Smiling top seed Jankovic shrugs off the critics

January 18th, 2009 - 1:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Serena WilliamsMelbourne, Jan 18 (DPA) Jelena Jankovic has no time to waste on doubters who suggest that without having yet won a Grand Slam title, she does not deserve to hold the top WTA ranking.But the determined Serb seems ready to deal with the critics through her racket and won’t waste mental energy with the Australian Open starting here Monday.

“I’m just a girl who enjoys her tennis. I go to the court with a smile on my face, and that’s what matters,” she said. “I don’t really think and stress about ranking, Grand Slams, so many other things.

“It’s not worth it. I just go out there and try to play my best tennis and hope for the best.

“I’m only 23 years old, my time will come. One of my goals is to win a Grand Slam. But my main goal is just to keep improving and getting better and better as a player. I hope that I will do it.”

Jankovic will be going into the major cold after just one match since the start of the year. She was unable to continue at the Hong Kong exhibition, cutting her losses due to illness and flying to Melbourne.

The good-natured Jankovic also laughed off comments from No.2 Serena Williams that the American considered herself the best player in the world, no matter what her ranking.

“I’m the number one in the world, and I believe I’m the best one,” said Jankovic.

“Serena can feel the same. Everybody has their own confidence and the belief in themselves. Otherwise I wouldn’t think you could be successful if you think somebody else is better than you and you’re not good enough to be here.

“With that kind of confidence we all go into the tournament and we all want to win here. So the best one will be holding the trophy at the end of the two weeks.”

Jankovic split her off-season training between altitude in Mexico with athletes and the Florida tennis courts.

“In December and half of November I was training really hard, the hardest that I have ever trained in my whole career. I was trying to prepare and be as fit as possible for the new season. I was doing a lot of fitness for two weeks in Mexico.”

And Jankovic says that she is hoping the dedication pays off with improved endurance after a season where she rose to the top despite various injuries and illness.

“It was very easy for me to get injured and to have pains all over, so that’s why I trained so hard. I want to avoid that and be as fit as I can for all these upcoming challenges during this year.”

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