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An Interview With: Ana Ivanovic

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Q. I think it was a good way to kick off the campaign.

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. It was very tough first-round match. We had a tough one in Auckland. I knew that coming into today's match. She had a good run last week, so I really tried to start sharp and tried to play my game to put pressure on her. It took a little bit to adjust. The game was very heavy conditions out there today. I was very pleased, especially the way I finished the second set.

Q. How do you feel coming into the tournament? Obviously good result in Cincinnati; you've beaten Serena and beaten Maria and come in again in the top 10. Is there confidence there?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. The confidence is on a high level. I had a great season behind me. Still I work hard for each match, and I do that because I love it. It's the same. I don't want to take anything for granted. I really enjoy being here. You know, like in Paris, as well I had a great leadup and quite a disappointing loss. But, you know, it's a new tournament, new situation. I really want to enjoy each match.

Q. What are your thoughts on the speed of the courts and how they compare with past years that you have played here?

ANA IVANOVIC: You know what? Actually, I'm the wrong person to ask that question, because I forget how they felt last week. But, you know, they actually feel quite slow. They're not super fast. But, you know, I just try to adjust my game to that and try to sort of use first few games to feel the court, feel the opponent, and sort of adjust towards that.

Q. You said you love to play right now. Has there been a time in past years you didn't love it quite so much and that's why you weren't so successful?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. It's no secret I think with whatever job do you there are days you love and days where you don't. Especially when I put so much effort and then I was not getting the results I was expecting or wanting, it's hard to love it then, you know. But you have to find some way or goal to work towards. You know, last year has been amazing change for me. I learned a lot about myself, about my goals, you know, who I am as a person and who I want to be. Now I just want to go out there and show that, you know, and execute and not, you know, not only say, I want to achieve this and that but actually show it.

Q. How did you learn those things about yourself? What did you do?

ANA IVANOVIC: You know, I think you have to look for it, you know. And confidence, of course. Winning matches helps your confidence, but confidence is something you carry inside. You have to look for it inside and to understand, you know, what you want. It's very hard for me, because sometimes I put others in front of myself. I put others' expectations in front of my own, and then I realize, you know what? People will think that's good or bad and they go on living their life, but you have your own path to follow. This is what I had to discover, what was my goal and not so much be obsessed about what other people's vision of my life or career should be.

Q. You always seem so relaxed off court; you sign autographs; you smile all the time. Is that something that comes with age? Do you feel comfortable with the attention you get?

ANA IVANOVIC: Definitely something that comes with age. I feel more comfortable about myself. It's important part of our jobs because we are here because of our fans. It's nice to give them back something. Also within the team, you know, you can see a lot of teams they are just working and not so much joking and laughing. I think it's important to enjoy it, as well, because actually this is our life, you know. We spend so much time together. We go from one week to another. And if you take every week so serious you end up not liking it.

Q. What's your thing off court here to relax? What are your three things that you do to get your mind off tennis?

ANA IVANOVIC: You know, I love to read. I like to watch movies, too. I find sometimes reading and spending too much time on my own, it's not good, because you start to overanalyzing everything. So, you know, I have, you know, lunch or dinner with my team. We talk about something else. Not about tennis, you know. Now, especially the Grand Slam, obviously main focus is to be ready and fit for each match. But, you know, hopefully there will be more time to go and see a show or... You know, New York is such great city with so many opportunities.

Q. You have been in the unique position of being top of the game; world No. 1 at quite a young age. Talk about maybe some of the burdens that come with that and maybe what you have learned from those and how you would handle things differently where you achieve that status again?

ANA IVANOVIC: You know, it was greatest moment of my life achieving that, especially I was only 20 at the time. In a way I maybe took it a little bit for granted, because I was always improving, I was always having better and better results. That was kind of natural progression. And once I achieved that, it was very hard to handle all the attention because I was very shy at the time. Like I was speaking before, I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin, you know. I was very introverted. I like to spend my time with the books. That's who I was. All of a sudden, there was so many requests and so many other things that came with it. No one prepared me for that. Obviously it took me some time to get used to that and to actually embrace it and enjoy it. That's why only since few years I started loving New York, because that's about that. It's about emotions, crowds, and embracing that moment.

