MONTREAL – Ana Ivanovic was the best female player in the world when she played in the 2008 Rogers Cup in Montreal. Two years later, the Serbian will have to compete in the qualifying rounds if she wants make it to the tournament’s main draw now that she has been denied one of the three wild card entries.
This will mark the first time since 2005 that Ivanovic has had to play in the tournament’s qualifying rounds after getting passes into most of the events she has played in so far this season.
Canada’s best female player, Aleksandra Wozniak, was able to snag a wild card entry while Stephanie Dubois (ranked 125th) will likely come away with one as well. The final spot may go to Sharon Fichman or Valerie Tetreault.
“It was a difficult choice to make. If we give a pass to Ivanovic, it will be to the detriment of a Canadian or Quebec player. We think we’ve made the right choice for the good of the tournament,” said Rogers Cup director Eugene Lapierre.
“We know that the female players from here bring a lot of people out to Uniprix Stadium. Ivanovic lost some of her shine this year. It’s not as though she was injured and wanted to return to the game.”
The organizers of the Rogers Cup took a risk by not offering a pass to the former top ranked player in the world, as she could have refused to play the qualifiers and withdrawn from the tournament altogether, taking her sponsors with her.
“We knew the consequences of this choice, but she chose to come and play in the qualifying rounds. It’s probably the best thing that could happen to her since she needs to play to find her confidence and rise in the rankings before the US Open. We assured her that we would treat her just like in past years,” Lapierre explained.
The winner of the 2006 Rogers Cup could still move on to the main draw if a top player backs out, given that Ivanovic is the highest ranked female player in the qualifiers.
The 22-year-old has seen her WTA ranking plummet since she was No. 1 in the world. After finishing the 2008 season in fifth place, Ivanovic was left out of the Top 20 for the first time since 2005 in December 2009, finishing 21st overall.
Her loss in the first round at Roland-Garros last May saw her drop 30 spots in the rankings, from 28th to 58th. She is currently ranked 63rd in the world.
Despite eight titles on the WTA circuit, victory has eluded Ivanovic since October 2008 in Linz, where she beat Vera Zvoraneva.
In an attempt to remedy this situation, this February Ivanovic took on former Swiss champion Heinz Gunthardt as coach, although the votes are still out on this new partnership. Gunthardt is also known for having helped Steffi Graf win 12 Glam Slam titles.
Some in the sport have pegged Ivanovic as the next Anna Kournikova. Since she reached the top of her sport, the Serbian has spent a lot of time in photo shoots and making the front pages of magazines, even as her on-court performance has suffered.
Ivanovic posed for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
Her 2010 singles record is a lacklustre 11-12.