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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 04:19 PM   #2371
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Quote:
Ivanovic Excited to Return to Hopman Cup
30/12/2010

ANA IvanovicBy Chris Pike

ANA Ivanovic has set her sights on getting back into the world's top 10 and winning a second career Grand Slam title in 2011, but not before focusing on trying to win the Hyundai Hopman Cup for Serbia alongside Novak Djokovic.

Ivanovic, a former world No. 1 and French Open champion, is coming off a strong finish to 2010 that saw her win titles at Linz and at the Tournament of Champions in Bali to climb back up to a ranking of 17.

Ivanovic made her first appearance at the Hyundai Hopman Cup in 2006 partnering Djokovic when the Grand Slam winning pair were fresh-faced 18-year-olds. She enjoyed that experience and is now delighted to be back to try and win the Cup for Serbia for the first time.

"I'm really happy to be back here. Novak has been asking me to come back ever since the first year we played here and I'm really excited about the possibility of maybe getting further here," Ivanovic said.

"Last time (Jelena Jankovic and Djokovic) made the Final here and it's a great event to start the year. I really enjoy it and I'm really excited to have the first match."

The field at Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIII is phenomenal with the likes of Andy Murray, Lleyton Hewitt, Francesca Schiavone and John Isner, with Justine Henin also representing Belgium for the first time.

Ivanovic will face Henin on Thursday and is looking forward to that challenge, and to try and beat her for the first time in their six career meetings.

"It's tough this year and there's lots of good players. It's going to be a great field and great for us to get tough matches, but also for spectators to see some good matches," she said.

"It's going to be real interesting playing Justine. It's tough and we always have tough matches, and she's the kind of player who challenges you a lot. I enjoy that so I look forward to that match."

Ivanovic is glad to be partnering with Djokovic for the second time at the Hopman Cup as well with the pair being long-time friends from back in Belgrade, but she does have one request of him for New Year's Eve Ė not to sing again.

"He is a joker and is a very nice guy. I've known him since before we started playing tennis so we've been friends for a very long time. It's always enjoyable to catch up and here it's a mixed event and you get the chance to catch up and do some fun things," she said.

"It's great to spend a few days with him and catch up. Actually last time we played here on New Year's Eve he got on stage and sung, hopefully he won't embarrass me like that again."

Having already achieved so much in her career at just 23 years of age, Ivanovic is far from content and is working hard on reaching her goals for 2011 of getting back into the world's top 10 and of winning her second career Grand Slam.

"I'm very excited about this upcoming year because I think there is a lot of potential to do really well because there is a lot of great players out there, but it has been a little bit up and down and lots of players are battling injuries or not playing that many events. If you can start good and be consistent, you can get really far next year," Ivanovic said.

"I want to get back to top 10 and hopefully win another Slam. That's basically what I work for. I was really fortunate in my career already to have won a Slam and reached No. 1, but Grand Slams are something you will never forget and I will always choose that over the No. 1 ranking. I know I have potential to win some more and one would be a good start to next year."

Ivanovic is also living up the weather in Perth since her arrival already taking in the sights of local beaches and loving every minute of it.

"As soon as I arrived the first thought that I was going to the beach," she said.

"I've already been to Cottesloe, Port Beach, Scarborough and Hillarys, I've visited them all."
http://hopmancup.com/News/368
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Old Dec 30th, 2010, 04:35 PM   #2372
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

"I'm really happy to be back here. Novak has been asking me to come back ever since the first year we played here and I'm really excited about the possibility of maybe getting further here," Ivanovic said.

Shows who he REALLY wanted to play with!
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 01:50 AM   #2373
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Transcript of Ana's presser:

Quote:
Media Conference
Transcript - Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)
30/12/2010

Ana Ivanovic

Paul McNamee - Iíd like to welcome Ana Ivanovic back to Hyundai Hopman Cup - Former number one player in the world, back in the top twenty, and of course a Grand Slam champion - Itís great to have you back Ana.

