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An Interview With: Jelena Jankovic

Friday, August 29, 2014

Q. What was going on with that fan in the upper deck?


Q. The one who was yelling and you told him to be quiet?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I didn't tell anyone to be quiet. Which one?

Q. You told the umpire to tell him to be quiet, and then he said something again and he said he didn't hear you.

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, no, no. It was the people that were talking up there. There was no fan. It was just some people were being loud, and that's all.

Q. There was a fan who wanted a picture.

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, there was a funny one who was like, Hey, turn around. I want a picture of you. I was walking. And then another time after a couple of games, he goes, again, Hey, turn around. I need a picture. That's basically it. But I didn't tell anyone to -- just people, some people were being loud up there and moving. So just to that's all.

Q. To get in a match like that in the beginning of the tournament in under an hour, how good do you feel about the match today and in general about the way you're playing in the early stages?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, it was nice actually to get out of the court quite fast. You know, it's quite hot out there. I woke up early. It's my first match at 11:00, so, you know, I wanted to get the job done as soon as possible. I was very focused from the beginning till the end. I played a solid match. I did not -- I was very patient. I did not go for too much. I waited for my chances to execute. That's what I did. I'm pretty pleased. You know, I'm in the fourth round and looking forward to playing.

Q. You didn't double fault at all today. A lot of the women in particular, the top women, are having trouble with double faults. Do you think there's a reason for that that you can think of?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I don't know. You know, it depends on your serve. There are days when I double fault, too. Today I did not, like you said. You know, it's quite windy out there. You have to be, you know, alert and kind of, you know, pay attention to where your ball is going and it's moving, you know, through the air. You've got to time it well. So I did not go for, you know, really big serves. Like maybe I go and I hit those flat ones. I put a little bit more spin, so it's a little bit more, you know, secure and try to get a lot of first serves in. That's today, you know. But when the conditions are a little bit different, then I do, you know, some other things with my serve. But I cannot comment on other people. It depends on the stroke. Some girls have great serves; some girls have, you know, some other strokes better than others. You know, that's part of the game. You cannot have every stroke in tennis.

Q. Is it psychological or physical, do you think?

JELENA JANKOVIC: It's both. It's both. You have to believe in your shot anyway. No matter how good your shot is, you have to believe in it. If you don't, doesn't matter how well you hit it. If you believe it's going to go in it's going to help you on a big point, that you can go for it and believe that it's going to land on the line.

Q. You have been in a lot of Grand Slam tournaments. Do you like the way that you're positioned right now the way you're playing? I know you want to take one match at a time. You potentially have a very difficult one coming up.

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm looking forward, you know, to playing and hopefully going far. You know, I'm going one match at a time. My next opponent will be tough. I feel hungry. I want to do well again. You know, I love playing the US Open. I had a lot of deep rounds here. It's my favorite Grand Slam. I love the energy that this tournament has. The surface suits my game. The weather. I enjoy it, you know. I love being here. I would love to do well. So we'll see. I'll try my best.

Q. Since last year and playing well since like last couple of seasons, you said you're hungry again to play well. Was it easy to find this fire back?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah. I mean, I have been a professional for I think 13, 14 years. It's not easy, you know, hitting balls every day, and, you know, staying really motivated throughout the whole period. It's normal you're going to have ups and downs. But, you know, I found, you know, my way, you know, again. And I love the sport. I love competing. I love battling. I love being out there and, you know, playing in front of crowds. This is what I have been doing since I was a child, so, you know, there's nothing else that I want to do at this point. I still have fun doing it, so that's -- you know, I want to do well. I want to be in the top of the game if I'm going to play. So that's why I said to myself I want to -- I have to go out there and work hard, work on my game, improve, get fit, do everything right in order to have the chance to succeed.

Q. How difficult is it to maintain that belief so far into your career? I mean, you say you have played for 14 years.


Q. Does it help to come to the Open to get motivation to keep going?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No. But for example, I mean, the Grand Slams, for me this one is quite special. You know, when I was 19 I was a semifinalist. That's basically ten years ago. That was my first semifinals here at 19 years old, and now I'm 29. It's quite special. I mean, these Grand Slams, they motivate me. I want to do well. Here especially. You play all the other tournaments in order to prepare for this one and to do -- for me, it's a goal to do well here. Now I'm feeling good. I'm feeling fresh. I only played two tournaments before this, so I got a couple of matches in under my belt and I feel ready to go. We'll see.

