Jankovic pronounces herself fit and healthy - for a change By Bill Scott

Other News Materials 24 August 2008 02:44 (UTC +04:00)

Second seed Jelena Jankovic, never far from surgery, pronounced herself fit on Saturday less than 48 hours before the start of the US Open.

The Serb received treatment for one of her frequent and numerous niggles - her calf - last week in Belgrade, after a quarter-final Beijing Olympic loss to Dinara Safina, the dpa reported.

"I'm feeling all right, knock on wood," said the 23-year-old, who had a brief reign at the number one ranking this month, before falling back to second behind compatriot Ana Ivanovic.

"I don't have any problems, any injuries. I'm trying to get back in shape, so I'm trying to train very hard and doing my best, to get as fit as possible for the tournament."

Jankovic reached the New York quarter-finals in 2007 after a semi- final the year before. After four titles in 2007 she only has Rome to her credit for this campaign.

While she was thrilled to have played for Serbia in Beijing, Jankovic is putting all that behind her as she concentrates on the 2008 concluding major at Flushing Meadows.

"Finally I don't have my (physical) problem anymore, it's finished. It's now a matter of getting all these (leg) muscles back and feeling like I used to feel before when I was fit and ready to play.

"I'm still working very hard, and some of the things don't happen overnight. I need time to train. You cannot get your endurance and your strength back in a few days.

"So I will try to keep working hard and we will see how everything goes."

The second seed starts with American teenaged wild card Coco Vandeweghe, ranked out side the Top 500 and with only four WTA-level appearances in her career.

While now out of her sickbed, the drama-queen Serb cannot forget what she's been through and is aiming to take baby steps at the wrapup major. "I've had a tough year with injuries, so many injuries, and I was also sick in the middle of the year.

"I've been struggling, because when you have these kinds of problems it's tough to train 100 per cent - I finally decide to train, and I have some other problem where I have to rest one week or two weeks, so I lose (matches)."

Though it's not the Olympics, Serbian pride will be a major factor for Jankovic during her New York adventure.

"Tennis nowadays, believe it or not, is the most popular sport in Serbia," she said. "That has never been the case. We didn't have any players and we didn't have a tradition in tennis.

"Now that we have three top three in the world (Ivanovic, herself and men's number three Novak Djokovic) it's really amazing. It's a great thing for our country."