Ana youíve had a good second half of the year. Last year you dropped out of the top 20 and this year you got down to 60 or 38 and then you were back to 17. What do you put it down to?

I got a few new coaches and a new team around me and it kind of helped me to get a lot fitter. Once I got fitter, on the fitness side, it gave me the confidence also on the court. I worked really hard and in the summer in America I started to play a lot better, so all the things started to come together. It wasnít anymore this balance between my game and fitness and my mental, so it was very nice to see. Obviously once to get to feel better the confidence just grows, and to have two titles at the end of the year, it means a lot to me. I think of the US Open and asked me Ďwhat would be your goal at the end for the year?í and I say ĎI would like to have a titleí so I got two, so I canít complain.

Who was the fitness person who got you up?

Maria. Itís a friend of mine, actually sheís Serbian and I started working with her after Wimbledon this year. It was a lot more fun and I really got a lot fitter and did a lot of specific foot work drills and everything. So it helped me stay longer in the rallies and retrieve more balls. Obviously itís going to always give you confidence and going to get you through tough matches.

Do you see a lot of openings now in womenís tennis in 2011. A couple of top players are fighting injuries and problems at the moment. Do you see, you know, if you get on a bit of a roll, that you could go up the rankings quite quickly?

Yeah I really feel that and Iím very excited about this, coming here, because I think there is a lot of potential to do really well. I think there are lots of great players out there, but like you said itís been a little bit shaky, itís been up and down. A lot of players have been fighting injuries and havenít played that many events, so I think if you can start good and be consistent you can get really far next year.

So given youíve found a bit of form now and your fitness levels are good, what are your goals for next year?

I want to get back to the top ten and hopefully win another slam.

So obviously having that one Grand Slam under your belt, the hunger is definitely there to get a few more?

Yeah definitely, I mean thatís basically what I work for. I was really fortunate in my career to have so far already won a Grand Slam and reach number one position. I mean Grand Slam is something I would never forget. If I had to choose I would always choose a Grand Slam over number one ranking. So I know I have potential to win some more and it would be a good start next year.

Whatís it going to take and what more do you have to do to win that Grand Slam?

I think Iím on the right way. I work really hard but consistency is going to be a main thing because you have to perform good week after week and also match after match. You have to recover well and then get your game up because you have lots of tough opponents. Especially in a Grand Slam you have to win 7 matches and there is no easy matches anymore Ė from the first round on you get tough opponents. So to be sharp and consistent, I think thatís going to be a big issue.

Ana is power important these days with the ladies game built on power after the Williams sisters. Are you trying to develop a bit more power in your game?

Yeah I think I have powerful game and I think thatís the way womenís tennis is developing. All the young players who come up - very few of them donít have that so itís kind of the standard now. Everyone hits the ball really hard so you do have to get fit and I think it comes down to mental and whoís going to be tougher out there and whoís going to, like I said, be consistent. I feel there are lots of ups and downs, even through the matches, so if you can remain consistent I think it can get you far.

Is the immediate goal to get past the fourth round of Grand Slams, because last year and this year you werenít able to. Is that the first goal to get to the quarter finals before you can aim for a title?

Yeah definitely thatís my goal - to get to a second week. I feel good about my game and my fitness at the moment but I just donít want to get too excited about the possibilities or how far I can get. Itís very important to just set realistic goals and aim for the second week, then take it day by day.

After a disappointing Ď09 what was the turning point for you this year. What started your resurrection?

I think itís confidence and itís a strange thing because once you lose it you feel like itís very hard to get it back. At least in my case I try to search for it in many different directions and in many different places, and different people. You realise that itís all the time within you - you just have to discover it. Sometimes itís a little bit clouded, so you just have to realise that itís within you and you have to believe in yourself first and thatís what I was lacking a little bit. So to have that back feels great.

So would you say your confident going into this tournament, the Hopman Cup? How important is this one to you?

