A day in the life of an ex tennis Super star Ana Ivanovic it is not for the deceptive.
Between caring for her two young sons, work and travels, the Serbian remains as busy as ever.
Ivanovic first announced her retirement in 2016, eight years after winning the French Open title at just 20, propelling her career to an all-time high.
Her conquest of the iconic dark red clays of Paris is a treasured memory that Ivanovic admits still evokes a lot of emotions. But these days, she’s more focused on enjoying the “precious moments” ahead of her, courtesy of her children.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I retired,” Serb told the Olympics Channel Podcast. “Most of my days are now consumed by my two little boys that I have. I love spending time with them. It’s really special to see them grow up so fast.”
While tennis is renowned for the longevity of some of its greatest stars, ending her career at 29 is not something the Australian Open finalist regrets. He speaks almost philosophically about discovering a calling to do something else in your life.
And while her competitive days are behind her, she admits that the craft she honed for hours comes in handy from time to time, especially when faced with the demands of caring for two children under the age of five:
“Being a mother has its perks, of course, but it also has its challenges,” explains the tennis star. “For four years, I didn’t really sleep. There are so many times when you’re really exhausted and you’re talking about the edge of survival and you’re thinking, “How do I do that?” How can a small man tire out three, two or four adults?
“But then you really get from what you’ve had in the past and how you’ve gotten through tough times, long matches, exhaustion and so on.
“Of course you don’t feel the stress you had while playing. It’s like one smile and your world melts away. It’s definitely beautiful, but of course it has its challenges.”
In 2008, Ana Ivanovic won her first and only major title at Roland Garros
Photo by Getty Images from 2008
Holding Bastian Schweinsteiger in love
In the summer of 2016, Ivanovic married German football Super star Bastian Schweinsteiger in a romantic ceremony in the canals of Venice shortly after his country withdrew from the Euros in the semi-finals.
Combining their remarkable achievements, the two are undeniably one of the most influential couples in sports – but the tennis star says her sons, aged four and two, have no idea who their parents are.
“We don’t really talk to them about it at all and we want to keep it as long as possible. We just want them to have their own choices and their own passions. That’s why we keep them completely secret; we want them to discover who they are.”
While children may not yet understand their parents’ reputation, no retired athlete has been able to hide their athletic streak – especially when they go out on the court.
Ivanovic admits that the last time she picked up a racket, she mostly played against her husband, who she says is desperate to take away points from her:
“He’s very competitive and he’s still trying very hard,” says Ivanovic through smiles and laughter.
“We play every game he gets 30 love points and maybe he can win a game or two, but sometimes I make him work hard for points and sometimes I let him win a game when he deserves it.”
It looks like the FIFA World Cup winner will need to work on his serve and volley…
Schweinsteiger and Ivanovic have been married since 2016
Photo from 2022. Getty Images
Ana Ivanovic: ‘Women have much more pressure to perform’
Among the players currently on the women’s tour, there is no shortage of players impressing Ivanovic, who herself spent 12 weeks at the top of the women’s rankings.
Pawel Badosa, Maria Sakari, He is Jabeur and the current number one in the world Iga Swiatek these are all the names that have captured her imagination.
“I really like her style of play, it reminds me a bit of my game,” Ivanovic said of the Polish player. “Especially when I saw her win Roland Garros in 2020. He really enjoys running around his forehand; has a really interesting game.”
?wi?tek is famous for later becoming the best female player in the world Ash Barty shockingly revealed that she is retiring from the sport.
The Australian said that in addition to achieving her goals, she was done with the physical strain of the sport, declaring she was “exhausted”.
Barta’s decision to retire at just 25 is especially forgiving of Ivanovic; such decisions are extremely personal and are always made for good reasons, he explains.
Certainly the Serbian looking at it must be in no doubt that female fighters are now under more scrutiny than ever before, which means decisions like Barty’s could be more commonplace in the coming years:
“Weirdly, there’s so much, but there’s a lot more pressure on women to perform, to be consistently on top,” explains Ivanovic. “Osaka, she talked a lot about the mental struggles and the mental pressure she has and I think everyone has that. Everyone just deals with it. And it’s not always nice, it’s not always easy.
“During my career, it was sometimes very difficult because I was so focused on the outside, the results, what people thought and so on. And then you realize that it’s not what really matters, it’s what comes from within. I think the mental part of the game is becoming much more important than ever.
“I remember being annoyed that a lot of times people didn’t really know what was going on behind the scenes because they only see the tip of the iceberg. Everything else is what we do off the pitch. in pre-season, what do we do in training weeks, what do we do before matches and nobody sees it and why would I want to go into all these details?
“People make judgments based on what they see, which is not – well, most of the time – the complete story. It can be really hard for players to accept that because they know the truth is different.”
During her career, Ivanovi? competed in two Olympics, reaching the third round in London
Photo by Getty Images from 2016
Staying authentic no matter what
Using hindsight, distance and time, Ivanovic now understands how to deal with pressure.
“It’s about what you do with it and how you react to it,” he explains. “For me personally, this is something I learned a little too late.
“Follow your heart, because if you do something for others, you will not be fulfilled. If you do something for yourself, even if you make mistakes, it’s yours and you must own it.”
Her inner-reflective and self-centered worldview seems like a natural step for a gamer who was known to be shy in an era dominated by powerful players and great personalities. It also reflects her broader ambition to be as authentic as possible.
“I want people to see me for who I am. I don’t hide anything, and I’m quite shy and quite secretive. That’s who I am.
“That’s also one thing I’ve learned: it can’t be that everyone likes you or what you do. That’s a very important thing to learn.”
Ivanovic believes top tennis players are under more pressure than ever before
Photo by Getty Images from 2016
Ivanovic picks contenders for 2022 French Open
It’s been 14 years since Ivanovic won tennis glory in Paris, but even that doesn’t make it any easier to choose this year’s title winners.
In the women’s draw, the former tennis ace quickly selected the champion of ?wi?tek 2020 for the crown, but she also has her eye on one of the rising stars of this sport – Jabeur:
“I am very curious how Iga will do this year. And I have to say after seeing Ons in Madrid I think it’s going to be really, really interesting because it has a very unusual game and I think it’s very nice to see.
When it came to men’s singles, there was only one name on Ivanovic’s lips:
“Carlos Alcaraz. I think he’s done really amazing over the last few weeks and I’m really interested in seeing how he does.”