-time Wimbledon champion (í02, í03), and two-time US Open champion (í99, í02).
10. Record in í07: 18-3 (Titles at Australian Open and Sony Ericsson Open)

It wasnít too long ago both Venus and Serena were written off the books like a bad debt. I have been a proud member of the Williams team for several years as a consultant and mentor, making small adjustments along the way.

Yes, Serena was absent from the tour for a period of time, but that is history. Letís focus on her resurgence, which began with a title at this years Aussie Open.

She is capable of running down balls that, against other players, would be outright winners. Couple that with the ability to hit a winner from anywhere on the court at any time and you have the most dangerous of players to deal with.

The clay court season is off to a rough start for Serena. But she showed signs of coming on with a quarter final appearance in Rome before losing to Patty Schnyder in a tight third set tie breaker. Even though she is gearing up now, we cannot turn our heads to the fact that the French Open is 2 grueling weeks on the dirt that demands your total attention. You must give it all and then some just to get into the second week.

The draw will be a major factor. Serena needs a couple of rounds to get her feel and send notice to every player that she means business. If she remains healthy I feel she will be a genuine threat to win the French Open.

Anna Chakvetadze

1. Rank: #10
2. Nationality: Russian
3. Age: 20
4. Height: 5í7Ē
5. Weight: 128 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Lost in the second round last year, reached the third round in 2005 at the French Open
9. Quarterfinalist at the Australian Open in 2007
10. Record in í07: 25-8 (Title at Hobart)

Anna Chakvetadze has overcome a lot to break into the top ten. 18 months ago her game, as well her technique, was full of holes. But very quietly she has revamped her forehand and made some changes to her serve that have catapulted her into the top 10 for the first time.

She made her way into the top 50 by sheer competetiveness, bulldogging her way to victories. Now she has more weapons and has not lost that competitive fire, and that combination is the key to her success.

As well as she has done for herself and as far as she has come, she still has a ways to go before contending for a title like the one at Roland Garros. Being able to handle the power of a Sharapova, or the physicality of a Serena Williams, or the athleticism of a Justine Henin is something Anna has yet to prove on a consistent basis.

Dinara Safina

1. Rank: #11
2. Nationality: Russian
3. Age: 21
4. Height: 5í11Ē
5. Weight: 154 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Reached the quarterfinals last year which is her best result
9. Reached the quarterfinals of the 2006 US Open
10. Record in í07: 24-10 (Title at Gold Coast)

Dinara Safina is the player that all the top 5 players find in the draw and hope she is on the other side. She is big, she is strong and when she is in the groove can be a like a bad dream.

Being able to hold that level of a top 5 player week in and week out consistently has been Dinaraís biggest challenge. She is tough to play against because of her big serve, solid returns and raw power. She has shown she is capable by coming up with wins over top players but hasnít followed up, especially at the majors.

You just never know what youíre going to get with Dinara but putting it together for two weeks in Paris is a tall order. She may take a big name scalp along the way but the odds are very much against her claiming a title.

Nadia Petrova

1. Rank: #12
2. Nationality: Russian
3. Age: 24 (will be 25 June 8th)
4. Height: 5í10Ē
5. Weight: 143 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Two-time French Open semifinalist, lost in the first round in 2006
9. Has reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open
10. Record in í07: 21-9 (Title at Paris)

Nadia is one heck of a player, who entered the 2006 French Open earning the reputation of someone to watch out for. What happened? She was bounced in the first round!

Getting well into the second week might very well be determined by her emotions and her mindset to ride through all the obstacles and detours of the French Open.

Daniela Hantuchova

1. Rank: #13
2. Nationality: Slovakian
3. Age: 24
4. Height: 5í11Ē
5. Weight: 123 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. She reached the fourth round of the French Open twice, including last year
9. Quarterfinalist in 2002 at Wimbledon and the US Open, quarterfinalist at the Australian Open in 2003
10. Record in í07: 22-12 (Title at Indian Wells)

Daniela is a former NBTA student who has gone through her ups and downs on the tour. At only 24 years of age she seems more like an old tour veteran because she has been around for so long and been through so much.

Years back her serve was a major weakness, but after long and hard work her serve is now a bonafide weapon even on clay. Her fitness has always been a question, and we will find out on the clay if she has slayed that dragon.

After a big win in Indian Wells Daniela must now make a push to get back in the top 10 and challenge the top 5, but clay may not be the best surface for Daniela to assert herself.

Elena Dementieva

1. Rank: #14
2. Nationality: Russian
3. Age: 25
4. Height: 5í11Ē
5. Weight: 141 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Reached the finals of the French Open in 2004 and lost in the third round in 2006
9. Reached the finals of the US Open in 2004, the and the semifinals of the US Open in 2000 and 2005
10. Record in í07: 12-7

Elena Dementieva has dropped off a lot of peopleís radar screens over the past year, but here she is still at #14 in the world. She needs to send a message with this tournament that she is not just an also-ran but belongs among the worldís elite. She has had success before on the red clay of Roland Garros with her 2004 final appearance, so this may be the stage for her to do it.

Patty Schnyder

1. Rank: #15
2. Nationality: Swiss
3. Age: 28
4. Height: 5í6Ē
5. Weight: 125 lbs.
6. Left-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Reached the quarterfinals of the French Open in 1998, has reached the fourth round four times including last year
9. She has reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam once, which was in 2004 at the Australian Open
10. Record in í07: 16-11

Patty Schnyder is long on talent but short on results. She moves very well, especially on clay, has great hands and a fantastic imagination on court. However, she has never really broken through in the slams. Her best effort was a semi-final appearance at the Aussie in 2004.

She has had a somewhat ho-hum clay court sdeason thus far. She did get a win over Serena in Rome which should help her confidence going into Paris.

As talented as she is physically, mentally she can be had. If she ever decides to focus in and compete like a warrior day in and day out we could see her accomplish something special. Until then her talent will get her through to the fourth round and an occassional quarterfinal, but that will be all.

Shahar Peer

1. Rank: #16
2. Nationality: Israeli
3. Age: 20
4. Height: 5í7Ē
5. Weight: 132 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Reached the fourth round of the French Open in 2006
9. Her best result at a Grand Slam was in 2007 at the Australian Open where she reached the quarterfinals
10. Record in í07: 25-10

This girl is a battler. I love her tenacity and grit. She will throw down with anybody! I donít expect her to bring home a trophy at this yearís French Open, but the top 10 better keep an eye on the rearview mirror, because Ms. Peer is catching up fast.

Dark Horses:

Tatiana Golovin

1. Rank: #17
2. Nationality: French
3. Age: 19
4. Height: 5í9Ē
5. Weight: 132 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Reached the third round of the French Open in 2005, lost in the first round last year
9. Reached the quarterfinals of the US Open in 2006
10. Record in í07: 22-7 (Title at Amelia Island)

Tatiana is truly a favorite of mine, as she started at the Academy at a young age and my staff always enjoyed working with her.

She has excellent groundstrokes especially her two-handed backhand that can sting you like a bumble-bee when hit for winners down the line. Her game as a whole is pretty solid, but for no reason she will lose a match that she should have won.

There are times Tatiana could be much more physically fit, which is a must if her goals are to crack the Top-10 and then go for a major victory. I donít think she can get into the 2nd week without coming to the net when in control of play. She must take advantage of her opportunities and then make more opportunities by playing aggressively.

Tatiana will have thousands of cheerleaders from her hometown fans!

Venus Williams

1. Rank: #29
2. Nationality: American
3. Age: 26
4. Height: 6í1Ē
5. Weight: 160 lbs.
6. Right-handed
7. Two-handed backhand
8. Reached the finals of the French Open in 2002, lost in the quarterfinals last year
9. Three-time Wimbledon champion (í05, í01, í00), two-time US Open champion (í01, í00)
10. Record in í07: 18-4 (Title at Memphis)

Venus, if healthy, can beat any player on tour which she has already done. But a repeat of those wins will depend on her being injury free.

Please keep in mind that a wrist injury cannot be protected and hidden, especially with her style of play from both the forehand, backhand, and serve. She is beautiful to watch especially with her ballerina moves and her elegant tall-thin frame.

She must get more free points from her serve, and attack more balls even though the playing surface is red clay. I feel she must do a little big of everything, which she can do in her sleep.

Yes, she is certainly one of the players who can go into the second week, but she must not start out with a laid back attitude. She must approach every match like it is the finals!

P.S. Venus, I will be at the French Open and will certainly watch you play!

~Kiera~
May 26th, 2007, 11:23 PM
http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/6849852?print=true

Young Serbs are making their mark
Matthew Cronin / FOXSports.com
Posted: 1 hour ago

Pound for pound, tiny Serbia (population 10.1 million) is the most productive tennis nation on the planet, so good right now that the former war torn Eastern Europe nation will trot out three top 10 players at the French Open -- each considered a title contender.

Serbia looks like it could be the new Russia in tennis. Russia (population 141 million) just 10 years ago had no Grand Slam titlists. Now it has five (Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Marat Safin, Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Anastasia Myskina) with a combined eight major titles.
2007 French Open

Serbian male contender Novak Djokovic, who turned 20 this week, is the tournament's sixth seed and considered by none other than the famed analyst John McEnroe as the top contender to the world's two top-ranked players, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Serbian women's side is even stronger as fourth-ranked Jelena Jankovic and eighth-ranked Ana Ivanovic combined to win all three WTA clay court crowns this season ó Charleston, Berlin and Rome.

While two-time defending champion Justine Henin and eight-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams are considered the French Open favorites, those two warriors are in the same quarter.

The 20-year-old Jankovic, who won two of those three aforementioned crowns, will likely take on either of those two in the semifinals while Ivanovic sits in a comfortable position on the other half of the draw, hoping to punch her way past Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarters and then cut down one of two women who have had massive problems in Paris in the past ó Amelie Mauresmo and Maria Sharapova.

While Henin and Williams have shown some vulnerability, Nadal hasn't given much away on clay to anyone but Federer, which makes an examination of Djokovic's potential fascinating.

Nadal ran past Djokovic in the final of Indian Wells, but the Serb got revenge in Miami, knocking out the Spaniard in the quarters. They met again on Nadal's beloved clay in Rome, where Nadal worked him over. But that didn't' stop McEnroe from singing Djokovic's praises.

"He's going to be a real force and not just what you see now," McEnroe. "You are going to see him in the top couple of players in the world in a couple of years, pushing Federer and Nadal. I think he's shown the players out there that he is 'big time'."

Djokovic has a very reasonable draw in Paris and shouldn't face even a decent threat until he confronts streaky Spaniard David Ferrer in the fourth round. If he's serving well, positioning himself properly to set up for his big forehand and keeping his backhand consistent, Djokovic should waltz into the quarterfinals. The world will then see what kind of composure he has when the spotlight is staring him straight in the face,

Djokovic ó who also won Warsaw on clay in April ó says he's as confident as he's ever been and likes the faster clay of Roland Garros. Even though power is his specialty, he's trying to become more patient, a necessary ingredient to any title run in Paris. Especially when the first week of weather is predicted to be sopping wet.

"He's cocky, but in a good way," McEnroe said. "He believes in himself and he should believe in himself. He's got the shots, he's got the game, he's got the power and he moves well. If he can add that one little element of being able to finish off opponents (from the net) he's going to really challenge the top couple of guys."

The 19-year-old Ivanovic has been up and down all year, but seems to have hit her stride after taking a marathon final from Kuznetsova in Berlin. Ivanovic has set her sights on No. 1, but will be patient in trying to get there and recently hired veteran coach Sven Groenveld to guide her.

Big, tall and strong, Ivanovic has a vintage all-around game, but she's erratic at times. She still has some learning to do, but with her stellar results have come high expectations and if she plays up to her level, she should be able to best Kuznetsova, Mauresmo and Sharapova on a surface she grew up on.

"Maybe I now have a little more expectation for myself," she said, "but I still want to enjoy it and not put too much pressure on myself. I've just had a good preparation, I feel physically fit, and I have good chances in Paris, but I don't want to think too much in front."

Jankovic and Ivanovic are rivals and while they are not enemies, they are far from friends. Jankovic is a year older and never shies away from the cameras. In the last year, she hasn't melted in too many big moments either, save for a substantial choke against Henin in the 2007 U.S. Open semifinals and a flat performance against Serena at the Australian Open.

She's a bit flighty, but is a true burner with hard, consistent groundstrokes and often daring with her shot selection. She emotes mentally and physically, often too much. If she's to win Roland Garros, she's going to have to keep a cool head and a steady hand on her racket, which won't be easy. Nonetheless, she'll put on a show and, with Djokovic and Ivanovic, increase the size of Serbia's stamp on the tennis world.

"I really enjoy watching athletes who show their emotions because they are more interesting and fun to watch," she said. "When they are angry, excited or happy, they show it. They pump their fists or smile. I'm like that. But if you get too angry you can lose your focus. You can show your emotions, but you have to have more control. But it's nice to show your emotions because you are not a robot. You should not play with a boring face."

predrag
May 27th, 2007, 07:25 AM
Thank you, kiera!

Jelena struggled early on deal with frustration and often could not curtail negative emotions. She always seemed to find an excuse for losing.

:lol: Jelena huffing and puffing all the time. Beat that!

Jelena was always a superb athlete with movement similar to a tiger chasing down its prey.

This is a classic!

Dexter
May 27th, 2007, 09:08 AM
Jankovic is a year older and never shies away from the cameras.
A year? It's almost 3 years of difference. :o

Hashim.
May 27th, 2007, 10:55 AM
07 USO semifinals:tape:

Hashim.
May 27th, 2007, 10:58 AM
guys any interview of JJ after strasbourg ?

~Kiera~
May 27th, 2007, 11:47 AM
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/tennis/sfl-spfrench27may27,0,2712737,print.story?coll=sfla-sports-tennis

As play starts, Jankovic has hot hand

By Charles Bricker
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

May 27, 2007

PARIS -- This time, Jelena Jankovic not only slammed a serve into the empty ball can, she bent it so badly that her coach, Richard Brooks, had to step on the wrinkle to get the can to stand up again.

It was near the end of an exhausting two-hour practice session Saturday, during the hottest part of the day, but this little personal triumph in a game of Hit The Can produced instant laughter from the woman who is, at this moment, playing the best tennis on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

She's happy. She's in love with life. She's fit, despite throwing up two days ago from the mid-90s temperature in Strasbourg, Germany. And to watch her striking the ball during her first practice session of this tournament was to watch a player who not only has every stroke, but every stroke with gusto.

Now, can she win the French Open?

You can argue for Justine Henin, the world No. 1 and two-time defending champion, and you can debate the merits of Serena Williams, who is capable of shaking off long periods of inactivity to win a Grand Slam, as she did at Australia in January.

But Jankovic leads the tour in wins (39-10) and clay wins (18-3), is No. 1 in the 2007 point-gathering race and, after her title at Rome a week ago, is now No. 5 in the rankings.

"She's a contender," Williams acknowledged. "I think people maybe don't know her as well, for whatever reason. But I think on the tour, in the locker room, everyone knows her and everyone knows she has a great chance of going a long way."

The physical demands of winning this 15-day test of endurance, which begins today, are there. The only unanswered question with Jankovic is whether, in her most introspective moments, she believes she can win, an issue that remains grist for debate after she blew last year's U.S. Open semifinal to Henin.

She opens Monday against No. 144 Stefanie Foretz, of France, before probably running into Venus Williams in the third round, a very major first-week match. If she wins that, No. 11 seed Nadia Petrova is a likely quarterfinal opponent, and then, one could predict, yet another match with her nemesis, Henin, in the semis.

Jankovic and Henin have played five times, all split-setters, with Henin winning every match, though Jankovic has won the opening set four times.

"She is the only one I haven't been able to beat. It's not that I can't beat her, but I haven't done it," said Jankovic. "I'm going after her. I'm not giving up on anyone."

Marat Safin, the No. 22 seed from Russia, will open Day 1 on the Philippe Chatrier stadium court against Fernando Vicente (5 a.m. Eastern time with live scoring at rolandgarros.com). Henin will play Elena Vesnina, of Russia, in the second match.

Four Americans are on today's abbreviated program with No. 8 Serena Williams the first match on the Suzanne Lenglen court against Tsvetana Pironkova, of Bulgaria.

Amer Delic, of Jacksonville; Shenay Perry, of West Palm Beach; and Ashley Harkleroad, of Wesley Chapel, also play today.

There are a combined 19 U.S. players in the men's and women's events, reduced by one Saturday with the withdrawal of Mardy Fish, of Tampa, who has an ankle injury.

Men's No. 1 Roger Federer will play Monday and defending champion Rafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed, will play either Monday or Tuesday.

With Kim Clijsters retired, Amelie Mauresmo trying to find her fitness after an injury layoff and Martina Hingis unable to play because of injury, there isn't the usual array of women suspects here.

But Henin still ranks as a clear favorite with Jankovic right behind her, and who wouldn't like to see them play a sixth time? Jankovic was playing the best tennis at the 2006 U.S. Open when she bottomed out in the semis after winning the opening set from Henin.

"I was already in the final in my head, and that cost me the match," Jankovic said as she came off the court Saturday, where a crush of 100 French fans were waiting with oversized souvenir tennis balls under one arm and pens in hand.

"But that U.S. Open was a good learning experience for me. It taught me I belong with the top players."

As for the blown semifinal, she had a quick response: "I feel more mature now," she said. "I will react differently the next time."

predrag
May 27th, 2007, 06:25 PM
guys any interview of JJ after strasbourg ?

During the weekend she was only having fun.
There will be press conferences after every match
and hard to predict how many exclusives
in coming days.

~Kiera~
May 28th, 2007, 08:18 PM
http://www.canada.com/topics/sports/story.html?id=68bb6928-fb3c-49a1-8e46-78e919232d28&k=70164

Venus Williams wins at French Open; rain delay suspends play

Chris Lehourites
Canadian Press

Monday, May 28, 2007

PARIS (AP) - Venus Williams was among only seven players to complete a match Monday at the French Open before rain suspended play.

The American advanced to the second round by beating French teenager Alize Cornet 6-4, 6-3 on a damp court after a three-hour delay at the start of the day. It was second straight day of rain at the French Open, and three delays throughout the day forced organizers to postpone 58 matches.

Williams, who lost to sister Serena in the 2002 final at Roland Garros, survived a pair of breaks in the first set and another in the second on centre court.

"I had some chances to really take the match, but she always came back," said Williams, a five-time Grand Slam champion.

Williams faced 10 break points in the match, including at least one in seven of the first eight games.

"Sometimes the first round can be like that," said Williams, who was playing in her first Grand Slam tournament since last July, when she lost in the third round at Wimbledon. "I definitely was really clear, especially toward the end, on how I wanted to execute."

Cornet, a 17-year-old wild card, had more support from the French crowd throughout the match, but it was Williams that won most of the big points.

"I went onto court without pressure, with no complex," Cornet said. "I started the match very well. I have no regrets, she is a great champion."

In other women's play, American Ashley Harkleroad defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que., 6-2, 7-6 (1).

Fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia was the only man to reach the second round Monday. He easily beat Stefano Galvani of Italy, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 as the rain returned and eventually halted play again.

Also, No. 16 Li Na of China beat Sandra Kloesel of Germany, 7-6 (4), 6-0, No. 19 Tathiana Garbin of Italy defeated Akiko Morigami of Japan 7-6 (2), 6-4, and No. 27 Samantha Stosur of Australia beat Jamea Jackson of the United States 6-1, 6-2.

"Thank you for the rain," said Li, who was trailing 5-3 when her match was interrupted by the weather.

Swiss star Roger Federer, a 10-time major champion who needs to win the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam, was leading Michael Russell of the United States 6-4, 4-1 before the third rain delay of the day.

Many of those scheduled to play were in the players' lounge during the breaks.

"It's really noisy. It makes you feel tired," said No. 4 Jelena Jankovic, who had been scheduled to play the late match on centre court. "I'm trying to get some lunch."

Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, the 2003 French Open champion who is seeded 17th this year, was on his way back to his hotel despite being scheduled to play second on Court 3.

