Dubai: Ana needs someone to understand her
Ana Ivanovic, the 23-year-old former world number one, admits she needs someone to understand her as she again ponders how to climb back to the top.
A fading performance in a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 first round loss to Patty Schnyder on Tuesday left Ivanovic with a paltry return of two wins in five matches in 2011, once more triggering analysis of what she needs to revive her undoubted tennis talent.
Part of it involves physical issues, but more of it seems to involve emotional struggles, encompassing off-court professional relationships in her group as well as on-court sports psychology.
"I just need someone to understand me as a person and understand what I need," said Ivanovic, who parted company with coach Antonio van Grichen last week.
"And I need someone who's going to be a little bit relaxed, because I'm such an intense person. I'm such a perfectionist and over-analyse everything so I need someone who's going to make sure I chill out a little."
Ivanovic has tried several coaches in the last couple of years, which has created twin platforms - a return to the top 20 and greater knowledge as to what sort of person might suit her.
"I actually think it's good to have a male coach," she reckoned. If he's good then I think a male coach can help so much. Guys and girls have different mentalities.
"Girls are so stressed about everything. Guys see everything much lighter and they take everything much lighter. That's great and it's something we have to learn from."
Asked if two women together might make her stressed, she replied: "Yes, exactly. I think it would be too much. One woman on a team is enough! Two would be too much!"
It was pointed out that her fitness coach, Marijana Lojanica, was a woman. "But that's different," Ivanovic asserted. "Tennis and fitness are very different."
"Fitness is something that should be more relaxed and fun. You do work, but you can chit-chat in the meantime. Tennis is more intense, it's more pressure and it's more stressful situations. I think two women working together would be hard."
Ivanovic's thinking may have been influenced by the time she spent in Perth recently with her Serbian compatriot, Novak Djokovic, just before he won last month's Australian Open.
"I just saw how Novak works and thought 'why am I so stressed about my own work?' Ivanovic said. "In Perth it was a small environment and so you do hang out a lot.
"I could see how he works, what he does for recovery and this kind of thing, and it's so much more relaxed than on the women's tour and so much more fun. They work really hard but in such a positive environment.
"I thought, everyone around me is so stressed and down', and I'm like 'guys, just be more bubbly and happy and upbeat' because it affects you, the people that surround you, it affects you a lot.
"So yes, I was speaking with him a lot and wanted to ask him how he does it, but it's very personal and hard for me to ask, but I'm sure he can give me good advice."
Will she find the right formula for her? "I really strongly believe I can, you know," she replied. "Lots of people ask when it's going to happen, and it's hard to say."
"I just have to really believe in myself and make those changes. I have to kind of, you know, go through it again to reach what I want to reach."