‘Serbia will become tennis force’

Posted 1:39 AM by crkota in Labels:
Jelena Jankovic has a clearly laid-out goal – to return to the top of the women’s tennis game, but not only individually, but also as part of the Serbian tennis nation. The world’s number eight qualified yesterday for the third round at Dubai and has stated that her wish was to see Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic and herself get back to where they belonged.

Jankovic had a host of Serbian fans at the $2m event in Dubai and managed to battle her way to the third round after a 4-6 6-4 7-5 win over Aravane Rezai.
- “I wish for a time when Serbian tennis was on top once again. That was a great feat to have three players in the very top of the game for a nation with not much of a tennis tradition,” said Jelena, alluding to the terrific 2008 season for the Serbian trio.
Jankovic has come in Dubai knowing she is below her best form, but a recent encouragement have been the two Fed Cup wins for Serbia over Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova and Alisa Kleybanova.
- “I’ve lost quite a bit of weight and I feel lighter when playing. I’m working on certain aspects of my game and I hope it all falls into place soon,” said Jelena.
She says she has been aided greatly by one of her first tennis coaches – Nick Bollettieri.
- “I sacked my old coach and returned under the wing of Nick Bollettieri, who has known my game since I was a junior. I think he has helped me correct some things.”
Jelena has yet to win a first Grand Slam title, although at a point in her career she climbed to the WTA rankings spot number one.
- “There is no reason why I should feel uncomfortable because of that. I’ve beaten all of the players who have won Grand Slams, while I’ve lost to Serena Williams in one final. I hope I get my hands on a Grand Slam one day,” says Jankovic.
Jelena struggled against Rezai, ranked 21st in the world, as the French won the opening set 6-4 and Jankovic was forced to give her all to turn the match to her favour.
- “Aravane played well in the first set. She hit the ball really hard and I had to do my best to get my rhythm back. Little by little, I managed to get to my game and win the second and third sets. I am happy because of the win,” said the world’s number eight from Serbia.
The match was played in scorching heat and wind.
- “At first it all got on my nerves – the wind, the balls, the sun. However, I tried hard to stay positive and win my points patiently. I arrived here only a few days ago from Serbia, where it’s really cold. I love to play here at Dubai. I am aware this is far from my best but with every match I think I am improving,” Jelena was optimistic.
Her opponent in the last 16 round will be Vera Zvonareva of Russia, who demolished Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 6-0 6-0.

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