Wimbledon 2008 Interview: Ana Ivanovic, after third round loss

Jie Zheng def. Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-4

Q. What has gone wrong this Wimbledon?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it’s tough, you know. I didn’t play many tournaments before, so had a little bit of time to adjust. But I think she played really well today. It was tough match for me.

You know, I’m definitely disappointed with my loss. But, you know, still I look at it as a learning experience. And, like I said, she played very well today.

Q. She was hitting some very good shots. Was it very difficult for you to retrieve?

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, obviously, you know, she’s a good player and she plays well on grass. She has very powerful shot. She stays very low, so the balls are coming much faster through the air.

I had a little bit, you know, tough time to adjust to the balls with the timing. It was also a little bit windy. I think grass suits very well with her.

Q. Anything waist high you were hitting the winners. Anything lower than that was difficult for you to retrieve.

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it was tough. I tried to play balls higher, to try to get under the ball and play with lot of spin.

But, like I said, I found it hard to get good timing. So, you know, I was a little bit holding back. I made too many miss hits, I think, as well.

She played well. She served also very good. I found it hard to mix my serve. She was reading my serves very well. Even when I tried to kick it and bounce the ball high, she was still there on the ball.

Q. Have you felt any extra pressure being No. 1?

ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously a little bit in the beginning, yes. But I think I adjusted little bit to that. I just tried to go out there and enjoy. Today I wasn’t, you know, nervous or anything like I was maybe for the first match.

But it was just she played well, and I think I didn’t perform as well as I hoped for. But, you know, like I said, it’s still learning experience for me. It was all new situations. But, you know, obviously it’s tough. It’s never easy to lose.

Q. You had the reprieve two days ago. After that match, did you feel confident that you were going to be able to take advantage of that and do well here, or did you have concerns about the way you were playing?

ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously it was tough because from the first match on, I tried to find my game, you know. I felt like I was struggling a little bit. It was very, very emotional past couple of weeks for me. It also took a little bit toll on me.

You know, I didn’t have as good preparation as I hope for because I had to have some time off, as well. It took some time to adjust to the grass.

But, like I said, she played well.

Q. It seems like you still haven’t found the right way to play on grass for your game yet, that you’re still looking for answers.

ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think it takes time. Because especially after clay, it’s completely different game. I had some time off, so I didn’t have too much time to practice and to do all these little specific movements and things you need to in order to adjust to the grass.

Especially you have to accept that not every shot you’re going to hit it’s going to be, you know, perfect. There’s going to be quite a few, you know, bad bounces.

That’s something I found, you know, a little bit hard to deal with. And also coming from clay, it’s completely different mentality you have to have going on court. Because on clay, if you struggling a little bit, you still have time to get into the game.

But here everything is happening so fast. You really have to be there from the first point on, and that’s something, you know, that I found it hard. You know, especially today. She was hitting ball fast and flat. I didn’t have enough time to, you know, get into my game.

Q. What is the one thing that you think you’ve learned about being No. 1?

ANA IVANOVIC: It’s everyone’s going to be so pumped against you and they’re going to try, you know, to perform the best they can. I think, you know, in my previous matches, as well as today, you know, they had nothing to lose. Really I think they played some of their best tennis. It’s something you have to accept.

Also, you know, with the time, learn to deal with it.

Q. We’ve seen people come in here after shock defeats and be really down, really miserable. You’re really still quite bubbly and upbeat. Are you a good actress, or are you philosophical?

ANA IVANOVIC: Trust me, it’s not easy to lose. Obviously, no, I had some time to calm down also after the match. Because I think every loss is disappointing, especially you work hard over achieving some things and then you go out there.

But you also have to realize that the world won’t end. You know, I’m still so young and have many tournaments in front of me. You know, these things make you learn that you still have room to improve, and, you know, areas can you improve on.

So, you know, sometimes you need a punch to realize what you have to work on.

Q. What do you feel you need specifically to improve your game enough to do well on grass?

ANA IVANOVIC: Well, like I was saying, this year was quite hard because I had really a little amount of time that I spent on grass. So maybe in the future we’re going to try to change that and try to spend more time on court, you know.

Obviously, like I was saying, it was very emotional time past couple of weeks. So with my coaches, we try to, you know, cut the practices on minimum just to have time to recover little bit, you know, and have some time for myself.

So that’s something that we thought, you know, would be good. But, you know, we gonna change that maybe next time and spend more time on court and trying to adjust to grass.

Q. Tipsarevic said, in explaining Novak’s loss the other day, that everything is happening so fast to Novak at such an early age. How does that compare to your situation?

ANA IVANOVIC: I think it’s kind of similar. Novak, I think he’s a great player, and he already achieved so much. He has a potential, you know, to become No. 1. He has a great game, you know. So sometimes it’s hard to realize you have to stop and take some time and realize, Hey, you know, I’m actually doing good and give yourself pat on the back and appreciate that.

Sometimes you get lost in that and you just go and try, you know, to play as many matches as you can. You know, sometimes you’re tired, emotional tired, but you don’t realize, you know, why.

So it’s important also to take time and let it sink in a little bit and set your goals again. For sure, he had goal to win in a Grand Slam. So once you achieve that, you’re like, Okay, so you have to set some other goal again. That’s similar for me. You know, it’s something I learned.

Q. Early in the year you gave us such wonderful insights into your thinking about psychology. Have you thought about the psychology of being a champion, of realizing that you’re the French Open winner, No. 1? Have you done any reading in that?

ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously, you know, I like psychology. I really like to read about it. But, you know, lately we took it easy a little bit because I was too much into it. It was, you know, taking some time. Because I also was thinking about, you know, studying probably that. But it’s just too much to combine both things.

But it’s something very interesting. You know, as a professional athlete and also having opportunity to deal with different people in different countries, you learn lot about, you know, other people, you know, the way the human mind works and the way people are. I think it’s really interesting.

Q. And has it sunken in to you that you are the Roland Garros champion and No. 1?

ANA IVANOVIC: I think now it has. It took me a while, I think. But, yeah, I think it’s normal. And, you know, all these experiences you go through, and actually every match you can play you can learn something from it. I’m lucky I have a great team around me that also make me see some little things that, you know, you forget or you can’t see.

Q. What does Scott Byrnes bring to your game?

ANA IVANOVIC: Since I started working with him on my fitness, I improve so much. You know, I lost some weight. I worked hard on my upper body strength because it was always, you know, little weaker point for me. It gave me so much confidence on the court because I had feeling I could play more matches in a row and I could play for a longer time and compete on a high level.

You know, that was a huge step for me. That’s I think when first I start doing well because, yeah, I just felt, you know, so good, you know, being able to compete against top players.

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