- On Court
- About Ana
- Club Ana
What a place to end the season! It is so, so beautiful here. I just need to keep reminding myself that I am here for a tournament!
I love the beach, so this is a perfect venue for me. It's a unique format: kind of like starting a tournament from the quarter-final stage. The draw is on Tuesday and I understand I will wear some traditional Balinese outfit, which will be fun.
I'm now on my way back to Europe. It was an interesting and eventful trip to Asia, as usual! Three very different cities in three weeks, and three very different tournaments, with different conditions.
Unfortunately I didn't do myself justice at all in Seoul, and in Tokyo I didn't adapt very well to the sharply changing conditions between my two matches.
It's been a while since I visited a new country for a tournament - even though I'm only 22 I've been fortunate enough to have visited many different places already. So I was especially looking forward to coming to Korea.
I'm very impressed by the stadium. This is where Steffi Graf won the 1988 Olympics, the year she completed the "Golden Slam". There are many outside courts for practice, which is not always the case at tournaments, and it's really nice to see so many children coming to watch practice.
I got back to Europe a few days ago. It was a long, emotional but overall successful trip to America.
When I arrived there my ranking was really low, but now I'm at least back in the top 40 and am confident I can rise much higher during my remaining tournaments.
At the same time, I am not thinking too much about rankings: I've always believed that if you concentrate on improving your game and winning matches, the rankings take care of themselves. Still, at least I don't have to ask for anymore wild cards!
After the French Open I went to Belgrade to visit some family. It was a long time since my last visit and I had a lot of catching up to do.
I went to the premiere of Sex and the City 2 and also took part in an event for my sponsor Verano: a shopping party at the Zira mall. I was fortunate to be visited by my friend Sorana Cirstea, and I really enjoyed showing her some parts of the city.
Arriving back in the city where you have won a tournament is always a special feeling. I think Paris is the most special city for me, considering some of the experiences I have had here.
Even before I won the French Open, my first Grand Slam title, I had always achieved things first here: my first Grand Slam quarter-final, my first Grand Slam final, for example. And my match with Mauresmo when I was 17 – I will never forget it.
I spent yesterday in Madrid, taking part in the launch of this year’s tournament. It was a superbly organized event and I enjoyed being involved.
I had a very informal hit with Manolo Santana, the tournament director and legend of Spanish tennis, on a mini-court. He’s a lovely man and I always enjoy meeting him. He was wearing a suit and I was in a dress, so it wasn’t the most intense hit!
I’m currently training in California with my new coach Heinz Gunthardt. Things are going well: I am learning a lot from him, and I’m feeling more confident about my game.
The timing of the New York exhibition couldn’t be any better, considering that we have just started working together: it gives us the opportunity to try some things out in a serious setting, but one that is not as pressured as a tournament.
Taking part in Friday morning’s draw was interesting to say the least.
Not only did it throw up many intriguing first-round matches — not to mention many potentially thrilling encounters in the later rounds — but MC Bruce McAvaney kept me firmly on my toes.
‘‘Who do you think is better looking: Maria Sharapova or Maria Kirilenko?’’ is not the kind of question I’m used to being asked, but you can’t say he didn’t make it interesting!