Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ana Ivanovic, First Serbian to Become WTA No.1

After winning the French Open Finals 2008 against Dinara Safina at Roland Garros last Saturday, Ana Ivanovic has become the first Serbian tennis player to become World‘s #1 on the WTA Tour, replacing Maria Sharapova. She was born on November 6, 1987 in Belgrade, Serbia (formerly, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).

As she came to her home country yesterday, thousands of cheering crowds and supporters greeted her in Belgrade. The city’s parliament square was crammed by the celebrating public who gives her a jubilant and warm welcome together with the country’s media, whom she met earlier. She said in an emotional and touching speech,
“…This moment will be not equalled; I will remember it all my life … The last days have been a dream. I will never forget Roland Garros. When I heard the national anthem I couldn't hold back the tears. It was a special moment for me ... It was a long day, very tiring, but so much fun. I will never forget it …”
It would be a proud moment for her when she afterwards had tea with Serbian president Boris Tadic.

She started playing tennis at the age of five, inspired by Monica Seles, a fellow Yugoslavian, after watching her match at French Open on TV. NATO bombings in 1999 didn’t serve as an obstacle to her training during those times. She also admires tennis player Roger Federer for his professionalism on and off the court. She turned pro on August 17, 2003 and caught the eye of the tennis world when she reached the Finals of Junior Wimbledon 2004 losing to Kateryna Bondarenko.

She came from an ethnic Serbian family. Her mother, Dragana, is a lawyer and her father, Miroslav, is an economist and businessman. She has a brother, Milos, four years her junior, and likes playing basketball as she likes it as well. She loves watching movies, either at the cinema or on DVD at home; also loves reading and listening to music (pop and R&B). All her family likes sports. Once, she's been described “as a natural beauty that is unique for her country of Serbia and she has this nice olive skin color,” highlighted by her beautiful dark hair.

She's 6’ 1” tall (1.86 m), weighing 150 lbs (69 kg). In regard to her playing style, she is right-handed with a double-handed backhand. As an offensive baseliner, she relies heavily on the power, depth, and placement of her forehand strokes, producing many winners through penetrating, flat shots with occasional topspin. She has improved significantly on the net. Although she has unreliable serve, it is undeniably forceful with occasional hits of aces and second serve winners, having below 40% first serve winning matches. To date she has a total career prize money of $5,630,015 on record, aside from endorsements from various apparels and shoes. As to court surfaces, she prefers hard courts; however, she likes all as it was evident at the clay courts of Roland Garros.

She also enjoys shopping and fashion. Her favorite food is sushi. The favorite places she likes to visit are Melbourne, where she has some family, and Switzerland, where she trains regularly between tournaments and spends her free time. Basel is her current place of residence. She admires most her family for all the support they give her. She cares for social causes as she became a UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia on November 8, 2007. She speaks both English and Serbian.

Ana Ivanovic was the runner up in 2007 French Open as well as 2008 Australian Open, but now she captured her first Grand Slam Title, 2008 French Open Champion. She has still to face the big challenge of how long she could stay as World’s No. 1 particularly this coming Wimbledon.

For updates and related readings:
Ana withdraws from Eastbourne
Full Transcript of Interview after the Final Match at Roland Garros





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