Don't like the weather in Texas? Wait a few minutes, they say. But the winds in the Lone Star State are a breeze compared to women's tennis. There the most abrupt shift might involve Serbia's Ana Ivanovic. In 2008 Ivanovic won the French Open and assumed the No. 1 spot. She was a charismatic champion, destined to be the WTA's new starlet. Yet since then, her career has imploded as she has struggled to win matches (never mind tournaments), battled injuries and seen her ranking plummet to 42. Last week, in the second round at Roland Garros—her professed "favorite tournament"—Ivanovic was thumped 6--3, 6--0 by the 28th seed, Russia's Alisa Kleybanova.
Now 22, Ivanovic has followed tennis's Career Revival Manual, changing coaches, tinkering with equipment, taking a hiatus and dialing back off-court commitments (though—full disclosure—she is featured in the 2010 SI Swimsuit Issue). Her real problem, however, is a deficit of confidence she cannot veil on the court. To her credit AI admits that she lacks the answers. "I think I'm on the right path," she said after her loss last week. "I have a plan in place, and I have a really good team around me." She sounded not unlike a beleaguered executive trying to project confidence in a foundering multinational corporation.
BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS (IVANOVIC)
MISTAKE PRONE Ivanovic had 17 unforced errors against Kleybanova.