Ana's interview on a private plane from Madrid to Belgrade last week. I think it's awesome that she keeps eye-contact with her interviewer the whole time. Not a lot of people do that, especially athletes. Here' the translation from her site:
Mira Adanja-Polak: You were ill, sweetheart?
Ana: Yes, I got ill when I came to Doha. I had pain in my throat, then it came to my stomach and I completely didn’t have any energy, especially after tough matches against Jelena and Zvonareva in three sets, I was so weak…
MAP: Ana, when I just met you at the runway in Madrid, I had the impression that that smile was somewhat bigger, broader, more joyful. Do you always have that feeling like you are coming back to Belgrade?
Ana: When I come back to Belgrade?
Ana: When I come home, “sarma” at my grandparents’ is mandatory and “Pinokio” pancakes as well!
MAP: What does a “Pinokio” pancake look like?
Ana: (Laughing) “Pinokio” pancakes, the best in the world! “Eurocrem” (similar to Milky Way) and “plazma” (popular Serbian biscuits)!
MAP: Is it hard to keep in shape with that menu?
Ana: (Laughing) Yes, maybe that’s why it is good that I don’t spend so much time in Belgrade! When I return home for a couple of days, I can treat myself.
A clip is shown of Ana playing Maria Sharapova in the 2007 French Open semi-finals
Ana: It’s all different from what everyone sees, because they see us only when we compete. Tournaments and preparation periods are very intense, we work a lot, we have doping tests frequently, which may occur when we don’t compete, so there are lots of obligations, and the hardest thing for me is that I can hardly find some time for myself, to relax, read a little, go shopping, watch a movie… It is something I have to work really hard on, to organize a little spare time for myself, because there are a lot of obligations towards sponsors and the media.
MAP: Speaking of doping, do they jab you with a needle and take out blood? Describe it for me; it must hurt?
Ana: (Laughs) I don’t like needles, so it is never pleasant. Concerning blood, not every time, but it often happens that they take out blood.
Ana: We have to take great care of what we consume. Even for an ordinary influenza, we have to consult the WTA so that they can give us the medicines we are allowed to consume.
MAP: I have noticed something: at times our environment is full of enthusiasm when a person is going up. But when the smallest set-back happens and you are a bit lower on the list, people are no longer very appreciative. Do you have that impression that we are not grateful, we simply aren’t?
Ana: I think that it also happens elsewhere in the world. I noticed that, as I had a couple of difficult months behind me being injured and it was very hard for me, so when I hear things like that, it is even more difficult. But you simply realize that it is their guessing as they do not know what is going on behind all of that, and how much you keep trying and you personally don’t want to be in that situation, to have bad results, to be injured. However, I realize that it is a part of sport and we as top athletes live life in the core of attention and people follow our every step and everything that is going on in our lives. People close to me understand it and know what I am going through and I have their total support which means a lot to me.
A montage is shown of Ana during a Verano photo shoot, winning the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells this year, and as a child
MAP: What I spotted is the name “Ana Ivanovic” and then how much money you earned in figures. How do you see that? Is there record-keeping of how much money you earned? Can it hurt a little bit that some people might only observe how much someone earned?
Ana: Believe me, I don’t know that myself, as I play tennis because I love it and enjoy it and it is really something that comes with what I do, but I don’t concern myself much with it; I simply play tennis because I love it.
MAP: When you played against Jelena Jankovic, was it in your head that Serbia was watching? Some people support one player; the others support the other one.
Ana: I think that people should appreciate what we achieved and it is very rare – we were the two top players at one moment, Novak was also at the very top. Between Jelena and me it is something like Partizan and Red Star. There are people who support me and some others support her and it is completely normal, a kind of a positive rivalry.
MAP: You were chosen as the most beautiful tennis player of the year by a German magazine. Is it a big burden?
Ana: No, it’s not. It really flatters me. And every girl likes to get a compliment, so I really enjoy hearing something like that.
MAP: You have got a huge pool of sponsors. Remember signing the first contract with Zira. Remember it? Is it hard to keep the deal with a Serbian company now when world companies are chasing you?
Ana: I have great co-operation with Verano. It was more than an endorsement deal from the beginning, more like a friendship deal, so it is my big pleasure, whenever I am in Belgrade, to go to Zira or to drive my Peugeot, so it means a lot to me and also in Belgrade and Serbia to represent such a huge company, and that we have a mutual interest of going to the top together.
A clip is shown of Ana celebrating a point at the French Open this year
Ana: I have been a UNICEF ambassador in Serbia since last year and it is a great honour for me to help kids, because it has always interested me and when I had the chance to become an ambassador last year, I quickly accepted it.
Ana is shown entering the school hall and children are chanting “Ana, we love you”
MAP: And going to Baric, I think the name of the school is “14th October”, what is it that you will offer as a help?
Ana: I have already given some financial help to schools in Serbia, but I am always glad to see kids because I think that they need help, and if I can inspire them somehow, I started playing tennis because of Monica Seles and if I can give them a contribution, to inspire them to play sport, it doesn’t have to be on a professional level, but only to inspire them to become active, it is a great honour and satisfaction for me.
A clip is shown of Ana addressing children at the school in Baric
Ana: It is a great pleasure of mine to be here with you today and that the “14th October” school is one of 15 schools I helped and which joined the UNICEF programme “School without violence”.
Ana is shown lifting the Roland Garros trophy
Ana: This year was one of the best in my career. I won my first Grand Slam and became No.1 in the world, and I learned a lot about myself, my goals and the things I want to do in the future. I set a goal for the next year to win another Grand Slam and I think it is possible. Simply, I have the game and the talent, but I have to work hard of course, as there are hundreds of players who want the same thing, but I know I have got the potential. I did it once and I can do it again, so all I want is to continue working really hard and enjoy in all matches. I want to compete, because in the past few months I really missed competition and fighting for the titles, so I hope to have the possibility for that the next year.