JJ's Dresses, The Cold, Serbia's Historic Win
Published Feburary 05, 2012 12:00
CHARLEROI, Belgium - After a long trip back to Europe from Australia, it was an interesting weekend for Jelena Jankovic as Serbia took on Belgium in Fed Cup - designer dresses, plummeting temperatures and, eventually, victory.
First for Jankovic was a touch of class. Between Melbourne and Charleroi she stopped off in Belgrade, where she worked on designing the dresses for her team for the tie's player party. Though she only had a few days to work with a company in the Serbian capital, she was excited about the final product.
"They're red and they'll have patriotic accents or details, something to do with the Serbian flag," the former World No.1 said on her website blog beforehand. "We only had a few days to design them but I'm excited about it. It's cool because we'll look like a team, and the girls will look cute in them too."
(a photo of the Serbian team's player party dresses follows below...)
Then came the cold. The snow from Friday night affected the heating system at the Spiroudome, and the players were forced to play through some very cold temperatures on Saturday. Jankovic managed to win the tie's opening rubber against Kirsten Flipkens, 75 75, but it wasn't easy by any means - she was down 5-4 in both sets, even saving two set points in the second set.
"It was pretty difficult. The conditions were really tough today," Jankovic said. "It was really, really cold, below 10 degrees in the stadium. The ball got really stiff and the court wasn't bouncing much. But I really tried to stay focused.
"My muscles got really stiff. I had sharp pain at times. But I tried not to think about it. I just kept going and kept playing, and I got through it."
"We were practicing all week here and it was fine, it was warm," Flipkens said. "They had trouble keeping the heat inside today, especially since it was -14 degrees outside. It's a little sad to practice all week here and then everything changes on the weekend. You have to change the kilos on the racquet and everything. But it was the same for both of us and everyone today."
Jankovic was forced to sit out Day 2 action with a left thigh injury, but Bojana Jovanovski scored a singles win and the combination of Jovanovski and Aleksandra Krunic won the deciding doubles rubber to give Serbia a historic victory - its first ever victory in the World Group of Fed Cup competition.
"I don't play doubles so often, just at the Grand Slams, and it was also hard to go and play the deciding match for Serbia," Jovanovski said. "But I just forgot everything and did some things from the singles, like playing crosscourt, short and deep crosscourt, as well as coming to the net and playing good volleys."
"It's a very special moment for us, our first time to reach the semifinals," Jankovic said. "We fought very hard. It was good teamwork. I think we really deserved to win this tie and get to the semis. It's a really big deal for us.
"It was disappointing for me because I couldn't go on the court today. But I was still supporting the girls and I'm so glad we were able to go through! Hopefully we can continue to grow and one day win the Fed Cup trophy."