"There are a lot of players here. I can't stay here," Ferrero said. "There's no place to be."

On Sunday, only seven of the 24 scheduled matches began because of about 5 hours of rain, and Justine Henin and Serena Williams had to wait through the delay to reach the second round.

Williams struggled before her match was stopped, and Henin struggled before her match started.

"I was playing more patient and I was doing what I've been practising," said Williams, who eventually beat Bulgarian teenager Tsvetana Pironkova 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. "I guess it just didn't work out in the first set."

Williams, an eight-time Grand Slam champion, was broken four times in the first set, and again in the opening game of the second. But she then won 12 of the final 13 games.

Henin, however, had little trouble beating Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-4, 6-3. But she was annoyed by both starting a Grand Slam tournament on a Sunday and by the rain delay.

"The weather is appalling, and it's going to be the same throughout the weeks," said Henin, who is trying to win her third straight French Open title and fourth overall.

predrag
May 28th, 2007, 08:32 PM
Ricardo Sanchez, Jelena's unofficial coach spent some time
on Monday with Carlos Rodriguez, Henin's long-time coach in
Roland Garros' clubhouse. Rodriguez is then quoted in
Serbian media (Tuesday issue):

I am so happy WTA Tour now has another player who motivates Justine to rise to the occasion and train even more. In next few years I think Justine and Jelena will battle for No.1 in WTA rankings and force each other to constantly raise the level of their play.


Then there's John McEnroe, who officially joins the ranks
of those who are cought gushing on Jelena. McEnroe was
present during ESPN's filming of Jelena (I have a feeling
this quote is much more effective in its original than
after double translation):

Jelena, as your game is becoming better and better your smile is becoming more beautiful. Tell me the secret of your glancing smile. From now on, every time I put a smile on my face, it's your teeth I'll have in mind, so I'll cover mine. When I start doing your matches I won't be able to see the ball beacuse of shine of your teeth.

http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/7251/mcenroejelenakb2.jpg

predrag
May 28th, 2007, 11:26 PM
Bud Collins on possible 3rd round matchup
between Venus and Jelena (edited):

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18908971/

Don't count out Venus and Serena

It hasnít all been gloomy for Venus in 2007 as she did manage to win her first tournament of the year in Memphis, but that was back in February and oneís memory can barely go back that far. Since then itís been nothing to write home about for Venus as she lost in the third round of Miami to Maria Sharapova, the quarterfinals of Amelia Island to Tatiana Golovin, the semifinals of Charleston to Jelena Jankovic, and the quarterfinals of Warsaw to Svetlana Kuznetsova. Clearly, her most recent shining moment was leading the U.S. to victory in the Fed Cup quarterfinal against a decidedly unheralded Belgium squad in April.

The match against Cornet looked like a practice session for Venus, which probably was a good thing. The young Frenchwoman didnít just go away, but she did help out by making some errors at crucial times. Venus appeared to be steady and consistent in getting the match done between the raindrops in what turned out to be just an hour-and-a-half window of clear weather.

Venus shows a lot of sameness in her game and against Cornet it was enough to win the match. Taking that into account, I was quite amused that at her press conference she said, ďI donít try to be too conservativeÖIím not a conservative player.Ē

In my mind, Venus is a conservative player in that she hangs out way too much on the baseline, playing matches as if they are just workouts. Sheís tall, trim and athletic and itís a shame that she doesnít utilize that to her advantage by being aggressive. Venus is quick, sheís a wonderful retriever, but thatís not all she has to be.

During her press conference, Venus talked about her parents, who are both here this year, always telling her the same old stuff when it comes to their roles as coaches. I can tell you that if sheís getting tired of hearing the same message from her nearest and dearest, she can try hearing my voice if sheíd like. I promise you that if she was listening to me, sheíd hear something very different. I would be telling Venus to slice those backhands and get to the net. When youíre as tall as Venus and have a wingspan that wide, she could own the net.

To be fair to Venus the clay is playing really slow and it does take a while to get comfortable on the surface, and a bit more of an effort to get comfortable when the weather is slowing the surface to a crawl.

Up next for Venus is fellow American Ashley Harkleroad and she should get through that encounter unharmed. But Venus could be in big trouble in the third round where her opponent is likely to be fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic. Venus has already lost to Jankovic this year at Charleston in a match decided in a third-set tiebreaker.

Jankovic has certainly declared herself a force to be reckoned with on the clay this spring. She won the Charleston title on the Har-Tru in the U.S., and won the Rome title two weeks ago. The 22-year-old Serbian, who also won the Auckland title on hard courts in January, is establishing herself solidly in the top five. The one concern with Jankovic might be that sheís playing too much tennis and could be weary. If not for a stomach ache that caused her to pull the plug on her semifinal match against Anabel Medina Garrigues in Strasbourg last week, she could have hung around for two more matches and scored another title, which would have taken additional energy to execute.

Jankovic if healthy and energized is one of the favorites here, which translates to a big test for Venus. There's a consensus that Venus can't beat Jankovic the way the Serbian is playing at the moment. Jankovic is a good shotmaker, a good retriever, and while she likes hard courts better from training at Nick Bollettieriís Academy as a kid, she feels comfortable on the clay. And most of all, sheís riding a crest of confidence.

If Venus is going to have a chance against Jankovic, she has to take advantage of her speed to get to the net. She needs to take some chances when her opponent is serving to give herself a winning edge. And while I donít expect her to re-invent herself into a serve-and-volleyer, she might want to try the tactic once in awhile to show the person across the net that sheís still capable of employing such a style.

predrag
May 29th, 2007, 08:25 AM
With 3-day delay, Steve Flink's thoughts on Roland Garros:

http://steveflink.blogspot.com/

The womenís draw is unfortunately imbalanced. Henin is seeded first with Maria Sharapova one place behind her. But Serena Williams--- the victor at the two biggest tournaments this year at the Australian Open and Miami--- is seeded too low at No. 8 and could play Henin in the quarters. Henin let Williams off the hook in the final of Miami, squandering a 6-0, 5-4, 40-15 lead in the final as the American staged one of her patented comebacks to win in three tumultuous sets. But that was on hard courts. On the clay, Henin, the French Open champion three of the past four years, will have the edge. If she takes on Williams, Henin will prevail this time.

On the same half of the draw is Jelena Jankovic, the gameís swiftest rising player. Seeded No. 4, she collected two important clay court titles this spring and on form she is the second best clay court player in the world. Ideally, she would have been in the opposite half of the draw and might have met either Henin or Williams in the final. Instead, she conceivably will play the winner of the Henin-Williams quarterfinal in the penultimate round. Jankovic has never beaten Henin but has taken the Belgian to three sets in all five of their head-to-head duels. At the U.S. Open last year, she blew a set and 4-0 lead against Henin in the semifinals, losing ten games in a row. In their most recent battle in Berlin, Jankovic was ahead 4-0 in the final set but never won another game.

Jankovic will have some hard work to do if she wants to claim her first major crown in Paris. She could face a stern test with No. 26 seed and former finalist Venus Williams in the third round. Jankovic only narrowly escaped defeat against Venus in their most recent clash in the semifinals of Charleston, South Carolina. A possible round of 16 opponent for Jankovic is 2004 finalist Elena Dementieva. And in the quarterfinals, Jankovic might well find herself up against either 2006 semifinalist Nicole Vaidisova or No. 11 seed Nadia Petrova, a first rate clay court competitor.

I still expect Jankovic to make her way through to another skirmish with Henin, but the forecast here is for Henin to win in straight sets on the big occasion to reach the final. The opposite half of the draw is wide open. Sharapova is just getting healthy again after injury problems set her back in the early months of this year. In her section, Sharapova is due to meet No. 5 seed Amelie Mauresmo in the quarterfinals. I believe the Russian Anna Chakvetadze (the No. 9 seed) will beat Mauresmo in the round of 16 if someone else does not topple the Frenchwoman first, and she would then go on to beat Sharapova if Maria lasts that long.

That would put Chakvetadze into the semifinals, where she would play the winner of a potential quarterfinal between 2006 finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 7 seed Ana Ivanovic. That match could go either way. I think Ivanovic just might squeeze it out. So my view is that either Chakvetadze or Ivanovic will be in the final against Henin. Experience will make a substantial difference in that clash, and Henin will hold the trophy for the fourth time.

~Kiera~
May 29th, 2007, 06:09 PM
http://sport.iafrica.com/tennis/news/916567.htm

Jankovic to make Serbia smile

Tue, 29 May 2007

Jelena Jankovic is fed up of Serbia forever being associated with the dark days of civil war, political assassinations and UN sanctions.

Now the bubbly 22-year-old from Belgrade wants to put the smile back into Serbia and believes that she, fellow top ten women's player Ana Ivanovic as well as men's world number six Novak Djokovic have a role to play.

"I think the sports and the athletes in general are the best for the country," said Jankovic, one of the game's most improved players.

"It's amazing that we have three players in the top ten. I am really proud of that and hopefully we'll continue to become better and better."

Like Djokovic, who once walked on court at the Paris Masters wearing a Zorro mask, Jankovic enjoys the lighter side of life, punctuating her press conferences with a stream of giggles.

"I'm just a person who likes to laugh," she said after a 6-2, 6-2 win over France's Stephanie Foretz gave her a place in the French Open second round on Tuesday.

"I like to enjoy life and laugh, make jokes especially with my team. We all have a good sense of humour. It helps to stay positive and to work hard."

Jankovic is being talked of as a potential champion. She was voted the most improved player on the tour in 2006 when she made the US Open semifinals and came into Paris having captured three titles in 2007 in Auckland, Charleston and Rome.

"It's amazing what a difference a year can make," she said.

"I'm number four in the world. I don't know how to explain it. Winning three titles this year with two Tier 1 tournaments on clay gave me a lot of confidence especially coming into the French Open.

"Hopefully I can continue."

Jankovic, who is based full time in Florida, also hopes that her success and the emergence of Ivanovic and Djokovic will inspire youngsters in Serbia to take up the sport.

"I think all the Serbian top players are motivating the kids. Hopefully we will also get a tennis centre. They are trying to build one. It will help the youngsters to develop their games and to improve so that they don't have to go outside the country and practice."

AFP

~Kiera~
May 29th, 2007, 06:10 PM
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/interviews/2007-05-29/200705291180440132015.html

Q. You were sick last week in the last tournament. How do you feel today? Do you still feel some ‑‑ do you feel tired about it still or ‑‑

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I feel fine. And in Strasbourg, it was hot, very, very hot. It was almost 40 degrees, so that day I wasn't feeling well. And after that match, I was throwing up and didn't feel that great. That's why I couldn't play my semifinal.

But after two days, I was taking care and I was resting and taking a lot of medicine, and now I'm healthy.

Q. Are you feeling the pressure because you're among the favorites for the title or does it really not bother, just enjoying yourself?

JELENA JANKOVIC: It doesn't really bother me. I'm just enjoying myself. I just want to try to give my maximum every time I step on the court, and that's all I care about.

Q. What did you do since you got to Paris, because you couldn't practice that much, I guess.

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I didn't do much. I was just training, especially with the strain. We couldn't even practice, even if I wanted to, I couldn't do it. But it helped me. I rested and I recovered well and I'm ready to play.

Q. And so what do you feel about your first match, the conditions, your game, everything?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I was a little bit nervous today. It was my first match. It's normal. You don't play your best tennis in the first match. But I'm getting used to the atmosphere to the courts, and it was a little bit slow. The balls were quite heavy.

But it's good to pass the first round and hopefully I'll get better and better.

Q. For many years all we, in most of the world, heard about Serbia was terrible things.

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes.

Q. Now, with three of you in the top 10, is it too much of an exaggeration to say that there's a new image that you're helping to create of your country?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I think the sports, the athletes in general, are the best for the country. It's really amazing how we have all of a sudden three top 10 players in the world. And I'm really proud of that, and hopefully we'll continue to improve and become better and better.

Q. It's a bit of a ‑‑ would you call it a coincidence? I mean, you come from such different places.

JELENA JANKOVIC: It is. It is big place. It's just amazing how before we didn't have anybody and we don't have a tradition in tennis. We are very good in team sports, but in individual sports, we didn't have much success. So now it's changing. Tennis is becoming really, really popular in our country and hopefully we will have many younger players coming up as well.

Q. Comparing this year to last year, when you walked into Roland Garros, last year you were just one of the players and now you're ‑‑ can you talk about the difference and how it would be different for you. Do you enjoy it or not enjoy it?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I really don't look at it that way. I'm the same person. Just I improve as a player. I feel more mature, more experienced. But other than that, I really don't think about those things. All I care is to keep improving. I want to train hard and this is what I'm doing at the moment and I just want to try to give my best and we'll see one match at a time.

Q. When you think about last year, what your hopes were for the tournament compared to what your hopes are for the tournament this year ‑‑

JELENA JANKOVIC: It's just amazing what a year can make. It's a big difference for me as a player. At the moment I was No. 4 in the world. Now I think I'm 5. But it's just amazing. And I don't know really how to explain it. Winning three titles this year and two Tier I titles on clay, which gave me a lot of confidence, especially coming to the French Open. It's a great thing for me, so hopefully I can continue my good results.

Q. You've played more tournaments this year than anyone else in the top 20, and with so many injuries on the tour, you're a bit the iron woman. What's your secret to staying fit? Is it luck? Is it ‑‑ how are you managing to do this week in, week out?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. Like I said, I'm training really hard. I'm trying to keep my body in shape and I have my physio who travels with me and he's helping me to do my exercises and to be strong. And that's basically ‑‑ but you never know. I twisted my ankle and that's also unlucky. So I'm trying to stay healthy, but also sometimes, you know, have luck.

I'm working really hard. I'm trying to do the best that I can so that I'm in shape and ready to play my matches.

Q. Is it mental as much as physical?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I think it's both. It's both. You have to be ready mentally and physically to be in the top of the game.

Q. And does your humor, which you're so famous for, does that help with the grind?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. I'm just the person who likes to laugh. I like to enjoy and I like to make jokes, especially with my team. We all have good sense of humor. It helps to stay positive and to work hard and to work with a smile.

Q. Have you been home lately to get a feeling that everybody's saying, hey, Jankovic, and Anna, Novak, are you really making an impression at home, do you think?

JELENA JANKOVIC: What do you mean by that?

Q. I mean, are kids running around saying I want to be Anna, I want to be Jelena ‑‑

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it's happening now. I think we are, all of us, all the Serbian top players are, I think, motivating and really trying to push the younger kids to do as well. And hopefully we will have tennis center. They're trying to build it and hopefully we will have one. So it will have the younger kids develop their games and make it easier for them to keep improving so that they don't have to go outside the country and practice.

Q. After today's match, if you have a stroke to work on, would it be the serve?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah. Sometimes it can be my serve that lets me down and I start making double faults and I don't feel that confident. But I'm working on it. And there's so many things I have to work on. Nothing is perfect. You can always get better.

Q. So in Serbia now the politicians, they want to have their picture taken with you and the people want you to be in television commercials? Are things like that happening?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, there's a lot of requests. But my No. 1 priority is my tennis. It's my job and I just ‑‑ I'm really focused to do well, and everything else around it, I try to put second on my second priority. So I have to ‑‑ but first is the tennis and then everything else comes after.

~Kiera~
May 29th, 2007, 06:40 PM
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/29052007/58/french-open-jankovic-builds-confidence.html

French Open - Jankovic builds confidence

Eurosport - Tue, 29 May 16:34:00 2007

French Open - Jelena Jankovic tells eurosport.yahoo.com that she is ready to shake the Justine Henin monkey off her back after easily advancing to the second round of the French Open.

Serbia's world number five had a dominant claycourt season that propelled her to the top of the WTA's points race, but lost twice to Belgium's Henin on clay and has lost all five of her previous meetings with the tournament's twice defending champion.

After claiming her second clay title of the season and third title of the year in Rome, Jankovic joked that the reason she won was because Henin was not present.

"That was because I lost to her in Warsaw and Berlin and she's the only player I lost to on clay," Jankovic said after her 6-2 6-2 victory over France's Stephanie Foretz in the first round at Roland Garros. "She's one that I've never beaten before."

"I had trouble, but it was always close and I always lost it in three tight sets. She never beats me 6-2 6-2 or easy, then I would know she's really better."

"It's just a matter of experience knowing to hit the right shot at the right time, but it will come. I'm right up there. I just want to beat every player."

Though Jankovic said she was taking the tournament one match at a time and not thinking about the top seed, the 22-year-old world number five did hint at an underlying confidence, saying she would start giving interviews in French once she won the French title.

"I used to speak French fluently, now I am a little bit shy, and I'm trying to start little, by little, and I said, 'If I win the French Open, then I will give all my speech in French.'"

Despite the dominant opening victory, Jankovic played sloppy at times and acknowledged that nerves played a part in her less-than perfect first-round win.

"I was a little bit nervous and for me the first round is difficult and I never really tend to play well in my first round.

"But I passed it and I now I feel a little bit better."

"You're just so excited to start the tournament, then you go on court and it was a little bit windy. The court was quite slow. With the rain I think it was a little bit wet. But I did enough to win.

"If I played my best, I think it would be over in forty minutes. But it's enough, to win 6-2 6-2 is not that bad."

Jankovic's match was originally scheduled to be played on centre court late on Monday, but was moved to Court Suzanne Lenglen after rain wreaked havoc on the tournament's first two days in Paris.

"I think it bothers all of the players, but I don't really try to think about it. I just try to stay positive and just try to stay focused and try to do some things that get my mind off, so that I don't really think about, "Oh, when do I play, I'm a little bit nervous, when do I go on."

"You're sitting in a club, you don't know what to expect, you don't know when you're supposed to practice. Sometimes it can be a little bit difficult and distracting, but all of the players try to deal with it and do the best they can."

Jankovic dealt with Monday's long delay and eventual cancellation by playing cards and getting her nails done.

"I was just doing my manicure. I think every tournament I'm changing my nail colour, and now it's some kind of red.

"I'm this kind of girl, who likes to enjoy and to pamper myself. I had time because it was a really late match that day, so I went and did those kind of treatments. And also I played cards with my team and my friends."

Jankovic is one of three Serbian players Ė along with Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic - to enter the tournament has one of the favourites, and takes great pride in the new generation of tennis stars coming out of her nation.

"It's really amazing, because I think Serbia never had a tradition in tennis, so we didn't have anybody to look up to.

"All of a sudden we have three world-class players and we are pushing each other, we are trying to keep improving.

"Hopefully we will stay healthy. We are all young, we have a big potential to be even better and hopefully we will motivate and inspire the younger generation to come."

In the next round she will face either Finnish qualifier Emma Laine or Colombian Catalina Castano, but where she could face her first true test is against Venus Williams in a possible third-round match-up.

Venus will be looking for revenge after being eliminated by Jankovic from her title defence in the third round of Wimbledon last year, but Jankovic faces Williams armed with a claycourt victory earlier this season in Charleston, where she eventually won the title.

"I beat her this year in Charleston, and it's always tough to play the Williams sisters, but you have to play hard and I have to be on the top of the game."

~Kiera~
May 29th, 2007, 10:34 PM
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1388

Jankovic Eases Through Opener

PARIS, France - Last year at this time, she was somewhat of an unknown quantity. Although she had performed well in the fortnight leading in, the remnants of a 10-match losing streak just before that certainly didn't put her among the favorites. It's funny how things can change so fast in 12 months, however; now one of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's top guns, Jelena Jankovic began her 2007 Roland Garros campaign with an easy win over Stťphanie Foretz.

The last year has been the stage of a huge turnaround for Jankovic; she began 2006 with an unenviable 1-10 match record, but since going to Rome last May she has won an unbelievable 84 matches, including 40 already this year. Even more impressive is her 16-3 mark on clay so far this year, which includes Tier I titles at Charleston and, fittingly, at Rome.

That record also includes her 62 62 demolition of Foretz, who, despite her No.143 ranking and wild card status in the draw, has definitely not been shy against top players in the past; she has reached the quarterfinal stage at Tour events five times and may be best known for beating Monica Seles at Charleston in 2002.

