Jelena Jankovic shakes off poor season start with return to form
Stuttgart - Jelena Jankovic hopes to return to the top of the women's tennis rankings now that she has regained her form at the start of the clay court season. The Serbian claimed the top spot in late 2008 but has slumped to a current number three with no title yet in 2009.
Jankovic on Tuesday attributed the slide to too much fitness training and personal problems in the off-season which made her slow and sluggish on the court.
"I made some changes in the off-season. But I couldn't find myself on the court, went two steps back. The change in my training didn't work, my body didn't get it," she said at the Porsche Grand Prix.
"I will make no more experiments. I think I will be ok."
Jankovic, 24, finally got her game together again with the title at the small clay-court season-opener in Marbella, Spain, and then also won both singles rubbers in Serbia's Fed Cup win over Spain.
"I feel I am coming back to form, I am back on track," she said.
Stuttgart, where she opens play on Wednesday against Slovak Dominika Cibulkova, is the next challenge in the buildup to the French Open Grand Slam which starts in four weeks.
Jankovic is the defending champion, but she doesn't look back at the past and the tournament has changed from an October event on hard court to an April/May tourno on clay.
"I am not thinking about the title defence. I am thinking about this year and the points I get this year," she said.
Good results will make her challenge Russian Dinara Safina, who she could face in the Stuttgart semis, for the top spot again at some stage.
Jankovic said that she felt less pressure once she reached the top last year, even though a number one is then the player everyone wants to beat.
"You get the monkey off your back. There is a lot of pressure until you get there. Then you have nothing to lose. The pressure is off," said Jankovic.
Jankovic said she finally wants to win her first Grand Slam title and also hopes to make a big impact with Serbia in the Fed Cup now that the team (which also boasts former number one Ana Ivanovic ) will play in the world group for the first time next year.
"We belong to the top. Next year we want to fight for the title. I love to play for my country," Jankovic said. (dpa)