Jankovic steps up search for coach in Indian Wells

March 13th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by admin  

Indian Wells (California), March 13 (DPA) World No. 4 Jelena Jankovic will bear down in her current search for a coach while playing as third seed at the Indian Wells Masters starting this week. The Serb said Wednesday that she is hot on the trail of a coach who can help her lift a game, which has already taken the 23-year-old to five titles - four of them earned last season.

“I’m working hard to find a new coach,” Jankovic said prior to her start at the first Masters event of the season.

“I’ve got a lot of options, no one has turned me down. We’ll see in the next two weeks what develops, I’m hoping for a positive outcome,” she added.

Jankovic last month split from a part-time coach in Dubai, who complained that her fitness was letting her down.

“I want to go to the next level, I want someone who knows more about tennis than I do,” she said.

Jankovic lost in the semi-final in the Gulf at the Barclays event as she ran out of steam against Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Renowned Florida trainer Pat Etcheberry was to arrive later to help her try and build up endurance and strength during the 10-day event in the Californian desert.

“I’m healthy again and ready to work, it’s important to also keep working on my body. I need to be better in long matches. I was dead in Dubai after the second set,” Jankovic said.

The Serb also believes that her new coach will need to have a sense of humour.

“I’m a young girl and I like to have fun. It’s no use pretending to be more mature than you are,” she laughed. “I like to be around people who are not afraid to makes jokes and who are proud of their own accomplishments.”

Jankovic is seeded third in the event behind top-seeded compatriot Ana Ivanovic and number two Kuznetsova.

All seeded players in both men’s and women’s category have been given first-round byes.

Swiss-based Ivanovic, who has not played since losing a Dubai quarterfinal to Elena Dementieva, will face either a Chinese or Romanian opponent in the second round.

She said that after leaving the Gulf, it had been tough to train indoors in Europe.

“I came here to be able to practise outdoors,” said the world No. 2.

“The balls are flying a lot and it’s difficult to find a rhythm. The courts are also playing slow. I’ll be working on my timing.”

Ivanovic is playing at a WTA event as the top seed for just the second time in her career and is hoping the exercise will unfold better results for her.

Australian Open winner Maria Sharapova has been seeded fourth here. She heads into the tournament with an unbeaten record this season after winning Doha and then withdrawing from Dubai.

Sharapova has been successful in the desert, winning the title in 2006, and comes into this year’s event with a perfect 14-0 record in 2008.

The Russian said that her success has shown that she has the determination to come back after the 2007 season was marred by a shoulder injury.

“I was playing with painkillers, and even if it didn’t hurt, you knew in the back of your mind that you had to do something about it,” said the 20-year-old who has two Grand Slam titles in her kitty.

“But I have gained a lot of confidence now knowing that I was able to come back. I came back stronger and really feel good about myself,” she said. “I know I can do it no matter what happens.”

The men’s event will start Friday, while the women’s event has already started.

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