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Jankovic and her No. 1 dream

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WHEN IN INDIA… Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic at a function in Bangalore.
WHEN IN INDIA… Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic at a function in Bangalore.

Kalyan Ashok

BANGALORE: If there is any pressure of being the top seed, Jelena Jankovic is not showing it. The 23-year-old Serb, who had an amazing run last season winning four WTA titles successively, has been one of the most consistent players on the Tour in the recent past.

After a formal interaction with the media, she answered a few questions from The Hindu regarding her career.

On her good run last season, Jankovic said: “Yes, it was a good year. I hope to carry forward the momentum and keep playing well.”

About her phenomenal rise in the rankings, the Serb replied: “I will put it down to hard work. I have always believed that no one is perfect and you can keep improving. Ever since I came on the Tour, I have been improving: from No. 12 two years back to No. 3 last year.

“I hope to keep playing consistently. Another important thing is to keep fit and be injury free. That’s the goal for the season,” she added.

Jankovic wants to make her serve a potent weapon. “I would like to work harder on my serve. I am happy with the way I am hitting the double-handed backhand. I have been finding the right corners, it has been a big plus in my game.”

Henin is special

While she rates all the top 10 players as worthy rivals, she considers Justine Henin special. “Justine was my nemesis of sorts last season and she beat me a few times. I would like to beat her this year.”

She is one of the few players on the Tour who travels without a coach. “Yes, it has been difficult without a travelling coach and I am looking for one. It is not easy to find the right one on the Tour. I am looking for someone who is experienced and knowledgeable, and perhaps teach me something I don’t know,” Jankovic said.

Jankovic hopes to be No. 1 one day. “It has always been my dream .Yes, winning a Grand Slam or an Olympic medal are also big on my list.”

Biggest influence

Though she admires Monica Seles the most, Jankovic’s biggest influence has been her mother. “She has been totally supportive and travels with me often.”

Off court, Jankovic loves acting. “I don’t act on court (laughs). But, seriously speaking, I have been offered roles in Serbian films which I could not accept due to my pre-occupation with tennis. I have done a few commercials in Serbian and English. Maybe I will consider that option when I am through with tennis.”

She has been a UNICEF ambassador and relishes the role. “It opens your eyes when you interact with the underprivileged children who are affected by war, disease and other things. I am obliged to help them, put a smile on their faces and make their lives a little better. I will continue to do that,” Jankovic signed off.

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