Ana was interviewed by Xpress newspaper ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The following is a reproduction of the story by Deputy Sports Editor Jaydip Sengupta:
Comeback Girl: The zing is back in Ivanovic’s game
The 2008 French Open champion tells XPRESS she has learnt to stay relaxed and enjoy her game
It takes a lot of belief, courage and of course ability to stand inside the baseline and out-hit 17-time champion Serena Williams in a Grand Slam. And it finally seems like Ana Ivanovic may not have flattered to deceive, despite losing to Eugenie Bouchard in the Australian Open quarters thereafter, owing partly to a strained hip.
The 26-year-old, who started the year with a win at the WTA Tour event in Auckland by beating Serena’s older sister Venus, comes into the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships which begins on February 17 with a real chance of going better than her best showing of quarters. And in an exclusive interview to XPRESS, the Dubai Duty Free Global Ambassador talks about her resurgence and why she has begun to enjoy her tennis once again.
“I was really happy about my start to the season and it does give me a lot of confidence. It’s been a very positive six weeks and I want to continue this momentum in the Middle East. I am extremely motivated and I am looking forward to each tournament, especially Dubai,” she said.
The former World No. 1 is understandably upbeat about her prospects for the rest of the year especially after getting the better of Serena, a win she rates just behind her 2008 French Open title.
“For sure, it was a huge win for me and I feel proud about it, to have beaten such an amazing player. I do think that belief was the most important part – belief, and also being able to relax and enjoy myself. I was pleased with the way I approached the whole tournament.
“I was relaxed on the court, I had great support from my team and also the fans in Melbourne and it was a lot of fun,” she said. And the key to it all has been her ability to relax on the court. “It’s very important to be relaxed on the court, because that enables me to play better tennis. My team is young and we all have a lot of fun together. It’s important to have this positive energy in the team, and it lifts my spirits,” she said.
Ivanovic also has had a lot of fun off the court and she is keen to make her presence felt again at this year’s event.
“It’s a big honour to be partners with such a great brand as Dubai Duty Free. It’s something I am proud of, but also something I enjoy. I had a great time in Ireland last year, visiting the horse racing with Colm [McLoughlin], Salah [Tahlak] and Sinead [El Sibai].
They have given me some fun opportunities over the years, such as attending a film festival in Dubai a year or so ago and I am really happy with our co-operation,” she said, adding: “My goal for Dubai is to maintain my momentum from Australia. I want to go at least as far as the quarters and try to even challenge for the title.”