19 January - 1 February 2015
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Ana Ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic bio
Transcribed Interview Transcribed Interview

Start of Transcribed Interview

Q.  Surely one of the best wins of your career.
ANA IVANOVIC:  Yeah, definitely.  I mean, she's such a great player, you know.  Going on to the court today, I really just tried to give my best.  I tried to make it a good match.  I was very competitive till the last moment, and I'm just very thrilled, obviously.


Q.  What was the difference between this match and the previous meetings?
ANA IVANOVIC:  Well, I actually believed.  I had some confidence coming into today's match.  I really did certain things extremely well, you know, and I kept her under pressure I felt throughout the whole match.

I just, I think, you know, I just stayed in the moment physically.  I didn't think much about the occasion and who I was playing, because it can get overwhelming.

You know, I just stick with my things and it paid off.


Q.  That the difference for you now, you avoid getting sort of brittle in that crucial moment?
ANA IVANOVIC:  Just to stay and believe in my game and what I worked on.  Because I'm kind of player that I like to control the points and I like to also be aggressive, you know, and I just have to believe in it.


Q.  How did you do that?  How did you not think about who you were playing?  What did you tell yourself?
ANA IVANOVIC:  It's hard.  I had to remind myself all the time, you know, just to stay in the moment.  Because there were moments in the match where it could have gone either way.

I could have, you know, just made few more errors.  But I really just believed in my game and stepped up when I needed to.  You know, I had to break a spell, fourth round, and what's the better place to do it than here against such a champion?


Q.  How aware were you of her back injury she's been suffering?
ANA IVANOVIC:  I didn't hear about it.  I mean, I think she didn't serve as fast as in her previous matches, but, you know, I really hope she can recover fast.


Q.  You served both your last two service games out to love.  In the circumstances, how pleased are you with that kind of finish of such an important match against a player like Serena?
ANA IVANOVIC:  Very pleased with that.  But not only in last two games, but also throughout the match, you know, because she's someone who likes to impose.  You know, she likes to step in and strike the ball hard.

You know, I felt I was serving pretty well throughout the whole match.  That also kept her a little bit under pressure.  Just in the last service game I just tried to do the same things I had been doing throughout the whole match.


Q.  You said after you won your third round beating Venus in Auckland gave you confidence for Serena.  Obviously they are different places right now.  You haven't had that much success against the Williamses.  Do you think that one win made you think this one is possible?
ANA IVANOVIC:  Definitely.  And I kept thinking and going back to that match.  I felt in Auckland Venus was serving a lot faster than Serena today.  That definitely gave me confidence for today's win.


Q.  How does this win taste for you?  Is it just fish and chips or lobster with champagne?  I know it's a Happy Meal, but I'm not thinking about McDonald's.
ANA IVANOVIC:  That's a funny question (Laughter.)

It's amazing.  I mean, this victory means so much to me.  And, you know, I worked so hard and all the hard work, you know, it's paying off.

Like I said, you know, I had very tough fourth round matches in a Grand Slam, and this was probably the tough of toughest.  I just went out there to play.  I had nothing to lose, as well.

I just kept swinging.  Even when I made errors I really, you know, believed in it.  So to have that victory, you know, it's amazing.  We all know what kind of champion she is.  When we were starting the match and they were talking about all her Grand Slam titles, it was quite impressive (smiling).


Q.  Almost exclusively Serena doesn't lose Grand Slam matches when she wins the first set.  Can you talk us through your mindset sitting at your chair a set down?  Mentally, how did you turn it around?
ANA IVANOVIC:  It was a little bit hard, because the only reason was because I felt I had some chances in that first set that I didn't use.  Towards the end I just made few loose errors, and I was very frustrated about this.

But, you know, thinking about the statistics, we don't do at all.  I know that's your guys' job, and you all talk about that.  I actually didn't think about it at all.  I just tried to play, you know, like another match, like a new start like the same way I did against Sam.


Q.  So you're full of confidence now.  Can you go all the way?  Can you win the Australian Open?
ANA IVANOVIC:  I mean, you know, I still want to take it and play like I have been playing.  The only goal I set for myself is to keep this level and to give my best every match possible.  There are tough opponents, dangerous opponents each round.

I'm just so thrilled to reach quarterfinal here, first time since 2008, and it means so much to me to do it in this manner, too.


Q.  In the third set you hit her backhand a lot.  Is it something you identified in the preparation for the match?
ANA IVANOVIC:  Well, I spoke to my coach obviously about tactics before I went on the court.  And that's something, you know, I tried to focus on a little bit more.

But, you know, throughout the match I was mixing up a lot because I felt I had to play the shots I felt most comfortable with, you know.

And, you know, towards the end I just, you know, tried to do the same basically.  Maybe a little more there, but just to swing freer.


Q.  Was this a more a triumph of kind of your mental strength being able to close out the match the way you did, or execution?  You littered up the stat sheet with winners and you didn't face a break point after the first set.
ANA IVANOVIC:  I think it was both, you know.  Because last year I had few occasions when I was really close beating top players, you know, and I didn't quite done it.  And now, you know, I just believed and I didn't even think about that.  I just tried to step up and play my game, be aggressive.

You know, even if you make a mistake, you know, it was in your hands, and that's    you know, you can sleep sound at night.


