Interview with Jelena
Jankovic after her win
over Roberta Vinci 6-2, 6-3 at the
2009 US Open
Q. Talk about how you felt out
there today in your match.
JELENA JANKOVIC: I felt really good out there. You
know, I came out really focused and I wanted to do my job
in a good way. I wanted to get the first strike, hit
first, and try to dominate as much as possible. And
especially knowing that I had tough matches against her
in the past, she has that slice and, you know, a little
bit different style of game than most girls. So can be
difficult and tricky out there.
So I managed to dominate as much as I could, and I
finished I think in two good sets. I played well.
Q. Winning in Cincinnati, I
assume this has really given you a nice boost of
confidence, is that right?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, for sure. I played well in
Cincinnati. Every match I was getting better and better.
And for sure my confidence was rising.
I have beaten lot of top five players, which is what you
want, you know, in order to come back and feel where you
are at in the moment, it's by playing the top ones. And I
was able to win against them and see what I need to work
on, what I need to improve, what I am doing well.
You know, I think I'm on the right track. My level of
tennis is rising and rising, and I think I'm getting more
and more dangerous.
Q. What were those levels that
you felt were exposed or that you thought needed extra
JELENA JANKOVIC: I needed to improve on my serve
especially. In Cincinnati and Toronto, my serve wasn't
really that accurate. I didn't have, you know, a lot of
pace on that serve, you know, like some of the other
bigger girls. I worked on that.
You know, I served very well today. I made five aces. You
know, I thought that the serve helped me a lot today. I
held my serve every time and didn't really have any
trouble holding my serve, which is important.
You can then play much looser when you're returning. Then
everything gets a little bit easier out there. Then when
you're struggling with the serve, it gives you a lot of
trouble and then you're a little bit more restricted and
a little bit more tight.
Q. How fast are these courts
compared with Cincinnati or with most hard courts? Are
JELENA JANKOVIC: They're fast. I mean, normal pace.
They're a little bit faster than Cincinnati. But I like
to play on these kind of courts. For me, you know,
they're not too fast; they're not too slow. For me
they're just the pace that I like to play on.
I played on faster surfaces. I thought maybe Stanford,
that center court in Stanford was much faster than these
But I like it a lot here. I'm enjoying my tennis. I hope
to continue like this.
Q. You talked over the last
several months you wanted to gain weight, then maybe you
gained too much. Do you have the weight, fitness level
and strength where you want them all now?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I'm back to normal. You know, I'm
feeling good about my weight, you know, to what I used to
be before. In the beginning of the year, I had a lot of
kilos, more than usual. I had maybe seven kilos more,
which is like almost fifteen pounds or so, which maybe
you couldn't tell by the looks, but that was the case
with me. It made me much slower. I felt really awkward on
court. You know, I didn't feel comfortable out there.
Now I lost weight. I'm not as muscular as I was before.
Maybe bulkier. I never was really big. But for me that
was big enough. That was very big, which I wasn't used to
that kind of body. I was never one of those girls who had
those muscles. That really suits my game. I thought I was
going to be better being stronger, but it didn't make me
better; it made me worse.
I play my best tennis when I'm light on my feet, when I'm
dynamic, when I can move. When you have the movement, you
are on the ball, you have the balance, you can do
whatever you like with the ball. When you're slow,
sluggish, you're always late, then you're struggling by
yourself. You are your biggest opponent. You don't know
what you're doing out there. So now I'm doing good and
I'm feeling good.
Q. What did you do to lose the
JELENA JANKOVIC: Nothing. I changed the way I trained. As
well, I changed a little bit the way I eat as well. I'm a
big fan of chocolate, these kind of things. But I never
really had a problem with my issues with my weight,
meaning that I'm not allowed or I cannot eat chocolate or
these fatty foods because I was going to gain weight. I
gain weight by adding muscle.
I went much more in the gym. I was lifting more weights
and doing exercises that made me stronger. And muscle
So I stopped going to the gym and lifting heavier
weights. I'm lifting very light weights just to get
definition and be, how do you say, have the power, but at
the same time be explosive. So I don't just have power
and I'm really slow. And that's what I did. All the
exercises are related to tennis.
So, you know, I'm moving really good on the court in this
moment and I feel that, you know, my game is getting
better and better, which I'm happy about.
Q. Safina has been struggling
with this No. 1 ranking and the pressure of it. We saw
the same thing with Ivanovic. Why is it difficult, and
did you struggle with that pressure?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No. To be honest, once you hit that No.
