04 May 2016

Sky's the limit for in-form Jorovic

News Article

By Jamie Renton

Photo: Srdjan StevanovicIvana Jorovic (SRB)

With four ITF Pro Circuit titles to her name in the last six months, 18-year-old Ivana Jorovic has well and truly found her groove on the professional tour.

Wins at the $25k events in Istanbul and Zawada last year preceded $50k triumphs in Ankara and Croissy-Beaubourg - signs that Jorovic, who turned 19 on 3 May, is ready to complete her transition from a top junior to a top player in the women’s game.

The Cacak-born right-hander, for one, has no doubt about the cause for her recent success.

“I think the reasons behind my good form are hard work, dedication, perseverance and belief in myself,” said Jorovic. “All those things have helped me with great performances on the senior tour.”

Jorovic has been one to watch for some time. First tipped for success after a sterling junior career that saw her climb to the top of the junior rankings and finish runner-up in the girls’ singles at 2014 Roland Garros, her transition to the senior tour has been a story of steady progression.

Jorovic began 2015 ranked at No. 305 in the world. Sixteen months on, she now finds herself inside the Top 150, having climbed to a career-high No. 149 after winning her ninth ITF Pro Circuit title - and third at the $50K level.

But despite her accelerated progress of late, Jorovic insists she is not putting pressure on herself to match her lofty junior achievements on the professional circuit.

“I’m not rushing,” she said. “A tennis career is long. I’m trying to work hard and to learn everything about tennis and I think my time will come. My main target is to stay healthy and really learn tennis. Obviously the sport is changing and I hope the results will come if I’m healthy, and giving my best all of the time.

“I’m really proud of myself for being junior world No. 1, but I don’t need to look back on what used to be,” Jorovic continued. “I need to look forward and focus on my new game. I think there’s a big difference between junior tennis and senior tennis, so I’m looking to be stronger and more consistent. I think that’s the key to the women’s game.”

Jorovic’s level-headed approach has already earned her six call ups to the Serbian team in Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, including earlier this month in the nation's 3-2 defeat to Belgium in the World Group II play-offs. Her defeat to world No. 58 Kirstin Flipkens in a tight fourth rubber sealed Serbia’s relegation to Europe/Africa Zone Group I, but that result certainly hasn’t knocked Jorovic’s confidence.

“I love to play for my country,” she said. “It’s a big goal to play Fed Cup and represent your country in the best way. I’m so thankful to my captain (Tatjana Jecmenica) for calling me to be in the team. I’m sad that I didn’t bring good results in that match against Flipkens, but I tried to give my best and I think I did.

“It’s a big difference when you play for your country in Fed Cup compared to when you play for yourself. It’s more responsibility. I don’t want to say it’s more stressful, but you are more tight. You cannot relax because you’re not playing just for yourself.

"I need more experience in that moment, to learn how to play more relaxed when I’m not playing just for myself.”

One thing for certain, Jorovic will have plenty more opportunities to test herself at the highest level.