There was no big press conference or hundreds of photographers as one of the biggest forehands announced her departure.
“I can no longer perform up to my own standards.” These words sum up the career of one of tennis’ most marketable athletes. Born in Belgrade to father who is a business man and a mother who was a lawyer, Ivanovic became interested in tennis when watching fellow Yugoslav, Monica Seles compete on television. She memorized the telephone number of a local tennis clinic and began her lessons at the age of five.
During the NATO bombings, she was forced to continue her lessons in an abandoned swimming pool. The sides of the swimming pool were so narrow that hitting a backhand crosscourt was virtually impossible. By the age of 13 she convinced her parents to let her train in Switzerland, where facilities and coaching was much more advanced. Her mother accompanied her to Basel and for a short time, they lived with Dan Holzmann, the man who would become Ivanovic’s longtime manager.
Her first title came in 2005 when she won the Canberra International by defeating Hungarian, Melinda Czink in the final. Her ranking quickly rose and by the end of the year, she was ranked 16th in the world. Her ferocious forehand and steely determination caused many of the top names to notice the young pretender. The previous season, she had pushed Venus Williams to two tiebreak sets and looked comfortable competing against the power of the legend.
The 2006 season marked her big breakthrough, which came at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. She defeated former world number 1 and comeback star of the season, Martina Hingis in a highly competitive final. The power game of Ivanovic left Hingis with no answers. This title run allowed her clinch the US Open series.
The 2007 season witnessed the arrival of Ivanovic on the grand slam level as she stormed her way to the French Open final. An utter dismantling of Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals left many wondering if the Serbian could upset the Queen of Clay, Justine Henin. It was not meant to be as an erratic service toss and forehand errors cost Ivanovic the match. This season also marked her debut at the season ending championship, where she lost in the semi-finals to Henin.