Mum’s still the word for Jankovic
Originally published on: 28/02/12 10:44
Jelena Jankovic is working with another new coach this year – the German Henner Nehles, a graduate of the University of Nevada – but the 26-year-old Serb’s mother, Snezana, remains the central figure in her entourage.
Snezana travels the world with her daughter, though she has no pretensions to being a coach. “She’s just a Mum,” Jelena said today after reaching the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Championships with an emphatic 6-4, 6-2 victory over Australia’s Sam Stosur. “She never really told me how to play. She just supports me in what I do and helps me get through some of the matches, as well as being a regular Mum off the court.
“My Mum is always the one who knows me the best actually. No coach will ever know me as well as my Mum. That’s the truth and the reality. She knows just by looking at my face or body language how I feel and what I’m going through in the moment, whereas a coach who comes on board, especially a new one, cannot know that without spending a lot of time with you and really knowing you as person and then as a player.”
Snezana accompanied her daughter when she went to Nick Bollettieri’s academy in Florida at the age of 12 and has been touring the world with her ever since. It was Snezana who persuaded Jelena not to give up the sport after she lost 10 matches in a row in the early part of 2006. A former handball player, Snezana may have remembered how she gave up her sporting career after receiving little encouragement from her own mother.
“My Mum is my best friend,” Jelena said. “She’s always there for me and always very, very supportive in the good and the bad times.”