Q. You still believe you can win this tournament?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I still believe I can win this tournament (smiling). Maybe I will. We'll see.

Q. Think back to when you were 19 and now. Do you relish these opportunities maybe more so than you did at 19? Maybe at 19 a young person might take them for granted.

JELENA JANKOVIC: I didn't -- yeah, at 19, I did not know what was going on. I had a big chance. You know, I was up against Justine Henin a set and 4-2, 40-15. I had the whole match in my hand and I was thinking about celebrating and I'm going in the finals. Of course at the time I was inexperienced. I didn't know what's happening. I was just a child, and, you know, I was playing so well, though. But now, of course, when I'm older, you know, I appreciate it a lot more. I'm more aware of what's going on, what's happening. You know, it's a different feeling. You know, of course at 19 I was super excited. I just wanted to be out there. I loved everything. I loved, you know, seeing all these players that I have seen on TV. And now it's different. I'm older. I'm playing against some of those girls I have been playing for years, and then, of course some youngsters. It's different experience. I mean, you go through. But I still enjoy it. You know, I love being here. I don't take anything for granted.

Q. Don't celebrate too early, right?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I don't celebrate. Still, I'm only in the fourth round. And like I said, I'm enjoying my game. I'm having fun on the court. That's what matters the most. I don't want to put pressure on myself. I'm playing one match at a time, and we'll see how it goes. My goal is to go far.

Q. From the age of 19 to 29, physically what do you have to do now to prepare? Do you get more rest now than you used to get?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, you know, to be honest, when I was 19, 20 I did not get tired as much. I could fly and, you know, I did not feel that jet lag. My recovery was a lot faster. I didn't have any injuries. I was super flexible (smiling). Now I have to do a lot more work. Even though I'm older, I have to train more and do a lot more, you know, work on my body and take care of the little things in order to feel great for my body to be in good shape. So it's, you know, a little bit different. When I was 19 I didn't even have to, you know, do some of the recovery stuff. I just felt great. I could run around all day and I didn't feel tired. I wanted to play even more. And now... But, you know, you learn kind of over the years what kind of works for you, what doesn't, what suits you. You make mistakes along the way, and that's how you learn. Now I kind of know. And I'm still learning about myself and about my body and what I should do, what I shouldn't. Because I have had some injuries. I had a hip problem, you know, in French Open and Wimbledon. So I did not play for a month and a half. I did not hit a ball. That's why now I feel kind of fresh. I had, you know, some quite, you know, long break. It's almost like an off season in the middle of the season. So I trained quite hard to get back in shape, and here I am. So we'll see.

Q. How many days do you get up and don't want to do this?

JELENA JANKOVIC: Actually, you know, so far, you know, since I started now training -- I mean, over the years, you have some days -- but so far I'm really like I want to do this. I wake up in the morning, and I'm excited. I want to go out there and hit balls. I love the sport. It's only a matter of me being healthy so I don't go on the court with, you know, pain here and there. Then you don't enjoy it, you know, when you cannot move properly. When something is hurting really bad, then it's tough. But when I'm healthy, I love, you know, running around and competing and having fun. For me, tennis is, you know, a game. And it's a fun game. I enjoy, you know, doing it.

Q. Just talk about the potential matchup in the fourth round with Kerber.

JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah. We played twice I think this year. It's 1-All. I beat her in Brisbane and she beat me in Doha. She's a left-handed player and she's a very solid player. She does not give you many free points. She does not have a big game, but she, you know, can stay at the baseline all day long and you have to really beat her. She's not going to give you anything. She's a player that's very solid. She runs very well. She has strong legs. She has very good endurance. So I have to, you know, work on, you know, certain things tomorrow tactically and get myself ready.

Q. This is a city full of many distractions. What have you been doing to stay focused this week?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I'm pretty focused. You know, I set my priorities right. You know, especially when I'm playing I try to, you know, stay relaxed, save as much energy as possible, you know, and eat the right food. I don't do a lot of walking around, you know, to waste energy and feel tired. And especially when I have a first match on like that at 11:00, I've got to go to bed early and get my eight hours of sleep so that I feel fresh and ready to go.