Iím really happy to be back here. Novak has been asking me to come back ever since the first year we played here and Iím really excited about the possibility to maybe get further because last time I reached finals here. I think itís a great event to start the year and I really enjoy it. Iím really excited to have the first match.

What about the other competitors here in Perth?

Itís tough this year. There are lots of good players and I think itís going to be great and itís going to be good for us to get our matches from the first week in the year and also for spectators to see some good matches.

Is there anyone in particular your looking forward to playing against?

Yeah I think itís going to be really interesting playing Justine. Itís tough, you know we always have tough matches and sheís the kind of player who challenges you a lot and I think I enjoy that. So I look forward to that match.

She admitted that sheís not 100% at the moment, what are your thoughts on that?

Itís tough. You know, I think lots of people look forward to this first event. Also to suss out other players because itís been almost two months away from the tour and everyone did their own way and their own preparation. So everyone is excited to see other players and it will be interesting to see. I canít judge yet because I havenít seen her play yet.

Do you think the guaranteed matches you get here, with the 6 matches and the hot vast conditions, are perfect prep for the Australian open?

Yes they are definitely and also you get to play mixed doubles which is fun.

Whatís Novak like? Not only to play with but also off court?

Heís a joker. Heís a very nice guy. Iíve known him since before we started playing tennis so we are friends for a very long time. Itís always enjoyable to catch up. Here itís a mixed event, so itís kind of more relaxing, so you get a chance to catch up more and do fun things. Itís great to spend a few days and catch up basically.

Do you ever try to tease him about anything?

Yeah all the time. We make jokes all the time. Actually last time we played here in Ď06, on New Year ís Eve he got on the stage and sung. That was fun. I just hope he wonít embarrass me like that again.

Have you had a chance to go out and see much of Perth, or go to the beach or anything?

I did, yes. Actually as soon as I arrived it was my first thought ĎIím going to the beachí. Iíve already been to Cottesloe, Port Beach, Scarborough and Hillarys. I visit them all.

Ana, your trialling the new coach, how has that helped your game?

Itís going well. Iím really happy with Antonio so far. We only started two or three weeks ago, so itís still the process of getting to know each other and getting to know each otherís routine and everything. Obviously itís going to be great to test it throughout the matches and tournaments and pressure situations. We worked really hard and he got me to do a lot of specific footwork drills and just hit the ball through and cleaner, and its working well. Itís something I feel I need in my game because I hit the ball pretty hard so to have that footwork and adjustment Ė I think itís very important.

Paul McNamee: Thank you Ana, good luck for the Tournament.
http://hopmancup.com/Media/Media-Conference/262
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 02:09 AM   #2374
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Quote:
Sultry Serb Ana holds court
RAY WILSON, The West Australian December 31, 2010, 7:25 am



Sultry Serb Ana holds court

Ian Munro/WA News © Enlarge photo

Ana Ivanovic is picture perfect.

The 23-year-old, in Perth representing Serbia at the Hyundai Hopman Cup, is one of the best 20 tennis players in the world but her exquisite beauty often draws as much attention as her powerful cross court forehands.

It seems that too much Ana is not nearly enough.

According to her own website, the sultry Serb has featured on 106 magazine covers around the world since 2005.

Some of the shots have even included a tennis racquet. Not that you'd notice.

It peaked last year when 52 journals featured the smouldering Ivanovic, including more than 20 in her homeland where she also has appeared on postage stamps.

Two years ago, men's magazine FHM's poll rated Ivanovic as the 11th sexiest woman on earth.

She has also appeared in Elle, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair and Time Magazine.

Get the picture. There is no other way to say it - the lady, who has launched a million thoughts worldwide by red-blooded male sports fans, is drop-dead gorgeous.

She can also play tennis, and at the ripe old age of 23, the former world No.1 is on the way back from the wilderness which last year saw her drop from the top 20 for the first time in five years.

