Ana Ivanovic Interview - US Open Tennis, Sept 1Posted on September 1, 2010
Ana Ivanovic Interview
US OPEN - Wednesday, September 1, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Questions, are please.
Q. Nice performance. Second of the tournament so far for you. Are you happy with the way you're playing right now?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes, I was really happy with today's game, because she's tough opponent and I lost to her last couple of times we played. I was expecting really tough match. And actually conditions a little bit tough out there because it was very gusty. It's a lot different than the outside courts. No, I'm really happy the way I played and just stayed aggressive. You know, even when errors creeped in, I just kept looking for the ball that I knew I had to hit. It worked out well, so I'm pleased.
Q. You come into the tournament, I believe, was it a foot injury or ankle injury you suffered in Cincinnati; is that correct?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes, actually it was a little bit, yeah, disappointing and frustrating because I really felt I found my form in Cincinnati and was playing well, and then had to pull out in the semis and then was out of the court for ten days. You know, I was not too happy about coming to the Open with such a break, but, you know, just very happy that I'm pain free now and I can actually compete.
Q. Two years ago you came here as world No. 1, and you were upset in the second round. You're now beyond that point. This year there were some questions about your health with the injury, and certainly not in the world No. 1 position right now. Yet you look like you're really playing well and with great confidence. Talk about that.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think rankings obviously tell a lot about the player, but I think just the way you feel about your game at the time. I remember a couple years ago when I was here and I was saying, Even though I'm No. 1, I don't feel I'm playing as No. 1. You know, now I'm ranked I really don't know what.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. But I feel like I'm playing like a top 10 player, you know, and I have confidence that I can beat these players. That's huge for me.
Q. What are your thoughts on the next round? I didn't look at the score. But if you have Bartoli, what kind of match would you expect?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think it's gonna be tough match. I played her a few weeks ago in Stanford and lost, but she was playing really well and really aggressive. There are different conditions here comparing to Stanford. There the ball was flying a lot faster and bouncing lower. I just have to sort of try to have my game plan like I had the previous matches, and just try to do what I did in a practice and what I worked on. You know, that's staying aggressive and moving forward. I definitely have a chance.
Q. You look like you were a lot more confident on the serve, especially the toss. Have you done anything different in practice?
ANA IVANOVIC: I did work a lot on that. But, yeah, I do feel a lot more confident. Just playing lots of matches, it does help get your confidence up. But, you know, there are some bad tosses, like everyone else has them. But I hope I'm not as famous for that anymore. (Laughing.)
Q. How did you deal with the extreme heat out there today?
ANA IVANOVIC: Actually, as I mentioned, it was gusty on the central court, so it did not feel as if it was that hot out there. Tried to take ice at the change of ends and tried to stay cool with ice towels and pour some water on my head and tried to cool myself as much as I could.
Q. Was there a particular moment this year where you felt like things were beginning to turn around for you?
ANA IVANOVIC: Definitely around Wimbledon time I really felt. You know, I got new team around me, and I just felt like I surround myself with, you know, like a positive environment and really felt I was breaking through. And I worked really hard in those few weeks, and, you know, preparing for hardcourt season here. I really came a lot more confident into this US Open and also the tournaments leading up to it.
Q. You seem like you're moving much better these days. Have you been working a lot on your fitness and physical side?
ANA IVANOVIC: I did. I worked a lot on my fitness. That was a little bit of a Catch 22 before, because I wanted to work on it, but there were always little injuries and pains. So I always had to stay away from gym and just tried to do a lot of rehab and stretching. But now I could actually do some strengthening exercise, and also a lot more specific footwork drills and agility for matches. That made a huge difference. Obviously when you feel physically fit to last through these matches, it helps get your confidence up.
Q. If a player has trouble with the heat, do you think of that as a fitness issue or just a dangerous heat issue?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think it's a combination of two. Also, I think it also has to do with how an individual perceives it and also which conditions they prepare and they're used to. But, yeah, I guess just have to find what works best for you. I think it is very important to hydrate well the day before and also, you know, that morning before the match and try to use ice on the court. It really does help a lot, just keeping cold ice around the neck area.
Q. I know you said it didn't seem that hot out to you today, but has it been inordinately hot the last three days here?
ANA IVANOVIC: It has been. Actually yesterday I was feeling the heat the most. I was practicing around 2:00, and it was like, Okay, I think I'm done with half an hour. But actually in Cincinnati was pretty hot and humid, so that was even harder because of obviously the humidity. There was a lot more sweating happening.
Q. Melanie Oudin was talking the other day about the difference of coming in this year with expectations as opposed to prior when people didn't have expectations of her. You at 20 years of age came in as the No. 1 and had to play with great expectations of you. Can you talk about as a very young woman of say 20 years of age what it's like coming in with those expectations and what you've learned now two years later?
ANA IVANOVIC: It is a whole different story. I see myself also as two different persons. Once you're actually coming up and you have no expectations, you are hungry for success, and you really don't know what the stakes are. You just go for it. You have no fear. You play freely against anyone you come up against. Once you actually get in a position to defend some points and there is more outside pressure coming in, it is a lot different story. Because even though you perceive yourself the same or maybe even better, if you're improving, still there is a lot of outside effect. That creates some doubts and obviously pressure. Everyone deals with it differently. That's what I feel it was the biggest change with me, is that I managed to sort of let go of this. Now I feel, you know, as I am just coming up again, and I have really nothing to lose. I got that joy of competing again.
Q. Is that the greatest lesson you think you've learned from having been in that rarified air of being the world's top player?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it is. I mean, I learned about myself and just about the world in general and how everything goes. You know, I mean, what I learned is that it goes on no matter what. (Smiling.)