Q.  It's been many, many years struggle for you, ups, downs.  Now is Ana Ivanovic ready to win the Australian Open?
ANA IVANOVIC:  I think all the struggles were just for moments like this.  You work hard and you never know what's going to happen, you know.  I just really enjoy competing.

Like I said, I'm not afraid going deep against these top players.  You know, I feel ready, and I want to challenge, you know, everyone out there.  I know there are going to be a lot of tough matches.

It might not be quarterfinal; might be maybe second round, third round, but you always get tough matches.  I'm ready for the battle, and hopefully I can show this game all the way.


Q.  You have already played one hometown hero in Sam.  You could play another one, Casey Dellacqua, if she wins tonight.  How do you feel about that?
ANA IVANOVIC:  I would love that matchup.  Casey is such a lovely girl.  I know her since juniors.  I'm really happy to see her do so well.  I hope she can do well tonight.  It's going to be amazing experience I think for both of us, actually.

You know, on the other hand, Bouchard, she's very young.  We had tough match in Wimbledon last year.  So, you know, it's just future of tennis.  So, you know, I look forward to whoever I'm going to play.


Q.  Is there a sense that when Serena is out of a Grand Slam it's a very different Grand Slam?  Because so much is concentrated on her as the dominant player that when she's out, it just makes the whole event seem somewhat different?
ANA IVANOVIC:  It definitely does.  You know, like we spoke before, I think she's done so much for the sport, and she's still doing it.  She's such a great athlete, and, you know, great person to have on tour.

I'm sure she will win, you know, more majors and she will be around for a while.  We want her, because it creates    it pushes us, you know, too, and it creates good challenges for us to challenge and to see how far we can go.


Q.  Are you keeping up the same superstition, having the same food every morning?
ANA IVANOVIC:  I change it up a little bit (smiling).


Q.  You're now unbeaten since the start of the season.  Did you do anything different in the off season, preparations, physical, mental?
ANA IVANOVIC:  I have now Serbian team with me.  I'm really happy with the way everything is going, and we did work very hard in the offseason.  I spent two weeks here in Melbourne training before I went down to Auckland.

But, you know, just really worked hard in the gym and on the court just trying to get lots of consistency and believe, you know.  And I really feel that the team that I have now it's really behind me and they believe in me.

I went through the tough times when maybe I doubt, you know, they don't.  That means a lot to me.


Q.  Extraordinary support today, as we could hear.  Does it make it any more special?  Any connections to the city?
ANA IVANOVIC:  Yeah, it definitely does.  It's great to have so much support, and they also push you in a way, you know.  And I'm really happy I managed to play a couple of really good matches on Rod Laver, and hopefully they enjoy it, too.


Q.  A match is never over until the final point, but did you have any sense out there    what was the time when you had a sense that, Hey, I could finally beat Serena?  Was there a moment or time when you sensed that?
ANA IVANOVIC:  You know, actually when we started the match, and it was beginning, you know, maybe 2 All, and then I went actually to break her, I really felt I was in the match.

I felt if I keep doing the right things I have a shot at this.  And even though I lost that first set in a manner that I was a little bit disappointed at, I kept believing and I kept fighting and looking for my moments.

I really felt I was returning well, which is the key against her.


Q.  When you netted that forehand to lose the first set, you gave a sign to your team, but it was an unbelievably calm sign.  What was the message you were communicating?  You felt you were still in the game?
ANA IVANOVIC:  Well, you know, when I missed, I felt I was lacking a step forward.  I just kept thinking more technical and tactics stuff rather than the moment, you know.

I just looked up and I said, you know, I went for it.  Like I spoke before, you really want to take your chances, because against players like Serena, if you give her opportunities she's going to take it.

So I was still aggressive, you know, and I missed.  It was a little bit unfortunate, but I went on to serve the good serves.  I just tried to basically stay in the moment and keep playing and keep being aggressive.


Q.  Last time you made the final here you were wearing a blue dress.  Looks a lot like this one.  Are you superstitious?
ANA IVANOVIC:  A little bit.  I was very happy when I saw the color (Laughter.)


Q.  What's been the low point since '08 and after when you were so high in the world and just to struggle?  Was there a moment you remember as being sort of the darkest?
ANA IVANOVIC:  There were a few of those moments.  It's very hard, because for me, I'm still a little bit shy, so for me it was very overwhelming with all the success and attention I got.

I kind of wanted to get away from it a little bit.  And then when I was away, I didn't want that.  I wanted to still work hard.

But then I was in a little bit, you know, not the best place, you know, in my mind.  2010 was a little bit hard beginning, you know.  But just, you know, you keep fighting because this is what I love to do and this is what I'm best at.

You know, I still am so young and I deserve better chance and better shot at it.


Q.  Sometimes is it difficult when you win a slam when you're very young, because you aren't able to manage all the things that come with it?
ANA IVANOVIC:  It was a new experience for all of us.  And now looking back at it, I would have done few things differently.  I maybe took a few different or good or wrong advices.

But, you know, it's just a road, you know, and we all have to pass through certain parts, you know, and mature in the way.

You know, I feel I'm different person and player now, and I enjoy much more.  Maybe these years make me appreciate much more these kind of wins.

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Monday, 22 December 2014
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