With world No.3 and long-time friend Novak Djokovic, the Serbs are the top-ranked nation in the eight-country field for Hopman Cup XXIII which starts tomorrow with the tie between Australia and Belgium.

Serbia - both Ivanovic and Djokovic also played at Burswood in 2006 - begin their campaign on Sunday evening against Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova and Andrey Golubev.

Ivanovic cites a fitness campaign spearheaded by Serbian friend Marija Lojanica following Wimbledon as the major reason for her rise back up the rankings in the second half of this year, climbing from 38 to her current position at 17.

Also, she has employed Portugal's Antonio van Grichen as her new coach on a trial basis for the Australian summer. Van Grichen guided Belarusian Victoria Azarenka from 250 to No.6 in the world rankings.

Ivanovic, who won the French Open in 2008, said her lift in fitness levels also gave her the confidence to engage in longer rallies.

"All the different things started to come together for me because I became stronger physically, and mentally," Ivanovic said yesterday at Burswood.

"To get two titles (Bali and Linz, Austria) at end of the year means a lot to me. At the US Open, I was asked my goal for the end of the year and I said I'd like to have a title. I've got two (10 in total), so I can't complain."

Her goals for 2011 are simple.

"I want to get back to the top 10, and I want to win another slam. That's what I'll work for," she said.

"I'm fortunate that I've won a grand slam and reached No.1 but I'd choose another grand slam victory ahead of the top ranking.

"I know I have the potential to win some more."

A beach addict, she's already visited Port, Cottesloe and Scarborough, but Ivanovic's main concern about the tournament is whether her partner, and infamous joker Djokovic, will sing at tonight's New Year's Eve Ball.

"He got up on stage and sang last time," she said. "I hope he won't embarrass me like that again."

The Serbians have the capacity to embarrass the three nations - Australia, Kazakhstan and Belgium - in Group A and make tomorrow week's final.

Justine Henin shapes as a tough opponent for Ivanovic but none of the other nations have the two-pronged class of the Serbs.
In Group B, Britain's Andy Murray and Laura Robson are top seeds but will find tough opposition, especially from Italy's Francesca Schiavone and Potito Starace, while American pair John Isner and Bethanie Mattek-Sands are capable of causing upsets.
http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/spo...a-holds-court/
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 04:31 AM   #2375
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Footwork drills
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 12:40 PM   #2376
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

From today's Sportski Zurnal:



Anything of notice?
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 12:42 PM   #2377
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut. View Post
Footwork drills
Yes! Look, in these pics Ana seems to be doing some footwork drills for a warm up with Van Grichen:

http://ow.ly/i/6PQk

http://ow.ly/i/6PQr

That's something really important IMHO. Ana's game is so dependant on her timing.. and a good footwork is crucial for on point timing.
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 03:03 PM   #2378
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

1.Why did you choose Van Grichen and what do you expect from this collaboration?
Ana:He contacted my management,showing interest in my tennis.We agree to work on a trial basis in Mallorca and i like his
dedication to tennis.It's too early to say something more,bur so far-everything is just fine.

2.About AO 2011:I have a good feeling about the start of the season.I believe i can win AO,but that's not easy,cuz there are,at least 10 other players, who can do the same.

3.Who are the best players on the Tour?
Ana:WS,Kim,Henin.CW is very good ,young player but i think that these 4 players(WS,Kim and Henin) are still the best.

4.If you had a possibility to change just one thing in your life,what it would be?
Ana:To protect my body and stay injury-free till the end of my career.

5.Is there something in your life without what you can't imagine a sinle day?
Ana:Good coffee.

6.Describe your ideal man.
Ana:He has to be gentleman,ambitious,witty.Charming and capable to intrigs me intellectually.

7.Why you didn't play an exo in Pionir,before the Davis Cup final?
Ana:I was not invited.
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 03:21 PM   #2379
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Quote:
Originally Posted by gloria7 View Post
1.Why did you choose Van Grichen and what do you expect from this collaboration?
Ana:He contacted my management,showing interest in my tennis.We agree to work on a trial basis in Mallorca and i like his
dedication to tennis.It's too early to say something more,bur so far-everything is just fine.

