Jelena Jankovic finally admitted what most fans already knew: she built up strength during the off-season at the expense of her speed and has paid the price.
The once speedy Serb hasn't been to a WTA Tour final yet this season after winning three tourneys last fall and ending the year in the WTA Penthouse. She discussed the issue with the press gathered for the WTA media day at Indian Wells saying,
I did a lot of things for my endurance and I had some problems moving. I lost my speed on the court and I lost my reaction. I lost my biggest weapon. Until now, I was having trouble reacting and moving, especially with my returns and getting that first step. I just lost that and I have been trying to get that back.
I hope to get my game together and start playing on a high level again. That is my goal for this moment. I am not thinking about anything else. I am not putting expectations on myself.
However, JJ remains confident about her ability to turn her game around after winning the race to become year-end No.1 last season:
I ended the year in a really good way when I had a lot of pressure on me. Everybody wanted to finish number one and I am only the ninth player to do that. I really wanted that number one position and I knew I had to win three tournaments in a row to secure my ranking. And I have done that.
I proved to myself I was able to play on a high level, play under pressure and take on that role as the number one player in the world. I really liked that challenge.
True enough JJ. Your lack of speed recently has caused you to go for low-percentage shots when out of position and that formula is the kiss of death for someone whose game is based on consistency and forcing errors from their opponent.
The season is still very young so let's hope this newfound clarity about your game will help you round into form. But you still can't argue with the body that came from the hard work - DAMN - though I still think being lopsided might be part of the problem.
(image via getty)