Jelena Jankovic – Bred to Stardom

Player Profiles
By Hiland Doolittle, January 1st, 2011
Jelena Jankovic

Jelena Jankovic

At ten years old, Jelena Jankovic seemed headed for a life of piano and foreign studies rather than to a life of tennis stardom. At that time, Jelena was studying at the French Diplomatic School and showing great potential as a possible pianist.

That life soon changed when Jelena Jankovic, often called JJ, innocently picked up a racquet and began to play in some friendly competitions. She played her first friendly tennis match in November 1994. Six months later, Jelena Jankovic began to play in state tournaments. By the time she was eleven, Jelena won the National Championship for girls 12 and under. Later that year, Jelena Jankovic went on to win the prestigious Limon Bowl Tournament in Italy.

Shortly after her successful first season, Jelena Jankovic moved to Florida and joined the Nick Bolitieri School as the next “new tennis wonder kid.” The Bolitieri discipline was a comfortable fit for the competitive Serb.

At 16, Jelena surprised the field by winning the Australian Open for juniors and achieving the top international ranking among juniors. The same year, the Serb opened more eyes by reaching the finals in the U.S. Open and in the Orange Bowl tournament. Jelena appeared destined and ready for stardom.

In 2002, Jelena joined the tour and had impressive performances in Virginia, and Stanford, losing to Belgian Kim Clijsters. Bolitieri said that Jankovic “is a girl that will dominate the world’s tennis scene.”

Her powerful two-handed backhand was definitely her biggest weapon but she seemed to have no weaknesses. In her first modified year on tour she reached a ranking of 197. Everything was about to change once more for the feisty Jelena Jankovic.

In 2003, she won her first ITF tournament in Dubai and quickly broke into the top 100. Jelena began a strategic rise to the top. Carefully scheduling tournaments in which she could compete, the Serb began the long climb up the rankings ladder.

In 2004, Jelena claimed her first WTA title at Budapest. In 2005, she won WTA events at Dubai, Budapest, Seoul and Birmingham. However, it was her clean triumph in Dubai that garnered the most attention. At season’s end, Jelena Jankovic was ranked 22nd on tour.

Jelena Jankovic In Bikini

Jelena Jankovic In Bikini

2006 was a difficult year as Jelena Jankovic lost eleven straight matches before finding her form. It may well be that losing streak that has kept Jelena from becoming discouraged with several high-profile 2009 losses. Yet, here she is again. The former world number one has climbed through the ranks al the way to number two.

In 2007, Jankovic won 4 titles, reached the finals in four others and reaching the semis in seven other events. Her ranking rose from 12th to 3rd and she finished second in the Sony Ericsson Championship Race. JJ played 97 tour matches and won more matches (75) than any other tour player.

2010 is shaping up to be one of JJ’s best seasons. Jelena has recorded $1.5 in earnings and claimed another title (her12th) at the prestigious Indian Wells, where she downed Caroline Wozniacki in the finals in a dominating performance. Jelena has re-built and re-committed herself to her winning ways. With $2,136,991 in winnings, 2010 is a year to remember for Jelena.

Jelena is now an international celebrity and was selected as one of the tour’s ambassadors to meet the Queen at this year’s Wimbledon. JJ has come a long way since her foreign study days.

Birth DateFebruary 28, 1985
ResidenceBradenton, Florida
Height5’ 9”
Weight130 lbs
Year Turned Pro2000
Current Rank – Singles8
Current Rank – Doubles106
Career Prize Earnings$11,569,440
Year-To- Date – Earnings$2,136,991
Grand Slam (Singles)0
Australian Open0
French Open0
Wimbledon 0
U.S. Open0
Grand Slam Doubles0


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