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An interview with Ana Ivanovic - Thursday, June 5, 2008


Q. First of all, how does it feel to be the new world No. 1? And secondly, are we now in for a period of dominance with you as No. 1? Are you ready to dominate the sport?

ANA IVANOVIC: First of all, I'm very, very thrilled. I didn't know going on to court today. Afterwards, in the locker room, the woman told me. I was obviously very excited.

But still, on the other hand, the tournament hasn't ended and the rankings are coming after the tournament. So, yeah, that's the first thing.

I just want ‑‑ I have another tough match against Dinara, so that's all I want to focus on for today, or I mean for Saturday.

Q. How did you feel at a break down midway through the third? And what did you do to come up with all those winners and win it?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think all the match was lots of ups and downs, lots of breaks. I mean, third set, I just had to put everything on the line being down 4‑3 with the break. You know, I had to go for my shots, because it was very long, the match, and a lot of long rallies.


So, you know, I had feeling I had to step up a little bit more and, yeah, take a risk. I came up with some good shots, and obviously I felt, yeah, very, very good about it, and happy.

That last game was huge, and I stepped up and played some good tennis.

Q. It seems like you were fighting against yourself the end of the second set, beginning of the third set. Really couldn't find what you wanted to do.

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, exactly. It was a little bit anxious built up, because, you know, I had my chances in the second set and didn't use them. She started playing really well, and I was too passive at times.

I tried to step up a little bit more and then make some unforced errors, so I really had to work hard on, you know, to go back to basics and what I have to do. Yeah, just don't think about opportunities I had. I found it hard at the time, but, you know, towards the end of the set I managed to calm down and step up, and important points, you know, take my chance and play good.

Q. I was wondering, do you know if Sven is allowed to cheer for you in the final? Because he works for adidas, obviously, and Dinara also wears adidas clothes.

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, well, unfortunately he can't be in the box, so he's going to sit somewhere and watch it. Yeah, he can't really cheer for any of us, so it's going to be ‑‑ going to be a little bit different and strange for me again, like last year in final.

But, you know, I have a great, great team with me here, and my fitness coach is there, my sparring partner, so I'm sure I'm still going to have still a good support here.

Q. You show a lot of emotion whether you win or lose the point. How much do you think that can help your opponent try to get back into the match?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, today the match was really emotional. I tried to get into it, by, you know, saying few commands in the beginning, especially ‑‑ I was 3‑Love down and I didn't play so good, so I tried to bring myself back into the game.

So, yeah, I was it was a way to relieve kind of pressure, emotions I was feeling, and it worked well for me today. So, yeah, I didn't think about it. It just came natural.

Q. You have 2 to 1 win against Dinara. Does this give you more confidence in your next final match?

ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously, yes. Yeah, it's going to be a tough match. She's done a great run, and she played a lot of matches. Two matches she came from match points down to win. She's showing some great strengths, so it's going to be another tough match.

But I still want to enjoy my victory today. I have a day to prepare tomorrow, so we're going to see.

Q. After what happened last year in the final, will you do anything different this year to make sure you don't have nerves?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. The other day someone asked me, Are you going to forget the final and play different one? But I don't want to forget it, because it was great learning experience. I learned a lot from, you know, Justine and the emotions I was feeling going on the court.

So I really hope I can, you know, work hard on it and play different this year. Obviously I feel like a different player coming into this French Open. A lot of experience I gain from that final and the final in Australia, so I really hope I can, you know, step up this time and make one more step.

Q. You traded a lot of breaks with Jelena. Do you have an explanation why it was so difficult for you to hold serve?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it just happened. I think we ‑‑ I think personally I struggled with my first serve percentage. It was very low, and that's something that I really hoped it would be different today, because it was important ‑‑ yeah, important for a game, for my game today.

At the other hand, you know, her serve I stride to step up a little bit more and, yeah, put her under pressure straightaway, so it worked well. But at times I think my percentage of the first serves was very low.

Q. You lost seven games in a row precisely because of not holding serve. How did you feel in that moment, and how did you make it to come back in such a circumstance?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, you know, I didn't think about that, because even that seven games I lost, it was very close. Like, lot of games with deuce and ad and it could go either way. You don't have feeling, you know, you're just losing game after game.

Then you're like, Okay, hold on. Maybe take a little bit more time and try to put more first serves in, you know, even if it's not as the first serve, just like a second, and to place it and to start point.

So I tried to work hard for each point. And, yeah, when I managed to, I think hold my serve and it came back to 2‑1, it was important game.

Q. Seems like every match you play against her it's very tough, and at the end, you take risks, you believe in yourself, and she doesn't. Match point, good example. She hits the soft serve and seems afraid, and then you smack the forehand down the line. Do you find that?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, today I felt, especially in the second set when I had some break point chances, I started to be too defensive and not stepping up and, yeah, being dominant. That's something when I face match point I say, Look, you just have to step up, because that's the way to play against her.

So, yeah, obviously I had a great tournament and great preparation, so that gives me confidence in these key moments to believe and to step up. She's a player that if you give her chances she can use them. She loves to defend and to run, so you just have to take these kind of risks and believe. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.

Q. Just about the No. 1, I'm guessing it will be a lot sweeter on Monday when the rankings come out if you have the Roland Garros title and was No. 1?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. Coming into this tournament, you know, I didn't expect that. I just came, you know, to play each match. Obviously every tournament you play you want to win, so that still hasn't changed. That's still my goal. I have to work hard for it, because Dinara, like I said, she's in great form, great shape, and she's a big fighter, like we could see.

So I think it's going to be a really good match, and I just want to go out there and enjoy it, yeah.

Q. Perhaps somebody asked you this before, but how they will in Serbia take this such big thing that you are the first man or woman to be No. 1 in the world? How they will welcome you when you will be back home?

ANA IVANOVIC: I haven't thought about it at all. Like I said, I didn't like to talk about, you know, the rankings at all with my team, so I didn't even know that this would happen.

So, you know, it's a new thing for me, too, so I really don't know. I haven't spoke with anyone back home yet. But I'm sure, you know, they're going to be really supportive. And, you know, maybe even like last year they're going to organize something in front of the square.

It's definitely a great, great feeling, so I hope I going to make Serbia proud.

Q. There's a lot of time between now and the final on Saturday. How did you prepare last year, and how will you prepare this year? Will you change something?

ANA IVANOVIC: No, I think it's most important, you know, to just have an easier day tomorrow, get a little bit light hit and rhythm, and then have a good night of sleep.

Obviously sometimes it's hard with all the emotions to go to sleep, but that's, you know, something you face.

But today I think it's most important to recover from this match. It was long match, a lot of long rallies, so my fitness coach is doing a great job with that, also. Yeah, like I said, just take it easy and like I've been doing through whole two weeks, exactly the same approach.

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