Ana Ivanovic bids to recapture major form
Date published :
18 Jan 2013 - 06:16:48
Ana Ivanovic buried the rift with fierce rival Jelena Jankovic at the Australian Open Friday before revealing her quest to lose weight and build strength to return to the top of women's tennis.
The former French Open champion defeated her fellow Serb 7-5, 6-3 to advance to round four, in a match that produced only shades of the animosity of past clashes between the pair.
At Madrid in 2010, Jankowicz complained about the constant fist pumps from Ivanovic, who in turn accused her fellow former world number one of lacking character.
Latent tension between the two was still evident as they exchanged baseline blows for 1hr 23mins, but Ivanovic claimed the intensity was to be expected at a Grand Slam.
"I think it's competitiveness that you have with everyone you play, especially someone from your own country," Ivanovic said.
"Of course there is going to be rivalry but I think there is a healthy rivalry, too, because you push each other.
"It's fine between us. We had a really good week together in Prague for the final of the Fed Cup. We were hanging out a lot, joking. It's nice. We have known each other for a while."
Ivanovic, who is listed at 69kg by the WTA, has visibly lost weight and she said she had purposefully trimmed down, while at the same time trying to increase her strength.
"It's not so much about losing weight," said Ivanovic, whose next clash is against Poland's world number four Agnieszka Radwanska.
"It's just about the muscle and getting the right balance, because you need to feel light on the court but you have to be powerful.
"This is my style of game. I'm a very powerful player, but I do still need to improve my upper-body strength. I had a tough match the other day but I was feeling fine and explosive today. I'm very pleased it's paying off."
Serbia's men's world number one Novak Djokovic credits a gluten-free diet for putting the final touch on what he thinks is the ideal physique for a tennis player.
He believes it is best to be light, agile and explosive -- the same combination that Ivanovic is searching for.
Ivanovic has been patchy since winning the 2008 French Open, but she reached last year's US Open quarter-finals -- her best Grand Slam since the Paris victory -- and has made at least the fourth round in five of her last six major tournaments.
"In the off-season, I really did improve a lot in my fitness," she said.
"I feel overall a lot more stable on the court, and a lot more powerful. My strokes are heavier as well, and that's something I've worked on. I'm happy to see the results.
"I'm definitely moving a lot better and faster. Still, there is a lot of room for improvement, but some things take time. I'm just very, very happy that the hard work is paying off."