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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Interview with Ana Ivanovic

Interview with Ana Ivanovic after her lost to Kateryna Bondarenko

Questions for Ana on Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Q. Tough one, Ana?
ANA IVANOVIC: Definitely. I created a lot of chances for myself, and I'm really disappointed that I made a few mistakes in the important moments and my forehand let me down on a few occasions and obviously it hurts.
Q. The forehand is usually the shot you can count on the most. You had some good looks in the tiebreaker?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I mean, definitely. I still can picture many of those. You know, 6-5 in the third and deuce I believe and I had -- I played great and set myself up and made the mistake, in the net every time. It's a little frustrating. And then on match point, maybe it was wrong shot. Also, a few times I think I made a wrong shot selection, as well.
Just also a little bit to do with confidence, just some of the shots I think weren't the right shots but were not really coming. That was really frustrating.
Q. How comfortable are you with your shortened service motion?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, well, another reason I did that was to protect my shoulder, because I started having some pains, so that's why I abbreviated the motion. I feel a lot better and I think my speed has gone up. Last couple of tournaments I used this motion and I feel a lot better, actually, a lot more safe with my serve. And then obviously my shoulder didn't -- I didn't feel any problems with it.
I could serve faster, but it's been only a few weeks. But, you know, maybe once my shoulder gets stronger again, I can go back to the normal movement.
Q. With a different motion on your serve, doesn't that throw a different element into your toss?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, actually, it helps my toss, because it's abbreviated, so then I feel like I can control it much more. It's coming smoother rather than, you know, having lots of different like aspects of the serve. So I think my toss has become a lot better with this new movement.
Q. What's difficult about the toss, anyway? Seems not to be a difficult part of the game.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, serve should be the easiest part, because the only shot you control completely. Yeah, it's -- I think it just -- it's very hard to describe, because what happens is that sometimes when I toss, I either release too early or I flick it and I release too late. It's just so hard to describe. It's like, you know, I tried also to do exercises with heavier ball so I get more feel for it. I mean now it's feeling better so I worked on that.
Q. Is it possible you could be thinking about it too much?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, I think I've been thinking about everything too much and trying to address lots of issues with my game, and at the moment I feel like I have a plan in place and I know what I have to do in each area of my game. But just at the moment I think it's a little disbalanced. My fitness is at one level, mind at another, my game is at another level. I think these all these things have to marry to get into the right direction and have to fit.
Q. You had a very stable group around you for a while, and then a lot changed this year. Along with your results, is it hard for you sometimes not to just close your eyes and say, I wish it was January 1st? Because this season has been so difficult.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I do. I do many times. I wish that.
But, you know, I think it's been, you know, as much as it hurts and was disappointing, you know, times so far, I feel I learned a lot from it. I learned a lot about myself and you know, people around me and about what I have to do and in order to become a better player, because there was a point that, you know, I really trusted the team around me, so I didn't question many things that were happening.
Many times, you know, I didn't know why I was doing certain things. So now we have, with the changes that happened, I'm more aware of certain things and more aware of the things that helped me get better. That's obviously really good things.
Now I know for myself what's going to help me to improve, and you know, what kind of work it's going to help me, rather than just rely 100% on a coach, because many times they can't feel -- all the time they can't feel what I feel. That's one thing that I feel I learned in last month or two.
Q. You played a terrific defense, I think. You showed a lot of spirit, especially when you were going down in the third set. You were 1-4. You lost two serves. Suddenly you become the underdog and you play great. Is it maybe in your mind that when you're down you're very, very strong and suddenly you lose your mind when you are...
ANA IVANOVIC: I don't think it was that. I think it was just that in some way I accepted her game, and I stopped stepping up in the second set in the middle of the second set and she started playing a lot better. And, yeah, she just started to play her game rather than, you know, me stepping up like I did in the beginning. You know, I tried to change that momentum.
Yeah, I know I managed to do it towards the end of the third set, and you know, like I said, I just feel that my mind and my body and everything, it's not on the same level. I was really fighting. I felt like that was something that I had, and just, you know, to fight until the last moment, and you know, my forehand in my game let me down a little.
