Sport Day interview

Sport Day interview

Of the many interviews Ana gave after reaching the final of the French Open, one of the most revealing was with Greek newspaper Sport Day:

How was the morning of the final in Roland Garros? What was your first thought in that morning? What was your last thought the night before, and your first thought when you woke up the next morning?
It’s hard to remember exactly, but I think one of my last thoughts the night before was ‘will I ever fall asleep!?’ My first thought on the morning of the final was that the last night had gone by very quickly! After the final I was a bit angry because I definitely didn’t do myself justice, so I was just thinking I wanted to play the match again. Then the next morning my first thought was that I need a holiday!

Share with us your feelings and thoughts during the celebration outside the City Hall in Belgrade. How does it feel when you realize that you are an idol of inspiration for thousands of children in your home country?
It’s hard to explain… It’s overwhelming emotion. I can say it’s difficult to be any happier when I think about this. It’s such a great honour. To think that we can motivate kids and set a good example to them, really it is an unbelievable honour. I am so lucky to be doing what I love, and also hopefully inspiring some children to play tennis.

Do you believe in recipes for a successful sports career? Can you give to our young readers three basic pieces of advice to follow on their way in their sporting life? Your career shows that you can win in spite of all the difficulties if you believe in your self. Were there any moments when you had doubts? How did you manage to get over them?
Good question! For the three pieces of advice I would say the most important is to believe in yourself, especially when things aren’t going so well. Another is to stay positive, never give up and to just enjoy. Again this is so important after a tough loss, or maybe if you are down because you are injured. The final advice is to be very focused on your sport, but not so much that you forget about everything else. You should always have time for your family and also education. It’s important to study. I am going to take a University course in the future because you never know what’s gonna happen in the future. Definitely education is very important.

Regarding doubts…I am a very positive person and I always believed in myself, but of course everything happened to me so fast. One year I was 700 in the world and the next 100, then 16 and now I am in the top 10. So it takes a little bit of time to get used to this. I think you have to go through the experience of just being on the tour, to gain confidence and know that you really belong there.

One of the best presents you had was the racket, which was given to you for your fifth birthday. What would be the best present for your 20th birthday in November?
It’s hard to say…it would be great if I could have the perfect holiday. :)

Have you ever been in Greece? If not, would you like to visit Greece for tennis or vacation? What's your impression about Greece and/or Greek people?
Actually the best holiday I ever had was in Greece – Halkidiki. Me and my family, we went to Greece every summer for around five years when I was a kid. The last one was when I was I think 11. It was so much fun, really memorable. We had a great apartment and there was a pool. We were swimming all day, from early in the morning. Friends of our family were there too. It was perfect. Greek people seem to have a good mentality and they are friendly people.

In Greece we have many athletes and coaches (especially from soccer and basketball) from Serbia who are very well known, and Greeks love them. Do you know any of them?
Unfortunately I don’t know any…I can say that we are very sporty people. My father was a basketball player and my uncle a footballer. Now he’s a football coach. Also my brother is a very good basketball player. And in Serbia, the people really love sports…The only Serbian person I know who lives in Greece is my mum’s friend. She used to live in Belgrade.

Do you remember a greek team's trip in Belgrade in April '99, during the bombing? The team was AEK Athens, and they came to play soccer against Partizan. Do you remember that?
I don’t remember, unfortunately. I’m not really a football fan. I’m sure my father remembers…

What do you think about Eleni Daniilidou and Marcos Baghdatis?
I know Marcos quite well from junior tournaments. He’s a fun guy. I love the way he is always smiling on the court. He was like that when he was a junior too. Eleni I don’t know so well but she’s a nice girl and a very good player.

What is more flattering for you? Α good comment for your tennis skills or for your beauty as a woman?
Definitely my tennis skills. Of course as a woman it’s always great to receive a compliment for how you look, but tennis is what I am known for. I work very hard so it’s very nice when I receive a compliment for my game.

You said that now you don't think much about rankings. Is it easy to do that? What do you think that is more difficult: to reach the first place or a long presence in the top 10?
I only just reached the top 10 so it’s hard to say…maybe staying in the top 10 for many years?

Would you like to send a message to your greek fans?
Yes, I would like to thank everyone for their support. It’s really overwhelming, seeing all these people send their comments and greetings. It gives me extra confidence, knowing that you guys are supporting me. :) Thanks!