Tennis-Ivanovic plans to travel without a coach

DUBAI Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:17am GMT

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DUBAI Feb 13 (Reuters) - Former world number one Ana Ivanovic is planning to go without a coach as she continues to work her way back towards the top of the game.

The Serbian split from coach Antonio Van Grichen last week and will now travel with just a sparring partner and her fitness trainer Marija Lojanica, who was her physical education teacher at school.

Although she can see the benefits of a coach, the 23-year-old former French Open champion believes they can sometimes over-complicate things.

"It's nice when you have sort of a little bit of a plan and tactics when you go on the court, but also I feel that if I play well it doesn't matter against who I play, I'm going to win. And that's why I'm not so stressed about tactics," Ivanovic said ahead of the Dubai Championships which start on Monday.

"You need someone who is going to set the practice, someone who can judge whether one hour is enough, or two hours or an hour-and-a-half. A coach can feel that. Then there are the tactics a little bit. That's where the coach is really good.

"But sometimes it just becomes so technical that you forget what you're doing. If you start thinking about how you come down the stairs and think about how each muscle is working you can't go down the stairs. Anyway I'm a person who over-thinks and over-analyses everything, so if you give me one thought it creates a lot more.

"So now I'm just taking a break and having a sparring partner and I'm not trying to look for someone, and see how that goes. I consider myself as a hard worker. When you are 14, 15 and you are setting your routines, that's when you need someone who is going to tell you these things and is going to push you more and so on.

"But now I am at the stage where I know what my goals are and I know I have to work hard for it so there is no point in someone telling me each day you have to work hard. I know it."

Ivanovic, who will face Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder in the first round here, ended the 2010 season by winning two of her last three tournaments and is back inside the top 20 after slumping into the 60s six months ago.

The Dubai tournament includes eight of the top 10 but is missing Maria Sharapova, who has withdrawn with the illness that also forced her out of Paris. Top seed Caroline Wozniacki will have the opportunity to swiftly recapture her number one ranking from Kim Clijsters this week, as the Belgian takes a break. (Editing by Clare Fallon; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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