Jovanovski following blazing Serbian trail
Originally published on: 20/03/12 12:09
The success of the likes of Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic has opened up new opportunities for the next generation of Serbian players, but following in the footsteps of such superstars is not always easy. Bojana Jovanovski is the Serbian No.3 behind Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, but the 20-year-old from Belgrade has struggled to maintain the form that took her into the world’s top 50 last summer.
Jovanovski is now No.106 in the world rankings and owes her place in this week’s Sony Ericsson Open in Miami to a wild card. She plays her first-round match today against Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino.
“Now we have a lot more courts and clubs in Serbia because tennis has become more popular,” Jovanovski said. “Before it was difficult. It was so tough at the time when players like Djokovic and Ivanovic were starting. But sometimes it’s good when things are tough and difficult for you. Maybe you have more motivation to achieve things, so I think that was good for them. Because if you have everything it’s not the same.”
When Djokovic’s generation were breaking through, the impoverished Serbian tennis federation was able to offer little practical support. Jovanovski, however, has benefited from more help, particularly with financial assistance to help her travel to international tournaments. “They were really good to me,” she said. “I was lucky because I came along after the good results of Ivanovic and Jankovic. I was the first one they paid everything for.”
Jovanovski has also benefited from the advice and support of the two Serbs above her in the rankings. “I was very young when I first got into the Fed Cup team with Jelena and Ana,” she said. “I practised with them and I improved my game a lot. They gave me a lot of advice. It’s really good to hear that from players who are a lot better than you. It gives you motivation to work harder and try to be like them.”