But Jankovic rolled by her in just over an hour.

"I'm just enjoying myself," said Jankovic, whose imposing groundstrokes and retrieving skills drew 46 unforced errors from her French opponent. "I just want to give my maximum each time I step on the court, and that's all I care about."

Jankovic's match stats weren't great - seven winners to 22 errors, a first serve winning percentage in the 50%-range, and winning on just seven of 13 break chances - but it didn't matter. She knows she can win when not at her best.

"I was a little nervous today. It was my first match. It's normal," she added. "You don't play your best in the first match. But I'm getting used to the atmosphere and courts. It's good to pass the first round; hopefully I'll get better and better."

"From the beginning to the end, especially in the very important times when she began playing tighter and better, it wasn't easy for me," Foretz added. "She runs very well. She was defending really well; it was very impressive."

Tuesday's comprehensive win was not only a sign of the times for Jankovic, it was also a good indication of her health level at this particular tournament; there was a scare to her Roland Garros chances last week in Strasbourg, where she was forced to pull out of her semifinal due to gastrointestinal illness.

"In Strasbourg it was very, very hot, almost 40 degrees, so I wasn't feeling that well. After my quarterfinal I was throwing up and didn't feel really great. But for two days I was taking care of myself and resting and taking a lot of medicine, and now I'm healthy. I rested and I recovered well, and I'm ready to play."

Jankovic isn't the only one from her country of Serbia to make giant strides in the last year; Ana Ivanovic has now joined her in the women's Top 10 - on the men's side, Novak Djokovic has worked his way well into the game's 10 best as well.

"It's amazing how we all of a sudden have three Top 10 players; I'm really proud of that, and hopefully we'll continue to improve and become even better. Tennis is becoming really, really popular in our country and hopefully we will have many younger players coming up as well."

Along with big success for someone from a relatively small nation comes celebrity status; but Jankovic knows where her priorities lie.

"It's my job and I'm really focused to do well, and everything else around it, I try to put second. First is tennis, and then everything else comes after."

That drive for the sport is what has helped her make her way into the world's Top 5 in recent weeks, and place her high among the favorites for Roland Garros. In a sonyericssonwtatour.com poll last week with over 10,000 votes, more than 65% chose her to have the best chance out of the current Top 5 to steal Justine Henin's Roland Garros crown this year - considering she is the only one out of the Top 5 to be winless against Henin in the past, that is high praise.

"Winning three titles this year and two Tier I titles on clay has given me lots of confidence," Jankovic said. "Hopefully I can continue my good results."

"The previous year and the beginning of this year, she has played really well," Foretz added. "I think she has the capacity to go very deep into the tournament."

predrag
May 30th, 2007, 06:09 PM
Few more notes on Jelena (compiled from various sources).
She's not happy about all the rain in France. Even though
clay events represent her biggest wins in the career, she
still prefers faster courts, and rain makes balls softer
and slows down the game even more (most players think that
Roland Garros courts are the fastest clay courts, which is
nixed when it rains).

Then she states one more time that doubles matches are
useful for her only as training exhibitions. Outcome
of Kirilenko/Ivanovic vs. Jankovic/Li means nothing
to her.

And she finally mentions something that everyone watching
her play has already noticed, that she's always recieving
the balls when serving from her left side:

It has nothing to do with being superstitious,
it's just a habit, sort of ritual, I always do that.
Every player has some uncharacteristic habits, and this
is mine. On every tournament I do the same, I hope that
other ball-boys are not mad at me, that I have something
against them, that I don't like them. Explanation is
simple, it's easier for me to concentrate better that
way.

~Kiera~
May 30th, 2007, 06:28 PM
Thanks, predrag!

predrag
May 30th, 2007, 08:51 PM
New quotes by Jelena, not sure are these from an official
press-conference:

Against Venus I'm going for a win and don't
feel any pressure. I won the previous two times,
last year and this year and I can't wait to
meet her again.

Asked about new record that Venus broke today
in serve speed, Jelena said (translating
literally, one could use another word for
helmet (maybe cuirass), but she's clearly
talking about protecting her head):

I'll put a helmet on. Don't want to lose my head.


Then she mentions that she'll try to have a strong
return game against Venus.

Asked about the presence of Ricardo Sanchez:

His help means a great deal to me. We're still
negotiating, but I hope by the end of the year he'll
be exclusively my coach.

Kampi
May 30th, 2007, 09:04 PM
Thx predrag:wavey:

I want to see that helmet thing.:lol:

So damn important match against Venus. Such a shame to have this match up in the third round. But it was clear from the beginning. So be it.:angel:

GO JJ:bounce:

predrag
May 30th, 2007, 09:11 PM
I want to see that helmet thing.:lol:


Jelena with a helmet!!! That sure is missing
from her visual portfolio. :)

predrag
May 31st, 2007, 11:57 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/french07/columns/story?columnist=desimone_bonnie&id=2888568

Trio of Serbian stars leading the charge
By Bonnie DeSimone
Special to ESPN.com

Every so often, the Tectonic plates of tennis shift and grind against each other and a new nation surges up like a raw young mountain range.

Sweden did it in the '80s, Croatia in the late '90s, Russia and Belgium after Y2K. Most of the time it just takes one charismatic player to lead the way. Serbia is the latest mouse to roar, with as many top-10 players on the men's and women's tours combined as the United States.

No. 6 Novak Djokovic is viewed as one of the few players with a prayer against Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal -- he's in Nadal's half of the bracket -- at the French Open. The WTA's No. 5, Jelena Jankovic, is having a scorching season and No. 7 Ana Ivanovic won her eighth straight match Thursday.

Their concurrent success is a total coincidence, but it does offer at least symbolic relief to a country that has endured more than a decade of war and economic turmoil.

"In this moment, sport is the best product and tennis is the most beautiful face of our country," Dusan Orlandiz, general manager of the Serbian Tennis Federation, said by telephone.

Speaking of beautiful faces, it doesn't hurt that all three Belgrade-born players are bright, attractive, multilingual world citizens who were ready for their close-ups the minute the cameras swiveled toward them. They developed that cosmopolitan outlook as expatriates, unable to find the facilities and coaching they needed closer to home.

Djokovic, who just turned 20, first left Serbia at 12 to train in Germany; the 22-year-old Jankovic emigrated to Nick Bollettieri's Florida academy at around the same age; Ivanovic, 19, trained part-time in Switzerland, where she now lives, and has family in Australia.

"There was no system -- everything is due to the parents," said Vojin Velickovic, tennis editor for Sportski Zurnal, a Belgrade-based daily newspaper.

Men's No. 80 Janko Tipsarevic, who upended Marat Safin in Paris to advance to the third round Wednesday, preceded the trio into the professional ranks and said he's not completely crushed at being left behind.

"I am really grateful for every Serbian player that is better ranked or a better player than me, because that thing is awaking in me this positive jealousy that if [Djokovic] can do it, why can't I do it?" said Tipsarevic, 22. "His wins are really, really big influence on me, in thinking that I can be much better than whatever, 80, at the moment.

"People have to understand that all that we have in tennis here came from mud, from nothing. No one invested one dollar or one Euro into any one of our players Ö the only people who we can say thanks to today are our families.''

Serbia exports nearly a quarter of the world's raspberry supply, but until recently, it didn't germinate many top tennis players.

The most notable exception is Monica Seles, who departed what was then part of Yugoslavia to enroll at Bollettieri's in 1985, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1994 and inspired all three current stars with her brilliant if sadly interrupted career. Slobodan "Boba" Zivojinovic reached No. 19 on the men's tour and played in two Grand Slam semifinals.

Instead, the best athletes in Serbia tended to gravitate toward team sports such as water polo, volleyball, soccer and basketball. A couple of dozen have played in the NBA, including former Los Angeles Laker center Vlade Divac.

"Now individual sports has come and people are very interested to play it, professionally as well," Djokovic said Thursday after his four-set second win over French qualifier Laurent Recouderc. "There is a lot of kids in the last year, year and a half that I know that started playing tennis because of us. I think we have a lot of talent for sport in general."

The sultry Ivanovic, who defeated Sania Mirza of India Thursday, has made a sizable intercontinental media splash. She posed nude from the waist up for one magazine cover, coyly turned to the side to avoid an X-rating, with a sub-headline stating the obvious: "una diva." A Serbian celebrity magazine posed her with the caption "Teniska Lolita,'' which needs no translation.

She's backing the walk with talk, however. Ivanovic won her first WTA event last year in Montreal, defeating Martina Hingis, and has played consistently this season, reaching the final in Tokyo and winning last week in Berlin.

"Now people recognize me wherever I go,'' said Ivanovic, who said she considers herself an ambassador of sorts. "And it's kind of nice feeling, because the people actually follow the results. But on the other hand, you lose a little bit of privacy. But yeah, it's exciting, it's different.''

Jankovic has pulled off a combination that has eluded most of the top women this season -- playing every week, staying sound and continuing to win. Working quickly between points, her glossy black ponytail flying, she has advanced to the semis or finals in eight of the 15 tournaments she has played this season and has three titles in her holster. She'll meet Venus Williams, whom she downed in the semifinals in Charleston a few weeks ago, in the third round.

The daughter of two economists, Jankovic was a gifted child pianist and avid student whose favorite book is a novel by the Nobel Prize-winning Serbian author Ivo Andric. She's outgoing, comfortable in her own skin and in the spotlight, and once turned down an offer to play a bit part in a Serbian sitcom.

Like Ivanovic, she also attracts attention for her appearance. In Rome, where Jankovic beat No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova for the championship, a reporter somewhat tactlessly asked the Serb whether her exotic, almond-shaped eyes reflected Asian heritage.

Jankovic handled it with characteristic humor. "No, I just got this look from somebody, postman or who knows," she said glibly.

On a more serious note, Jankovic said in Paris she hopes her success means that future prospects won't have to go far from home to hone their games.

"The top players are, I think, motivating and really trying to push the younger kids to do as well,'' she said.

All of the Serbian players have lobbied for the construction of a national tennis center, a vision that should become reality within the next couple of years, according to federation official Orlandiz. He said the city of Belgrade has donated downtown land for a facility that would include a fitness center, residential quarters and 15 or 16 courts, some indoors, and mostly clay, the predominant surface in Serbia.

In the meantime, there is still a bit of a disconnect between performance and infrastructure. The Serbian Davis Cup team swept the Republic of Georgia in a World Group playoff game in March to earn a shot at joining the 16-team top group for the first time since the nation was part of Yugoslavia in the early '90s.

But the matches were played inside a 1,500-seat indoor shooting range in a hard-to-reach suburb because officials hadn't anticipated much interest when they booked it months ago. That all changed after Djokovic reached two Masters Series finals in a row, losing to Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells and defeating Guillermo Canas in Miami.

Thousands of young people flocked to downtown Belgrade for a pre-Davis Cup party where Djokovic played street tennis with the mayor, and it was clear the actual competition would have sold out a much larger venue. The team will face Australia in September in a 20,000-seat arena built to host the European basketball championships.

If the dream pairing of Jankovic-Ivanovic materializes -- and they say they want it to -- Serbia could become a force in Fed Cup play as well.

Tipsarevic said political strife, not the tennis federation, was responsible for the sport's long dormancy.

"We had [late, disgraced president Slobodan] Milosevic in power, who not only destroyed our country but completely destroyed our sport,'' Tipsarevic said.

"But Ö tennis is starting to be so popular, you really cannot imagine. I have a friend who is trying to start to work as a coach. He cannot find a free court until September. Everything is completely booked."

While the Serbians' joint ascent might be a happy accident, Ivanovic singled out one key similarity.

"I think we're all very good fighters and we have, like, tough mentality, so I think that's probably what we have in common,'' said Ivanovic. " Ö They should appreciate it back home because who knows when it's going to happen again."

Bonnie DeSimone is a freelancer who is covering the French Open for ESPN.com.

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 12:02 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/05/30/stphil30.xml

'Mongolian princess' is holding court in Paris
By Robert Philip, telegraph.co.uk

With all due apologies to Alan Sherman:
Hello Muddah, hello Faddah,
Here I am at Roland Garra,
Life is very entertaining, And they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining...

A new day dawned in the Bois de Boulogne and we finally had some fun; the sun managed to poke an occasional hole through our dark, rain-laden heavens - albeit fleetingly and unconvincingly - umbrellas were lowered, balls changed, rallies exchanged and the smile restored to the face of tennis.

'Mongolian princess' is holding court in Paris
All-rounder: Jelena Jankovic is making the most of her time

Whatever the weather, however, the delightful Jelena Jankovic spreads sunshine where'er she roams. In a sport heavily populated by pampered, preening, posturing prats, J.J. is sensitive to the reality that few of her fellow-Serbians will ever experience her privileged existence. As the fifth-ranked woman in the world and winner of the Italian Open, which took her career earnings to more than $2 million, she’s lucky and she knows it and she really wants to show it.

Now 22, Jankovic was but 12 when she escaped the impending war which ravaged her homeland to pitch up at Nick Bollettieri’s tennis boot-camp in Bradenton, Florida, where she watched with awful fascination the nightly CNN reports of bombs dropping among her friends and family in Belgrade. “It was a very difficult time for me, and I want to forget about it,” she recalls with tangible melancholy. A 6-2, 6-2 first-round winner over Stephanie Foretz of France, Jankovic is that rare breed of modern tennis player who relishes the prospect of a two-week sojourn in Paris and can be relied upon to spend as much time doing the tourist beat as she will perfecting her drills on the practice court.

“The world is fascinating; we travel it all the time, visiting all the great cities, all of which have a story to tell. “When I look at many of the other girls, I see what opportunities they are wasting. They don’t seem to want to learn about the place they are staying or the culture. They are happy to fill their minds with tennis. That is not for me. I am different from the rest in so many ways.” Not least in facial features that evoke images of a Mongolian princess and which Jankovic unselfconsciously describes as “unique”. While the sport in Britain is spearheaded by an injured Andy Murray, an ageing Tim Henman and the world’s 430th-ranked woman, Elena Baltacha, Jankovic is a member of what is called 'the Serbian Goodwill Tennis Army’.

Close friend Ana Ivanovic, 19, lies two places below her at No 7, with Novak Djokovic five rungs ahead of Murray at No 6 in the men’s rankings. As a nation we should bow our collective head in shame, therefore, when Jankovic describes the facilities in her native Serbia. “Financially we have had some problems, so our training facilities are poor,” she said. “We don’t have a national tennis centre, for instance, and we don’t have any hard courts.

Well, there is one in Belgrade but it’s completely wrecked; there are hoops above your head and a goal behind you because it is also used for basketball and football. In winter, we practise without heating. But I think you learn better that way than when you have everything. It makes us stronger.”

When not travelling, playing, practising, socialising and sleeping, Jankovic has also found time to complete two years of a three-year degree in media management, economics and business at Belgrade’s Megatrend University. “This career is quite short so there has to be life after tennis. I need to prepare for my future,” she said. Jankovic’s immediate future may involve a third-round engagement with Venus Williams, whom she defeated at the same stage of last year’s Wimbledon. Followed by a Roland Garros title to go with her Italian Open win? “Maybe, sometimes some things are meant to be...”

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 08:23 AM
http://www.nhregister.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18411805&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=7592&rfi=6

With each passing week Pilot Pen Tennis tournament director Anne Worcester's anxiety level intensified as she waited for a commitment from Pilot Pen regular Elena Dementieva.

The wait ended Thursday when the former French and U.S. Open finalist became the second women's player to enter the New Haven professional tennis tournament for the eighth year in a row.

Dementieva joins No. 4 Amelie Mauresmo and former Pilot Pen men's singles champion James Blake as early commitments to the Aug. 17-25 Pilot Pen.

Worcester is waiting on word from Daniela Hantuchova, another Pilot Pen regular, and is hopeful that top 10 women's players Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Jankovic as well as No. 11 Dinara Safina and No. 12 Nadia Petrova will make return trips to the Connecticut Tennis Center.

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 01:32 PM
http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/68333.html

Jankovic schools Williams with a smile in Paris

Paris - Smiling Serb Jelena Jankovic sent Venus Williams to a third straight defeat in their series as she dominated the final set for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 French Open defeat on FridayThe fourth-seeded Jankovic duplicated her previous pair of three-set victories over the 27th-ranked Williams in their third-round contest, advancing in just under two hours.

"It was amazing, I was really staying tough out there," said Jankovic, who just over a year ago was seriously considering quitting the game after a ten-match loss streak to start the season.

"Mentally I was very strong in the third set, really going for my shots.

"I never had in my mind that I'm going to lose the match. In the second set I was a little bit tired, but in the third set I gave my best, and it paid off."

Jankovic, winner of a leading three titles this WTA season, beat the former powerhouse at Wimbledon last summer and in Charleston in April.

She next faces the winner from Russian 13th seed Elena Dementieva and Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli.

The Serb who has rocketed up the rankings in the past 12 months, displays the full range of emotions on court. But her defining characteristic in a sunny personality combined with a lethal game.

"I don't really know what it is, it's just I am smiling all the time. I think it's good. I am the person who likes to laugh a lot."

Williams may not have gotten the joke despite looking briefly like putting up a fight as she levelled the match by winning the second set.

But Jankovic, who won the Rome trophy a fortnight ago, dominated overwhelming in the third set as the Williams game quickly evaporated.

The Serb won the last six games to sweep through on the back of 52 unforced errors from Williams, who barely registered in the deciding set.

In what has become the Williams style, the American gave little credit to the winner.

"I don't feel like she came out there and really beat me. I just feel like at times she was a little more patient than I was.

"The third set went a little bit faster than what I expected. But am I discouraged?No, not at all. I feel like I'm playing well, actually," said the woman who played just six events in all of 2006.

The loss was only the 11th for Williams at Roland Garros, while Jankovic improved to 5-3 as she plays for the fourth time in Paris.

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 02:03 PM
An interview with Jankovic Jelena - Friday, June 1, 2007

http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/interviews/2007-06-01/200706011180705710468.html

Q. You came here with a great deal of confidence after winning Rome, but still to show the mental toughness you had in the third set today, is that psychologically even more significant for you?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it was amazing. I was really staying tough out there. Mentally very strong in the third set, and I was really going for my shots. And I never had in my mind that I'm going to lose the match. I just wanted to go for it. In the second set I was a little bit tired. But in the third set I gave my best, and it paid off.

Q. The people in the players' box for you today might be the noisiest group of people at the French Open. How does that help you?

JELENA JANKOVIC: It helps me stay relaxed. I smile on the court. I have really positive people in my player box, so it's really ‑‑ it helps me to play, and it releases the tension on the court, because it's really ‑‑ it was an amazing turnaround match, especially I have to play Venus in the turnaround. And when you see the other turnarounds that they have in the draw, it's really amazing. It's really a shame that Venus had to go out so early. But this is the game.

Q. What does this mean?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, I'm not going to say. I'm going to say in the end of the tournament.

Q. Does this result give you even more confidence in terms of your ability to even go on and win the title here?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I'm not really looking at it. I'm only in the fourth round at the moment. But today was a great match. It gives me a lot of confidence. It's always good to beat the Williams sisters and always difficult. But I proved one more time that it's my third time in a row that I've beaten her, and it's just really a good win for me. I'm really happy for that, but I just want to continue and go for it.

Q. More and more people are saying Jankovic is a title contender. You don't believe that any more now than yesterday?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No. Like I said at the beginning of the tournament, I'm not really thinking about winning the tournament or anything. I'm just thinking about my next round, especially that I had such a difficult draw. Playing Venus in the third round is not something you want to see.

But I am just going one match at a time. I have difficult opponents in my draw, and I just go out there and then fight and give my best. And who knows what will happen.

Q. It really is quite striking how much you smile while you're playing. Have you always done that or is that a function of how well you're playing now that it's just really fun?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, it's just ‑‑ I don't really know what it is. It's just I am smiling all the time. I think it's good. I am the person who likes to laugh a lot. Even before the match we were, I think, my group, my team, I think you could hear us. We are the only ones who are so loud. And the others, they always laughing, always making jokes. Then when you see the other players so quiet in the corner, you don't hear them. Then you see the clowns over there.

