Former tennis ace Ana Ivanovic talks pre-grand slam breakfasts and Wimbledon rituals

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  • The Serbian tennis pro may have retired from tennis but we still want to know about her former career...

    Wimbledon 2019 is just weeks away, with the tournament world-renowned for Royal appearances, tennis whites, the very best Pimms… oh and world class sport of course.

    Come rain or shine (and we’re seriously hoping for the latter) the sporting event is not one to be missed, with this year rumoured to be Andy Murray’s last, if he’s competing.

    In short we can’t wait.

    To get inside the mind of a Wimbledon competitor, we caught up with retired tennis pro Ana Ivanovic – Grand Slam champion and all-round inspirational woman.

    What’s your favourite thing about Wimbledon?
    I love the fact that it’s so open and wide, it has tradition. Once you walk through the Wimbledon gates you just feel special and I always feel honoured to be a part of it.

    What is your favourite grand slam competition?
    I love the French open because I have won it in the past so obviously I feel most comfortable there, and I have very special memories from Paris.

    Did you have any pre-match rituals to get you in the zone before a Grand Slam?

    It really depended on what mood I was in. Sometimes I liked to have a laugh with my team and get a little more relaxed, and other times I just put my earphones in and listened to music before I walked on, I liked having a few minutes on my own to think about tactics for the match.

    Do you ever get into the Wimbledon spirit with a glass of Pimms?

    Not so much the Pimms, but I love the Wimbledon strawberries! I really love scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Nothing beats that – it’s my favourite.

    On the day of a big match what would you have for breakfast?
    It would change but I would usually have an omelette with toast or just stick with porridge – it’s my comfort food.

    What was your training routine?
    It would vary depending on which part of the season I was in. When I had tournaments coming up I would spend less time on training and focus more on recovery and being fresh for the match.

    How did you get into tennis?
    I watched Monica Seles on TV and I really liked her style of game. The local tennis school was advertising and so I wrote down the number and forced my parents to call it. I was very stubborn – I still am.

    What motivates you?
    A hunger to win, that really drives me to get better – to be better.

    What’s the hardest thing you have had to give up as a tennis player?
    For me, it was being away from my family. I’m really close with my family and we cherish our time together. To be apart for so long, and for such long periods of time was very tough.

    If you weren’t a tennis player what would you have been?

    Maybe a CIA agent – I love to figure things out, and I really love secrecy.

    What has been your career highlight?

    Winning the French Open and becoming World number one in the same week.

    Tell us about your work outside of tennis…
    I’ve been working with Unicef since 2007 – I’m an ambassador for a programme on schools without violence. In Serbia the rates were particularly bad with 62% of violence in primary schools but now it’s really improving. I feel very fortunate that tennis has opened up opportunities like this for me, allowing me to help people.

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