But I think it has also to do with the confidence, because many times when I'm in a position, I just don't trust myself like I did before, because, yeah, I just -- I didn't go through that kind of situations, you know.
Q. Is it maybe the mind fighting the instincts?
ANA IVANOVIC: It is that, you know, a little bit, too. When I follow my instincts, I play great. Then I think I can make other shots and I feel maybe I should go different, different direction. That's when bad shot selection comes. That's just, you know, mind and emotions.
Q. I remember one moment you win the French Open and they tell you you're No. 1 and you say, I didn't even know that. Is it maybe that suddenly the mind came in and resisted to move from there and the instinct went down, maybe?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's hard to say. Maybe. But, yeah, I don't really know. I think it's just that when I start to -- when I start to not maybe have the results that's expected I was going to have, that's when my mind games play. That's when I started to think and analyze about everything that's been happening and trying to, you know, fix something that maybe it wasn't broken. It was just, you know, not there for a while. And I had to keep doing the same thing.
But I tried to go different directions and tried to search for it elsewhere. And that's when I feel like I went on a little, forcing, trying to change technique and some kind of areas of my game that were not necessary to do so.
So now I'm really back to basics and back to what I was doing. It feels a lot better. I mean, I'm practicing really good. I'm really happy. I just feel I need some time and I need some time of hard work. Because it's really hard, you know, two sessions a day and work real really hard when you have all the time tournaments and competition coming, because you want to be fresh for your matches.
So that was a little bit of a Catch-22. Maybe, you know, at this moment I can use these weeks that I have before maybe next tournament to work on some areas and rest and, you know, have fresh mind.
Q. How surprised were you though that as good as you've been and as good as you can be that you go to the end of the US Open and you look at your Grand Slam results this year and they're clearly below the level that you're capable of playing?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it's very disappointing. You know, it hurts. I can tell you that.
You know, I'm sure I will have sleepless nights. But I have to accept it and try to put this year behind me, and try to learn from it. I'm sure next time, you know, I have no doubt I have potential now to be back in the top. And once I get there, you know, you struggle few tournaments. I know that this is the time. True it's going to help me catch myself a lot earlier and not let myself, you know, go this far.
Q. With all you've been through, do you sometimes feel older than 21?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, sometimes I have to think how old I am. Yeah, definitely.
Q. About how old do you feel right now?
ANA IVANOVIC: 25 maybe (laughter.)
Q. That's not so bad.
ANA IVANOVIC: And probably in a few days I will look like that with bags under my eyes.
Q. There are so many highs and lows in that match. How do you keep your emotions in check in a match like that?
ANA IVANOVIC: Oh, did I? I didn't think I did. They were all over the place.
Q. What do you tell yourself to keep them in check, anyway?
ANA IVANOVIC: I try to breathe. Yeah, I try to take a deep breath and just, you know, try to maybe, you know, walk, just play with the strings or fix the hair or something. Try to, yeah, focus.
Q. Distract yourself a little?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, exactly.
Q. So you're going to take a long vacation or are you just going to work, work, work again?
ANA IVANOVIC: I honestly don't know. I really don't know. I have to think about some things first on my own and then with the team and discuss and see what's going to be the best.
Obviously I'm very, you know, motivated to get back in the top, but it just feels like I was saying it just feels like Catch-22, because I constantly playing and trying to play at the level that I feel I'm not at. It's disappointing and it's frustrating, so I just want to get a time and work hard on like all the match, off competition.
Q. You haven't had a substantial break in a long time, right? You've been either rehabbing or practicing.
Q. Or playing.
ANA IVANOVIC: Exactly. That's something that I spoke actually today. Today actually before my match I spoke to my coach, because I just said, you know, I feel like I constantly kept going and going. It's really hard, because even though I had some time off, I was still doing like a little bit of fitness or rehab or something. So my mind was still in tennis.
I feel like I want to have -- I feel happy that, you know, this season, it's going to be a longer off season so I have longer time off and completely switch off and, you know, I haven't had proper holidays in years. So I'm looking forward to that.
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