No, but it's just how we are. It's my personality. It's on the court, and I really enjoy the game. Why not, when it's a good point, why not to smile? There's nothing wrong with that.

Q. In Rome a couple of weeks ago, we are talking about your Spanish culture, and you couldn't say the name. Can you name him today or not?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, not yet, because he's not my full‑time coach, so he doesn't like that I mention it yet. But he's helping me here and there, together with my mom, who is my No. 1 supporter and always in my box. But when he becomes officially my full‑time coach, then I will announce his name.

Q. How many burning forehands did you hit today?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know how many burning forehands. But I didn't get a chance to hit my burning backhand. She was playing my forehand all the time, and when I had a chance to hit my backhand, I saw it like, oh, here it comes. So I go for it, and really hit it pretty hard.

But it was more of a forehand contest, because she also has a better backhand than her forehand. So we were both pushing this side.

Q. What made you decide to call it a burning forehand or burning backhand?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. You just said it.

Q. You said it.

JELENA JANKOVIC: I didn't say it. You said it was a burning forehand or backhand. But I have a burning backhand for sure (laughing).

Q. Comparing the match you played in Charleston against Venus, how would you rate this one?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Each match is really different. We played on green clay, and here you cannot compare it, because this is a Grand Slam. You always have expectations. You have a little bit more pressure than in the other tournaments because you want to do well.

But like I said, each time you play the Williams sisters, it's really a tough game. And you have to be on the top of your level if you want to beat them. They are the best athletes in the women's game. They are getting the balls that ‑‑ half of the balls I hit today I thought was going to be a winner against the other girls, and then against Venus, it is not. She gets them, and she makes a winner back. So this is what is really great about the Williams sisters.

Q. Could you tell us who of your family is here?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Just my mom is here. My mom who is always there for me.

Q. Do you see an improvement between Charleston and here from Venus? Is there a difference in the level at which she played?

JELENA JANKOVIC: For example, I really work hard after when I passed my second round. I worked hard in my practice. I was working on my tactics. I was working a lot on my return because I saw that she was serving really well. The key of the match is to return well, to put pressure on her so that I can get in the point and have a chance to break her. I practiced a lot on my return, and it helped me. I think she made only one ace today. She was a little bit ‑‑ her serve was not that great, because I always had ‑‑ I was always on the ball. She didn't have any advantage from her serve, which is her best shot.

So I think I did that well. I really moved well. So it's always great when you are moving well on clay, which is the most important thing, to be fit and to be always on the ball.

Q. Were you surprised the way she faded out in the final set?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. But I was just going for the ball. I was really hitting it, and I was really moving her around. And probably she got tired or something. It's not easy when you have to run from side‑to‑side. And she hits the ball hard as well, so...

Q. Besides your mom, who are all those rowdy people in your players box? There seemed to be a lot of people that were very loud.

JELENA JANKOVIC: There are so many people. There is my agents from Octagon. There is my sparring partner. Some of the friends, my PR. There are so many people. There is a lot of people in the box. I was not even looking who was there.

Q. What about the two volleys you hit in the fifth game of the final set?

JELENA JANKOVIC: That was amazing. Also I was working on that and on my drop shot and my volleys on the tough shots. I was thinking, wow, I really executed in the match, and I was really proud of myself. But it was great, because I was really working on that in my practice. So it turned out well.

Q. You've mentioned your mother several times. Could you talk a bit about your relationship, and was she an athlete growing up herself at all?

JELENA JANKOVIC: My mom when she was younger, she was ‑‑ how do you say ‑‑ a handball player. But she almost was going to go into the national team, but my grandmother never supported her, never really, because at that time it was difficult. And my grandmother wanted her to stay at home and just go to school and just live a normal life, not to play. Especially handball was a little bit of a manly sport. So she quit.

But my mom, for me, she is my best friend, and she's always there for me and always very, very supportive in the good and the bad times. And I'm just happy that I have a great family, especially ‑‑ that's all I can say.

Q. Do you think that's part of why she was so encouraging to you as a young athlete, because she didn't get a chance to pursue that herself?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, not really. Because when I started to play tennis, I never really thought I was going to be a professional athlete. I just started for the recreation, for the fun of it. And then people said I was talented; I have a big potential. That's how it all started. But I never really ‑‑ my parents never pushed me to play the sport. It's my will, my wish, and whenever if I want to quit, I can do it.

But if I enjoy to play tennis, I'm going to play. If I don't want to play, nobody's going to push me. So that's how my parents were, and they are still. And it's just my decision.

Q. When you were going through that long losing streak a year ago and your mother mentioned that you were thinking about quitting, were you really thinking about quitting or was it just sort of the emotional? Sometimes people when things aren't going well, you just emotionally say maybe I should quit?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I was really about to quit, because I'm a really bad loser, and I cannot take so many losses, ten losses in a row. And it was just really an unbelievable bad period for me, because I couldn't stand it.

When I was younger, I was No. 1 junior in the world, and I always wanted to win. I never wanted to lose. Nobody likes to lose. I did it so many times, and I didn't enjoy to play. I didn't practice. I didn't have the motivation, the drive that keeps you going forward. And that's why I was going to quit, because if you're not going to do your job, you are going to do it 100%, and you are going to love what you're doing. If you don't love, then it's no point.

Q. Why didn't you quit?

JELENA JANKOVIC: But then like I said, in Rome was my last tournament, and then I passed ‑‑ I made it to the quarterfinals, and I said, okay, maybe I'm going to ‑‑ something's going to change here. Maybe I'm going to have ‑‑ there's going to be some contact.

Then I started to think positive. I changed my attitude on the court. I started to practice a little bit harder each time, and my game gradually was improving. I was making better results. Then five months, I finished No. 12 in the world. You know, some things are sometimes meant to happen in order to change some of the things in life, and you appreciate the right values. You appreciate your results more after it happens.

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 04:55 PM
Jelena's quotes already appearing in Serbian media, but
different from official press-conference:

In every match against Venus you have to bring
your best game. Most important factor today was that I had
an iron will to win, and I was mentally stronger in the 3rd set.

She served only one ace today. It was worth it that I spent
a lot of time working on my returns.

They (the press corp) tell me the way I move they'd
think I'm black.

When I play against lesser opponents, I'm not motivated
as I am when I see someone from the top on the other side.


And for what it's worth, she was expecting to meet
Dementieva in the next round:

It's never a cakewalk against her. She's very fast, never
gives up, no easy points against her.

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 05:13 PM
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/match_reports/2007-06-01/200706011180706175640.html

Jankovic vexes Venus

By Matthew Cronin

In a clear sign that she's here to compete for her first Grand Slam title, fourth seed Jelena Jankovic knocked out five-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 and raced into the fourth round on Friday.

In a fantastic all-around performance, the rising Serbian was the faster, steadier and more ambitious player on the day, daring Williams to keep up with her in long baseline rallies and feasting on mid-court balls.

Williams looked like she was prepared to push Jankovic to the wall after battling hard to take the second set and holding to 1-0 to open the third set, but then her game quickly plummeted while Jankovic refused to give an inch.

The American's normally trustworthy backhand deserted her, especially when sliding to her left. Once that vaunted shot was gone, her forehand also went haywire, and worst of all, she could make no impression with her serve.

Venus said she was tired in the third set due to over-practicing, but part of the loss of strength in her legs had to due with the Serbian's game plan, which was to move Venus side to side, and back and forth until the American became sloppy.

The strategy certainly worked. Deep in points, Venus failed to take an extra step to the ball and paid for it, as she could control neither the depth nor location of her shots. The contest ended after a tremendous 26-ball rally from the baseline when Venus pushed a backhand into the net. She ended the contest with 52 unforced errors compared with a mere 27 from Jankovic.

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 05:33 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/02/sports/tennis/02tennis.html?ref=sports

Venus’s Exit Means Serena Williams Stands Alone

By JULIET MACUR
Published: June 2, 2007

PARIS, June 1 — During a changeover in the middle of her third-round match, Venus Williams took out a small notebook and flipped through its pages, desperately looking at strategy and inspirational sayings, things she needed more and more with each game on Friday.

In her first Grand Slam event since last year’s Wimbledon, Williams was struggling. One glance at her opponent during that changeover showed just how bad things were going.

From her courtside chair, No. 4 seed Jelena Jankovic was smiling and giggling. She looked into the stands at a crowd of boisterous friends and family from Serbia. To repress her laughter, she buried her face in a towel. She had plenty to be happy about. Soon, she beat Williams, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, to knock the former No. 1-ranked player out of the tournament.

“I have really positive people in my player box, so it really helps me to play, and it releases the tension on the court,” said Jankovic, who referred to herself and her entourage as “clowns” because they were so noisy before the match.

“But that’s just how we are,” she said, grinning wide to show her blindingly white teeth. “Why not, when it’s a good point, why not smile?”

Williams, a five-time Grand Slam champion, remained stoic through the game, though she shrieked several times when her shots flew wide or long. Her stinging first serve, which reached a Grand Slam record of 128 miles an hour a round before, could not rattle Jankovic. Neither could her powerful shots that landed in nearly every spot on the court.

With grace and ease, Jankovic knocked those shots back into Williams’s side of the court, often masterfully — and joyfully — hitting on the lines or into the corners. Without much resistance from Williams, Jankovic won the first set. Williams recovered, taking the second set to 3-0, before winning, 4-6.

The third set, though, ended quicker than Williams could have imagined. Worn down by the long rallies and Jankovic’s ability to stay peppy on the clay, Williams was broken three times. She double faulted twice. Her shots, particularly her forehands, often floated long. She hit a backhand into the net to end the match.

“I’m disappointed that I lost, but I feel like I’m playing well,” Williams said. “I think I just got a little bit tired at the end, too. It’s tough on clay.”

Williams, 26, had played Jankovic before. The past two times, the match ended with the same result.

In April, Jankovic, 22, beat her in the semifinal in Charleston. Last year, Jankovic also defeated Williams in the third round at Wimbledon, keeping Williams from defending her title there.

Williams said those previous losses to Jankovic did not affect the way she played Friday’s match. She said the other losses were much different than the this one. At Wimbledon, she said, she was having wrist problems that would eventually keep her sidelined for months. At Charleston, she played better, but was still rusty from her time off. Considering how much tennis she has missed in the last year or so, Williams said she was happy with how she played at Roland Garros.

Her father, Richard Williams, disagreed. He said his daughter looked intimidated.

“Venus played with fear because she lost to that girl a couple of times now,” he said. “I’ve never, ever seen her play like that before. She has never been that scared of hitting the ball.

“If I was her and I kept playing like that, I would just quit. I’d just retire.”

Zina Garrison, Venus Williams’s coach on the Fed Cup team, thought Williams hit the ball well and that her game was strong. Still, Garrison said, Williams simply could not keep up with Jankovic, perhaps because Williams had lost a few pounds and was drained of energy.

Garrison was impressed with every part of Jankovic’s game, though.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone who moves as easily as her,” she said.

It also has been a long time since there has been a player as bubbly as Jankovic, whose upbeat attitude seems irrepressible. Her mother, Snezana, takes credit for that.

Snezana Jankovic said she reminds Jelena to stay happy, even when she loses matches. That way, she will be able to handle the pressure of professional tennis.

“I tell her, ‘Don’t ever cry about tennis because I don’t want to see your tears. When you cry, it hurts me, too,’” she said. “’If you lose, just stay happy and forget it. If you are good enough, the results will come.’

~Kiera~
Jun 1st, 2007, 06:13 PM
Thanks, predrag :)

~Kiera~
Jun 1st, 2007, 06:56 PM
http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_tennisblog/2007/06/the_new_jelena_.html

The New Jelena: Confident and Very Patient

PARIS -- Well, she's in. Jelena Jankovic in three fascinating sets over Venus Williams.

Not fascinating because this 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 match was filled with spectacular points. It wasn't. But because Jankovic went into this match with a game plan and stuck with it, even when it began to fail in the second set.

Give Jankovic credit not only for having the physical ability to win the French Open, but because she showed a high degree of mental maturity in this match.

The game plan was to be extremely selective about taking risks. That meant just spinning in a lot of punch-and-judy first serves. Just get it into play and don't let Williams get a sniff at a second serve.

Off the ground, hit deep but play more or less down the middle. Let Venus play, but make her play from deep in the court and trust yourself to be able to track down what she throws back.

The statistics largely tell the story. Jankovic got 80 percent of her first serves in. She wasn't trying to crack aces. And she had only 16 winners. That's how safe she played. And only 26 unforced errors. Contrast that with Venus' usually aggressive style that produced 25 winners and 49 unforced errors.

This cannot have been an easy game plan for Jankovic to execute because she is, by nature, an attacking player. When Williams caught a hot streak in the second set, it would have been easy to say, "OK, this isn't working any longer. Let's go back to playing riskier tennis."

And she did play a bit closer to the lines in the third set. A bit, but not a great deal. On balance, she stayed with the plan and Venus accommodated her with a wheelbarrow full of unforced errors. Part of Williams' failure was fatigue. You could see her breathing hard after the long rallies in the third set. Part of it was frustration, because Jankovic was covering the court beautifully.

Last week I watched her go through a drill in which coach Ricardo Sanchez drew two lines in the clay, one on each side of the net and about two feet from the net. Then one of two players tries to balance the ball on the net. Of course, it drops over and they begin to play. With only two feet with which to work, you have to play a lot of touch shots, which is the point of the game.

In the third set, Jankovic hit one of the sweetest touch volleys I've seen from her. It wasn't a ball played off the ground, as during the Sanchez game. But it was probably a result of that training exercise.

"That was amazing," she said. "I was working on that and my drop shot and volleys. I was thinking, 'Wow, I really executed in that match, and I was really proud of myself. But it was great, because I was really working on that in my practice."

The Jankovic team in the players box might be the noisiest I've seen and she joked about that. In fact, she jokes about a lot of things.

"I am the person who likes to laugh a lot. Even before the match we were, my group, my team, I think you could hear us. We are the only ones who are so loud. They are always laughing, making jokes. You see the other players so quiet in the corner you don't hear them. Then you see the clowns over there.

"No, but that's how we are. It's my personality. It's on the court and I really enjoy the game. Why not, when it's a good point, why not to smile. There's nothing wrong with that."

~Kiera~
Jun 1st, 2007, 06:57 PM
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=1401

Jankovic Ousts Williams, Reaches Round of 16

PARIS, France - Arguably one of the most anticipated third round matches in the draw, the duel between Jelena Jankovic and Venus Williams certainly lived up to the hype; but as the two players headed to the third set one clearly emerged fresher. On a sunny Friday afternoon in Paris, Jankovic took one step closer to Grand Slam glory, taking out former Roland Garros finalist Williams, 64 46 61.

The first and second sets were reminiscent of the most recent battle between the two hard-hitters, a Charleston semifinal encounter that Jankovic would also take, 36 63 76(5). This time it was she who would win the opening set and Williams who would battle back in the second to push the match to a third - but the result in that deciding set would be startlingly different this time around.

The No.4-seeded Jankovic was in total control during the final 34 minutes of the match. She lost just three points in three serve games and was a constant threat on the Williams service, winning 15 of 25 return points and breaking three times. She ended up winning more than twice the points of her No.26-seeded opponent.

"In the second set I was getting a little bit tired, but in the third set I gave my best, and it paid off," Jankovic said. "It was amazing. I really stayed tough out there. I was very mentally strong and I was really going for my shots. And I never had in my mind that I would lose the match. I just wanted to go for it."

"The third set went a little bit faster than what I expected," Williams declared, "but am I discouraged? No, not at all. I feel like I'm playing well, actually. I am disappointed that I lost but I feel like I'm playing well. I feel I'm serving well, moving well; I think I just got a little bit tired at the end."

Despite notching her third straight win over Williams, improving to 3-2 lifetime over the former world No.1, Jankovic still had high praise for her fallen foe.

"It's a shame that Venus had to go out so early, but this is the game," Jankovic added. "You have to be at your best level to beat the Williams sisters. They are the best athletes in the women's game. Half the balls that I hit would have been winners against the other girls; Venus gets them and makes winners back. That is what is really great about them. Every time you play them, it's really tough."

Jankovic, who has now won a whopping 86 matches since her much-publicised career turnaround at Rome last year, was smiling and laughing throughout the match, and has maintained that demeanor through most of this year, something atypical of most of the world's top players. She said that's just who she is.

"It's my personality; it's on the court and I really enjoy the game. When it's a good point, why not smile? There's nothing wrong with that," Jankovic said. "I'm the person who likes to laugh. Even before the match you could hear my group. We are the only ones who are so loud. Then you see the other players so quiet in the corner and you don't hear them. Then you see the clowns over there!"

Although she is quickly becoming more and more of a contender for the title, the ever-focused Jankovic refuses to look beyond the next step.

"I'm only in the fourth round at the moment - I'm not really looking ahead," she said. "Today was a great match and it gives me lots of confidence. I'm happy for that, but I just want to keep going and continue to go for it."

And despite being knocked out of contention for Roland Garros, Williams heads to Wimbledon with renewed hopes of Slam glory - she has won it three times.

"I'll keep working hard. [Grass] is definitely a good surface for me just as far as my mentality. Clay is a good surface for me also, but I want to play fast."

~Kiera~
Jun 1st, 2007, 07:37 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/02/sports/tennis/02tennis.html?ref=sports

There seems to be a slightly different version posted in GM, with a noticeably different ending (I guess they decided to rework the piece)

It also has been a long time since there has been a player as bubbly as Jankovic, whose upbeat attitude seems irrepressible. Her mother, Snezana, takes credit for that.

Snezana Jankovic said she reminds Jelena to stay happy, even when she loses matches. That way, she will be able to handle the pressure of professional tennis.

ďI tell her, ĎDonít ever cry about tennis because I donít want to see your tears. When you cry, it hurts me, too,íĒ she said. ďíIf you lose, just stay happy and forget it. If you are good enough, the results will come.íĒ

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 07:57 PM
There seems to be a slightly different version posted in GM, with a noticeably different ending (I guess they decided to rework the piece)

Yeah, the ending has changed, original post is
now in line with current version. What a day!
And it's only R32. :)

Kampi
Jun 1st, 2007, 08:10 PM
Yeah, the ending has changed, original post is
now in line with current version. What a day!
And it's only R32. :)

Yeah, what a day.:) I was also amazed how many visitors we had in our forum.:) A peak of nearly 100.:eek::worship:

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 09:29 PM
Jelena Jankovic vs. Venus Williams Post Match Breakdown
by Nick Bolleterri

Jelena Jankovic

ē Her court coverage is the best
ē When on the run she is able to hit an offensive shot instead of just a defensive shot
ē Both forehand and backhand early and flat but with enough rotation for a margin of error and a little hop
ē Her backhand down the line is the best in the business
ē She is comfortable at the net with a tremendous foundation and a short compact volley motion
ē Her first serve has improved dramatically
ē On her second serve she must add a high kicker with penetration
ē Has a very good drop shot, which is important for her because she pulls opponents closer to the baseline to guard against the drop shot then her pounding ground strokes take over again
ē She was down 0-3 in the second set, but never showed any negative emotion. This is a major breakthrough for her because in the past she has been known to mentally breakdown.



Venus Williams

ē Served well
ē Hit groundstrokes extremely well
ē She came to the net and her movement was excellent
ē Went toe-to-toe with Jankovic to much, and Jankovic ran down difficult balls



Match Summary

I tip my hat to both Jelena and Venus. They played the game in a manner that should inspire players to compete hard and fight for every point. There is no question in my mind that Jelena Jankovic is ready to make a run for the top spot in womenís tennis. She is fit, she can move, she can volley, she can return serve, and the list goes on and on.

The one chink her armor may be her tentative second serve. It is attackable and something she must improve. It is hard not to look forward to a possible Henin/Jankovic semifinal. How will Jankovic handle the variety of speeds and spins from Justine Henin?

