San Diego Union-Tribune Interview

San Diego Union-Tribune Interview

Ana is today featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune, a quality Californian newspaper that is providing in-depth coverage of the Acura Classic

Ivanovic hits hard and gets plenty of hits on Web

Popular Serbian teen looking for first big win
By Jerry Magee
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
July 31, 2006

CARLSBAD – Purely in the interests of research, a fellow tapped into Ana Ivanovic's Web site. It advised him that he was the 26,147th person to do so since Nov. 7, 2005.

Tennis sure has become popular.

Google Ivanovic's name and tap into a heading reading “Sexy Sports Chick,” and there in the upper left corner of a computer's screen is a head shot of Ivanovic, peering over a shoulder. At the La Costa Resort and Spa yesterday was this same Ivanovic, equipped with a tennis racket and this statistic:

By the count of Tennis Magazine, as recited by Amy Bender, senior manager of communications of the WTA, Ivanovic's Web site during a month's interval had more hits than the Web sites of any other player on the WTA Tour. Most of tennis' tourists have Web sites.

“I must say, I'm proud of it,” said Ivanovic, who is 18, a player of the highest promise and glamorous in a wholesome way, if that's possible. She's not an Anna Kournikova. Not as earthy. Neither is she a Maria Sharapova. Not as aristocratic in her bearing. She would seem to be a young woman who simply is delighted to be aware that she has a following.

“It's nice to see,” Ivanovic said as she awaited competing for the first time in the Acura Classic, in which play in the main draw begins today. Ivanovic is to begin against Akiko Morigami of Japan and, should she be successful, next would oppose the winner of a match between Tatiana Golovin of France and a qualifier.

Ivanovic is a player to watch for reasons that have nothing to do with how she is pictured on her Web site. Watch the 6-foot-1 native of Serbia play and one has to find it surprising that she has won only one tournament, a minor one at Canberra, Australia, in January 2005. That she has not triumphed more often has not disappointed her.

“No, not really,” she said. “I don't find any pressure yet because I'm still young and have many years in front of me. Sure, one day I'm going to get more titles.”

One day soon, perhaps. Ivanovic signaled her readiness to become a champion for a second time at Wimbledon, where she delivered victories over Emanuelle Gagliardi, Sarah Borwell and Dinara Safina before being outplayed by Amelie Mauresmo, the eventual titlist. At Sydney this year, Ivanovic had defeated Mauresmo.

“This is my first tournament since Wimbledon,” Ivanovic said of the $1.34 million test at La Costa. “You're always a little bit nervous, but I think I have practiced really well the last few weeks, so I have more confidence. I want to go out there and play my best tennis.”

Ana just wants to be Ana. Many compare her with Sharapova. They're tall teenagers who hit tennis balls a ton and reside in countries other than their own (Ivanovic in Switzerland, Russian native Sharapova in this country).

“We have one thing the same, and it's playing tennis,” Ivanovic said. “I'm a real big fighter, and I think she is similar.”

Ivanovic and Sharapova have never opposed one another, according to Ivanovic. “I'm sure that in the future, we will,” said Ivanovic.

Since they are in different halves of the draw, they could not meet at La Costa until the final.