Ana Ivanovic is one of the most popular female professional tennis players. She is popular for her great Tennis game, which took her to the world number one ranking in 2008, as well as for her stunning looks.
Great Fitness And A Superb Forehand!
Ivanovic was born in 1987 in Belgrade, Serbia. She started playing tennis at the young age of 5. Her fellow countrywoman Monica Seles was a great inspiration for her professional tennis career.
Ivanovic did not have it easy in her youth, living in Belgrade. In the winter months she often trained in an empty swimming pool because there were no indoor courts available to her!
She also lived and trained in Belgrade during the NATO bombings in 1999! These experiences most likely made her even hungrier for success in Tennis!
Like most other world-class players, Ivanovic was already successful as a junior. In 2004 she reached the finals of the Wimbledon juniors tournament.
As a professional Ivanovic’s biggest win so far was the victory at the 2008 French Open.
That year she also reached the world number 1 ranking. She has won 10 tournaments on the WTA Tour so far. In 2011 she is trying to come back from a bit of a slump. Her ranking is currently outside the Top20.
Ana Ivanovic has some of the cleanest groundstrokes in the women’s game!
Let’s break down her entire game in detail!
Ivanovic has a great forehand!
It is usually her most dangerous shot and the way she hits it is very close to the basic forehand model that I teach students of all ages and almost all levels!
Ana Ivanovic Hitting Some Killer Forehands!
Ana has a rather conservative grip. My guess is that she has her right hand index knuckle on bevel 3.5, which is a great grip for players at all levels! This grip allows her to hit rather flat winners, which is extremely important in women?s tennis!
Her motion starts with a beautiful unit turn, coiling her upper body.
The racket travels on a high to low to high swing path and she keeps her head very still at contact.
Usually she finishes up high, catching the racket with her left hand. This helps her get great depth on the shot!
Overall she makes great use of the kinetic chain!
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Ana hits a nice two-handed backhand. It is a very consistent stroke with sound mechanics!
Her backhand down the line is
one of the best shots in her game!
Ivanovic has a very good grip structure on her backhand. Looking at some slow motion videos of the stroke, I believe her right hand index knuckle is on bevel 1.5 and her left hand index knuckle is on bevel 7.
Her swing has a beautiful inside-out shape to it and she uses her entire body to generate a lot of leverage. The high finish position helps her get great depth on the shot!
Ivanovic’s slice backhand is neither very good nor very bad in my opinion. She uses the shot mainly in defensive situations and those shots tend to float too much. It could be that she lacks a bit of forearm strength for this but more likely she is not aware of the problem and simply has not practiced it intentionally enough.
Ivanovic is not a great net player. She is not afraid to come in and finish points at the net though, which I believe is an edge that she has on a lot of her opponents in the women’s game!
On her forehand volley she tends to swing a bit too much at the ball and on her backhand volley she has trouble keeping the racket head stable enough at contact. Her volleys are usually good enough to finish points that she prepared well from the baseline though.
Now Ivanovic’s serve has been the topic of a lot of discussions.
She has had a lot of ups and downs with her serve and there were periods when the serve was a big liability in her game!
Looking at some older highlights of her playing in 2006, it seems like she had an ok serve with a fluid motion and a good toss just above her head and into the court.
In recent years she has had some major issues with her serve though. The biggest issue is the inconsistency with her toss!
Sometimes her toss is way off to the right!
Ivanovic Serve Slow Motion
The toss is too far to the right of her body!
This toss that is too far off to the right has been a problem with her serve for a while now. It causes her to open up her body way too early and she loses control over the serve.
In 2009 I believe she also tried an abbreviated service motion with a shorter swing. That didn’t work out well at all and was probably the low point in her serving career.
Looking at some recent video in 2011, it seems like the toss is a little more over her head again and a little more consistent in general. She still opens up too early though and her serve could be improved a whole in many aspects!
I think Ana Ivanovic has a good general game plan.
She looks to dictate from the baseline, hitting a lot of inside-in and inside-out forehands mixed in with some down the line backhand winners.
What she also does well is take short balls early and then come in to finish off the points. Her conservative forehand grip allows her to take these short balls very early and take time away from opponents.
Returning serves well and putting pressure on opponents serves is extremely important in women’s pro tennis and I believe Ana could do a better job at this from a tactical standpoint.
This is partially due to her swings being too big on service returns but possibly her mindset is also not aggressive enough when returning serves.
Ana is in very good shape. She certainly puts in the hard work off the court that it takes to be a world class professional.
Her footwork is exceptional!
One thing you can notice is that she tends to use a lot of small adjustment steps right before she hits. This makes sure that she is in the absolute best possible set up and allows her to really swing hard at the ball as often as possible.
Another thing to note is that her footwork moving forward is very good. One of her biggest strengths is taking shorter balls relatively early and putting a lot of pressure on her opponents.
Check out Ana training and talking about her fitness regime!
Judging Ana Ivanovic from a mental standpoint seems quite difficult to me.
I think that she is actually a great fighter with good attitude on the court. Unfortunately, her serving issues have caused her to loose confidence in her Tennis at times.
Another thing to note is that Ana has stated many times that she has extremely high expectations of herself and that it can hold her back.
Expecting yourself to play extremely well all the time is simply an unrealistic expectation and leads to mental problems for all tennis players!
Ivanovic has also stated that she regained her confidence mainly through a tougher fitness regimen. Assuming you have no major technical issues, I believe that working really hard on your fitness is one of the best ways to boost your confidence on the tennis court!
The biggest issue in Ivanovic’s game has been her serve. Therefore, I ranked her number 4 on the technical side of things even though her groundstrokes are extremely good.
The main thing Ivanovic needs to work on is her serve!
She needs to get a coach that really understands serve mechanics and can help her develop a solid serve. The first thing to be addressed is her toss. It should be more over her head and not as far to the right.
She could also benefit from working on the fluidity of her motion and not opening up too early with the upper body! Once the serve becomes better, her confidence will skyrocket in my opinion.
Two other things to improve are return of serve
and defensive slice backhands.
Her swings are often too big on those returns and her slice backhands float too much!
These technical adjustments combined with the hard physical work that she already does could get her back to the Top5 in my opinion!