Venus, you played a great match but your legs and stamina let you down. You both gave the fans a match that will be talked about for days. Good luck to Venus at Wimbledon, I hope to see you there. Finally, good luck to Jelena the rest of the way here in Paris!

predrag
Jun 1st, 2007, 10:58 PM
Partbrit of WTAworld fame now runs a blog called
Women Who Serve. This is her latest entry:

http://womenwhoserve.blogspot.com/2007/06/surprisingly-fit-jankovic-gets-past_01.html

Surprisingly fit Jankovic gets past unfit Venus Williams

I keep waiting for Jelena Jankovic to just stop in her tracks. After playing weeks and weeks of nonstop tennis, usually getting to the semifinals or finals, she should be both mentally and physically shot. But in today's third round at the French Open, it was Venus Williams who looked ready to drop, and Jankovic who looked fresh as can be, hardly breaking a sweat. Williams rallied well enough to take the second set, but the third was a run-over, with Jankovic dragging her tired opponent back and forth and up and down all over the court. Jankovic's net play was superb. She needs to do something about that second serve, though.

~Kiera~
Jun 1st, 2007, 11:12 PM
Piece about Richard Brooks:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article1873232.ece

Briton who has steered Jankovic to form of her life

Neil Harman, Tennis Correspondent in Paris

ďHey, nice match, man.Ē Richard Williams walked across the concourse and shook Richard Brooksís hand Ė an alliance of coaches after a marvellous match. Williams we know well, the giant, stooping, cigarillo-in-mouth father of Venus Williams. Of Brooks, little is appreciated, a former Middlesex player who has been steering the career of Jelena Jankovic for the past seven months.

He is half English Ė his father, David, is from Ruislip Ė and half Spanish, he had worked at the academy in Benidorm where Ricardo Sanchez, who oversees Jankovicís career, is based when he is not travelling with Colombiaís top players. When Sanchez needed someone to tour full-time with Jankovic, the Serb, he turned to Brooks. The 25-year-old, who reached a career-high ranking of No 1,036 in May 2003, did not need asking twice.

The results have been astonishing. Jankovic has risen from outside the top ten on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour at the start of the year to No 4 with titles in Rome, Charleston and Auckland, recording victories over Amťlie Mauresmo, Martina Hingis (twice), Svetlana Kuznetsova and yesterday a poised and compelling 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 win against Williams to reach the fourth round.

Brooks led the support team for Jankovic, which included Manuel Santana, the former French Open, US Open and Wimbledon champion, who is a close friend of the Jankovics. At the end of the match they all stood and Ė Santana apart Ė drew their arms horizontally across their throats in a gesture whose meaning they are keeping to themselves.

When he was a young player in Britain, Brooks accepts that he used to let his temper get the better of him Ė ďa characterĒ is a popular description from his contemporaries. ďYes, I had problems, I was explosive but it was just the way I was, the federation never really understood my attitude to the game, it wasnít a good connection,Ē Brooks said. ďBoth Jelena and I work the same way, it is hard but we have fun. I believe she will be the No 1 player in the world, otherwise I would not want to work with her.Ē

Bit by emphatic bit, it is a position that is becoming attainable for the 22-year-old who reached the semi-finals of the US Open last year, before losing to Justine Henin, a match that has every chance of being replicated on Thursday. Jankovic enjoyed her postmatch meal yesterday surrounded by her coterie and with Rafael Nadal as company. ďWe are the loud ones,Ē she said. ďYou see so many other players so quiet in the corner and then there are us, the clowns.Ē

~Kiera~
Jun 1st, 2007, 11:25 PM
http://www.pr-inside.com/print141568.htm

Venus Williams is all business, and out of the French Open
2007-06-01 23:08:48 -

PARIS (AP) - Venus Williams stood still, all straight-faced and serious, during a TV interview right before she played in the French Open's third round.

Her opponent, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, giggled while delivering her sound bite. She then kept right on smiling _ when she stepped on court, when she heard her entourage's wild cheering, when she hit spectacular shots, and, widest of all, when she won.

Seizing control while Williams faded down the stretch, Jankovic won the final six games to reach the round of 16 at Roland Garros with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 victory Friday.

“Am I discouraged? No, not at all. I feel like I'm playing well, actually,” Williams said after making 49 unforced errors, 23 more than Jankovic. “I don't feel like she came out there and really beat me. I just feel like at times she was a little more patient than I was.”

Williams' loss means one U.S. singles player is left from the group of 19 men and women who entered the clay-court major: her younger sister Serena, who beat Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-4 later Friday to get to the fourth round.

“I don't care if it's on clay or grass, hard court or on mud,” Serena said. “I'm going to be here, and I'm going to be competing and doing whatever it takes to win.”

Time and again, Jankovic did what it took to extend an exchange until Venus produced a miscue. Jankovic bore down in the closing set, winning six of the eight points that lasted at least 10 strokes.

“Each time you play the Williams sisters, it's really a tough game,” Jankovic said. “And you have to be on the top of your level if you want to beat them. They are the best athletes in the women's game.”

That may very well be, but Jankovic was far fresher on this day.

“I was really moving her around,” Jankovic said, “and probably she got tired.”

Said Venus: “I felt a little bit slow.”

U.S. Fed Cup captain Zina Garrison noticed.

“Her energy just wasn't there at the end,” said Garrison, who chatted with Venus on Thursday.

“My thing with Venus is just to make sure she understands, 'Play within your game,”' Garrison added. “That's the thing: I know she wanted this really bad, and sometimes you can want it too much.”

In some ways, this was hardly an upset.

Jankovic is seeded No. 4, her highest placing at a major, while Venus was No. 26. Plus, there's this: Jankovic has won their past three meetings, including at Wimbledon last year and at Charleston, South Carolina, in April.

Still, Venus is a former No. 1 with more titles from Grand Slam tournaments alone (five) than Jankovic has from all tour events (four). Jankovic's run to the U.S. Open semifinals last year and her Italian Open clay-court title last month prompted people to tab her as a rising star, but Venus already has been there, done that.

Here, then, was Jankovic's take: “I never had in my mind that I'm going to lose the match.”

And she didn't, at least in part, because Venus compiled nine unforced groundstroke errors before Jankovic made her first. Venus wound up flubbing 22 forehands and 15 backhands, many sailing several feet beyond the baseline.

“It did go long, long, long,” she said. “But in my experience, when it goes long, long, long, it's only a matter of time before it goes in, in, in.”

Serena didn't watch her sibling's loss but did offer this guess as to what happened: “She obviously probably didn't play her best.”

Jankovic, who now faces No. 18 Marion Bartoli of France, also succeeded by handling Venus' big serves. The American clocked a Grand Slam-record 206 kph (128 mph) in the second round, and one delivery at 201 kph (125 mph) Friday caused Jankovic to shake her racket hand after making contact, as if to say, “That stings!”

But Jankovic broke Williams a total of six times, including in Game 1. Further proof that speed isn't everything: Jankovic won 20 of 24 points on her serve in the first set and 12 of 15 in the third.

“She does everything well,” Williams said, “and it's important to do everything well to get to the level that she's at.”

That includes volleying, and Jankovic won the point all eight times she went to the net. She ended one 16-stroke exchange by flicking a back-to-the-net, over-the-shoulder reflex volley. Her supporters in the players' guest box - including Mom, coach, agents, PR rep, sparring partner and friends - rose in unison to applaud and shout approval, drawing a wide grin from Jankovic.

“When it's a good point,” she said, “why not smile?”

~Kiera~
Jun 1st, 2007, 11:57 PM
http://sport.independent.co.uk/tennis/article2606448.ece

Jankovic gives noisy fans reason for cheer

By Paul Newman at Roland Garros
Published: 02 June 2007

You had only to look at the two players' entourages to realise which way the first match was going on Court Philippe Chatrier at the French Open here yesterday.

Venus Williams' supporters filled two rows of seats, but her father sat glumly at the end of one line, her mother looked equally subdued at the opposite end of the other and there was a succession of long faces in between. Just a few yards away the noisiest group in the whole stadium roared Jelena Jankovic on to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 victory, standing to cheer her winners and sharing jokes with the 22-year-old Serb during the changeovers.

When you consider that the world No 5 was on the brink of retirement just over a year ago it is no wonder she now plays with a smile on her face and with the raucous backing of her supporters in her ears.

Between the end of January and the middle of May 2006, Jankovic lost 10 matches in succession. However, a run to the quarter-finals in Rome - where she lost to Williams - was followed by appearances in the third round, fourth round and semi-finals of the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open respectively. This year the progress has been maintained and after winning titles in Auckland, Charleston and Rome, Jankovic is one of the favourites to win here.

"I was about to quit last year because I'm a really bad loser and I cannot take so many losses," Jankovic recalled yesterday. "I didn't enjoy playing. I didn't practise. I didn't have the motivation, the drive that keeps you going forward. Five months later I was No 12 in the world. Some things are sometimes meant to happen in order to change some of the things in life."

A match of high quality against Williams was mostly contested from the back of the court, though the confidence with which Jankovic hit her occasional volleys suggested she can be more than a baseline drone. Williams, who consulted a book with a picture of Che Guevara on the cover during changeovers ("they were just my notes that I make before the match," she said), upped her game in the second set, but Jankovic retained her self-belief and won with the sheer excellence of her ground strokes.

Jankovic, who has now beaten Williams three times in the last year, next plays France's Marion Bartoli, who knocked out Russia's Elena Dementieva, a finalist here four years ago.

Potito Starace took only five games off Roger Federer, but another Italian, Filippo Volandri, continued his excellent spring campaign by knocking out Ivan Ljubicic, the No 7 seed. Volandri, who beat Federer in Rome last month, won 6-4, 6-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

British interest in any of the senior competitions ended when James Auckland, partnering Stephen Huss in the doubles, went the way of Tim Henman in the singles and Jamie Murray in the doubles, by losing in the first round. Auckland and Huss were beaten 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 by the Russians Igor Kunitsyn and Dmitry Tursunov.

~Kiera~
Jun 2nd, 2007, 12:00 AM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=A1YourView&xml=/sport/2007/06/02/sthodg02.xml

Giggling Jankovic must be taken seriously
By Mark Hodgkinson in Paris
Last Updated: 12:19am BST 02/06/2007

Che Guevara made a surprise appearance at Roland Garros yesterday, as Venus Williams spent the change-overs studying the pages of a red notebook with his iconic image in black on the cover. Jelena Jankovic, meanwhile, giggled and chuckled on her chair, occasionally laughing so hard as she looked up at her team that her shoulders heaved up and down.

And the laughter-filled approach worked far better than the earnest one involving a Marxist revolutionary and a book containing notes of "strategy and inspiration", as the free-and-easy, free-swinging Jankovic took the final set to move into the fourth round for the first time. And, anyway, tennis is far too much of a capitalist sport for 'El Che'. A biography of Margaret Thatcher would have been more in tune with the sport's individualist, out-for-yourself ethos.

What was so refreshing about Serbian Jankovic, a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 winner and increasingly seen as a serious contender for the title, was that she somehow managed to suddenly go from the intensity of smashing winners to then smiling after points, squealing with laughter during changes of ends, playfully half-hiding her face behind her towel, and generally behaving as though she was having the time of her life. Which, of course, she was.

And that is what makes Jankovic, the world No 5, such an appealing new character at the top of tennis. "It helps me to stay relaxed to smile on the court. If you hit a good shot, why can't you smile? I think it's good. I am a person who likes to laugh a lot," said Jankovic, who was helped by Williams running out of gas in the third set.

The American, the 2002 runner-up, suggested that she was tired from having "practised too much".

It was not just Jankovic who was having fun. Her entourage were not exactly a group of Trappist monks, either. She said: "I have really positive people in my player box, and that helps me to release the tension on court.

"Before we go on court, all the other players are so quiet in the corner with their teams, but I like to laugh and joke with my team. We are the only ones who are so loud. People probably think we are a bunch of clowns."

So Jankovic had a glee-squad. Williams, as well as the Che Guevara book, had her divorced parents, Richard and Oracene, looking glum in the stands. Since winning the 2005 Wimbledon title, her fifth major, Williams has not gone beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam. Still, as was demonstrated by her sister Serena's coruscating comeback at the Australian Open, it is dangerous writing off anyone from Team Williams.

To think that just over a year ago Jankovic, a part-time student, was about to quit tennis to attend university full-time. She had been on a terrible run, enduring nine successive first-round defeats, and, as a self-confessed "bad loser", she had believed that enough was probably enough.

But then she made the quarter-finals of last season's pre-French Open tournament in Rome, and that was the turnaround her career needed. She went on to make the third round at Roland Garros, beat Venus Williams to reach the last 16 of Wimbledon and appeared in the US Open semi-finals. This year's Rome tournament has had almost the same effect on Jankovic's confidence, as she won the title and now totally trusts her talent on clay, never even contemplating defeat yesterday. She next plays Marion Bartoli of France.

predrag
Jun 2nd, 2007, 06:23 PM
Bud Collins' latest prose on Jelena And the Clowns:

Venus's orbit in Paris ends

PARIS -- And now there is one.

Nineteen Americans came to Paris to play tennis; 18 quickly proved to be no menace. As in Agatha Christie's murder mystery, "Ten Little Indians," they kept disappearing day after day, gone on to their rewards -- mostly first-round loser's money.

As yesterday dawned, chilly and cloudy (but, for a change, not wet), the ladies once known to cringing foes as the Axis of Anxiety were all that remained of the US presence in the French Open. Of course, they were Venus and Serena Williams, opponents in the final five years ago, at the height of their hegemony.

But now Venus is gone, banished in the third round by the laughing Serbian, Jelena "Jelly" Jankovic, and Serena is all that's left. All alone as people ask if the US has become a third world country in tennis.

Serena, far from third world category, says she believes she can win here, that she has an eye on a Grand Slam. "I'm the only one who can do it," she says, having taken the initial step with her unexpected Australian Open triumph. But much labor lies ahead, even after a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over 20-year-old Michaella Krajicek, No. 40, a Netherlander whose big brother, Richard, won Wimbledon in 1996. Good bloodline, but the screeching Serena is out for blood, prowling in search of a repeat of 2002.

Joyful noise poured onto the court on behalf of Jankovic. "My clowns," she said later, identifying the 10 people, including her mother, Snezana, in the friends' box. Throughout the nearly two-hour skirmish with Venus, they whooped it up loudly, happily, and Jankovic often returned their smiles and laughter.

"They help me stay relaxed. I smile on the court. That releases tension," she said.

When Venus clunked a short backhand into the net, it was the 26th stroke of the exchange, the last of the match, and the 49th error of her in-and-out performance that went to Jankovic on a six-game run, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. The Serb with verve was charged with 26 goofs.

Of those last, lost six games, Venus said something that any losing athlete could identify with: "I couldn't get my feet where I wanted them.

"I just got a little tired. I felt a little bit slow. I didn't get my feet there at the ball."

That was bad news for swift, long-legged Venus. And while she was wearying, Jankovic was grinning because she had found a second wind in the third set. Champion of the recent Italian Open, Jankovic became airtight, fielding balls everywhere and pounding them back harmfully while erring but four times.

Her "burning forehand," as she calls it, was lighting up the dirt lot and tickling the clowns.

"Well, why should everybody look so serious?" said her mother, Snezana. "The game is supposed to be fun for everybody. Players. People watching."

The daughter, like mother, said, "We are different. Loud. We are having fun, making jokes in the players' lounge, but other players seem so quiet in the corner. I am the person who likes to laugh a lot. It's just how we are. It's my personality. I really enjoy the game. Why not to smile when it's a good point? There's nothing wrong with that."

Movement and mirth carry Jankovic. Her anticipation and reactions are terrific. She made Venus hit too many balls. "I think I'm mentally tough now," Jankovic said, referring to the abominable 10-match losing streak last year when she was "really about to quit. I'm a bad loser, I cannot stand so many losses. But I got to the quarterfinals in Rome, and I said, OK, maybe something's going to change. I started to think positive and work harder." Hard enough to soar from No. 40 to No. 5 and into the current Parisian Sweet 16.

"This was an unbelievable third round -- to play somebody as great as Venus so early," said Jankovic. (This because Venus has declined to No. 27.) "Any time you beat a Williams it's great, and I've beaten Venus a third time in a row.

"This was a forehand contest because she also has a better backhand. So we both pushed this side. I wish," she laughed, "I had more chances to hit my burning backhand."

Despite her unruly forehands that cost her the first set, Venus is "not discouraged. When I hit the ball long-long-long like that I figure it will change to in-in-in." It did in the second set, but she couldn't keep in going. Still, she reminded us that after an unworthy French in 2005 (a quarterfinal, poor in her reckoning) she "clicked" to win Wimbledon.

Anything can happen, as we know. Venus didn't seem bothered by these American days in Paris that will live in inefficiency. "I don't think about American tennis. I think about my tennis, and focus on me. And I'm rooting for Serena."

Indeed. She's all we've got, fellow jingoists.

Kampi
Jun 2nd, 2007, 06:31 PM
Thx predrag:wavey:

"Circus of Jelena":lol::bounce::worship::kiss::lol:

predrag
Jun 2nd, 2007, 07:23 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/sports/tennis/03tennis.html?ref=sports

Serbian Players Emerge From a Broken Country
New York Times
By JULIET MACUR
Published: June 3, 2007

PARIS, June 2 ó From the first shot to the last, Ana Ivanovic glided on the cinnamon-colored clay at Roland Garros, her dark braided ponytail bouncing lightly behind her as she easily won her match Saturday morning.

In what seemed like practice, she defeated Ioana Raluca Olaru, 6-2, 6-0. But when Ivanovic was growing up in Serbia, those morning matches were not as smooth, and nowhere near as carefree.

Back then, she was forced to squeeze in practices before the daily bombings began in Belgrade. NATO forces were conducting air raids in 1999 in an effort to crush Slobodan Milosevicís government. But Ivanovic would not let that keep her from the tennis courts.

Eight years later, Ivanovic and two other Serbian players ó Jelena Jankovic and, on the menís side, Novak Djokovic ó have worked their way into the top 10 in the world, despite the difficulties brought on by the bombings that caused their country to crumble.

All three broke into the top 10 this year, and all three were expected to advance far into the French Open. Ivanovic and Jankovic have made it to the fourth round, and it would not be a surprise if at least two Serbs made the semifinals.

ďI think weíre all very good fighters,Ē said Ivanovic, 19, ďand we have a tough mentality, so I think thatís what we probably have in common.Ē She and her compatriots appreciate their success more than other players, considering what they had to overcome to reach this level.

In what seems like a blink, with Ivanovic, Jankovic and Djokovic leading the way, Serbian players have become a force in professional tennis. In January, Jankovic, 22, moved into the top 10, and is ranked fifth. Djokovic broke through in March, and is No. 6. Last month, Ivanovic joined them. She ranks seventh.

Drawing from a population of only 10 million, Serbia has as many players in the top 10 as Russia and the United States. (Russiaís population is 141 million and the United Statesí is 301 million.) Serbiaís top players takes their jobs as ambassadors of their country seriously.

ďI bet a lot of people, basically 90 percent of the people didnít hear about our country until maybe this moment when they saw where we are from,Ē said Djokovic, 20, who defeated the wild-card entry Olivier Patience on Saturday, 7-6 (2), 2-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3, in a 4-hour-4-minute match. ďI think just showing up and playing and smiling and giving positive energy, it gives a lot of advantage for you in the future and for your country, as well,Ē he said.

The players, dark-haired, well mannered and fluent in several languages, came to the sport differently. Each ended up training outside Serbia because it did not have proper training facilities or coaches for top-level players.

Djokovic left Serbia when he was 12 to train in Germany. Jankovic left when she was 12, too, landing at Nick Bollettieriís tennis academy in Florida. Ivanovic eventually moved to Switzerland once the bombing ceased.

But they began their involvement in the same way, with an instant and inexplicable love for the sport that had virtually no tradition in Serbia. Role models were scarce. Monica Seles, born in what was then Yugoslavia, moved to the United States in 1985. Slobodan Zivojinovic remains the most famous male Serbian tennis player. In 1987, he reached No. 19 in the rankings.

