Ivanovic makes bold claim
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:37
Ivanovic arrived at the All England Club last year as the French Open champion and on top of the world rankings, but she lost in the third round to Chinese wild-card entry Jie Zheng and then failed to win back-to-back matches in her next five tournaments. The Serbian slipped to fifth in the rankings by the end of the year and is currently 12th, and she also lost in the first round of the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Eastbourne earlier this month.
But Ivanovic, who saved a match point in the opening round at Wimbledon, said: “At the moment I feel better on the court than I felt then. I feel my game has improved and my serve has improved. I get much more speed on it and much more variety.”
She added: “I just felt like I needed some more matches to get match confidence and I feel like I’m getting that back too. I think my game is probably even better than it was (when I was number one).
“I feel also much more experienced and much more mature in some ways. I went through a lot over the past year, being number one, having some disappointing losses and some tough times.
“I think that made me stronger and made me appreciate some things, not take every match you win for granted, but just appreciate the hard work that was put in.”
Ivanovic will face Venus Williams in the fourth round on Monday, in a repeat of the 2007 semi-final which Williams won 6-2 6-4 on her way to the title.
“I’m very excited,” added Ivanovic, who has lost five of her six matches against the five-time champion. “She plays really well here and is the champion the last two years.
“She’s a very dangerous opponent but I think I have a great chance and I feel very comfortable going into that match. I’m so excited to have the opportunity for that challenge because in my first round I was half gone (she saved match point against Lucie Hradecka).
“To come back and win another couple of matches and play better each match, it definitely gives me confidence.”