Q. How much would you want to get back to that status now and maybe handle it a little bit differently?

ANA IVANOVIC: Oh, yeah, if that happens, I think for sure I'll handle it differently. I have more experience myself. I have also good people around me. I was lucky. I have always had very positive people and greet support from my family. That's something I still have. At the end of the day that's what matters the most. You know, you have people to go back to.

Q. Alison was saying that she knew her first serve wasn't there today. How quickly did you realize that? When a player doesn't have that type of situation, you adjust your game to, you know, compensate?

ANA IVANOVIC: You know, I really tried to work hard for each point. I try not to think too much about what point it was. I try to work each point the same way and to work hard for it. I started off, you know, getting broken. I was really happy to manage to break straight back. She has a dangerous serve. I knew this from the previous match. Today she served big, but I felt I was reading her serves a lot better and knew sort of what to expect from it. So making more returns obviously put pressure on her serve.

Q. If you were in charge of the sport and could pick any rule to change that you'd like to see adjusted in any way, what would you like to see change?

ANA IVANOVIC: You know, I think sometimes some players take too long in between points and some players rush too much. Just to find maybe balance in that a little bit. But, yeah, I think it would be hard because everyone has his own rhythm. I think some players take way too long between the points.

Q. Last night Maria Sharapova said if she could pick one thing to change it would be that players would be charged for medical timeouts. They'd have to pay for every medical timeout. What are your thoughts about that?

ANA IVANOVIC: I mean, I think that's a little bit harsh, you know. But I'm sure many players would agree to pay if it's about health, you know. Maybe toilet breaks. That's another story. But medical timeouts, I think players use them when they really need them.

Q. Going back to the issue of learning about yourself the last year, obviously we know you're a big reader. Wondering if you ever found yourself in the psychology or self-help part of the bookstore. Have you found a favorite bookstore in New York?

ANA IVANOVIC: Well, too much in that area I was. I tried to get out that area (laughter). It's like when you study. I'm sure when you study to be a doctor, you probably start to feel all these pains in your body. So it's the same. I started to read psychology and I started to feel all of that in myself. No, there is a bookstore, Barnes & Noble, down the road from my hotel. That's an easy one to visit. I really enjoy psychology. I think it's amazing what human mind can could or cannot do depending on how you perceive situation. I think it never exhausts. You can always learn more and more. That's what I enjoy. I still read. You know, I try sometimes not to be over in that area. I try to read something on the light side, but I still go back to that.

Q. (Question regarding Ana vs. Sharapova's image and the new Ana.)

ANA IVANOVIC: I'm not sure I understood completely the question, but I really care about others. Sometimes, like I spoke before, I think I even put them in front of my own feelings. But I'm also very tough and I'm big competitor and I'm not going to give up easily. I have this -- that's why sometimes on court I seem differently than off court. But I'm very tough, and I think people sometimes don't see that. They underestimate. But I'm big, big competitor.

Q. You don't think like Sharapova, for you, about the Cincinnati, what happened in Cincinnati...

ANA IVANOVIC: You know, I think everyone creates, you know, their own future, their own life. I try not to think about that. You know, I have my own road. I know I can sleep sound at night, and that's what matters at the end of the day.

Q. I was just curious, what was your reaction when you saw the draw and what your section looks like?

ANA IVANOVIC: Well, to be honest, when I saw first round I thought that could have been quarterfinal last year and we are actually playing first round. So it just shows there is no easy opponents here. I try not to look too much ahead. Just take it in one step at a time. Like we spoke in Cincinnati, you know. Doesn't matter what seeded you are, you still can get good or bad draw. Just taking one step at a time. We saw in previous Grand Slams anything can happen.

Q. You haven't looked ahead do you have a general sense?

ANA IVANOVIC: No, I have a general sense, of course. It's hard not to. Yeah, I just want to take it one match at a time and enjoy the process.

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