Team sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer have always been more popular in Serbia, but Jankovic, Ivanovic and Djokovic chose tennis anyway. And they kept at it, even when it was challenging because of the conflict in their country. Their parents made sure of that.

Ivanovic said her parents tried to keep a sense of normalcy in the household. Even when the air raid sirens blared through Belgrade, her family did not run into the basement because it would have been too much of an interruption in their lives.

Djokovicís father and mother, Srdjan and Dijana, said they sprinted into bomb shelters many days while the windows of their house shook and rattled. When they looked in the papers for names of the dead, they would see people they knew.

But their days always began at the tennis court. During air strikes, they would remain outside while Djokovic practiced. The sound of explosions echoed in the distance.

ďI think tennis saved us,Ē Dijana Djokovic said. ďIf we didnít have tennis, we would have spent the days scared, always looking to the sky, wondering when the bombs would come.Ē

Srdjan Djokovic said surviving hard times like those had made his son stronger. ďNovak was very scared then, but he never showed it,Ē he said. ďNow he is scared of nothing.Ē

During those air strikes, Jankovic and her mother, Snezana, were living in Florida, more than 5,000 miles from Belgrade, where her father and brothers remained. Jankovic would call friends at home and hear bombs in the background. Once, she tuned to CNN, which was broadcasting the targets to be bombed that day. She recognized the buildings, and it overwhelmed her.

Jankovic, who was already thin, lost about 12 pounds and could not bring herself to compete in a single tournament in 1999 because of the stress, her mother said.

ďIt was too emotional for her to hear about what was going on near her home, the bombs and no electricity and the problems,Ē Snezana Jankovic said. ďWe spent many, many days crying with our American friends. At that point, tennis did not seem so important.Ē

Now, the sport of tennis is rebuilding in Serbia, though it has been slow going. The Serbian Davis Cup team convincingly defeated Georgia in March but played on a shoddy clay court inside a 1,500-seat shooting range in a far-off Belgrade suburb. During a prematch party downtown, Djokovic and the mayor played tennis on the street, as thousands of people gathered to watch.

The next Davis Cup match, against Australia in September, will be held in a much fancier 20,000-seat arena that was built for basketball but is fit for tennis, a sport that is gaining a foothold in Serbia. Djokovic, Jankovic and Ivanovic have become stars there.

ďTennis is becoming really, really popular in our country, and hopefully we will have many younger players coming up as well,Ē said Jankovic, who declined a role in a Serbian sitcom.

A plan is in the works for a national tennis academy, with 20 to 25 courts and housing for athletes. Djokovicís parents said they had backing from a large Serbian bank and had bought the land for the project.

Though that tennis academy is still a dream, the current stars have motivated other Serbian players to expect more from themselves.

Janko Tipsarevic, who is 22 and ranked 80th, made it to the third round of the French Open this week, beating the former No. 1 Marat Safin on the way.

Tipsarevic said: ďI am really grateful for every Serbian player that is better ranked or is a better player than me, because the thing is awaking in me this positive jealousy that if he can do it, why canít I do it?

ďThe thing is, people have to understand that all we have in tennis here came from mud, from nothing,Ē he added. ďThere was no big tennis academy. There was no big tennis federation behind their success. Nobody was investing anything. So the only people who we can say thanks to today are our families.Ē

~Kiera~
Jun 3rd, 2007, 10:22 PM
Perhaps we'll get the full press interview tomorrow, but for now here's a couple of quotes.

http://www.sportsline.com/tennis/story/10211080

Stop the music

When her French Open opponent took an injury timeout Sunday, Jelena Jankovic did what plenty of 22-year-olds would if they wanted to kill some time: She pulled an MP3 player out of her bag.

The chair umpire made the No. 4-seeded Serb put it away before she got a chance to listen to any music.

"I didn't know that I'm not allowed to do that," Jankovic said after finishing off her 6-1, 6-1 victory over No. 18 Marion Bartoli, the last French singles player in the tournament. "But we're not allowed to have electronics while we are playing."

Bored while Bartoli was off court being treated for a leg problem, Jankovic got out of her changeover chair and hit some practice serves.

"I wanted to play with the ball boy," she said.

Bartoli thought she'd get a lot of help from the home crowd, but instead found herself overwhelmed by the circumstances.

"I felt the pressure when I walked on the court," she said. "Because when you walk on center court and have people applauding you, and you have French flags, and you have people ... that say, 'You're the last French player, fight it. It's the match of your life. What are you doing? You're not playing well.' - I mean, that was a bit difficult for me to listen to."

predrag
Jun 4th, 2007, 10:57 AM
New quotes after Jelena's win against Bartoli are translated
from these 2 locations:

http://www.mtsmondo.com/sport/vesti/text.php?vest=59252
http://www.pressonline.co.yu/vest.jsp?id=12596&sectionId=44

I didn't expect the match to go this easy,
because Bartoli just beat Dementieva. I didn't even play
my best tennis, just enough to win, but I did found
good tactics for Bartoli and she didn't have any
answers. It was almost like playing the chess.
Everything I planned tactically I delivered. I felt
that even the French crowd was rooting for me
by the end.

I like to smile, especially after my good play.
When play starts I'm totally concentarted on it,
but after the point ends, I like to show the pleasure.
It's only sports, after all.

Chair umpire told me not to use any electronic devices
on the court, so I went to hit a few serves, as I didn't
know what to do. I wanted the match to continue as
soon as possible.

I speak French, it's a pity all French players are out
now.

Vaidisova plays the similar game to that of Venus.
I'll try to move her around, to get her out of rhythm.
I know how to play against her.

Kampi
Jun 4th, 2007, 02:43 PM
Thank you Predrag:wavey:


"I like to smile, especially after my good play.
When play starts I'm totally concentarted on it,
but after the point ends, I like to show the pleasure.
It's only sports, after all."

Well, nothing more to say.:worship::kiss:

schorsch
Jun 4th, 2007, 07:45 PM
(4) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) vs. (6) Nicole Vaidisova (CZE) - Vaidisova leads, 4-2

When Jankovic and Vaidisova step on court for their quarterfinal contest on Tuesday they certainly will not view each other as strangers, having clashed six times in the past two years. Despite failing to take a set off the Czech teenager in their first three meetings, Jankovic has had the better of their last three encounters, with a defeat in Linz last October being sandwiched between two three-set victories at the US Open and then Sydney at the turn of the year.

The win at Flushing Meadows proved to be the catalyst for a run all the way to the semifinals and Jankovic will hope victory on her Roland Garros quarterfinal debut will inspire her to go all the way in Paris. However, Vaidisova will arguably be the 22-year-old Serbian's toughest challenge to date and the 18-year-old Czech has looked highly impressive during the first week of the tournament. She also has pedigree in the French capital, having made it all the way to the semifinals in just her second ever Roland Garros appearance 12 months ago and if she can repeat the performance she gave during her 66-minute destruction of Tathiana Garbin on Sunday then she has every chance of going even further this time round.

~Kiera~
Jun 5th, 2007, 01:34 PM
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1101442

Still work to be done, admits Jankovic

PARIS: Jelena Jankovic reached her first French Open semi-final on Tuesday when she brushed aside Czech sixth seed Nicole Vaidisova 6-3, 7-5 but admitted the hard work is just beginning.

The 22-year-old Jankovic, regarded by many as a Grand Slam winner-in-waiting, will face either defending champion Justine Henin or Serena Williams for a place in the final.

But she was keeping her fingers crossed that the American would come through, a hope fuelled by knowing that Henin has won all of their five previous meetings including two on clay this year.

"I will have to try and improve my serve," admitted Jankovic who was joined in the last four by compatriot Ana Ivanovic, the first time that two Serbian women have reached the semi-finals of the same Grand Slam.

"But everyone has weaknesses in their games. You can't improve overnight. I have reached number four in the world with this service."

Vaidisova was a semi-finalist herself here last year but the teenager came into the tournament nursing a wrist injury and found it hard to impose herself in the Court Suzanne Lenglen encounter.

After a quarter-final tie in which she saved four match points, Vaidisova said she was not convinced that Jankovic was ready to win the title.

"She's a tough girl, a tough player, but she can be beaten," said the Czech.

Jankovic, bidding to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Monica Seles who won three times here under the Yugoslavian flag from 1990-1992, was ahead with a break in the sixth game of the first set.

She had the opener wrapped up after 33 minutes with the 18-year-old Czech undone by 20 unforced errors compared to Jankovic's miserly eight.

The Serbian girl then nipped ahead in the second set at 4-3 before Vaidisova saved a match point by breaking back to 5-5. But the Czech's frail service was exposed in the next game as Jankovic restored her advantage to lead 6-5.

Vaidisova saved another three match points in the 12th game but that's where her luck ran out when she netted a forehand to hand Jankovic victory.

Jankovic has a career record off 2-2 against Williams and lost to the American in the Australian Open fourth round in January.

Henin's run of five wins in five over the girl from Belgrade has included three matches in 2007 with two defeats on clay in Warsaw and Berlin. They are the only losses Jankovic has suffered on clay this year.

~Kiera~
Jun 5th, 2007, 01:57 PM
http://sport.guardian.co.uk/breakingnews/feedstory/0,,-6684895,00.html

Jankovic stops Vaidisova to reach last four

By Patrick Vignal

PARIS, June 5 (Reuters) - Jelena Jankovic stopped the French Open run of Czech teenager Nicole Vaidisova by beating her 6-3 7-5 to reach the semi-finals on Tuesday.

Serbia's Jankovic, seeded fourth, showed signs of nerves at times but relied on her ferocious backhand and tremendous court speed.

The 18-year-old Vaidisova, who burst into the limelight by reaching the semi-finals here last year and was seeded sixth, had her chances and survived four match points before bowing out by netting a forehand.

Jankovic, 22, who established herself as a top contender by winning three titles this year to break into the top five, will meet world number one and defending champion Justine Henin for a place in the final.

"I was moving really well today and I tried to defend her balls", Jankovic said after reaching her second semi-final at a grand slam after the 2006 U.S. Open.

"That's mainly what the key to the match was. I was just retrieving well," she added.

Jankovic looked in control until she served for the match, leading 5-4, but she wasted a match point with an unforced error and was broken.

Two games later, she served for the match again and squandered three more match points before sealing victory.

"I definitely had my opportunities," said Vaidisova. "Almost every game on her serve, I had breakpoints and I just didn't make those but overall, I played a pretty good, solid match, especially in the second set.

"She's a tough girl, she fights and deserves credit for that."

Kampi
Jun 5th, 2007, 02:15 PM
Thank you Sarah:wavey::D

~Kiera~
Jun 5th, 2007, 04:03 PM
Post match interview:

Q. Great defense today. Unbelievable defense. When is the last time you played that much defense or had to scramble to get so many balls back?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I don't know. It was just -- Vaidisova is a player who serves well, and she plays the short points. She just hits the good serve, and she waits for an easy ball, and then she just hits it hard. And she wants to finish the point so early.

And I didn't have a chance, other than I have to bring her balls back in order to come back in the point and try to do something with the ball.

But I was moving really well today, and I tried to defend her balls. And that's mainly what the key of the match was. I was just retrieving well, and happy to be in the semifinal for the first time here in Paris.

Q. How happy you are to be in the semifinal?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it's a great result for me. But I had such a tough draw. I think the top half is, for sure, the toughest. Because you have Serena, Henin, and Vaidisova, and also Venus. All of these players are in the same side of the draw; it's not so much fun. But that's a lot.

And next round will be also very tough. But I try to do my best.

Q. Justine is the only player who beat you on clay this year. You said several times you don't like to be in the same part of the draw. So are you expecting Serena to win?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Is she winning?

Q. Losing.

JELENA JANKOVIC: Who? Serena win?

Q. No, she's down a break.

JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, it's okay. I will try to do my best. I've never beaten her before. I will try to find a way somehow to win. And I will try to make the good tactic for her. I think I can do it; it's just a matter of staying concentrated and being mentally tough.

Because I feel that I'm really, physically very fit, and I feel like I move so well on the clay.

Q. You and Ana both won today. Novak is still in the tournament. Is this like a special moment?

JELENA JANKOVIC: A Serbian power or something, that wherever you go you see just Serbians (laughing). Wherever you go, it's just Serbians all over the place, winning all these matches. It's just incredible. I'm just proud of that, and just, hopefully, we can keep going.

Q. Do you see any of that in the street? Do Serbian people see you and recognize you in the streets in Paris?

JELENA JANKOVIC: In Paris, I haven't had the chance to walk around on the street so people can recognize me. I'm always mainly locked up, trying to concentrate and do my own things.

Q. How many Serbians are there in Bradenton?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I really don't know. I haven't been there much lately. All I know is Serbia. I spend more time in Serbia, nowadays.

Q. Do you have to do something about getting your serve a little bit quicker and a little bit more accurate? It's okay through the first four rounds, but now that you face the very best players, how much of a problem could that be?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Me and my serve, it's just unbelievable. I have to really work on my serve. But at the moment, who knows. I am now four or three in the world with this serve. Can you imagine if I had a bigger serve, so what I would do to these girls, but...(laughing).

No, I am just kidding. I am just trying to work on this serve. But everybody has their weaknesses, their weapons in their games. So nothing -- you cannot have all weapons. You cannot have all so good shots. But I am trying to improve this, and some things cannot happen overnight.

Q. You have a great fighting spirit on the court, and in here you have a great spirit.

JELENA JANKOVIC: For sure.

Q. And a humorous spirit. Isn't there a contradiction in there somewhere?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I really don't know. I'm a girl, I like to win, for sure. I always give my best, and I fight until the end. I never want to let the opponent get on top of me. I'm just there to fight and really give my all on the court. Off the court, I am an outgoing, fun person, and that's my personality, for sure.

Q. Yesterday, when Djokovic won his match, in the press room, there were so many Serbians celebrating. How many of them are there in the stadium?

JELENA JANKOVIC: There were a lot of people, actually. Yesterday, there was a girl who won in Eurovision, the singer, which was very great. And a lot of famous people coming from Serbia. It's just a little -- also the soccer player Stojkovic-Piksi, if you know. It's just a little group of Serbians, famous people. It's just great that they come and they watch us. It means a lot to us. I was really happy for Novak, that he won yesterday. Hopefully he can as well get in the semifinals. It would be a great achievement for the Serbia.

Q. When you won at the same moment, did you have the opportunity to meet her in the locker room afterwards and talk to her?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, she was in Chatrier and I was in Lenglen, which is a long way. And the woman from the media kept going after me, "Hurry up, hurry up, you have to be on time." You can see, I didn't brush my hair. She's like, "You need to be there 1:30."

I'm like, "Okay, I will try my best."

Q. What about looking forward to play against her in the final? Of course it's too early, maybe, to say, but it could happen.

JELENA JANKOVIC: Now I'm in the semifinal. I still have -- everybody in the beginning of the week when I play my first round, you're favorite to win the French Open, you are this, you are that. So many expectations. But I said to myself when I would be holding the trophy, then I am the favorite. Then I won the tournament, and for sure, I did this.

But before that, I don't want to think too much of that. I'm just focused on my next match. I'm really glad to be in the semifinal for the first time. I have a difficult opponent who I have to really give my best if I want to win, and I'm just very excited, and hopefully I can do it.

predrag
Jun 5th, 2007, 06:01 PM
Justine' quotes from the press conference after her match
with Serena, but before that, last 4 matches Jelena played
against Henin seen through points won breakdown. It's
easy to spot the trend.

US Open 2006 Henin def. Jankovic 97-84
Doha 2007 Henin def. Jankovic 114-102
Warsaw 2007 Henin def. Jankovic 108-107
Berlin 2007 Henin def. Jankovic 112-113


Q. Can you describe Jankovic and her game, and the problems that she might pose to you?

JUSTINE HENIN: She doesn't make a lot of errors. I mean, she has a lot of pace, and she fights quite a lot. She doesn't have mental reservations. I mean, she's always happy. She doesn't feel pressure. And she's quite consistent. And I would say that if I'm able to set my game together, in all likelihood, I might win.

But it will be a tricky match. And I know that there are developments and ups and downs in the match. I mean, most of the time these matches are hard-fought matches. So I will have to be consistent if I want to win the match. And the player who will be the most consistent will win the match.


What exactly is now on Justine's mind:

Q. Are you surprised at all to see Maria in the semifinals?

JUSTINE HENIN: No. She proved it for already last year that she was getting better. She's No. 1 in the race. But like I say many times, she's playing a lot of tournaments also, and a lot of matches. And, no, she's one of the best players of the world now, and she proved it many times.

predrag
Jun 5th, 2007, 07:04 PM
Manolo Santana, the former French Open, US Open and Wimbledon
champion, and current Tournament Director of Madrid's YEC,
is also a close friend of the Jankovics, and was part of Jelena's
support team during RG's matches. Here's Jelena speaking on
how much his presence meant to her (from the paper Sportski
Zurnal, published on Tuesday):

He is so fond of my charisma, of me being different
from other players on Tour. He is enjoying my tennis here
in Paris, and he even watched my doubles match. He already
has an eye of me coming to Madrid.


Jelena and Na Li have lost their doubles match on Sunday
night. When asked about playing two matches in one day
Jelena said:

It's too much, even if I was only standing there
on the court. I'm a liitle sorry for losing the match, but
maybe it's better that way, as I will save the strength
and freshness for coming singles matches.

~Kiera~
Jun 5th, 2007, 07:29 PM
Thanks, predrag :)

predrag
Jun 5th, 2007, 08:50 PM
http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2007/06/hail_the_vitche.html

Vitches: Ova and Out!
Peter Bodo, 06/05/2007

I suppose this post should be about the Serena Williams-Justine Henin match, but a funny thing happened to me on the way to Armageddon, Part 3 (which was, from what I could tell, played under the influence of Prozac, or as Henin would more charitably describe it, "serenity"). I fell in love with Serbia. So my ongoing "to-do" list has now been modified:

1 - Run around Paris, trying to find a Serbian national soccer team jersey with a name on the back - and something without vowels, please; it's got to be as consonant-heavy as the name of Superman's Nemesis (Mr. Mxplyx. . . oh hail, I don't remember, help!).

2 - Call the Super Bowl network and tell the meatheads in the suits that when the next MVP walks off the field and a microphone gets shoved in his face, he should say, "I'm going to Zrenjanin!"

3 - Text message whichever Ramone is still alive and have him change the name of the song to "I Wanna Be Serbiated."

Yeah, I've got it that bad. But we had an extraordinary moment in tennis here today, and it had nothing to do with the Henin family reunion or a Richard Williams rant; at 1:37, Jelena Jankovic punched her ticket to the semifinals with a win over Nicole Vaidisova, and exactly one minute later, Ana Ivanovic closed out Svetlana Kuznetsova to advance to the semis on the other side of the draw. Is it possible that in two days time, we'll be talking about Roland Garros, aka The Serbian Open?

There was a fitting symmetry to putting JankIvanovic on different courts with the same start time (Ivanovic on Chartrier, Jankovic on Lenglen), although that presented me with certain problems. My tactical decision was to sit at my press desk with the headphones, a TV sets on either side tuned to one of the matches. An added benefit here was that I got reverse-Esperanto commentary: a Babel of in English, Spanish, French, Serbian, Russian and some other languages that I can't speak and therefore in which I can't say anything stupid.

The match on Lenglen was a battle between the all-star infielder (Jankovic) and the home-run hitter (Vaidisova), and the perky retriever executed her game plan to perfection. She ran down Vaidisova's aggressive, forcing shots and continually made her hit one more ball, giving her the opportunity to hit one more error, until the last one ended it in Jankovic's favor, 6-3,7-5. Afterward, Jankovic would say: "I was moving really well today, and I tried to defend her balls. And that's mainly what the key of the match was. I was just retrieving well, and now I'm happy to be in the semifinal for the first time here in Paris."

