Ana Ivanovic Interview - US Open, Sept 3Posted on September 4, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Do you feel like you're playing yourself back into your best form? You seem to be slowly getting back to where you were before.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I definitely do. I have been saying that for a while. It's hard to believe it when you don't have results to prove it. But I really feel I'm playing a lot better, sort of things are starting to come back, come together out on the court as well. So I'm really thrilled about that.
Q. Was there a time when you thought it would not come back?
ANA IVANOVIC: There were doubts of one sort or the other. But definitely it's hard when you do lose a lot of matches. It's sort of you work hard, but there are no results to back that. It's been tough moments. But I'm really happy, you know, I managed to stay strong in those times and just push through it and work hard and actually believe I can do it.
Q. You talked about the gusty conditions on Ashe in your last match. Today you played on Armstrong. Explain the differences in the two stadiums. Are they similar? Different?
ANA IVANOVIC: It is a little different. It is a little bit more gusty on Ashe. It was windy as well today. And on one side you could feel a lot of breeze coming sort of in one direction. So I think we both struggled in the beginning on that side. The balls were coming short and so on. But, you know, at the end of the day it's the same for both opponents. You just have to accept in windy conditions you're not going to have a perfect match and you're not going to have many balls hit perfectly. But it's same for both players.
Q. It seems like from what I saw in Cincinnati and these matches that you really know what you're doing out there, you're trusting your shots, you're not panicking anymore. You have a lot more faith in your game, huh?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think that's exactly what biggest change is. I realize why am I playing good and what I have to do in order to play good. And even when the doubt creeps in, I just know I have to stick with my game plan, and what I been working on. In important moments, I actually believe that I can do it. You know, you do it one match, second match, and then it start to become natural instinct, as well. That's what I'm really thrilled to see, because, like I was saying, I work so hard. But in important moments sometimes I doubted. But now it's kind of coming together, the belief in myself again.
Q. Is there any particular advice or something that Heinz has worked on with you? Can you talk about his role.
ANA IVANOVIC: He's like, Just keep swinging at that ball. It sounds so simple, but it's true. Many times when it's in a tough match, you feel pushed from another player, you stop swinging at the ball and you sort of start pushing and trying to make shots. So he's like, No, just keep swinging. It is sometimes uncomfortable, but it has helped a lot. It's probably one of the most important things he's told me lately.
Q. What type of match do you expect with Kim? Two former No. 1s. How do you have to play that match to be successful?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it's going to be tough match, no doubt about it. But I'm really looking forward to it, because I was really disappointed that I had to stop in Cincinnati. So it's kind of, you know, a new opportunity for me. Kim is a great player. She hasn't lost a match here in a long time. So I can go out there and try to do my best. I've been playing really well. It's gonna be exciting no matter what. I think, you know, in some ways we have similar games. It's going to be a fun match, I think.
Q. Kim said she looks forward to the rematch; that she hoped that you won. When she was off, she followed your career and likes you as a player. How do you feel in response to those comments that Kim made?
ANA IVANOVIC: That's really nice to hear, because she is such a nice person. I do, ever since I started on tour, I thought highly of her and really admired her for everything she achieved. I still do. I have great respect for her. It's true also when I was struggling, she was messaging me. She was very supportive. That's really rare and really nice to see. In those times, you know who your friends are. She's definitely a nice girl. We always have a nice time catching up. So it's going to be fun.
Q. What do you think your emotions will be stepping out on Ashe going out to face her?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think I'm going to be thrilled definitely. There will be nerves, for sure, but positive ones. I just feel like, you know, I'm going out there and I have nothing to lose, and I have that excitement of, you know, competing against such a champion. She's done so great here in the past. I have opportunity to, you know, maybe win against a great champion. It's going to be very, very thrilling for sure.
Q. I know tennis isn't life, and you've talked about that a lot. But how much happier are your days overall now that all the work is coming together and you're actually winning?
ANA IVANOVIC: It is a lot more happier, definitely. We always have, you know, jokes within the team. It's just a lot nicer because you feel like all the hard work is paying off. You look more forward to those days, working days as well. You know, Heinz was joking today, Oh, you want to practice tomorrow? You don't want a day off? I'm like, I'm looking forward to go out there and spend day working out and practicing. And that's what life is about: enjoying what your job is.
Q. When you think of Kim, what stands out? What makes her as good as she is?
ANA IVANOVIC: She's tough competitor and she strikes the ball really good. She doesn't give you much. You know, you have to work hard for your points.
Q. You spoke in the past about some of the books you've been reading. What have you been reading this summer?
ANA IVANOVIC: I've been reading a lot Stieg Larsson's books, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. I'm on the third book. I've read about 50 pages in the last few weeks. I haven't had much time to read. Just trying to take a lot of walks and spend time outside. Didn't spend too much time in the room.
Q. I thought you showed a lot of positive emotion early, the double fist pump. How important is it to channel the positive emotion?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's very important. That's something that I felt change over last few months. I became a lot more positive on the court. Even if the things were not going my way, I still, you know, had a fist pump. I still tried to bring a lot of energy on the court. That kind of, you know, helps also supporters get into the match more. I felt that. I'm, you know, sticking with it.
Q. Is it possible to dictate against Kim? There will be a lot of things going on in the match where you're going to have to play a lot of defense, too.
ANA IVANOVIC: I think that's going to be a match where you have to do a lot of good things to win. It's definitely going to be important to take charge early in the points because she likes to dominate. Like I was saying before, we do have kind of similar games. So it's going to be who has the first hit. Serving is going to be huge. So, you know, you just have to do well overall to actually be in opportunity to win against her.
Q. Back to the Stieg Larsson books. The main character, Elizabeth Salander, she's a feisty character. Do you get any inspiration from that? She takes no nonsense from anyone.
ANA IVANOVIC: I do recognize myself in some of them. I do get very stubborn sometimes. That's a little bit annoying to my coaches. But, hey, you have to take the bad, too.