2.About AO 2011:I have a good feeling about the start of the season.I believe i can win AO,but that's not easy,cuz there are,at least 10 other players, who can do the same.

3.Who are the best players on the Tour?
Ana:WS,Kim,Henin.CW is very good ,young player but i think that these 4 players(WS,Kim and Henin) are still the best.

4.If you had a possibility to change just one thing in your life,what it would be?
Ana:To protect my body and stay injury-free till the end of my career.

5.Is there something in your life without what you can't imagine a sinle day?
Ana:Good coffee.

6.Describe your ideal man.
Ana:He has to be gentleman,ambitious,witty.Charming and capable to intrigs me intellectually.

7.Why you didn't play an exo in Pionir,before the Davis Cup final?
Ana:I was not invited.
Thanks Gloria!!! Interesting..

I'm not sure she has much faith in Van Grichen..

And I hope she doesn't go into matches against WS, Henin and Kim as if they were so good she could never beat them.. like she has the last few times. I do agree they are the best players out there, but Ana can beat them if she has the right attitude and is playing at a high level.
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 03:37 PM   #2380
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Yeah...and journalist says ,that tournament organizers have made a big mistake by not inviting Ana to participate in this humanitarian match.
Izzy,don't you think that Ana looks too skinny? I never thought i would ever say that Ana is bony,but i can see bones in her shoulders and veins on the arms and hands.She looks like she's going to collapse after training.I don't know,you play tennis,you should know better.Perhaps she got the speed but she can lose her strenght at the same time,right? What do you think?
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 03:46 PM   #2381
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Quote:
Originally Posted by gloria7 View Post
Yeah...and journalist says ,that tournament organizers have made a big mistake by not inviting Ana to participate in this humanitarian match.
Izzy,don't you think that Ana looks too skinny? I never thought i would ever say that Ana is bony,but i can see bones in her shoulders and veins on the arms and hands.She looks like she's going to collapse after training.I don't know,you play tennis,you should know better.Perhaps she got the speed but she can lose her strenght at the same time,right? What do you think?
No.. I don't think so.. She looks really fit and has lost some fat and gained some muscle mass. I actually thought her shoulder was very defined, meaning it's as strong as ever, which should help her to prevent injuries while still hitting powerful serves. I think she looks great really. If Ana is on the ball and timing it well, I don't think she will lose any power. Ana's power is all about timing, not so much about putting her weight on the shot. And being lighter and more agile helps with footwork and footwork is crucial for timing. I think Ana played some of her best tennis in the first 6 months of 2008, and she looked as thin and fit then.

And I also don't think she looks like she's going to collapse after training.. it does look like she is practicing hard and pushing herself, which should be great. I think we will be able to talk better once we actually see her play sunday.
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Old Dec 31st, 2010, 04:01 PM   #2382
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

I msut agree I am happy because Ana look like she lost some weight what is good I really didnīt like her body last year! Marija makes such a good job! For me she is super fit and totally normal gloria do you want her to look like dokic or kleybs?
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Old Jan 3rd, 2011, 01:03 PM   #2383
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Quote:
Ivanovic re-awakens the streetfighter within
January 4, 2011


Life hasn't become any easier for Ana Ivanovic but her vision is clearer, writes Linda Pearce.

Ana Ivanovic has shed five or six kilograms during a year in which her career, too, was almost lost. The epiphany came when, languishing outside the top 50, the former No.1 realised what she had been searching for in so many places had to come from within. And with one shot, in one desperate moment, something crucial was found.