Charlie Bricker, my spy on Lenglen, slipped down to the player's exit from the court immediately after the match and reports that as soon as Jelena walked into the corridor, she fell into the arms of her mother, Snezana (putting that one on your short list for baby names?). Jelena said, "Oh mother, my heart was beating so fast at the end that I was afraid . . " And here she used her hand to simulate the beating against her breast. "But it was inside and it couldn't get out!" Snezana, in case you don't know, is one of the 11 million "economists" churned out in a part of the world that, at the time, had no economy.

The match on the Centrale might have been the Hundred-Acre Wood Open, as it featured Pooh Bear (Ivanovic) vs. Eyeore (Kuznetsova) in an uneven, flawed clash. Ivanovic won 6-0,3-6,6-1.She played flawless, aggressive, tennis in the first set, hiccuped in the second, but pulled her game back in a tight pony tail again in the third.

Oh, Kuznetsova pulled a stomach muscle somewhere along the way, but who cares? Apparently Ivanovic woke up this morning to discover that she is not really Ana Ivanovic but. . Jennifer Capriati! I'm not kidding about that. The big difference I see between the two is that Ivanovic appears to be as sunny as Capriati was surly.

In a way, you had to feel bad for Eyeore. For one thing, that plum-trying-to-be-pink dress Kuznetsova wore had people wondering, "what color would you call that?" It had other interesting features as well, like the effective way it showed and emphasized perspiration. But Kuznetsova's inadequacies as a fashionista are only slightly more glaring than her profile as a dissident champion.

When Kuznetsova won the US Open in 2004, she found herself staring at a big window to establish her self as a top player, what with Maria Sharapova still green, Henin virally afflicted, Kim Clijsters willing to step down - instead of up - on nearly every big occasion, and Venus and Serena holding aloft the skull of Yoric, deep in a conversation that would last some years. Now, it appears that the window may be closed. The aforementioned women are all (with the possible exception of Venus) on an even keel, and a handful of new contenders, including the Vitches, are on the radar. Nobody can say Sveta didn't have the kind of shot Jim Courier made the most of, under similar circumstances, a decade or so ago. She shut the window instead of jumping through it.Ana

The presser conducted by each of the Vitches was a love-in, and if it didn't exactly start that way, I was hellbent on turning it into one. Jankovic appeared with her hair pulled back, lip gloss flickering in the intense indoor lights. She was beaming. I observed that with the Vitches winning simultaneously and Novak Djokivic also doing well, there seemed to be some kind of Serbian magic at work. Jelena giggled her way through the reply:

A Serbian power or something, that wherever you go you see just Serbians (laughing). Wherever you go, it's just Serbians all over the place, winning all these matches. It's just incredible. I'm just proud of that, and just, hopefully, we can keep going.

"Do you see any of that in the street? Do Serbian people see you and recognize you in the streets in Paris?

In Paris, I haven't had the chance to walk around on the street so people can recognize me. I'm always mainly locked up, trying to concentrate and do my own things.

Bricker had the nerve to turn the conversation back to tennis, asking Jankovic if she needed to get her serve a little quicker and a little more accurate for the final stages of the tournament. Her reply was vintage Jankovic:

Me and my serve, it's just unbelievable. I have to really work on my serve. But at the moment, who knows? I am now four or three in the world with this serve. Can you imagine if I had a bigger serve, so what I would do to these girls, but...(laughing). No, I am just kidding. I am just trying to work on this serve. But everybody has their weaknesses, their weapons in their games. So nothing -- you cannot have all weapons. You cannot have all so good shots. But I am trying to improve this, and some things cannot happen overnight.

I ripped the mike out of deadbeat Charlie's hand and got back to the topic at hand: "You have a great fighting spirit on the court, and in here you have a great spirit. . . a humorous spirit. Isn't there a contradiction in there somewhere?"

I really don't know. I'm a girl, I like to win, for sure. I always give my best, and I fight until the end. I never want to let the opponent get on top of me. I'm just there to fight and really give my all on the court. Off the court, I am an outgoing, fun person, and that's my personality, for sure.

Someone observed that the Player Lounge has been packed with Serbs these past few days, and Jelena revealed that some of the most well-known Serbs are gathered in Paris, relishing some kid of Serbian breakout. These personages include the winner of a recent Eurovision singing contest (think, Serbian Idol, sans Paula Abdul), a few of the obligatory soccer stars, whatever. It's all good; who said this is Justine's House?

Somebody else wondered if Jelena had bumped into Ana in the locker room, enabling them to exchange congratulations. Her reply was animated:

No, she (Ana) was in Chatrier and I was in Lenglen, which is a long way. And the woman from the media kept going after me, "Hurry up, hurry up, you have to be on time." You can see, I didn't brush my hair. She's like, "You need to be there 1:30." I'm like, "Okay, I will try my best."

And when Jelena was asked to reflect on her chances going forward, she said:

Now I'm in the semifinal. I still have -- everybody in the beginning of the week when I play my first round, you're favorite to win the French Open, you are this, you are that. So many expectations. But I said to myself, when I would be holding the trophy, then I am the favorite. Then I won the tournament, and for sure, I did this.

It was an interview brimming with charm and bonhomie - such a marked difference from some of the tense and even unpleasant debriefings to which we've grown accustomed. Oh, sure, the Vitches haven't felt the pressure of success nor heat of close scrutiny, but I almost forgot how much fun it is to play with the kittens before they grow the claws of the Big Cats.

In her own presser, Ivanovic was equally willing to show - and share - the glee she felt, and she still was a little shell-shocked by what she had achieved. When I asked if a match that ragged was good preparation for a tough semi (she will play Sharapova, while Jankovic plays Henin), she was still a little dazed:

Yeah, sure it was. It was a very tough match. Everything was happening quite fast. First set was, I would say, a little bit strange. I played some really good tennis. I was aggressive. And, I guess, she was a little bit nervous. . .Everything was happening very fast, so I didn't think much about it. I just tried to move forward and be aggressive, and stay low. And I didn't make -- I hadn't made any errors, so I would say I was pretty good.

Ivanovic conceded that the prospect of an all-Serbian final was "very exciting" and, rather amusingly, reminded us that we had never witnessed such thing before. That was my cue to ask if something "supernatural" was going on here for Serbia. She said:

Yeah, it's very exciting to see all of us doing so well. Especially we are all very young, so we all have many years in front of us and many possibilities. So it's very exciting, and I'm sure people back home are very proud of us, and that makes us feel very good.

I asked if she talked to Novak Djokovic much, and she said:

Yeah, we speak and we catch up. It's nice to see, because I've known him for a very long time, so it's nice to catch up . . I can learn also from watching him play, because men's game is different than women's, so I can learn watching him. And he is a great player. He can achieve a lot.

Of course, Ana can't be expected to huddle with Jelena quite as freely as with the Djoker, and she confessed that what conversations she has with Jelena tread lightly around the subject of tennis. But she stressed that all the Serbs still feel they can learn from each other. And this led Bricker to cut to the chase and ask Ana about her relationship with Jelena. She described it like this:Novak

Well, when we start playing tennis, she was -- she's two years older than me, so we never played many tournaments together back home, and we lived in different parts of the city. So we never practiced with each other. And then she went to America and I went to Switzerland.

So we kind of we had different ways, different roads, so we never really had a chance to practice with each other. And even now, we both have our own teams and our own things we like to do. And it's a little bit different. But we are both a bit -- we both found our way, and we are both doing well, so that's the most important thing.

I observed, "Both you and Jelena both come in here and you kind of light up the room. You have great humor. You're happy and bubbly. Is this a national characteristic?

Yeah, we are happy people. Yeah, people back home, they're very friendly and open. And, yeah, we like to have fun. And that's something, yeah, I guess we are just born like that and we bring that from home. So it's -- I think it's important to be positive and to have a smile.

Okay, this has been fun. But there's a serious dimension to all of this as well. This has been a historic Roland Garros, and Italian journalist and blogger extraordinare Ubaldo Scanagatta helped me put it into perspective in a conversation we had shortly after the Vitches made the semis. Ubaldo pointed out that when Lleyton Hewitt lost to Rafael Nadal yesterday, "it was the story of 75 years of tennis history, disappearing."

What he meant was that the three towering tennis powers - Great Britain (who invented the game), the Australians (who brought it to its apex at the dawn of the Open era) and the US (who dominated the game in the subsequent, commercially-driven era), were clearly - if not necessarily permanently - in ruins.Oh, there was Serena Williams on the women's side - for another 45 minutes, anyway - but Serbia and Russia accounted for half of the entire quarterfinal line-up at Roland Garros.

And about that fourth tennis power, France, home of the legendary Musketeers (LaCoste, Cochet, Borotra and Brugnon) had started 36 players in Paris this year - their bodies lay strewn all over the red clay, like so many poppies on a graveyard.

So much for the old world, let's celebrate the new. It's always better to live in the light than the dark.

schorsch
Jun 5th, 2007, 09:13 PM
i loved ana's answers. they were so nice and appropriate :D

~Kiera~
Jun 5th, 2007, 09:27 PM
By Bodo's "spy"

Jankovic breaks through, Williams breaks down at French Open

By Charles Bricker
Sun-Sentinel.com
Posted June 5 2007, 4:50 PM EDT

PARIS -- After spending too much of the second set scrambling to the corners to play defense like a madwoman and burying her face in a towel on changeovers, it was time for Jelena Jankovic to break out the laughter.

She came off the Suzanne Lenglen court after a wrenching 6-3, 7-5 triumph over Nicole Vaidisova that required five tense match points, embraced her mother in the stadium tunnel, then began waving her hand near her chest.

"Oh my God, I thought my heart was going to come out. But it didn't have anyplace to go," she said between the giggles.

It was a great day for Serbia. It was a horrible day for Serena Williams, who became the last American to exit the French Open. It was a day that further justified Maria Sharapova's decision to play this most grueling of Grand Slams with a throbbing shoulder.

And when the four quarterfinal matches were in the books, and none took more than one hour and 26 minutes, Jankovic was into the semifinals on Thursday against her long-standing nemesis, Henin, and Sharapova was ticketed for a battle with 19-year-old Ana Ivanovic, youngest player left in the tournament.

Cashing in all four of her break-point opportunities, Henin took down Williams 6-4, 6-3. Henin wasn't brilliant, but Williams was unemotional, flat, lacking fire.

"I was making all the errors and playing like a maniac," she said. "I've never played so hideous and horrendous, and all those other words I can use to describe my play today."

In the bottom half of the draw, the rapidly rising, big-hitting Ivanovic defeated last year's runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-0, 3-6, 6-1, while Sharapova, saving four of five break points, beat Russian countrywoman Anna Chakvetadze 6-3, 6-4.

They're still one match away, but the idea of an all-Serbian final between Jankovic and Ivanovic wasn't lost on either woman.

"Serbian power or something," said Jankovic, breaking out in laughter once again. "It's just Serbians all over the place, winning all these matches. It's just incredible. I'm just proud of that and hopefully we can keep going."

The Henin-Williams match had the highest pre-match profile because these two combatants had engaged in a rancorous semifinal here in 2003, which might be an issue for some, but not for the players, who said two days ago it was ancient history.

And there was the Key Biscayne final on March 31, in which Williams fought back from a 0-6 opening set to capture the title with her usually strong will to win. But wherever that will was during this match, it wasn't on court.

"All she had to do was show up," Williams said, failing to give Henin a full measure of respect. Henin, however, didn't need compliments from others.

"I knew my tennis was probably better today," she said. "But I also knew mentally she's a real fighter, and she can come back in the match any time. And I didn't want this today, because I did my mistake three months ago in Miami."

Henin now has won 31 consecutive sets at the French Open, dating back to 2005, and none of them has gone even to a tiebreak.

Whatever real drama there was on this warm, slightly breezy afternoon came out of the Jankovic match, where the tall, powerful and still not consistent enough Vaidisova came to relentlessly attack Jankovic's one vulnerability - her serve.

She must have had at least a dozen return winners off first and second serves. And perhaps two dozen return errors going for winners. Jankovic countered her deficient serving by putting on an extraordinary display of defense.

"Me and my serve. It's just unbelievable," she scolded herself light-heartedly. "I am now four or three in the world with this serve. Can you imagine if I had a bigger serve, what I would do with these girls?" She began laughing again.

She wasn't laughing, however, when was trying to convert match points number two, three, four and five in the final game. Finally, on the last one, Vaidisova wound up for an inside-out forehand and crashed it into the net. The look on Jankovic's face said: Let the giggling begin.

predrag
Jun 5th, 2007, 09:58 PM
James LaRosa' blog (written on May 29, 2007):

http://www.thetennischannel.com/roland_garros/winner's_blog/052407.aspx

On to some matches. But first, a confession. I haven't sat through an entire one yet. And I can't blame the rain. I'm learning that the first week of a slam, if you want to see your favorites, chances are they're not playing each other. So I start with Nadia, clearly struggling. It's painful to watch, so I head over to watch Jelena. The photographers snap away with every move she makes. To those of you who play, imagine every time you toss the ball to serve or wind up to hit a return - click click click click click. Ridiculous. But people are buying those pics. And yelling to her from the stands like you wouldn't believe. Fans give what they get. She plays, they play back. Pop.

I hit up Jelena's post-win press conference. Reporters love her. She isn't calculated, she just says what comes to mind. She's easy.

predrag
Jun 6th, 2007, 06:14 PM
http://www.********************/blog_rg_060507_c.html

Matt Cronin on Jelena/Henin matchup:

Now Henin will face Serbian Jelena Jankovic, who had hustled her tail off defending against Nicole Vaidisova's huge blows in a 6-3, 7-5 win. Jankovic has lost to Henin all five times they've played, all in long three setters. She's the sexy pick to win the title in a lot of ways because she's smart, funny, lively and very talented, but by no means has she shown that she can match Henin's steely reserve, especially at a Slam. She not only has to wear Henin down for two hours or so, but when if they reach 4-4 in the third set, she'll have to show some real some guts.

predrag
Jun 6th, 2007, 06:17 PM
Jelena confirmed that she's in contact with Monica Seles,
her official mentor (the Tour designates retired players
for the periods of 24 months to give support and advice
to what they call proteges, more on the program:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/3/thewtatour/professionaldevelopment/partnersforsuccess/ ).

It's well known that Seles was a player Jelena was looking
up to when she was young, and even though they rarely see
each other, Monica was present at US Open semifinal last year.
Jelena speaking on Monica, Nicole and Justine:

She called me before the start of Roland Garros, and I
expect to hear from her one more time towards the end.

I was extremely cautious not to lose the serve against
Nicole, because it was hard to get a break against her.
I wanted to win so badly, when I got close to winning
the match my emotions took over. Suddenly I was thinking
about the match point, which is not good. In the end
I used the 5th match point to win. But now I'm in
the semis and I'll give everything I've got to go
even further. I'm so motivated.

I can win against Henin if I stay mentally tough.
Phisically I'm ready and I feel I can maintain great movement
throughout the match.


Jelena was also touched when she heard that RG organizers
have asked the Serbian Embassy in Paris to provide
both the flag and hymn before the Finals get under way.

predrag
Jun 6th, 2007, 06:21 PM
http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=17033&bannerregion=

[edited]

Serbian Semifinalists One Step From Reunion

By Richard Pagliaro
06/05/2007, Tennis Week

One French Open champion crunching her trademark two-fisted groundstrokes inspired two young girls living in different sections of the same Serbian city to pick up a tennis racquet for the first time. They grew into two of the best baseliners in Belgrade sharing a common tennis dream, shoulder-length dusky hair and a similar sunny disposition.

And though Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic were soon traveling the fast track to tennis success, they never car-pooled to practice together. In fact, neither woman remembers sharing a practice court together.

Times have changed, each woman has traveled a different route along the crushed red brick road ó Jankovic has trained extensively at the IMG Bollettieri Academy in Bradenton, while Ivanovic has set up a training base in Switzerland ó and now find themselves in the same semifinal spot on opposite sides of the Roland Garros draw.

Serbia formally declared its independence on June 5, 2006 and a year to the day after that milestone the top two Serbian women in the world solidified their shared status as Roland Garros championship contenders.

The fourth-seeded Jankovic stopped sixth-seeded Nicole Vaidisova, 6-3, 7-5, to reach her first Roland Garros semifinal. The seventh-seeded Ivanovic stomped third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-0, 3-6, 6-1, to advance to the final four for the first time.

It's been 15 years since Monica Seles captured her third consecutive Roland Garros crown and the image of a young Seles standing atop the baseline smacking her two-handed strokes into the corners of the court prompted both Jankovic, who regards Seles as "my mentor", and Ivanovic to take up tennis.

Stylistically, Jankovic and Ivanovic are both clean ball strikers, but that's where the similarities end. Jankovic is a smoother mover who uses her pedestrian serve to set up her best shot ó a bold, biting two-handed backhand she can hit down the line or angle crosscourt with extreme effectiveness. Jankovic's court coverage, consistency, her proficiency from all areas of the court and her willingness to construct points patiently have become the cornerstones of her game. Ivanovic, whose forehand and serve are her biggest weapons, relies on power more than placement and is quicker to pull the trigger on her favored forehand in an effort to punctuate points with winners.

At her best, Jankovic pressures opponents by playing near error-free tennis, while Ivanovic imposes pressure by pounding winners.

Widely regarded as a tremendous talent since her days as the world's top-ranked junior player, Jankovic was labeled a gifted underachiever, who preferred the whimsy of going for low-percentage winners than the work of sustained practice sessions earlier in her career. But she took a significant step in shattering that perception with a stirring run to the U.S. Open semifinal where she led Henin in the second set before imploding over a line call.

Now it is Henin, continuing her quest become the first woman to three-peat at the French Open since Seles swept her third straight title in 1992, who again stands between Jankovic and her first Grand Slam final. Henin played controlled, confident tennis in transforming a highly-anticipated quarterfinal with Serena Williams into a largely one-sided affair that saw Williams smash her racquet in frustration over her inability to crack Henin's clay-court game. Henin expects extensive rallies against Jankovic and may well have to force the issue more than she did today.

"She doesn't make a lot of errors. I mean, she has a lot of pace, and she fights quite a lot," Henin said of Jankovic. "She doesn't have mental reservations. I mean, she's always happy. She doesn't feel pressure. And she's quite consistent. And I would say that if I'm able to set my game together, in all likelihood, I might win. But it will be a tricky match. And I know that there are developments and ups and downs in the match. I mean, most of the time these matches are hard-fought matches. So I will have to be consistent if I want to win the match. And the player who will be the most consistent will win the match."

Jankovic is winless in five meetings with the World No. 1 though all five matches have gone the three-set distance, including clay-court matches in Warsaw and Berlin earlier this season. The expressive Jankovic has endeared herself to the Parisian fans with her game and her willingness to reveal her emotions on court. Henin got inside of Jankovic's head and had a hand in her U.S. Open meltdown last September, Jankovic must maintain her composure in order to finally overcome her nemesis.

"I will try to do my best. I've never beaten her before," Jankovic said. "I will try to find a way somehow to win. And I will try to make the good tactic for her. I think I can do it; it's just a matter of staying concentrated and being mentally tough. Because I feel that I'm really, physically very fit, and I feel like I move so well on the clay."

predrag
Jun 7th, 2007, 08:32 AM
http://www.latimes.com/sports/printedition/la-sp-french7jun07,1,6567772.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-sports

Major moves for Serbian trio
By Chuck Culpepper, Special to The Times
June 7, 2007

PARIS ó A French Open globally celebrated for what it might be already shines for what it is within a southeast European country roughly the size of South Carolina.

While string-heads far and wide gab that it might stage another Federer-vs.-Nadal tete-a-tete (still possible), and some have begun to notice that it might mark a third straight Grand Slam final involving Maria Sharapova (still possible), many of the 10 million people of Serbia already have their definition.

It's a gem.

"Just phenomenal for such a small country," said Novak Djokovic, and as he reached his first Grand Slam men's semifinal, so deepened the phenomenon.

Djokovic's tricky if surprisingly brisk win Wednesday over Russia's Igor Andreev, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, helped leave eight singles semifinalists.

