Ivanovic battling fitness to defend French Open title

Ana Ivanovic's sharp loss of form since she won last year's French Open, and a niggling knee injury, have cast doubts over her title defence at the Paris grand slam which starts on Sunday.

The Serb pulled out of the Madrid Open earlier this month with the recurring injury, which worsened after her country's Fed Cup win over Spain in April.



The 21-year-old from Belgrade vowed to be fit for her French defence but coach Craig Cardon was recently quoted by the tennis channel website (http://www.tennischannel.com) as saying her appearance there was doubtful.



"I am not sure she is even going to be able to play at the French Open because of this knee injury," Cardon said, although he added: "I know her confidence is still pretty high and her level of play is good enough for Ana to win it again."



Even if she plays, the world number eight will need more than confidence to retain her Roland Garros crown after plummeting down the WTA rankings from the number one spot she grabbed after taking last year's title.



She has since won only the Linz Open last October. After another dip in form she was knocked out by unheralded Russian Alisa Kleybanova in the third round of the Australian Open.



If she does miss the French open, Ivanovic will almost certainly drop out of the top 10 - a severe setback after becoming the first Serb to climb to the WTA summit.

Fellow Serb Jelena Jankovic, who ended 2008 as the world number one without ever winning a grand slam title, has had to battle her own problems in a disappointing season.



Her lightning reflexes, stamina and speed around the court, qualities that powered her consistent rise in 2008, disappeared after she gained weight during the Christmas break after building up extra muscle and strength.



Jankovic made a fourth-round exit from the Australian Open and her Madrid quarter-final defeat by Swiss Patty Schnyder has made her drop to fifth in the WTA rankings.



"I expected a lot more of myself in Madrid, but it's history and I now have to raise my game for the French Open," Jankovic was quoted as saying by Serbian media after the loss.



"I know where I have to improve and I also have to make radical changes to be number one again."



BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference