They say what doesnít kill you makes you stronger, and that was definitely true for my match yesterday. I didnít play well, but I am through to the second round, and thatís the most important thing.
My opponent, Sorana Cirstea, played some very good tennis. I didnít take my chances early on and she put me under pressure. I was hesitant, and could easily have lost the first set. In the second set I played some better tennis, and Iím very happy that I was able to win in straight sets.
Halfway through the second set Hawk-Eye stopped working. I have had a mixed relationship with this technology. When it first arrived, in Miami two years ago, I was against it. I didnít like the added element of the unknown: during a match I want to focus only on my game; I donít want to have to think, ďshould I challenge here? If I am wrong I might run out of challenges.Ē
However, I soon warmed to it and became a big fan Ė if we can ensure more accurate line calling, I am definitely in favour of it. But after yesterday I am again not feeling too positive towards it. Itís not unreasonable to expect that the technology works properly, so when it breaks down it kind of throws your concentration. My opponent was causing me enough problems without me worrying whether the device is working properly or not.
Itís Murphyís Law that just after the machine broke down I wanted to make at least another two challenges, but I couldnít, and that was frustrating.
On the positive side, I was able to concentrate throughout the match. My focus is generally quite good, but occasionally my mind will wander during a match. In the past I have thought about random things like what Iím going to be doing later, or something funny someone told me earlier in the day. One time I even thought about my victory speech during a final.
I always have a song playing in my head during a match. It can be annoying, because I canít get it out of my head. Today the song was Wake Up Call by Maroon 5.
I am probably one of the most superstitious players. I avoid stepping on the lines of the court, because I believe it brings me luck. I used to bounce the ball only once before serving, but I somehow lost that habit last summer. Now I bounce the ball exactly four times.
Rituals are another important part of my life during tournaments. During the French Open last year I ate in the same restaurant every night, then at Wimbledon I stayed at home every night and we cooked for ourselves. Here, I go to the same place for fresh juice each morning.
The rituals are clearly important psychologically, because they breed familiarity. I am on the road for 90 per cent of the year, so I miss the comforts that someone living at home enjoys. Therefore, itís nice to have some ritual to fall back on, to provide this familiarity.
It may not have been a great performance yesterday, but at least I won, so Iíll be back at the juice bar tomorrow morning.
When I was a hockey player I would have the AC/DC song "For Those About To Rock" playing in my mind while I was on a break-away!
Jan 15th, 2008, 11:38 PM
Jan 16th, 2008, 12:03 AM
"My focus is generally quite good, but occasionally my mind will wander during a match. In the past I have thought about random things .... One time I even thought about my victory speech during a final."
Feb 7th, 2009, 11:35 PM
Dear Anaís diary,
I promise not to talk about other Serbian girls in Jelena Jankovicís sub-forum if Ana stops looking so mean and angry towards Serbiaís guest after winning points during her Fed Cup match in the Areana. Sheís a big girl now.now I forgot what I was going to add.
Feb 9th, 2009, 10:59 PM
Ana has such a great new diary entry in her web! And it seems we will know who is her new coach already this week! :bounce:
What a week! / February 09, 2009
I have just had probably the busiest, and certainly one of the most rewarding, weeks of my career. Itís an experience I will never forget.
Where do I start?! Just to backtrack a little bit: I had a very nice holiday in Australia after leaving Melbourne. I also did some fitness work while I was there, and enjoyed the beaches. My surfing has improved a lot!
I arrived in Belgrade on Sunday. Even though the Fed Cup matches didnít start until Saturday, we spent almost a whole week preparing, and taking part in many off-court activities.
Most importantly I had to adapt from the extreme heat and outdoor conditions of Australia to the cold of Serbia and an indoor court. Fortunately the playing surface was quite similar to Melbourne, so that helped.
Wednesday was certainly the busiest day of the week. I practised at the Arena and afterwards I visited the 11 April sports center, where I trained as a kid. It was a wonderful experience, going back there and seeing my old trainers.
In fact, my old sports teacher Marija is the Fed Cup trainer, and my old coach Dejan is the captain, so I was catching up with many familiar faces throughout the week.
The main reason to visit April 11 was to film some sequences for a feature that will be shown on HBO television around the time of the BNP Paribas Showdown exhibition in New York next month. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.
In the evening we had dinner with the Japanese ambassador to Serbia, and then I went to Pionir Hall, home of Partizan Belgrade basketball team. The atmosphere there is simply unbelievable. Itís like nothing Iíve ever experienced in tennis. They sometimes say that ďthe roof is gonna come offĒ when a crowd is very noisy, and on this occasion it really did seem a possibility.
There were quite a few other activities surrounding the Fed Cup, for example the official dinner, the draw ceremony and several press conferences. The team hotel, believe it or not, was about three minutes from my parentsí house, yet I stayed there for most of the time to relax on my own, have treatment and be with the rest of the team, including the support staff.
I was very nervous on Friday! The long build-up to the tie, the first proper event I had played in Serbia, gave me plenty of time to think about what it would be like on-court. There was great excitement in the city, especially among my friends and family.
The Belgrade Arena is an excellent facility. Itís quite new and it holds over 20,000 people. I felt the expectation of the supporters before my match began: because of our rankings Jelena and I were expected to win easily, but we never once underestimated our opponents.
In the end the five days of practice and general preparation paid off very well, as Jelena and I won all our matches in straight sets. The atmosphere, as I had anticipated, was amazing throughout the matches. It was so good that I couldnít resist playing the fourth rubber, even though the match didnít really mean much.
It was a good opportunity to play another competitive match and I was very happy with how I played. I was aggressive from the first point and approached the net many times. It was the best I have felt on court in quite some time.
The press conference at the end of the tie was very funny. A very talented junior player, Aleksandra Krunic, was a non-playing member of our team, so she could gain some experience of the Fed Cup. Sheís only 15 and she has a great sense of humour: she caused a lot of amusement when we faced the press.
A journalist asked me about my new coach. Before I had the chance to answer, Aleksandra said, ďDidnít you know? Iím Anaís new coach.Ē Even the captain Dejan, whom off the court is a real joker but during press conferences is so serious, couldnít help laughing at that.
Late on Sunday night many of the team and our friends and family had a quiet celebration at a bar in the city. We are all excited about the draw for the next round. I would love to play in Belgrade again.
I would like to thank everyone who came to the tie to support us, and also the organizers. It was the first ever Fed Cup tie in Serbia, and everything went very well. The security guys who accompanied me to many events are some of the most generous guys I have ever met.
I wish I had time to write more, because so much happened, but thatís a basic summary of my week.
On Wednesday I will meet some children who are part of UNICEFís School Without Violence programme that I support, then I will go to Dubai for my next tournament.
We will announce news about my new coach very soon!
Feb 9th, 2009, 11:29 PM
Great new diary entry :worship::worship:
Like I said she really looked very happy in Arena ,I`m glad she enjoyed :)
Feb 9th, 2009, 11:54 PM
New coach? Yes, please! :bounce::bounce:
Feb 10th, 2009, 08:28 AM
Aleksandra is her new coach.:lol::lol::lol:
I watched that press on TV it was great
Team was so happy with vicory over Japan and fact that Ana and Jelena played in Belgrade.