But of those eight, one hails from Belgium (Justine Henin), one from Spain (Rafael Nadal), one from Switzerland (Roger Federer), two from Russia (Nikolay Davydenko and Maria Sharapova) and three from little Serbia (Djokovic, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic).

"Especially in tennis, no tennis tradition, you know," Djokovic said, and especially after "a lot of difficulties and problems in a country the last 15, 20 years."

A chunk of the former Yugoslavia, Serbia sits landlocked, surrounded by Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro and Romania.

Sports-wise, the world might know it from the Serbia & Montenegro World Cup team whose defense got an up-close view of Argentina's revered 26-pass goal at Germany 2006.

World-wise, the world knew Serbia from footage of NATO bombs falling on Belgrade in 1998, or from news in 2006 that the former president Slobodan Milosevic had died in prison in The Hague while still on trial for crimes against humanity.

Paris-wise, the world might refer to Serbia as the current king of the world.

Even if a country actually sought an athletic spokesman, it probably couldn't do any better than Djokovic, 20. Not only does he stand third to Nadal and Federer in points this year, but he's photogenic and personable, teasing reporters as they filed into the news conference Wednesday with, "Now, now you are coming. Where were you the first week?"

Djokovic's famous yellow shirts and his cheering section wearing the same trumped just about everything else for verve on a dull Wednesday, with the possible exception of actor Antonio Banderas wearing black in the sun and fanning himself while watching one Spaniard from Mallorca, Nadal, crush another, Carlos Moya, the 1998 champion.

That match clunked by, 6-4, 6-3, 6-0, and sent minds forward toward Nadal-Djokovic, a head-to-head that stands 3-1 in favor of Nadal, with Djokovic winning on a hardcourt in Key Biscayne, Fla., in route to his biggest title to date.

He has helped see to it that the same Belgrade photographed beneath bombs already has sent four children born there to these semifinals, if you count Nenad Zimonjic in the men's doubles here.

How?

"There is really no exact answer for your question," Djokovic said. "I cannot explain why all these tennis players in the men's and women's tennis came up together at the top of the world at the same time. Because, you know, Jelena Jankovic was practicing in the United States" ó at the Bolletteiri Tennis Academy in Florida ó " Ö and Ivanovic in Switzerland. I was practicing since I was 12 in Germany, ItalyÖ. We didn't have any system in our country that can bring us up and help us in our careers."

Ivanovic is 19, Djokovic just turned 20 and threw a party in Belgrade, and Jankovic hit 22 in February ó with Jankovic and Djokovic the busiest risers on their respective tours.

Jankovic gains notice for a highly curious on-court habit ó smiling, a lot ó and gives news conferences that brim with good humor, much like Djokovic's.

Said Ivanovic, rather against historic odds, "Yeah, we are very happy people."

Kampi
Jun 7th, 2007, 08:53 AM
Thank you Predrag:wavey::)

~Kiera~
Jun 7th, 2007, 04:25 PM
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/interviews/2007-06-07/200706071181233608609.html

Q. So, how do you feel, sad?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I feel -- no, I don't really feel sad. It was disappointing for me to lose like this. But I think Justine was a way better player than I was today, for sure. No doubt about that. And all the credit to her. She just played really well, flawless.

And when I had the chance, I didn't use it. So, for sure, all the credit, all I can say. And good luck to her in the semifinal.

But also good luck to Ana who is from the same country as I am.

Q. What would you do better? Any regrets?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I mean, I just -- I was not -- this was a bad day for me. I was not on my game and didn't have a good rhythm. Was making a lot of mistakes. Didn't have a good rhythm. But like I said, she was just too good.

Q. You were a little tense?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I was not tense. I just tried -- I played her so many times. I know how to play against her. But she was -- she didn't make any mistakes. She was just hitting the ball very clean. And I was not -- I was not doing that. I was making mistakes. Played with sometimes the wrong shot at the wrong time. And bad day for me. What else can I say?

Q. Obviously, you know you've played Justine so many times and you know Ana, so how do you see the final? What do you think's going to happen?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I really don't know. Depending on, Justine, I think is the favorite, for sure. She won this tournament so many times. And I think she's the best player on clay. Unfortunately, I had to play her, so -- in the semifinal. And in general, I think, the top half is so much tougher, and all the great players, the favorites were right there.

But I wish Ana the best of luck. Hopefully she can do it and win her first slam.

Q. Is the fact that how Justine was playing today, making no mistakes and hitting the ball like that, is it driving the opponents crazy, desperate?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, a little bit. But I was really frustrated with myself, because when I had the chance, when I had to execute the shot, I didn't do it. She's not like she didn't give me a chance to come back in a match to do my -- to play my game, she did. But I just didn't use it.

And the times when she was playing well, I didn't have a chance. So when I had it, I didn't use it. When you do, when you add that all up, it just turns up 6-2, 6-2. But she was way better than I was, for sure.

Q. In Australia this year, I think you played -- you won a tournament and then you went to the final in Sydney, and you played the Australian Open. Here you played Rome, and then you played almost all the way through Strasbourg. Do you think in the future you might try to take that week off before a Grand Slam? Did it make a difference how strong you are towards the end?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, doesn't make a difference, what I played before this tournament. I was ready to play here. And I came to the semifinal. It's just that I had to come up against a very strong opponent who was just playing unbelievable today. And there is nothing I could do.

So I mean, doesn't matter how much I played or if I rest one week before. Even if I didn't play any tournaments, I could have maybe lost in the first round. That doesn't matter. But I felt very fit here. And very ready to play. I was ready to play my matches and to go all the way. Unfortunately, I lost against the best player in the world, and nothing to be ashamed of.

Q. You think that tactically she played different than in your previous matches?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know if she played tactically a little bit different, but she was just very solid. Very, very solid. And she played a flawless game. I mean, she was just too good. She didn't make any mistakes that she normally makes. She was serving well. And I didn't do any of those things.

And if you want to beat her, you have to be right up there with her. When you have a chance, you have to use it. And I didn't do that today.

Q. A tough question, but, what do you think you have to do, aside from not playing Justine, to win a slam?

JELENA JANKOVIC: What I have to do? I have to -- we have to go on a different sides of the draw and maybe play in the final next time (laughing). I mean, she's the player that I've lost to this year, that I had trouble with. Other players, I've beaten them, almost all of them. I mean, she's just the one who I have trouble.

And somehow I will find a way to win. And today I didn't do it, but I'm not discouraged. I'm going to be right there next time, and hopefully I'll have a chance.

Q. You already told us in Warsaw, I don't want to be in the half of Justine, I don't want to play her in Paris, and the next week you had her in Berlin again. What did you think when you saw the draw here?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, but I tend to have very difficult draws. But I think it makes me stronger as a player, and I see where my level is at. I want to have to work on what I have to improve. So sometimes can be a good thing, and also a bad thing. Because I would prefer to play her in the final or some time later in the tournament than to play her in the quarterfinal, the semifinal there, especially a Grand Slam.

But that's how it is, and hopefully I'll have many more chances to come.

Q. You were not able to make your move at the end of the game today, your bow and the symbol?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I will not say what it means, it's something that we're doing, our team. I will not say.

Q. Is there any moment when you're going to disclose it? When you're going to tell us?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know, maybe.

Q. Before, Ana came and said that when she was young, she had to practice in a swimming pool, because there were no courts, no facilities in Belgrade in wintertime. They put a court where there was the water, normally, they put a carpet?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it's a court that we have in Serbia, it was a swimming pool. And then they put some carpet in there. And that's -- I also practiced there when I was little for a little bit.

But, generally in Serbia, we don't have good facilities, and that's our problem, especially in wintertime. And if you want to prepare on hard courts, we don't have a good hard court. We have some court. Especially I was practicing, for example, this year, a little bit in December on some court that we have like a basketball -- how you say, basketball net or something on top of your head. And then behind, you have a soccer goal. So it just, the court is kind of like cracked.

And in the wintertime, when it goes up to minus 15, it's just the same temperature inside. So I was practicing with my gloves, and my winner hat, my jacket. That's how we were playing there.

But hopefully, they will build some tennis center. It would make it easier for us, and also for the younger generation.

Q. Do you think this is one of the reaps why you Serbians are so strong, because you had to pass all these difficult moments in your youth?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I think so. I think Serbians in general are very, very tough people, with a strong winning mentality. I'm like that, for sure. And I don't like to lose, and I never give up.

But I feel that I'm very strong, and as a player, and very -- I'm willing to do anything to win, to be the best in the world. So, I will be working very hard to do that.

Q. You say one year ago you also say that you almost wanted to stop playing?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yes, but I think if you are going to do something, you have to enjoy what you're doing, and you have to love that sport. And if you don't enjoy the sport, and you don't want to practice, I don't think it's useful. So if you have the passion for a sport, you are willing to practice, you're willing to give hundred percent, your maximum, then I think that's -- then you can do that job.

But when I didn't enjoy, I didn't love to play, I didn't want to go on the tennis court and play. So I didn't think what is the point to play? And that is why I was about to quit. But now it's a different story. I'm very motivated, and I just want to do the best that I can. I want to be on the practice court. I think that I'm practicing very hard, and I'm doing the right things. So my time will come, for sure.

Q. I know you're very disappointed now, but it's been a remarkable surge by the three of you Serbs here. And I'm wondering, was there ever a time, considering you guys all came from the same background, with your parents or anybody, you said, I just can't -- during this French Open, I can't believe where we all were from, and now it's all coming together here and now?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I was talking, for example, yesterday to Novak's father. And I was saying, "Are you even aware of what is happening here? That we have three Serbs in the semifinal of a Grand Slam?"

For us was a big result when we were in third round, fourth round. We were celebrating. And then we are in the semifinal, it was just something amazing. There was like beers all over the table, you know, everybody getting drunk.

But, I mean, it's just a great accomplishment. And especially now, Ana in the final, it's just amazing. Unbelievable.

Q. Do you think you will attend the final, and cheer for Ana?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know where I will be. Depends on what I have to do. And when is the final, on Saturday? Depending on my plans. But I wish her the best of luck, hopefully she can beat the best out there, which is Justine.

Q. Again, on Serbia, you just said that the people from your country have such a strong mentality. Where does that come from in the Serbian culture, in the Serbian history?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. I just -- but if you compare all of us here, the players, the three players that we have in the Top 10, I think we all have that. We are just very strong. And we are -- when we go on court, it's like we go on a war. We don't care who is on the other side of the net. We're just there to win. And we just don't have -- for example, I respect all of the players. But when I go on the court, I don't respect anybody, what their ranking is, or whoever she is. I am just, I go out there to win.

Q. Well said. But the match today, did it reflect all that you've said now? Did you think you gave your very best, that you fought hard?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I just -- I couldn't -- I just couldn't find my game. She was playing very well. And I was trying to do my best, but it was just not enough. And when I had the shots, when I had to execute some of the shots, I didn't do it. And when you don't use your chances, especially against the best player in the world, the games are just going to go by very quick. And so that's what happened today.

Q. What's the name of the place with the swimming pool tennis court?

JELENA JANKOVIC: (Laughing) it's called Jedanaesti April (in Serbian). I don't know (laughing).

Q. I'm trying to picture it. It seems like you could run into the walls. Did that ever happen?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. But it's a weird thing. I mean, when you have to do that, you have no other choice. But if you -- as a little kid, that's where I practiced, where Ana practiced, where Tipsarevic practiced. It's something that you have to do.

But hopefully, we'll have some of the -- some of the better courts so that we can prepare to better win. Not just play on cracked courts and in the cold, and all this, you know. But better circumstances.

Q. Back to the performance today. Do you think that there's anything about the largeness of these circumstances that makes Justine play better or maybe caused you to struggle a little bit more?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I think she -- she just did the right things. She was hitting the ball very clean. She was hitting them in the right shots. She didn't allow me to get into the position to hit -- to hit my shots, and play my game.

And like I said in the beginning, all the credit to her. She was way better than I was today. And in our previous matches, I was -- I thought that I was the better player. Now I almost had a chance against her and just a few points deciding the winner. But today was a totally different story. I just kind of let up and didn't do it. Didn't -- was just a bad day for me, for sure.

Q. Did the pressure of it being a Grand Slam semifinal have any impact whatsoever?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Not really. I was excited to be in the semifinal. I was ready for the match. I wanted to be in the final and to do something, the best in my career. But it didn't happen. But I'm young, and I'll have many more chances, hopefully.

Q. Sorry to push this, but it look like for a set and a half, you were trying different things and different tactics?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I was trying so many things, but everything I tried was wrong, it didn't work.

Q. Well, the question is, did you have a specific game plan going into that match, and what was it?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I did have a -- I did have a plan. But I was just -- I couldn't execute it on the court or the match. I was practicing -- in my practice, I was doing these shots. And then in the match, I came there, and I was just lost. I just couldn't do it. And everything that I tried, it was a mistake at the wrong time, and it was just -- nothing was right. And I was trying, kept trying, kept. I wanted to come back in the match, but couldn't do it.

Q. It's a very technical question, I don't know if you can answer, and if my colleagues can understand (laughing). We can see that your lipstick is difficult to make, and the make-up on the eyes, too. But to have the red cheeks. How can you do it? Is that natural or you put something there, too (laughing)?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, my God. I don't know. It's just -- you see Italian questions (laughing)?

No, on top of that, I have to go on my doping test, so it's just -- can I feel any better here?

I don't know. But all you Italians are thinking my nails, my lip gloss, my hair, you know, it's just all these things. And all I'm trying to think is about the ball, how I am supposed to win the match.

And the skirt, and how it went, what I did. You know, I was tying my shoe on the court, and I hear (whistling). And I'm like, I have to tie my shoe. Okay, I do. It's just -- but...

Kampi
Jun 7th, 2007, 08:43 PM
Thank you Sarah:wavey::D

Btw, my sadness is gone. I'm really looking forward.;) And so should Jelena, too.

predrag
Jun 8th, 2007, 09:42 AM
Charles Bricker of South Florida Sun-Sentinel provides
an analasys on how Henin won easily:

http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_tennisblog/2007/06/one_more_mounta.html

One More Mountain for Super Souris
June 08, 2007

PARIS -- Super Souris. That's about as close in French as I can come to "Mighty Mouse," which would be an appropriate sobriquet for Justine Henin.

When her Argentine coach of 11 years, Carlos Rodriguez, called her semifinal win one of the most beautiful strategic performances Justine had given in the past year, it wasn't excessive praise.

To begin with, Rodriguez doesn't praise often. He's usually blatantly honest about Henin's performances and he reserves his most effusive remarks for her victories in finals, and there have been three at the French Open -- two now in a row and very probably three after Saturday.

It wasn't only that Henin went into the Jelena Jankovic match armed with Rodriguez's solid game plan, but she executed it beautifully. Here were the elements:

1. Mental and emotional strength: Despite having a 5-0 record against Jankovic, she knew this was going to be difficult. Jankovic's game has stepped up this year and so has her attitude. She wasn't going to blow like she did after winning the first set over Henin at the U.S. Open semis last September.

2. Attack the forehand deep: Easier said than accomplished. There wouldn't be much difficulty aiming shots to Jankovic's forehand side, but she had to bounce those balls at or near the baseline because Rodriguez, scouting Jankovic in Berlin in early May, noticed the difficulty Jelena had in controlling the ball off the forehand side when she was in a tight position near the baseline. Jankovic had just two forehand ground stroke winners against Henin.

3. Attack the vulnerable Jankovic serve: But Rodriguez wanted her to be selective about going for too much on the return. That was a mistake the bigger, stronger Nicole Vaidisova made in the quarterfinals. Vaidisova must have had a dozen winning returns. But she also had about two dozen missed returns going for it because, as soft as her serve is, Jankovic reads returns well. So Henin chose to attack the serve, but attack it to gain a positional edge in the ensuing rally, not for an outright winner. The result: Jankovic won only 43 percent of her service points.

4. Go to the forehand side on approach shots: Henin was at the net 13 times. She won 11 of those points -- 6-for-6 in the second set.

Kampi
Jun 8th, 2007, 11:03 AM
Thank you Predrag:wavey:

Btw, good analysis inside this article. But from my point of view, this wasn't the only reason that Jelena was not able to give Justine more trouble yesterday. Something was wrong from the beginning. It seemed that Jelena had no clear strategy and her timing in terms of her groundstrokes was completely gone. She tried to move forward quite often but the reason was, because she felt insecure from the baseline. Which is a very bad sign, because normally she plays excellent from the baseline. Btw, I have never seen that Jelena was so often on the wrong foot. Of, course it had to do with Justine. She had a very good day and was focused and hit the ball hard especially on her forehand. Indeed Jelena had a lot of trouble with that. But the other thing was Jelena's backhand. Even when she was in the right position she made a lot of errors or was simply way top short or had no angle. She seemed fearsome and for me that was the reason why she tried a lot of stops, too. But everyone was able to see that she had no trust in this shot. It was only a sign of desperation. Justine took advantage of all the wrong decision that our girl made. But it's ok. Wasn't simply her day and this day was 100% Justine's. That's all. As I already mentioned yesterday, maybe the outcome of Ana's match was also doing it's part:shrug:

predrag
Jun 8th, 2007, 01:23 PM
It seemed that Jelena had no clear strategy and her timing in terms of her groundstrokes was completely gone. She tried to move forward quite often but the reason was, because she felt insecure from the baseline. Which is a very bad sign, because normally she plays excellent from the baseline. Btw, I have never seen that Jelena was so often on the wrong foot. Of, course it had to do with Justine.

Whatever the strategy was, going to the net more with mixture
of drop shots, it crumbled under the heavy barrage of laser-guided
shots by Justine. Which lead to other mistakes, wrong decision,
you name it. Jelena said it all in the press conference.


As I already mentioned yesterday, maybe the outcome of Ana's match was also doing it's part:shrug:

It's the other way around. Ana and Jelena are pushing each
other to new heights, which is a huge advantage over other
WTA players. Jelena won't feel very good until she reaches
a GS final, or better yet, win the whole thing in the near future.
Djokovic is doing his part, too. It's almost a race as to who
will be the first to win a Slam or become a No.1. :wavey:

predrag
Jun 8th, 2007, 02:20 PM
http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/index.cfm?func=showarticle&newsid=17037&bannerregion=

Notes From Roland Garros
By Richard Evans
06/08/2007

No matter who wins at the weekend, this is Serbiaís tournament. For a nation of that size, suffering under the yoke of its recent history, to have produced three players capable of reaching the singles semifinals of the French Open is a great achievement. And, as icing on the cake, Nenad Zimonjic reached the doubles semis final with Fabrice Santoro.

But is not just that. It is the personalities they bring to the game. Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic not only stir the crowds with their achievements on court but light up press conferences and bring laughter and gaiety to the locker rooms. In their way they are all different but it is impossible not to be captivated by all of them.

"We are lucky," the mighty Bobo ó Slobodan Zivojinovic ó was saying in the player restaurant after Djokovic had taken care of Igor Andreev in the quarter finals. "It is difficult to say how this has happened. But, of course, tennis is hugely popular in Serbia and everyone is very excited. Apart from soccer it is the number one sport now."

Before this week, Zivojinovic was the only Serb ó as opposed to Yugoslav in the days of Nikki Pilic and Zeljko Franulovic (both Croats) ó to have got as far as the semi-final of a Grand Slam. Bobo, with his thick set body and huge serve, was a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 1987 before Ion Tiriac set him up as the Mercedes dealer in Macedonia, a title that certainly trips off the tongue. I also had a chat with Snezana Jankovic who is rightly proud of what her daughter has achieved. And her message is a good one.

"I never pushed my children to do anything," she said. "If what they wanted to do was good I just supported them. Since observing what happens on the tennis tour I have seen too many parents with too much ambition." She can say that again. Mrs Jankovic has two sons, one of whom, Stefan is at school in Florida, while Jelena's appearance on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour was delayed through her economic studies in Belgrade.

"They are going to give us special dispensation for Jelena to sit her final exams when she can fit it into her tennis schedule," says Snezana who is an economist herself.