2014 Season Preview: Ana Ivanovic
At 26, the soaring highs are in the past, and, hopefully, so are the plummeting lows. Ana Ivanovic has spent the last four seasons bumping around in the WTA’s second tier; she hasn’t won a title since 2011, but she’s kept herself in the Top 20, and thus not totally irrelevant.
Ivanovic is always looking for a fresh start, and she’ll have another when she begins 2014 with a new coach. She should start well; she has been a finalist at the Australian Open, and last year she reached the round of 16. But her ever-leaner frame has left her with less power. That’s fine against the players who don’t have her ball-striking skills, but it makes her vulnerable to the bigger hitters. Ivanovic reached the round of 16 at three of four Grand Slams last year, but she recorded just one win over a Top 10 player.
Ad-In: At this point, hanging around within reach of the Top 10, avoiding the top players for as long as she can at the majors, and winning a couple of rounds each week may be all you can ask of Ivanovic. But she has won big before, and a victory over a highly-ranked but less-than-intimidating player like Sara Errani, Angelique Kerber, or even Agnieszka Radwanska could give her a spark. Tennis is, after all, for late bloomers these days.
Ad-Out: With a new coach comes the possibility of a working relationship that doesn’t work. Ivanovic has had her share of them in the past, but at 26 she can’t afford to waste much time or take another tumble in the rankings. The game, slowly but surely, will get younger than her.
As we approach the new year, we'll take a closer look at what's in store for the past year's top performers. To read more of our 2014 Season Previews, click here.