“The French and Wimbledon, it’s higher class and it’s very traditional,” she said. “Here, it’s a lot of people and a lot of people that know a lot about tennis. It’s much more enjoyable in this tournament.”
And she could just become It.
The W.T.A. women’s tour is starving for idols at the moment. Kim Clijsters, who won the U.S. Open two years ago, retired this year at age 23. Other marquee players are no longer factors: Amelie Mauresmo is injured; Martina Hingis is trying a comeback after squandering years on a premature retirement.
Maria Sharapova, last year’s winner, was widely regarded as the next star of tennis. She certainly is that—she made more in endorsements last year than any female athlete ever—but with her predictable forehand-and-serve game, she hasn’t quite lived up to those expectations on the court.
Ivanovic, for her part, has begun to receive the star treatment—there are already a number of professional-looking Ivanovic fan-worship sites on the Web—but she seems to regard the press attention, the photo shoots and the all-around notoriety with the same even attitude that she applies to everything else.
“It’s good to do something different and forget about court and practice,” she said. “But it’s also important to keep a good balance, because at the end of the day they ask you to do commercial because you achieved something good in tennis, so in order to achieve more you have to practice hard.”