Revivals Of 2014: Jelena Jankovic
Published April 15, 2014 12:13
She may have surrendered her crown on Sunday, but Bogotá will always retain a special place in the heart of Jelena Jankovic.
Last year, victory in the Colombian capital sparked a revival that saw her rocket up the rankings at a rate of knots that took most on tour - including Jankovic - by surprise.
Following a couple of years in the doldrums, this upturn in fortune led to Jankovic rediscovering her appetite for the challenge of reclaiming what she viewed as her rightful place at tennis' top table.
"I think it all started in Bogotá when I won the tournament there," Jankovic said at the recent Family Circle Cup. "Then I was, I think, in the semifinals in Key Biscayne, in Miami, then I was a finalist in Charleston.
"So I think I was improving and getting more and more confident with each tournament and finding myself, finding my game. And that was the time when I started working really hard and really wanted to get back, get up there where I think I belong."
Jankovic has been quick to credit the role of her brother, Marko, in not only the recent upturn in form but also her newfound joie de vivre.
"I'm starting to get kind of used to the kind of atmosphere he creates, because he can be quite loud and supportive," she said when asked in Charleston about her sibling. "It's all going really well at the moment.
"He'll be back, I think, when I get back to Europe. He has to have some time off as well. You know, 24 hours with each other, brother and sister, can be difficult!"
Over the years, Jankovic has earned a reputation as one of the WTA's hardest workers, often taking on tournament schedules so intense that many of her peers would wilt just looking at them. However, such is her current mood, even long spells on the road are struggling to sap the Serb's enthusiasm.
"It's not always easy, especially when we play quite a lot, like we are at the moment. I played Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston. It's a lot of weeks back to back without a break, so it's a long season and a lot of matches, especially if you are doing well.
"But so far I'm enjoying it. You know, the better I play, the more I want to play, and the results keep pushing me to work even harder, so I kind of like that tiredness, if you can say it that way. So I just want to continue."