It has been an undeniably rocky season for former world #1 Ana Ivanovic. The Serbian tennis star’s form in the 2016 season reached a new low as she lost in straight sets to world #121 Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-2.
Ivanovic has struggled tremendously on-court. She is yet to win a tennis match since the grass court event in Mallorca over two months ago. An early exit in Wimbledon to Ekaterina Alexandora, a player ranked outside the top 200, was a further illustration of Ivanovic’s considerable vulnerabilities between the ears.
So what exactly is the reason behind Ivanovic’s fall from grace?
What has happened to the same player that shocked Serena Williams in a round of sixteen match at the 2014 Australian Open? The serious problem for the tennis megastar is that she does not have the luxury of a default setting like many top players have. A default setting would enable Ivanovic to drive through matches even when she is not feeling entirely comfortable about her tennis.
Even something as minor as having the ability to rely on a particular strength that, no matter what, will be ever-present even during the more difficult times. It is well-documented that Ivanovic’s major weapon is her forehand. In stages of her loss to Vekic, she still could not rely on that strength pulling her through the match.
One element to Ivanovic’s preparation in 2016 is whether tennis is the main priority at this stage of her career. Is Ivanovic truly putting everything into her tennis in order to make herself a better player? The world #25 has recently married longterm boyfriend and Manchester United footballer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, so there is an argument that tennis is not her only focus.
The beginning of the end of Ana Ivanovic?
Another problematic feature to Ivanovic’s 2016 season is her lack of reaction to the turmoil that is unfolding around her during her matches. In some matches, there is little emotion or response to adversity, which is one of the more disappointing aspects of Ivanovic’s shortcomings.
There are positives to take into the remainder of the season for Ivanovic however. She knows that she has the game to affect the very best of the women’s game over the years. The main aspect she has struggled with is the consistency of those extreme highs. Ivanovic’s career is one of the most mind-boggling – but amongst all the chaos and madness, there has still been some memorable moments of ecstasy during her career.
Ivanovic’s career has had as many fluctuations as her signature ball toss. But is this current slump as terminal as it looks? One thing that’s for sure is that there is a lot of mental baggage that leaks into her game and affects her considerably. All of these former top players will always have the attributes and characteristics of a champion, so it would be stupid to count Ivanovic out for the remainder of her tennis life.
Ivanovic’s dedication and care for her tennis has been questioned by many, but if she truly wants to, she has what it takes to rise into the higher echelons of the women’s game once again.