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http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3909941&name=bodo_peterCan sensational Serbs stop the slide?

Sunday, February 15, 2009 | Feedback | Print Entry

Posted by Peter Bodo, TENNIS.com
Less than two years ago, we were in the grip of the Summer of Serbian Love, which gave us its very own version of the legendary Monterey Pop music festival at Roland Garros in the first week of June 2007. Surely you remember: Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic captured our hearts and minds as they suddenly turned their war-torn, small, off-the-tennis-map homeland into the equivalent of a tennis superpower.

My, how quickly times change. By the time we celebrate the second anniversary of the Summer of Serbian Love, those three overnight sensations will appear at Roland Garros somewhat beleaguered and perhaps even humming that proto-hippie folk anthem, "Where Have all the Flowers Gone?"

Let's be clear about this: Each member of the Serbian super trio has established himself or herself as a legitimate top-tier player -- in fact, two of them (Ivanovic and Jankovic) have held the No. 1 ranking, and Djokovic himself was poised to snatch No. 2 -- displacing a fair little player named Roger Federer.

But the beginning of the year has also raised the question of whether any of the three is really comfortable with and/or equipped to handle his or her exalted position. Of the three, Djokovic is the one who's most consistently held his own instead of yielding ground, but with the sudden maturation of Andy Murray and that disappointing showing at the Australian Open -- where Djokovic was defending his first and so far only major -- Djokovic has people wondering if his drive toward the top hasn't stalled. He was 6-3 through the Australian Open, on his hard-court surface of choice, and hasn't played since.

If it sounds like Djokovic blew a big chance to challenge Nadal, pile on Federer and put Murray in his place in January, how about Jankovic? She finished the year No. 1 with, in some minds, an asterisk pasted there by the fact that she did it without winning a Grand Slam event. A strong January, capped by a win in Australia, would have asserted her legitimacy. Instead, she played miserably right up to and through Melbourne, and this week in Paris she lost to Amelie Mauresmo, a psychological enigma who traditionally stinks the joint out when she's playing in her home nation.

Perhaps Jankovic and Ivanovic ought to get together to compare notes over lunch. Ivanovic was the first of the Serbs to hit No. 1, shortly after she won at Roland Garros last year. But since then the wheels have fallen off and they appear to have rolled away into the weeds. You might even say she blazed a trail for Jankovic with the dramatic loss of confidence she displayed most of last year. In a smart move, Ivanovic recently hired Craig Kardon, who once coached Martina Navratilova. Let's remember that Navratilova could be incredibly fragile -- for a superior, dominant player. Some of Kardon's experience in that regard could be helpful.

OK, it's early in the year. Djokovic and Jankovic could gain valuable ground in the hard-court season, and Ivanovic should find firm footing on the clay circuit. But January was a bummer, and the Summer of Serbian Love seems a long time gone.
 

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Jelena will, barring some injury, always be consistently at the top of the game and Ana will make her comeback and become the threat she was early last year.

I couldn't care less about Novak. :p
 

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Yeah im actually beginning to worry :unsure: well only about Ana, I dont care about the other 2 that much.
after seeing the players in our siggy, all i can say is you don't need more to worry about...:eek::help:
 

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They are all flukes, especially Ana and Novak. Those two have done nothing to improve the image of Serbia and its people.
 
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ana will be back for sure.
 

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:fiery:this is so lame Jelena had one bad grandslam and we are already saying that she is done and slipping off NO!!
people infuriate me!
And she had a good preformance at Paris i think she made it to the SEMIS i woulnt consider that crappy!:fiery:
 

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:fiery:this is so lame Jelena had one bad grandslam and we are already saying that she is done and slipping off NO!!
people infuriate me!
And she had a good preformance at Paris i think she made it to the SEMIS i woulnt consider that crappy!:fiery:
:hug:
 

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It doesn't matter to Novak, he opened a restaurant recently in New Belgrade, which is in addition to his Belgrade Adidas store. The thing is... it's tennis or tennis fan related.

I remember last year when Novak said, "Kosovo should be Serbian" on the night of a Kosovo is Serbia rally held in Belgrade. After the rally a portion of the attendees went and delivered some justice to the embassies that attempted to steal Kosovo and another portion of the attendees looted stores.

There was a YouTube video called "[exchanging] Kosovo for running shoes". In the video it shows two women carring looted items. Among the items was Adidas clothing. I always wondered if it was Novaks store that was looted.
 

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Ana looked really good yesterday I thought. We'll see. I think the new coach guy is going to work well for her. She's not as good as Williams x2 or Sharapova, but she's a hell of a lot better than Safina, Jankovic and the rest.
 

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Dokic!
 

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Thats a bit harsh. IMO they are all far too good to count out, but the slump is a little worrying with Ana, who really had no reason to not build on her success.
 

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well according to jelena, she just needs to get used to her "bigger, stronger" body now:lol::lol::lol::lol::help:
 

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Ana and Novak are 21 and JJ 23... and also, most important:

Ana2008>Ana2007>Ana2006>Ana2005>Ana2004
Jelena2008>Jelena2007>Jelena2006>Jelena2005>Jelena2004
Novak2008>Novak2007>Novak2006>Novak2005>Novak2004

So where is logic here that still young Ana, Jelena and Novak (all three) will have way worse 2009 season than 2008???
Yes, Australian Open 2009 was nightmare tournament for all of Serbian Big-3 but that is just coincidence.
BTW are people already forget how Nadal, Federer or Murray started last season in Melbourne and how finished? Same thing about Sisters, Safina, Dementieva and Zvonareva. Or maybe is better to reminding people here about JJ pathetic start of 2006 and Ana pathetic start of 2007, but at end both have fantastic season...
 

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Only Ana has been slumping (and she's still top10, it's not like she's losing in first or 2nd rounds of events all the time).JJ and Djokovic are top3 for a long time now.They are still bery young and they will be just fine in the near future.
 
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