Serbia loses sleep over its tennis kings and queens

January 19th, 2009 - 9:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Rafael NadalBelgrade, Jan 19 (DPA) With three of its tennis stars battling it out at the Australian Open, Serbia will be losing its sleep to see its stars live in action.The Serbs - Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic on the women’s side, and Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic in the men’s draw - have been causing a media frenzy at home in the past few years, with experts analysing everything from their game to their love lives.

Reflecting the nation’s interest, Serbia’s national broadcasting company RTS is reporting daily from the Australian Open and has planned live broadcasts of the matches involving Serbia’s superstars, which as a result of the time difference will be in the middle of the night.

“Melbourne will once again be the epicentre of the Serbian earthquake,” and “Serbs are the favourites,” were headlines Monday in Belgrade dailies.

In the men’s draw, ATP number 3 Djokovic, who has a Grand Slam title, is one of the favourites but he’ll have a tough task amid competition from world’s number one Rafael Nadal, number two Roger Federer and British hope Andy Murray.

“I’m ready to carry the burden of title’s defender in Melbourne,” Djokovic told local media.

Djokovic, who missed his chance a few days ago to beat Federer and rise to second in the rankings, had a rough couple a months and many are worried that he will not have the strength to repeat the 2008 Melbourne success.

In the doubles, Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic and partner Daniel Nestor face stiff competition, particularly from the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, who want revenge for being dethroned in 2008.

As for the ladies, both Jankovic and Ivanovic said they’re ready to win.

“I’m more ready than ever and await the Australian Open with great confidence. I want to move forward and win second Grand Slam in my career,” said Ivanovic, Serbia’s sweetheart who after a series of losses tumbled from number one on the WTA list to a current fifth place.

The “tigress” Jankovic said she plans to win all four major tournaments.

“I’m the world’s number one which is the greatest thing one can achieve in their career. Now I want a Grand Slam,” she said.

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