It came in Cincinnati in August. Ivanovic was playing top-tenner Victoria Azarenka in the first round, trailing 6-2, 5-3. Nothing was working, her confidence in shreds. ''All of a sudden something clicked and I felt like, 'You know what? I'm going to go for it,' and I made [an] unbelievable return like I did when I was playing really well,'' Ivanovic said. ''Forehand cross court, I still remember.''

Galvanised, Ivanovic won that set in a tie-breaker and took the third 6-2, launching a recovery that brought late-season titles in Linz and Bali and a resurrected final ranking of 17th. And yet it was only in February that Ivanovic wondered if she should be paying more attention to her economics studies, doubting for a difficult, tearful period that she would ever again play tennis like she once did, and forced to question whether she still had what it took.
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''It was very tough and I did struggle a lot through the last couple of years, but I wouldn't change the pain for what I learned, and I think it's important sometimes to get through tough times,'' said the 2008 French Open champion. ''It makes you appreciate certain things a little more and Ö I learnt a lot about myself.

''It made me become a lot more patient, because in the past when I was a kid and I was coming up, every time I would put [in] good work, I would straight away get results, and even if I had a bad week, I knew next week was coming good. And all of a sudden that was not the case, and there was lots more pressure and lots more outside things affecting [me], from a media side and so on. I was taking things for granted a little bit.

''But then I Ö was a little bit overtrained and that caused a few injuries and then you lose matches and your confidence goes - it's like a circle and I'm really happy I managed to kind of break that a little bit and get my confidence back, and I did put a lot of effort and a lot of hard work in the past few months. It's good to see results, finally.''

Having felt so weak earlier last year that ''I didn't have anywhere to push from,'' a pivotal moment came after a first-round loss at Wimbledon. Coaches had been shuffled to no avail. The many hours spent practising and training had brought little result. Everyone had well-meaning suggestions - the help of a sports psychologist among them - and her best interests at heart. But, still, it all became overwhelming.

''So after Wimbledon I just decided, 'You know what? I have to make a change and I have to make these steps and it has to come from within me.' It was hard. I struggled for a while and had some tough moments and some tears spilled, but it was all worth it, and I realised I have this confidence, and I have this game and I have what it takes to get back to the top, so that was kind of inspiring.''

Ivanovic's serve - notably an erratic ball toss - is a focus of her new coach, Antonio van Grichen, who succeeded Heinz Gunthardt in time for this week's Hopman Cup and will be in the Serbian's corner tonight against Australia's Alicia Molik. Ivanovic said the coach-player relationship could be even harder to manage than the personal kind.

''You spend so much time with them - it's travelling, it's breakfast, lunch, dinner. These days are long, and you get to know a person really well,'' said Ivanovic, 23. ''So I'm really happy so far - we really work good together, he's very young, he's motivating and he's full of energy himself. And he's intense on the court, which is good, it's something that I feel I need to get that footwork happening and work on my game, and we still work a lot on my serve.''

Considering the back story, and a period in which she had to rely on the wildcard goodwill of tournament directors - including a galling but motivating snub in Montreal, where she is a former champion - Ivanovic would probably rate a second grand slam title as a greater achievement than the first. ''I feel like a kid again, coming to the top for the first time,'' she beams.

Yet if the Australian Open may be too soon along the road back, the 2008 finalist with the strong local connections and affection is committed to an extended visit. ''I plan to stay for the whole two weeks anyway, but I really hope I can play the whole two weeks,'' she said, with optimism unimaginable six months ago. ''That year when I reached the final, it's one of the nicest memories I have, so I really hope I can repeat that and maybe even take it a step further.''
http://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/i...103-19dvn.html
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Old Jan 3rd, 2011, 01:04 PM   #2384
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

Quote:
Ivanovic finds her way back from a dark place

* Margie McDonald
* From: The Australian
* January 04, 2011 12:00AM


ANDRE Agassi, in his autobiography Open, opined that the tennis court was sport's loneliest theatre.

