Ivanovic receives backhanded HIngis compliment; discusses Belgrade bombings, modeling

Lots of interesting info in this article about Ana Ivanovic - it is too bad Hingis yet again delivers one of her “compliments” to take up space in this article. :) She’s probably right - Ivanovic could use some big wins this year. It is ncie to see she gets more publicity in Europe - she really isn’t covered much here in the US.

MARTINA Hingis says there are many players as good as tennis pin-up Ana Ivanovic, but who don’t have the public profile of the emerging Serbian teenager.

Ivanovic was so tennis crazy as an 11-year-old that she went out to practice after NATO bombs had stopped falling on her home city of Belgrade.

She is unflappable and does not shy from the attention which follows her tennis success and her dark good looks.

Ivanovic, seeded third in a field headed by world No.7 Hingis for the Mondial Australian Women’s Hardcourt Titles, which start today at Royal Pines resort, improved her ranking 80 places this year to No.14.

The 19-year-old’s best tournament was a maiden WTA Tour tier-one title in which she beat Hingis in straight sets in the final in Montreal, a result that led Ivanovic to say she would have a psychological advantage over Hingis next time the two Switzerland-based players met.

Of Ivanovic, Hingis said: “There are a lot of players equally as good, but not as talked about. But she has potential. She had a good season and she’s a talented up-and-coming player. If I said I was scared of anybody, I’d be false.”

Ivanovic, who happily helped promote the Gold Coast tournament and herself on Friday with a press photo call at a local theme park, said the Montreal win could give her a psychological advantage at their next meeting, which may come on the Gold Coast.

Ivanovic’s rise to tennis prominence and her lucrative appearances in advertising campaigns in Europe for the WTA Tour’s sponsor and the sporting clothing multinational she endorses, is a wonderful success story.

When the Western military alliance NATO bombed Belgrade in 1999, Ivanovic and her coach curtailed one practice session and started to hit in the mornings, when the locals found the raids were less likely.

“It was scary, but I got used to it,” Ivanovic, who has relatives in Melbourne, said.

“My parents tried to be protective, but you could see on the news what was happening.

“We would start coming to practice the next morning and talk about the bombs the night before. It was a difficult time.”

Ivanovic’s coach David Taylor, the Australian Fed Cup captain, said he had confidence in her continuing ability to concentrate on essential tennis matters and not be distracted by the other opportunities and requests.

“Sure, she’s a pretty girl. But what motivates her is tennis and in no way has she made a decision which makes tennis come second to her other interests,” Taylor said.

“If it ever did, I’d be worried. I can’t ever see it happening.”

Ivanovic, who served notice of her improvement in Sydney last January when she beat Amelie Mauresmo, the subsequent Australian Open champion, said she enjoyed the variety offered by the glamour photo shoots she has done for sponsors.

“It’s a nice way to get away from tennis and I enjoy getting my make-up and hair done,” she said.

“I spend a lot of time in a tracksuit or tennis clothes. The sponsorships are coming from my results and how you look doesn’t help you win points.

“I got some confidence that I can actually beat top players and compete for a big title.” The Courier-Mail

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