The 28 year old Serbian tennis pro talks pre-grand slam breakfasts, Strawberries and cream and getting into the Wimbledon mindset...
Wimbledon 2016 is now halfway through its two-week long tennis Championships. The tournament is 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 top seeds getting knocked out in the first round and wildcards making surprising advances, this year promises to be just as captivating and emotional as the last.
We caught up with Grand Slam champion and all-round inspirational woman Anna Ivanovic, currently ranked no. 25 in the world, to get inside the mind of a Wimbledon competitor…
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.
Do you have any pre-match rituals to get you in the zone before a Grand Slam?
It really depends what mood I am in. Sometimes I like to have a laugh with my team and get a little more relaxed, and other times I just put my earphones in and listen to music before I walk on, I like 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 do you have for breakfast?
It changes but I would usually have an omelette with toast or just stick with porridge – it’s my comfort food.
What is your training routine?
It varies, depending on which part of the season I’m in. When I have tournaments coming up I 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 you career highlight?
Winning the French Open and becoming World number one in the same week.
Will you be Instagramming over the tournament?
Yes, I love Instagram, it’s very clean and easy to follow.
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.
Ana Ivanovic speaking at the WTA Pre-Wimbledon party, presented by Dubai Duty Free at the Roof Gardens, Kensington on June 23rd.