It is a dark place that Ana Ivanovic, too, understands. When something you take for granted deserts you, as Ivanovic's talent did for almost two seasons, the search to reclaim it in public can be galling. And it's very lonely, for who other than those few to have ascended the peak, as the Serbian did, can really know how difficult the descent can be?

"It is very hard and unfortunately in tennis, you have to learn how to lose as well and to accept loss," Ivanovic said.

"And it is very hard because you are alone out there and there are very few people that can understand what goes through your mind, because you do suffer a lot.

"You have your closest people who are there for you, to support you, but you know that they don't know 100 per cent how it feels, so it is very hard. It is very lonely."

Losing became standard practice through 2009 and the first half of last year. She slipped from the world's top ranked player to one forced to beg for wild-cards into tour events.

While her sponsors, family and friends maintained the faith, so demoralised did the 2008 French Open winner become that after yet another defeat at last year's Australian Open, Ivanovic, who plays Australia's Alicia Molik in a key tie in the Hopman Cup in Perth tonight, pondered whether it was time to do something else.

And as she was studying economics she considered applying herself more to her course.

"But it was just so hard because my mind was all over the place and I really wanted to get back," she said. "I like challenges . . . but I felt so weak at the time and I didn't have anywhere to push from. So then, it took time to get that back, to get energy levels back, to get inspiration back."

What made Ivanovic's slide from a player who reached three grand slam finals by the age of 20 to one with a ranking that slipped to 64 so confusing, she said, was that it was not due to a drop in motivation or desire.

She feels the opposite was true, that by over-training after becoming No 1, her body began to fail and gradually weakened the confidence that makes a champion.

Her career turning point, in part, came from a snub in August. Ivanovic, as a former winner, requested a wild-card into the Montreal Open. But after tournament officials preferred local talent, she agreed to attempt to qualify for the event.

Then the tournament director, Eugene Lapier, disparaged her in the Montreal Gazette, only to come scrambling back when Serena Williams withdrew due to injury.

Her pride dented, Ivanovic refused the request with a dignified statement on her website and instead stepped on to a court in Cincinnati determined to make a point.

"Actually, I think that made me a little stronger because I am very stubborn," Ivanovic said.

"It was a little stink, a little hurtful, especially because it was my first big win there and I had good memories of that place and it was a special place for me. I was surprised because I got so much good support from other tournament directors, so it was a bit of a shock.

"It shook me up a bit, woke me up. I knew I was not a player to be around 50 or 60th ranked. I knew I did not want to take that, so I knew I had to do something, to make a change."

That essential change came from suspending a relationship with the expert coaching panel run by her sponsor, Adidas. Ivanovic decided she needed to work on a more individual basis.

She started working with Heinz Gunthardt, who coached Steffi Graf, and can identify a single shot during the tournament in Cincinnati where the torment ended.

Trailing a set and 5-3 against Victoria Azarenka in the opening round of that event, a moment of clarity pierced her muddled mind. "In Cincinnati I'm playing first round against Azarenka, so it is a very tough first match and I was 6-2 5-3 down. She was serving and maybe it was 15-all when all of a sudden something clicked," she said.

"I felt like, 'You know what? I'm going to go for it.' I made an unbelievable return, like when I was playing really well, and I managed to win that set in a tiebreak. And then I had a really tough third set but I was able to win it 6-2, so that was a big confidence boost for me."

Ivanovic went on to reach the semi-finals before withdrawing against Kim Clijsters due to a foot problem, then reached the fourth round of the US Open before she lost to the Belgian star, who went on to claim back-to-back majors in New York.

Her first title in 19 months came in Linz, another followed in Bali. By year's end her ranking was 17 and, come the Australian Open, Ivanovic will be seeded in the top 16 given the absence of Serena Williams.

Having succeeded and then failed, Ivanovic is again aiming for the top. Should fortune again smile come a grand slam, Ivanovic will be a sportswoman fulfilled.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...-1225981256780
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Old Jan 3rd, 2011, 01:18 PM   #2385
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Re: ~Ana's articles~

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