Ana Ivanovic’s French Open Interview May 29th
A. IVANOVIC/I.Benesova 6?0, 6-2
Q. Was that about the best you’ve played all year?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, it was a pretty good match. I was really happy. You know, still, score doesn’t indicate how hard I had to work for some points.
She started playing much, much better in the second set, and started hitting the ball much heavier. I just played really good and stayed in the moment and did what I had to do out there.
I’m really happy about my match today.
Q. Seemed like you were not only confident but actually executing this time.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I was really happy about that. I have been working a lot. Obviously I need also match confidence. I was thinking I felt very good in my practices, but never had chance to play many matches in a row.
Now I allow myself to make some mistakes and work myself into a tournament. I did that really well, so I’m really happy.
Q. You had your three matches now. Again, the warm up matches and the next round,Azarenka or Suarez Navarro, and then after that, maybe Dinara. So do you feel like your level is to the point where you can compete now with the other lead players?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely.
I mean, I feel physically fit and ready to handle any kind of opponent. Obviously these kind of matches help you for the tough matches over to the second week.
I think there is no easy matches anymore, and you have to work hard. You know, even when score sometimes shows you go through easy, it’s still, you know, never, never like that.
Q. Are you glad that you prepared for Dinara Safina so early in this year, yourself?
ANA IVANOVIC: Well, I hope I play her. I still have another match before playing against her, possibly. I think it’s going to be great match, and she’s playing really well at the moment.
I feel my game is coming back, and I feel more confident and more comfortable on the court. I just feel content about my fitness level, as well. Yeah, just trying to enjoy basically and compete.
I really miss competition in last months, so I’m really happy to have opportunity to play more matches.
Q. How is it with Craig Kardon? You started, I think, in February. How has he changed your way of preparing the matches, the strategy? He was coaching Navratilova, who has a kind of different game for you.
ANA IVANOVIC: We’ve been working a lot on my game overall, and I think I improved a lot of areas of my game. I added some things, and I feel more comfortable coming forward, obviously. But, no, I think working with Craig is really good. I feel also since I start working with him I got my game back and committing more to my shots and moving forward. That’s something that was lacking months before that.
Yeah, I’m still working really good. Also, every practice that we have, he always tries to make it fun and we always compete. He’s very competitive, too, so we always have some games.
Q. What about Sven Groeneveld? Is he still around for the adidas group, or is he taking care also of you, or not at all?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yes, we are still in touch,you know. He’s here, and I like to chat with him. He still watches some of my matches, and it’s good to see him around still.
He knows wespend a lot of time working together, so he knows a lot about me. He can tell different things that I improved or I didn’t. It’s good.
Q. If you were to play Carla Suarez, what do you know about her, and how do you rate her as a player?
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously I know she did really well here last year. She’s tough opponent on the clay. Yeah, she brings a lot of balls back.
Unfortunately she was not playing the Fed Cup when we played against Spain, so I didn’t have a chance to see her there. No matter against who I play, it’s going to be a tough match.
I just have to play, you know, try to play like I did today. Just feel confident about my shots. I think it’s important on the clay to be able to finish some points at the net.
Q. You obviously focused on this tournament,but how much would a good run here set you up for the grass court season and Wimbledon?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely it would help. I mean, like I was speaking before, I felt very confident in my practices. I felt like I was improving. I just never had chance to get into a tournament and get a lot of matches happening.
I’m really looking forward to that here, hopefully, and get chance to compete again. I really missed that part of the game,because I’m very, very competitive. It was kind of frustrating a little bit. I feel good. To have a good tournament here would definitely help.
Q. Do you feel better equipped in your game to handle grass better this year?
ANA IVANOVIC: I did. I think Craig has lots of experience with Martina and other players, playing really well on the grass courts, and I think I have potential, my serve can be really big. And, you know, coming forward, like I said, I feel more comfortable.
I think this year I’m very excited to come to Wimbledon and play.
Q. When you will have really a dress exclusive for Grand Slams from adidas? If you signed this condition in contract, or it’s normal for adidas?
ANA IVANOVIC: I’m not sure I understood the question.
Q. The dress is really exclusive, because now the dress which adidas make for you, it’s dress for everybody. And if you signed in contract conditions,that they will make for you really dress for Grand Slam only for you?
ANA IVANOVIC: They are always ?? I like to play in dresses, so they have the designers who obviously design dress for me. Yeah, so I’m always, yeah, the firs tone to play in these kind of dress.
But, you know,they’re doing really good job, and I think it’s becoming really feminine. I like what they’re doing. When I’m on the court, I don’t think too much about it.
Q. Craig says one thing he wants to do with you is make sure you have the confidence to hit your first serve now like it’s a weapon. Are you getting enough confidence? And number two, talk a little bit about Azarenka. She’s sort of in the position you were last year coming in here.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, that’s something I also work with Craig a lot, my serve. I feel much more confident in it. I think in important points, not only today but also in my last match, I serve a couple of aces. I felt very confident with it. That’s really good.
Obviously it’s a good base to still build on. I still be even more confident and go for more, you know, flat serves. But I’m happy the way it’s developing.
Against Azarenka, I expect very tough match. I know her since juniors. Off the top of my head, I don’t remember when we played last.
Q. Not as a pro.
ANA IVANOVIC: Not as a pro? Yeah, it’s gonna be for sure tough match. She’s playing really well and she’s aggressive player. She really commits for her shots and she likes to dominate.
So if I can have the first shot, it’s going to be crucial, I think.
Q. Getting older and older, and I don’t remember where I read everything, but I think I read something about you, that you were playing or were offered a wild card on a badminton tournament. Is that true, or have you ever been playing badminton?
ANA IVANOVIC: No, never.
Q. Never? So it was wrong information. Thanks.
Interview from RG
Photo Getty Images