Something weird happened on Aug. 11. A player who had yet to make the final of a Grand Slam somehow managed to grasp hold of the World No. 1-ranked player in Women’s tennis.
Not to discredit any of the top 10 players, but it had to be said that rather than fighting to get to No. 1, the battle seemed to be for who wouldn’t be No. 1, as player after player fell short of their expected best in tournament after tournament.
Jelena Jankovic herself had four opportunities to take the top spot, due to Ana Ivanovic’s poor form and early exits, but each time she dramatically fell way short of the mark. When she eventually gained the top spot, she became the first woman to make the peak without entering a first Grand Slam final.
That, of course, is partly true. She never made a singles final, but if you’re a fanatical British fan, many will remember her face vividly as she was of course the other half of Jamie Murray’s British triumph in the mixed doubles in Wimbledon in mid-2007.
And to be honest without Jankovic, Jamie was a small fish in a big pond; anyone watching could see that Jelena was the match winner and Murray seemingly basked in her reflective glory.
We were instantly attracted to her: the talent, the determination and more than anything, that massive smile! Now it appears, she has a reason to get that belter of a smile out again, and this time its all down to her, and her alone.
Her victory over Olympic champion Elena Dementieva has given her the opportunity to take the helm at the top of women’s tennis that she obviously craves, and has worked hard for throughout her career for thus far.
Whether she can kick start her Grand Slam final career with a victory is yet to be seen, and seems unlikely as her opponent is repeat finalist Serena Williams, but hopefully for Jelena it will now be the boost she needs to reach more finals and consolidate her place as a force to be reckoned with.