Ana aims to create some happy memories

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Eastbourne has never brought much joy to former world number one Ana Ivanovic, but that could all be about to change as she prepares to take to the courts in the 2013 AEGON International this week.

The 2008 French Open champion has never progressed past the second round of the Devonshire Park tournament - withdrawing through injury twice and being knocked out in the first and second round in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Now, the Serb, who arrived in town on Wednesday to squeeze in some early practice, is in good form, enjoying her tennis and ready to launch a serious title challenge this time round.

The world number 12 said, “I am feeling good at the moment and hopefully I can make some happier memories this year.

“This is the best possible preparation for Wimbledon - the courts are fantastic, it’s very close to the hotel, which is convenient, and the grass is impeccable.

“It’s not often you get good grass, so it’s nice to be here to get some practice.

“I like to walk around and go for a run along the sea. I enjoy reading so it’s nice to open my hotel window and hear the waves. It’s fun to be back in Eastbourne.”

Ivanovic is steeling herself for a tough week, though, with not only a wealth of top-class tennis stars to compete with, but also the elements as the winds that became so notorious in last year’s tournament threaten to return again.

She added, “I had some practice this morning (Thursday) but it was very windy so I couldn’t do much. In the circumstances, though, it was a good practice.

“I hope the weather improves for next week but if it doesn’t, the cloud and the rain is something we are all used to and it is the same for everyone.”

It goes without saying that grass is a highly unpredictable surface and the 2008 Australian Open finalist wouldn’t be surprised to witness another shock victory, as was the case last year when underdog Tamira Paszek took the trophy.

“I think in the tournament this year, there are seven from the top ten, so it’s a really strong field. There will be no easy matches.

“Grass can challenge the top players and it’s very possible for players to cause some upsets.”

Last year’s AEGON International saw a number of top seeds crash at the first hurdle, triggering speculation that perhaps some players preferred the rest in the build-up to The Championships, Wimbledon.

However, Ivanovic insists a tournament such as this one is the ideal way to prepare the mind and the body heading into the prestigious Grand Slam.

“It is a very individual thing. The facilities here are good preparation for Wimbledon but some players may prefer to rest for the week.

“I try and win and do well in every tournament I enter.

“Going from clay to grass is the hardest change to make because the ball is faster and doesn’t bounce as high.

“You need to do a lot of work on the core and legs because you have to work hard on staying down low.

“I, personally, like to get as many matches as I can on grass before Wimbledon.”

Ivanovic is enterted into the main draw, due to start on Monday, June 17.