Ana Ivanovic Interview - Indian Wells, Mar 15

Posted on March 16, 2011

Ana Ivanovic Interview
March 15, 2011
A. IVANOVIC/J. Jankovic
6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Maybe the best match you've played all year, huh, Ana?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. I'm really happy. You know, I played some good tennis in past few weeks, as well. But, you know, to have it all the way through and play consistent on that level, I'm really pleased with.

Q. You seemed to control the rallies pretty well, you served well in the clutch, returned pretty well. You didn't really let her in the match, for the most part.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, you know, I'm really happy about that, because she's tough opponent and she's been playing well lately. So I really tried to stick with the plan and to be aggressive, and, you know, take the ball early. That worked really well.
You know, even when I was making mistakes, I didn't let myself get down for it. I just tried to, you know, be persistent and do the same thing over and over again.
So I'm really happy to have this kind of match.

Q. Looking at your results here the last few years, what is it about this place that brings out your best game?
ANA IVANOVIC: I enjoy this place a lot. The conditions for tennis are perfect. Besides that one year we played final. (Laughter.)
But, no, it's very nice and it's very relaxing. You get lots of practice courts and hotel is close by, so there is not that much outside stress as well. That's what I enjoy as well.

Q. Do you get nervous playing her? Seems like she gets pretty tight playing you.
ANA IVANOVIC: It's never fun playing someone in your own country. That's something we don't experience, you know, because we don't have that many players. Like Russians and Spanish, they play each other every week basically. It's always going to be some tension there.
But you have to focus on yourself and try to, you know, think about plan and something else, shift your attention a little bit.

Q. We know that if you're in the front of the brain, you make the best decisions. In our research center, we found the front of the brain stays lit up when you're having more fun. We notice you were laughing and smiling more. Was that intentional?
ANA IVANOVIC: You know, I just try to enjoy a little more competing, because in the past I put so much pressure on myself and I tried to be perfect all the time. That creates so much stress and so much tightness.
So I've been really working hard on just trying to swing ball. And, you know, sometimes, you know, even having a laugh even at yourself, it helps to relax a little bit.

Q. She had a lot of positive things to say about your game. Sometimes in the past she wouldn't, even if you won the match. She was saying the other day maybe she feels like your relationship is evolving a little bit, that you're both getting older, and some of the conflicts you had before maybe can be put aside. Do you feel that way?
ANA IVANOVIC: First, you know, I never really thought we had any conflicts. I just think, you know, we are a little bit different. You know, some people are like this or the other way.
You know, she's been playing really well. Like she said, we're getting older, more mature. We're not kids anymore. So it's fun also to see lots of Serbians. The other day my coach was like, You were just talking Serbian to everyone around here. I was like, Hey, it's nice to have someone finally.

Q. You come to Japan quite often and you have a huge fan base in Japan. Could you give us any comments on Japanese earthquake and the tsunami?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it's really sad to see. You know, it's really tough. I really hope people are well there, because, you know, it's never nice, something like this, that happens. You can't control it. You're not prepared for it.
But, you know, I really hope they can recover well. And if there is anything we can do from our side, we're more than happy to help.

Q. We noticed that Marija wasn't in your box today, and she's been kind of a constant force over the past few months. Can you talk about that? Are you no longer working together?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, you know, we are still friends, but it just was a little bit time for me to consider certain things because we had a little bit of different view of my stage and where I should be at, and so on. I just felt like I needed to get a little bit stronger. I was feeling very weak on the court and I had quite a few injuries. I just want to take a little bit different approach, and, you know, gain some more muscles, because my game is so powerful.
So, you know, I felt weak, and that caused a lot of stress on my body.

Q. Are you looking to hire a new physio and bring them on? Are you working with adidas?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, just at the moment it's middle of the tournament, so it's very hard to look for someone or talk about it.
I'm definitely talking with Darren and even Gil with adidas program to see how I'm gonna approach it.

Q. It's hard to strike the balance between being very fast, when you take some of the weight off, and then being strong enough, I would think.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it is very hard. You know, at the end of last year I lost some weight and I felt really fast and strong on the court, but then I lost too much and I just felt like I couldn't produce anything out of the corners. I was feeling quite weak on the court and I couldn't recover.
I could have one match, but then would be exhausted. That's something that I really had to take seriously, because it was also my well-being. I just felt like I needed a little bit different approach. I needed to gain some of that strength back. Not dead weight, just some more muscle mass. It's a process.

Q. It seems like you're really taking control of your career now with the coaches and the physios, and you're making a lot of those decisions yourself rather than relying on other people.
ANA IVANOVIC: Um, yeah, you know, I have good people behind me. That's great, because, you know, you can always fall back on them.
But it's really important, because I have been through a lot, good and bad, and I can sort of judge and feel what works for me and what doesn't. So it's very hard for others to say this, because they don't know what I feel.
So it's very important for me to start to step up and actually express myself. That's something I had trouble doing in the past.
So, you know, if I'm more open and more communicative, then they can also help me more.

Q. Can you tell us about the next round?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it's gonna be tough match. Would be fun to play Kim again. I didn't have great score against her, but, you know, I love playing her. I love the conditions here, so maybe I can have a different scoreline.
But Bartoli is tough opponent, as well. She's big fighter and she gets lots of balls back. I had couple of tough matches with her the end of last year, so I have been playing her a little bit more often.

Q. What's your philosophy now about -- you had a couple of tosses today that weren't quite right. What's your philosophy about if you have a bad toss? Do you try to forget it?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, that's my feeling. You try not to overanalyze it. It's like with everything. If you start to think about technique going down the stairs, you're gonna fall down. (Laughing.) Really, if you start thinking what which leg is doing, it's hard to focus walking down the stairs.
It's the same with my serve. If I start thinking about every aspect of it, I can't serve. So I just try to trust my motion. Because I have been doing it since I was five, so I can do it. It's just a matter of trusting it again.
Because I became so technical about it and I had so many advices that I forgot what I was doing and what feels natural.

Q. Just a little more on Kim. Do you consider her one of the players, I would think two or three, that it's the biggest step up to try to play against her? Because she hasn't lost very much in like the last seven or eight months.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. Because I think the way women's tennis is it's pretty much how she plays. It's aggressive and she defends really well, covers the court great, has good serve. So she's basically overall player.
Her balls are actually very heavy, so every chance you have, you kind of have to take advantage of it, otherwise you are on the back foot. You always feel like you have to play catchup.
I think she's probably the hottest player out there.

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