It was so long ago that Ana Ivanovic was on top of the world. She was No. 1 in the world and on track to be the next big thing in woman’s tennis.
But it wasn’t meant to be and she started to fade very quickly.
“It was greatest moment of my life achieving that, especially I was only 20 at the time. In a way I maybe took it a little bit for granted, because I was always improving, I was always having better and better results,” she said. “That was kind of natural progression. And once I achieved that, it was very hard to handle all the attention because I was very shy at the time. Like I was speaking before, I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, you know. I was very introverted. I like to spend my time with the books. That’s who I was.
“All of a sudden, there was so many requests and so many other things that came with it. No one prepared me for that. Obviously it took me some time to get used to that and to actually embrace it and enjoy it. That’s why only since few years I started loving New York, because that’s about that. It’s about emotions, crowds, and embracing that moment.”
Now at 26 and the No. 8 seed, Ivanovic seems to be a force on the tour and ready to make some hay in Flushing Meadows.
“It’s no secret I think with whatever job do you there are days you love and days where you don’t,” said Ivanovic who took out Allison Riske very easily, 6-3 6-0. “Especially when I put so much effort and then I was not getting the results I was expecting or wanting, it’s hard to love it then, you know. But you have to find some way or goal to work towards.
“Last year has been amazing change for me. I learned a lot about myself, about my goals, you know, who I am as a person and who I want to be. Now I just want to go out there and show that, you know, and execute and not, you know, not only say, I want to achieve this and that but actually show it.”
Part of it is confidence and part of it was her learning to pace her self and relax. Although she has the looks to be in the spotlight, Ivanovic seems more at home reading a good book and learning.
Yes she has both brains and beauty.
And that is why you shouldn’t count her out this year.
Over the summer she played very well, especially in Cincinnati, where she lost in the finals to Serena Williams. But it was the Semi-Final match against Maria Sharapova that proved controversial.
After taking a medical time out for a racing heart in the second set, Sharapova made some disparaging comments to the umpire when during her losing third set. In fact, Sharapova even went on to say that players should be charged money to take medical time outs.
“I think that’s a little bit harsh, you know,” Ivanovic said. “But I’m sure many players would agree to pay if it’s about health, you know. Maybe toilet breaks. That’s another story. But medical timeouts, I think players use them when they really need them.”
But she holds no ill-will to Sharapova from what happened in Cincinnati.
“I think everyone creates, you know, their own future, their own life,” she said. “I try not to think about that. You know, I have my own road. I know I can sleep sound at night, and that’s what matters at the end of the day.”
Meet the new Ana, much better than the old one.