Life on the WTA Tour

Life on the WTA Tour

In 2005, the tennis world took notice of Ana Ivanovic. The eighteen-year-old won her first WTA Tour title in Canberra, reached the quarter-finals of the French Open, and saw her world ranking soar from 100 to 16. Here, she talks to Hot Psychology about life on the WTA Tour.

1. How tough is it to combine studying with life on the WTA Tour?

It is not always very easy to combine Tennis and studying. Sometimes I have to focus on the next match and need to set priorities. But I am well organized and I have always succeeded so far in catching up with my studies. And by the way, I learn a lot on the tour, mainly in languages I learn each day. So the tour is as well a fine education platform for languages.

2. You recently beat Patty Schnyder for the first time. How difficult is it to go into a match with a negative head-to-head record?

I was always confident that I would beat her one day soon. I had the patience to wait and learned a lot of every match I lost against her. I have finally beaten her because I believed in myself.

3. Do you find it hard to back up a win like the one you had over Schynder?

This is of course a challenge, but I know that I can beat her again. Having won a first time makes it a lot easier to play the opponent again. I proved that I am able to beat a top ten player more than once, for example Amelie Mauresmo (whom Ana beat at the French Open last year on her way to the quarter-finals).

4. Are you affected by nerves before a match?

Yes, from time to time I am nervous before a match. But I think this is quite normal. I have the impression that other players share this with me. However, I have my ritual to find concentration and balance.

5. How do you prepare for a match?

One hour before the match starts, I need my peace, I want to be alone and listen to some music I like. This helps to get mentally ready for the match.

6. How do you relax after a match?

Similar procedure as before a match. I need to calm down, I need to be alone for a few moments, no matter if it was a victory or a defeat. I need to straighten things out for myself so I can go to a press conference or an inteview.

7. A lot of tennis players are superstitious. Do you have any superstitions or rituals before and during matches?

I am not exactly superstitious but I do have my instruments to keep concentration. The one during the matches I do not want to spread out in public, since this is my individual and very personal way.

8. You seem to have a good doubles partnership with Maria Kirilenko this year. How much emphasis do you place on doubles in relation to singles?

Playing singles has my first priority. But also I enjoy very much playing doubles.Kirilenko and me have good relations on and off the court and that is important for doubles.Playing doubles helps me to improve volleys and serve, so it is also perfect practice for singles.

9. Have you got a replacement in mind for your next coach? (Ana parted with former coach Zoltan Kuharsky in May 2006)

We will take some time to find the right coach for me. Right now my Management - Dan Holzmann - and my environment and of couse myself are checking various possibilities. As soon as we will know more, we will inform immediately. In the meantime I am embedded in a perfect team that supports me all the way. I feel fine.

10. How do you cope with competing against players that are also your friends?

When I am out on the court I am playing opponents not friends. We are all professionals and we need to separate personal emotions from superior goals.

By Sally Aquire