IPTL 2016: Ana Ivanovic ends injury-marred 2016 with return to court in Singapore

Ana Ivanovic is a welcome addition to the end-of-year tennis scene as the IPTL hits the courts of Singapore

ana ivanovic
Ana Ivanovic has endured a challenging 2016 Photo: Photo Concierge Ella Ling

There is no doubting that 2016 has been a challenging year for former world No1 Ana Ivanovic.

At the end of 2014, the popular Serb was ranked at No5. By the end of last year, she had slipped to 16, but this year she will end the season at 65—as low a ranking as she had in over a decade. It is unfamiliar territory for a woman who surged to the top of her sport at the age of just 20, after winning the French Open and reaching the final of the Australian Open in 2008.

Her resurgence in 2014, which included four titles from six finals, was followed by her first semi-final finish at a Major since that title at Roland Garros, but things were about to slip again as injury and repeated early exits from tournaments took their toll. First-round losses in Auckland and Sydney were followed by a third-round exit in Australian. By the time she reached Roland Garros, she had won just nine matches for seven losses. And from Wimbledon through to the US Open, she did not win a match.

With her swift exit from New York came the news that Ivanovic would take no further part on the 2016 tour. She tweeted:

“Due to my recurring wrist injury, I have been advised to take some time off the court in order to recover and regain my full strength. I have also been delaying surgery on my toe, which I broke at the Australian Open in January last year (2015) and this is something else that I will need to take care of in the upcoming weeks.”

Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that she has been such a welcome addition to the end-of-year tennis scene as the IPTL hits the courts of Singapore. With the loss of Serena Williams from this leg and Roger Federer from the next in India, the tournament must have heaved a sigh of relief, and she has certainly been welcomed with open arms not just by her one million twitter fans but by colleagues.

And even after posting an opening-match defeat for the UAE Royals against the Indian Aces in her first match, she remained upbeat: “It’s lovely to be back in Singapore. I have really nice memories from here, especially from 2014.

“It was my first match after a long time and it was quite challenging, so I hope I can improve little by little in the next few matches.”

Ivanovic was a part of the Indian Aces team that won the inaugural IPTL tournament in 2014. She moved to the UAE Royals for the second season, and has rejoined the Emirates team for 2016.

Martina Hingis, the only woman on the UAE Royals squad before Ivanovic’s arrival, said just a few days ago: “I hope that Ana can join us soon!”

The Swiss star’s wishes were realised: Hingis was Ivanovic’s first hitting partner when the Serb arrived in Singapore.

The Royals take on the home team, the Singapore Slammers, Wednesday evening and the Japan Warriors on Thursday afternoon.

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