By Steve Gorten
KEY BISCAYNE – Ana Ivanovic comes to the 2015 Miami Open as the No. 6 ranked women’s player in the world. But much more than that distinguishes her from her fellow players.
Whether it’s preparing for matches by doing Sudoku in the locker room, her superstition of not walking on the lines of the court, or her love of sushi, Starbucks Green Tea Lattes, shopping and fashion, the 27-year-old Serbian has her unique attributes.
Q: How do you balance your personal life and tennis?
A: “The fact we’re on the road 10 months a year makes it very difficult. It’s very frustrating sometimes because I’ve been trying to speak to my mom for the last five days and I cannot because of the time difference. But it’s just the lifestyle for the moment, and I still do what I love. And I enjoy this lifestyle.”
Q: What do you enjoy doing when you get time off?
A: “I love the beach. I love sun. So anything to do with these two. I really enjoy some time off here in Miami because I have a chance to do that, even though sometimes it’s too hot. I love to read as well, go for a walk at the park, the botanical garden, biking even. Just something to get your mind off tennis.”
Q: What’s the last thing you read and what’s your favorite book?
A: “A book by [British author] Tony Parsons. …I love the Notebook. That’s special.”
Q: If you weren’t playing tennis professionally, what would you want to do?
A: “It would be something completely different, more sort of intellectual. I love languages. I like psychology. So probably something in that direction.”
Q: How would you describe your personality?
A: “Obviously on the court I can get very competitive and feisty. But off the court I’m very different and much more gentle. I’m very stubborn, though. Very stubborn. So if I really want something, I’ll get it. I love to talk, but I’m shy, so it takes me a while to open up to people.”
Q: What do you think about being one of the fan favorites at the Miami Open?
A: “It really makes me happy. I love to come out here and compete. Fans are really important for us. The support they show us each day really helps us go through because sometimes you might have a tough match and a tough day and then you see all these people who are behind you and support you no matter what. That really means a lot.