Jankovic has Pleasant Memories of Dubai Tennis Stadium

DUBAI - Dubai holds a special place in Jelena Jankovic’s heart. The Serb simply can’t stop talking about a city with which her affair began when she was just a teenager.

By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Wed 17 Feb 2010, 12:53 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:53 AM

“When I first started playing professionally, I came to Dubai and I won a tournament. It was a $75,000 tournament and I won it,” said the former world number one on the first day of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

“And then the second time I came, I was very young. I was just 18. I played Serena Williams, and I played many of the top 10 players. I lost to (Lindsay) Davenport in the final (in 2005).

“So, you know, I love coming back here. Some of the nice moments of my early career happened here. So I have a special relationship with Dubai.

“And last year, I celebrated my birthday (February 28) here during the tournament on the Centre Court. It was nice to share a moment like that with the fans who support me all the time,” added the current world number eight.

Jankovic believes she is playing better than ever even though she is no longer among the top five players in women’s tennis. “My game is much better now. I am feeling great after the Fed Cup match. I feel much lighter on the court. I feel I am going to play much better than I did when I was the number one player in the world. I feel much more confident. I know I can come back to the top again and start winning those big events.”

The 2008 US Open runner-up is confident that the busy WTA schedule is unlikely to punish her physically. That she is perfectly capable of coping with the demands of a gruelling year.

“I like competing. I like playing lot of tournaments. I like to challenge myself. The more I play, the better I get. It’s about playing more. It’s about rising to another level. That helps me become a better player. I do believe that I have a good schedule.” The Serbian glamour girl then reveals the secret to her success in the world of tennis.

“I always play with the aim to win. That’s why I have been able to beat all the top players,” she says with a smile.

Finally, when we informed Jelena that the tournament organisers here are planning to shift the Dubai Tennis Championships from the Dubai Tennis Stadium to Dubai Sports City, she said she would miss the Centre Court.

“After playing here for many years, I have got used to the Centre Court. This stadium really has nice facilities, nice restaurants. The new stadium should be a different experience. But it’s for all the players, not just for me.” The Dubai sun doesn’t bother the East European player. “I like the Dubai weather because I grew up in Florida. So I am used to the warm weather. Heat is not a factor for me.”

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