Simon Reed

Don’t get over excited about Ivanovic

Simon Reed

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Ana
Ivanovic is fantastic for the game of tennis and a wonderful woman to have on
the WTA Tour, but it is far too early to get excited about her current form.

The Serb
is very marketable and has a big game, but just over the last two years she has
had a crisis of confidence.

Just
recently she has begun to show signs of finding the form we all know that she
is capable of, and that would be a real fillip for women's tennis.

One
thing is for sure: Ivanovic is with the right man. Heinz Gunthardt is the
perfect coach for her because he is so relaxed and assured.

Ivanovic
has been very edgy, nervous and wound up like a spring, whereas Gunthardt has
been through it all before and is a calm and collected coach.

When
Gunthardt was in Steffi Graf's corner, he was renowned for his incisive tennis
brain and ability to keep his charge composed and focused on her tennis.

The Serb
has always needed that kind of presence to calm her down at times, and every
tennis fan hopes this resurgence could be the start of something for her.

I have
to say that I do not feel as though Ivanovic is a contender at the US Open,
because she is still learning how to harness her mental strength in the right
manner.

She
still uses far too much energy getting emotional and upset with herself on
court, and you have to be far more focused and disciplined mentally to win a
Grand Slam.

There is
no doubt that Ivanovic is immensely talented and she has all the shots to be a
champion, but something just seems to get in the way mentally which holds her
back.

The Serb
has been a shadow of herself the last two years, and she has all the ability to
be a very fine player if she can only marry the mental side of the game with the
physical.

My
analysis is simple: Ivanovic relishes being the hunter, but cannot hold it
together when she is the hunted.

To beat
Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati was a magnificent achievement, and that was the
type of play which saw her become the world number one in 2008 after winning
the French Open.

A series
of injuries have hampered her progress, but she should never in a million years
be down at number 62nd in the world and now, finally, she is turning things
around.

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