by Moose, guest contributor
Flashback - 2003, the Advanta WTA event at Villanova University. 1st round match between Shenay Perry and an unheralded young lady who had played through three rounds of qualies to get into a Tier 2 main draw. There were maybe 200 people in the audience, so I snuck down from the cheap seats to get a better view.
That was the day I fell in love with Jelena Jankovic.
The talent was there, but was raw like sushi. The heart, however was on full display. A smile after a forehand winner. A yell at her “inner Jelena” after netting an easy backhand.
Flash forward – 2007. Jelena makes it two for three in Slam semifinals. And look who’s joining her on the ride. Ana Ivanovic. The “It” eggling, ready to hatch. After a couple of years of saying the girl has more promise to offer than a three-wish genie who keeps forgetting he already granted #2, it’s great to see Ivanovic putting everything together at the exact moment she needs to.
Oh, and a side note. Novak Djokovic…. quarterfinalist. There are 12 players still standing at the French, and a full quarter of them are Serbs. For a country of 10 million, with a minimally financed Federation, that’s pretty impressive stuff. Add in the fact that they practiced between bombings in abandoned in-ground swimming pools lined as courts, and it’s phenomenal.