Ana was recently interviewed by Greg Garber of ESPN.com.
The following is an extract from the Q & A session:
ESPN.com: Looking back, what was the biggest reason that you fell from No. 1 to No. 63?
Ana Ivanovic: It was a variety of reasons, because I did have some injury issues -- the thumb was the worst one, just before the Olympics, so I had to withdraw, which was very, very hard for me. Then I played some tournaments when I wasn't ready. I started losing to lower-ranked players, and there is all this pressure because you are No. 1 and you are losing to these players. You start to lose confidence, and I do tend to overanalyze things. When you're young, you have nothing to lose and play with no fear. But when you have been successful and won a Grand Slam, and all of a sudden you're losing, it's very frustrating. It's a vicious circle -- you just don't know where the beginning is, or the end, either.
ESPN.com: You have said that you eventually needed to learn to break from the past, to forget what you had achieved in order to move forward. How did you do that?
Ivanovic: I was still kind of living it over and over again, and I needed to leave it behind. No one can help you. You have to realize it for yourself. It is very hard. I think it has to be a conscious effort to stop that train of thought. Shift your focus and attention into the future or to something in the moment that you're doing. Really, it's not thinking. I try to find things that make me really happy, maybe having a coffee in the park, visiting with friends, taking photographs. You need to have a balance. Tennis takes a lot of focus, but it's important to find a switch-off button. It was a process. I knew I was a stubborn person, but I never knew how much.
ESPN.com: What did reaching the semifinals in Cincinnati do for your confidence?
Ivanovic: I came back to win against Azarenka, and it was a big step for me, because in those crucial moments, I did step up and made some shots that I'd made in the past but hadn't made in the last couple of years. It gave me confidence to know that the game is still there.