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It’s so hard at such a high level: Ana Ivanovic

JAIPUR: Retirement from tennis just heralds the start of a new innings for Ana Ivanovic. In a chat with TOI, the Serb superstar says she is looking forward to time away from the court and wants to explore opportunities in different areas. Tennis, she says, has opened doors that she now wants to open. Excerpts…

Twenty-nine is a bit early for retirement. Any regrets?

No. It’s a decision that wasn’t taken overnight. I had time to think about it and decide what I wanted to do. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I am ready for the future. Tennis has given me so many opportunities and I feel very lucky to have achieved whatever I have, especially coming from a country that does not have a great history in the game. Tennis has opened a number of possibilities for me and in future, it would be great to give something back.

You had an aggressive game. Do you think a different style could have prolonged your career?

Well, maybe…maybe if I had started earlier to work with physios and take care of my body. But it’s so hard at such a high level…constantly competing, changing surfaces, travelling, it does take a toll on your body. I worked so hard on and off the court, but eventually I realised it wasn’t enough and I had to do much much more. My body was not ready for that.

Have you planned a career post-retirement?

At this moment I don’t have any plans. I have a few commitments which I will make sure I fulfill, but at this moment I am open to different things. I am not planning to become a coach or anything. I just want to move a bit away from tennis. Of course I’ll be around, but as of now I want to explore opportunities in different areas.

You have been among the most glamorous players. Any plans to take up modelling or related activities?

You never know where the future will take you. I always wanted to do a little bit more in that area as I do enjoy fashion and beauty. I also think it gives opportunity to travel to different countries and teaches you what to eat and how to take care of your body inside out.

It is not just about beauty, but inner beauty, and that fascinates me.

How do you plan to keep in touch with the game?

I do have a lot of friends in tennis. I will be around and expect me at the Grand Slams. I will be watching a lot of matches on the Tour. But right now I am looking forward to the kind of life after the Tour.

Will you take up coaching in future?

No, that’s not my thing. Obviously, if some young girl wants my advice and wants me to be her mentor, I would be very happy to offer that. But I don’t really see myself as a coach.

You often looked good for more Grand Slam titles. Where do you think you fell short?

You know what, I think I am very lucky to have one Grand Slam title and become the world No. 1. It’s not an easy thing to do and I know in my heart that I gave my best every time I was on court. Sometimes it was enough, sometimes it wasn’t. It’s very hard to judge whether someone has over-achieved or under-achieved. I think all of us try our best.


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