By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Ana Ivanovic, the former world no1, lies just outside the WTA Tour top 10 having worked her way back up the ranking after she slipped badly after being crowned 2008 French Open champion.
The 24-year-old returns to Eastbourne for the 2012 AEGON International despite having suffered early round defeats to American Venus Williams (2011) and Russian Nadia Petrova (2009).
When Ivanovic surprised herself by beating Russian ace Dinara Safina to win Roland Garros, improving on her runner-up spot at the 2007 French Open, then it looked as though another tennis star was born. Ivanovic had also finished runner-up at the 2008 Australian Open.
However, her aggressive style of play was soon sussed out and she has surprisingly claimed just 11 WTA Tour singles titles since she turned professional in 2003.
With British coach Sears now guiding her, then both Ivanovic’s mother Dragana and her father Miroslav – who regularly attend their daughter’s matches – will be expecting an upturn in form along with more singles titles.
A cautious Ivanovic said:
A few months ago I decided I needed to appoint my own coach, but the most important thing was that I chose the right one. I was prepared to wait for that, and I’m fortunate that I am working with Nigel (Sears) with half of the season still to go.
Although I’m excited about the months ahead – including Eastbourne – I have to be patient because it is going to take time for the hard work to pay off.
When you have a new coach there is extra motivation in the beginning that can create some good results. But the changes together take time to flourish, and it could be some time when I am in a position to really reach my potential.
The Serbian is confident about the grass court season and has set her goals without the distraction of a boyfriend.
It’s better not to mix professional life and personal life, although that’s hard. If you’re happy in your private life then that will affect your tennis, and that will actually help you.
Scott’s parting shot claimed:
It was disappointing that Ana and I are longer together, and it was tough when her and I broke-up. It wasn’t always easy seeing we both had our respective sporting careers.
But in the time we had together we had a great time and I really enjoyed her company. Ana is an amazing person and tennis player, I learned a lot from being in her company.