Ana Ivanovic has no regrets over her decision to retire from tennis.
The former French Open champion announced her retirement on the eve of the 2017 season after struggling with injury problems for several years.
Five months on, the 29-year-old is enjoying life away from the tour and has no plans to return, either as a player or coach.
Ivanovic said: “Some people will say I stopped too late. I think everyone feels when it’s the right time for them. And it definitely wasn’t a decision overnight.
“There were so many factors that influenced that decision for me. It’s been now almost six months. I do not regret it. I am very happy where I’m at at the moment, and I’m still learning a lot. I want to improve. I want to share everything I have learned. I think it was the right time for me.
“I do miss it sometimes. It’s never easy. It’s been my whole life. But I really enjoy my time not having to have every day a schedule made for me and having a little bit more freedom. I have been busy. I do miss competition, but I get to travel a little bit on my own terms, which is a little bit different. And I get the chance to walk around, explore, and not have to save my energy for the match days.
“But I still watch a lot and keep in touch with some of my friends on tour.”
Ivanovic was back at the scene of her greatest triumph on Thursday as Roland Garros staged a small ceremony to honour their former champion.
The Serbian looked set for a show-stopping career when she lifted the trophy in Paris in 2008 and rose to world number one but she struggled to deal with the pressure and never hit such heights again.
Ivanovic said: “As I was preparing for today, I really was promising that I will not cry, and it was very hard to hold my tears back. It brought back a lot of emotions, actually. It was so wonderful.
“I do have very special bond with this place and Philippe Chatrier. And to walk on and see my family there, it was very hard but sweet at the same time.”
Ivanovic now lives in Chicago with her husband and Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
“It’s the first time for me that I kind of settle down somewhere,” she said. “I really like the city. People are super friendly. It’s lovely having the lake there. But the wind, that’s the only thing. It’s not the question if it’s windy or not, it’s a question if it’s sunny or not. The wind is always there. But it’s been really exciting times.”
She is a good friend of her fellow Serb, world No2 Novak Djokovic, and believes it’s only a matter of time before he returns to his very best. Djokovic suffered a hefty straight-sets defeat at the hands of 23-year-old Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals in Paris on Tuesday and will drop out of the top-two for the first time since 2011 when the new rankings are out on Monday.
“I really believe Novak will come back. I think it’s amazing what he’s done, being on top for so long. It’s not easy to maintain that level. It’s maybe a little bit more easier, men’s than women’s, but still I think it’s amazing,” said Ivanovic.
“And sometimes you just need a break. And also, the tour doesn’t really give you that time to sort of reflect and enjoy also the success. Sometimes it takes a little time, but I’m sure he’ll be back.”
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