Jankovic to cut down on tournaments

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 03, 2008 17:16 hrs

Bangalore: World number four Jelena Jankovic plans to play fewer tournaments this season to give herself the best chance of winning a first Grand Slam title.

The powerful Serbian, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January, played 97 singles matches on the tour last year. "I'll try to play a lot less tournaments this year. I'll try to focus more on the bigger tournaments, try to go out there, be fresh and prepare to achieve my future goals," the 23-year-old told a news conference at the Bangalore Open on Monday.

"Last year was a good learning experience," she said of her breakthrough 2007 in which she won four tour titles, reached four other finals and the French Open semi-final.

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"I never played that much in my entire career. And I won so many matches. This I don't think I can keep up so much."

Jankovic reached a career-high ranking of three after the French Open and remained there till the end of the season. But the excessive number of matches took its toll on her fitness, forcing her into injury-related retirements at several tournaments, a trend she wants to correct this year.

"I had many injuries. I guess that's part of sport," said Jankovic, a three-times grand slam semi-finalist.

"Sometimes, it's unfortunate, you get injured in really important tournaments where you have high expectations but you cannot really compete at your best because you have some problem.’’

"But I will try to be in the best possible shape so that I avoid injuries as much as I can, as much as I can help."

Jankovic is the top seed at the Bangalore Open where the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have been drawn in the same half of the draw. All three have got first-round byes.

"I have a fairly good record (against them), actually," said Jankovic of the Williams sisters. "I've beaten, maybe both of them, about three times. I'm one of the rare players to have done that."

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Jankovic beat Serena in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before losing to champion Maria Sharapova. "Maybe sometimes you like to play some of the players more than the others. They are really star performers, they are top players. I really have to play my best to beat them."

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