1 ranking, you have achieved a huge thing. And, you know,
for me, you know, until I got there, I had pressure
because I really wanted to be No. 1 in the world. I
wanted to be able to say one day when I'm going to be
older I was the No. 1 player in the world. And that's
really huge. Not many people can say that.
Once you are there, for sure there is people gonna be
going after you. They have nothing to lose. You are the
one to beat. When I was No. 1, I finished the year as the
No. 1 player in the world, I finished in a good way. I
won three tournaments in a row and played semis at the
Championships. I played quite a lot, but I had great
results, beat all of the top 10 players, which was great.
I wanted to be better in 2009, which I thought, you know,
by being stronger physically will help me, you know, get
a better serve, move better, hit harder, and all of these
things. But for me didn't work out, which led to bad
As well, I had some personal problems, too, which
distracted me and got me a little bit away from the court
from thinking only about tennis. But now everything is
clear. I'm enjoying again. I'm back on the courts with a
smile on my face.
Q. No. 1 itself didn't pressure
JELENA JANKOVIC: Really when you're No. 1 in the
world, you just got to take that as a challenge and
accept it as it is. You got to expect everybody to play
their best tennis when they're playing against you. And
especially the lower ranked players which have nothing to
lose, which is normal.
But you just got to take that as a challenge and just try
to play your best tennis each time. It's not easy, but if
you want to be the best, you have to take that.
Q. Finishing the year No. 1 is a
rare accomplishment. There are other players who haven't
done that who have won majors. Do you ever feel it's a
little unfair or you've been unlucky that you haven't
done that as well?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No. There is no reason. You know, I'm
only 24 years old. So I still have time to achieve many
things. My goal in this moment is just to work hard and
my time will come. I believe in myself. That's the most
Q. Do you consider yourself
maybe the best player that's never won a major?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't think about that at all. I don't
really care about statistics or anything like that.
Q. As you were a girl, what's
your very first memory from tennis?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Maybe when I began to play at nine and a
half years old. I remember I had just one racquet and I
had a leather grip. I started in the wintertime. It was
in Serbia. It was in that balloon. How do you call it?
You know what I mean.
Q. The bubble.
JELENA JANKOVIC: The bubble, yeah. And it's so cold
inside. And it was wintertime. I remember I wanted to
play so much. I liked the sport. But I never really
thought I was going to end up being a professional tennis
player. I just enjoyed, you know, hitting balls and
learning how to play the game. I never really had that,
you know, one day I'm going to be No. 1 in the world.
That was not even in my even in a fairytale.
Q. Did you have dreams at night
when you were sleeping of playing a match in tennis?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Oh, many times, especially after you're
playing so many matches, I'm dreaming, I'm yelling in my
dream. It's out, it's not out, it's in. I'm still playing
tennis sometimes at night, which you got to understand.
We play a lot of tennis. We are competing every time.
Some of those things that happen during the day, you're
dreaming about at night. But what can you do? Many times
I wake up in the morning and I have no idea where I am,
which city I am, all these things. But that's the case of
a professional tennis player.
Q. You have your sponsorship
with ANTA now. Can you talk a little bit about what the
relationship is right now? Are you still giving a lot of
input about what kind of clothes you wear?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I really like my clothes. They're much
different than some of the other dresses that are out
there. I'm wearing at this moment a red dress, which it's
a color that I like. Bright colors suit me. I wore last
week yellow, now red. Red is a color of good luck, so
hopefully I will have some luck in that way.
And, you know, ANTA is a great company. Hopefully we will
grow bigger and bigger and get the promotion worldwide.
Hopefully by wearing all of these nice and beautiful
dresses, and they are very comfortable as well, hopefully
the relationship will be very successful.
Q. Why are so many women having
so many double faults? What is so hard about the toss?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I'm the wrong person to ask. You
should ask some of the other players who are making a lot
of double faults. I'm okay in that department. You know,
I make a few, but I'm not that bad (laughter).
Q. Is it windy out there?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know. Yeah, everyone every once
in a while you toss the ball bad, which is going to cause
a bad serve. You're not going to hit your target, where
you wanted the ball to go.
But, you know, some of those girls are having problems
with the toss. I'm okay, but I still can improve on my
toss. My toss gets off every once in a while, but I try
to do my best to throw it nicely and hit my shot.
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