Ana Ivanovic zeroes in on Grand Slam success

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 16, 2015, 08:58 AM IST
Ana Ivanovic zeroes in on Grand Slam success

Former world number one Ana Ivanovic is riding a new wave of success after resurrecting her career in 2014 and has big plans for the year ahead, starting at Melbourne Park.

The popular Serb, a crowd favourite in Australia where she has family, is coming off her best year since 2008 when she won the French Open aged 20 and found the stardom too much to take, never revisiting those highs.

She won four WTA titles in 2014 and 58 matches -- a record for her -- to finish at world number five. 

The bubbly 26-year-old also played well in the off season, beating world number one Serena Williams in an event in Belgium while being part of the winning team in the International Premier Tennis League.

Going into the 2014 season, Ivanovic said her goals for the year were to get back into the top 10 and qualify for the WTA finals in Singapore, both of which she accomplished. 

Now it`s about Grand Slams.

"Winning a lot of matches and tournaments and beating the top players again in 2014 was a great set-up for me, but I`ve definitely reset my goals for 2015," she told the WTA website.

"I still have goals to win Grand Slams in the future -- that`s something I want to aim towards. 

"I felt like I was playing well the whole year in 2014, but at the Grand Slams I didn`t perform as well as I wanted to. I think I`m going to schedule my season differently -- hopefully play less events, but play better at the bigger ones."Last year Ivanovic, who describes herself as strong-willed and extremely competitive, made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, sending top seed Serena Williams packing enroute.

But she crashed out in week one of the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Since winning at Roland Garros in 2008, Ivanovic has only made a Grand Slam quarter-final twice -- at the 2012 US Open and in Melbourne last year.

But under coach Dejan Petrovic she has been thriving and heads to Melbourne after solid preparation at the Brisbane International, where she lost in a high-quality final to long-time rival and world number two Maria Sharapova.

"This was a great week for me, a great way to start the season," she said of Brisbane. 

"I really hope I can keep the level and raise it next week in Melbourne."

Ivanovic, who often prepares for matches by doing Sudoku in the locker room to focus her mind, attributes her new-found form to being more mature. In contrast to 2008, she now actually enjoys the spotlight.

"That`s why I started Twitter and Instagram actually, because I started to feel more comfortable with myself," she said. 

"I`m okay with myself and who I am as a person, and everything that comes with the job that I am doing. It shows on and off the court that I`m much more relaxed. I`m much more content with myself."