Ana Ivanovic: 'I Just Want to Be a Girl Who Plays Tennis'

Joanna Douglas
·Senior Editor

Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic is entering the US Open today with confidence. “Obviously, there is a little bit of nerves involved, but I really feel like I’ve been playing well the last few weeks,” she tells Yahoo Beauty. Currently ranked No. 7, the 27-year-old already has a French Open win and previous No. 1 ranking under her belt, and is psyched to take on Serena Williams this week. At just five years old Ivanovic already knew she wanted to be a tennis star, but she didn’t anticipate being pushed into the spotlight. “I didn’t know how to deal with it and I didn’t want to be there — I just want to be a girl who plays tennis,” she says.

Gorgeous inside and out, the tennis pro is currently serving as the global beauty ambassador for Shiseido WetForce Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion ($40) and Cream ($36), both Broad Spectrum SPF 50+. Both have become a favorite around the Yahoo Beauty office thanks to their unique formulas which become even more effective when exposed to water — a dream for active women like Ivanovic who spend many sweaty hours under the sun.

We caught up with the star to find our more about her beauty and fitness routines, prepping for a big match, taking care of herself on the road, and her favorite indulgences. Check out her Beauty Story in the video above and our interview below for more on the awesome athlete.

A champion tennis star and a total stunner? Ana Ivanovic is a force to be reckoned with. (Photo: Shiseido)

You’ve had so much success already. What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

For me in my career it’s definitely been winning the French Open. That’s something that I’ve dreamt of as a kid. I actually won a Grand Slam and became number one at the same moment, and that’s something that I will never forget.

Did you ever think you would be playing in the US Open?

It’s always been my dream, but when I started to play tennis I just loved the game. So for me, it wasn’t about fame or money or anything like this. I actually didn’t even realize what it was coming with, you know, and I just love this sport. That’s why when I won my first Grand Slam and became number one I struggled with it, because all of a sudden I’m in the spotlight and I didn’t know how to deal with it and I didn’t want to be there — I just want to be a girl who plays tennis. That’s it. And then after a while you understand that it’s part of the job.

Who are you looking forward to playing this week?

Serena. I really look forward to playing against her again. You know it’s always a great challenge to play against the best and she’s definitely the best we have in our sport.

Is there a sisterhood in the tennis world?

It’s very tough to have friends on tour because it’s so many times competing one against one. Not many people get personal and friendly, but I still do have some friends that occasionally we have dinners and we go shopping and try to do girly things.

We can’t wait to see what Ana Ivanovic serves up at the US Open. (Photo: Getty Images)

Do you have any women you look up to?

Blake Lively, I love her style. Meryl Streep, I think she’s an amazing actress. And Monica Seles, because obviously she has a background from Serbia, and I always looked up to her and her style in competition. She always seemed so determined and ready to compete and that’s what I loved.

What’s the best beauty advice you have ever received and who was it from?

My mom has always told me to wear sun cream. Since I was very, very young, I traveled all around the world and I competed in Australia at the age of 14. Australia is a country where they’re aware about sun protection. When this partnership came about and I started using the new innovation — WetForce Sun Protection by Shiseido — I was very excited.

What advice do you have in terms of sunscreen application?

People always apply to their arms and face and they always forget necks, and that’s so important to protect. I learned when I was in Australia that you always have to protect your lips and your ears because the skin is the thinnest there.

Ana Ivanovic is endorsed by Adidas and currently serves as the global ambassador for Shiseido’s WetForce sunscreens. (Photo: Shiseido)

What’s your number one beauty tip?

Stay hydrated. That’s definitely very important, especially when you’re in planes or in very hot and humid conditions.

What is one beauty product you can’t live without?

Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream.

What is your beauty routine for a match?

I have lots of hair and that plays a big factor when I play. I don’t like when I have fly-aways go in my eyes, so I do a lot of hairspray or gel or something that keeps my sort of hair tight. And lip balm, that’s always good, cause like I said it always protects me from the sun and gives me a little moisture and shine. As far as makeup goes, I don’t wear much. I don’t like to think about whether it’s getting smudged or something.

How do you keep your hair out of your face when you’re playing?

I sort of braid it because I feel, when I don’t, because of all of the jumping and kicking, my hair gets very tied up so I can’t brush it out. When I braid, it sort of prevents that and also it prevents it from going into my eyes. You would be surprised how many times, when you hit the ball it just comes in your eyes. Actually that’s why a few times, when I played indoors, I also wear a visor – just because it stops my hair getting in my eyes.

As someone who’s so active, do you have to wash your hair every day?

When I have a nice hair day, I’m like “Ugh, why do I have to train?” I have to wash my hair very often because we do play outside and compete a lot. After the match you have about 25 minutes up to an hour until we have press, so that doesn’t give me so much time to do my stretching and cool down and wash my hair and dry it and style it and everything, so it’s very, very sometimes stressful. Many times I will just wash it and do a wet hair look.

Do you ever paint your nails for the match to coordinate with your outfit?

Yes, sometimes I do. And actually I’m very proud because I did these myself! [Laughs] But yeah, I like that, it sort of always makes me feel done, and we don’t have so much time to always go to the spa and get your hair and make up done, so nails, pedicure, manicure is something we always have time for.

How do you pick your outfits for matches?

I’ve had a partnership with Adidas since 2006. From the very first moment I became part of the company, I said, ‘you know, I always love dresses, they’re so easy and so sophisticated.” Since then, they’ve been designing dresses for me and I’m really excited about the colors and the style of what I’m going to be wearing here in New York. I always wish I could influence a little more, with the style and the materials, but maybe in the future.

Tennis star Ana Ivanovic keeps her eye on the prize. (Photo: Getty Images)

Is fashion and beauty on the court ever distracting, or do you think of it as part of your strategy?

Well, a few times, I must say, when I was at the net before coin toss, I was like, “Oh my god, what are they wearing?” I’m not going to name! People are using more and more make up and products on the court, which I do not find it appealing, because you have to sort of worry about it because we sweat a lot, we run a lot, so whenever you see people going like this with the towel, you know what’s going on. But no, for me, I think it’s just most important for you to focus on your game and your game plan, cause after all, that’s why you’re on the court.

How do you warm up before getting on the court?

I start warming up on the treadmill for about five minutes with a few bursts for about five, ten seconds, just to get my body going. Then I do some stretches. Five or ten minutes before, I would do some fast feet movement or some sprints so I’m ready to go on the court.

Are you superstitious? Do you carry any sort of lucky charm?

A little bit, but not so much to be honest. The more a tournament progresses, I kept finding myself going to the same bathroom and I’m like “Just stop!” Sometimes you become obsessed about it, and what happens is you are rushed and then your bathroom is busy and then you wanna wait for your toilet but you are too late. I was like “No, it’s too much.” I just prefer to just sort of rely on my rings, my necklace — it’s always with me and it’s something that I carry.

What about off-season? How do you stay in shape when you’re not training?

This is where people get it all wrong. They’re like “OK, now it’s your off season, it’s perfect, you can relax,” and I’m like, “No, that’s the worst time!” Because all you see is gym, tennis courts, and bed. You’re so tired at the end of the day because we work out about six hours a day and then you have to do recovery. This period is most important, so we do lots of weights, running, sprints, long distance, short distance, lots of drilling. The only benefit of that is that you get to say in one spot.

How do you stay healthy when traveling?

I always have energy bars with me, so I always joke that at any given moment I can feed a small family. It is very important and I try to have a clean diet but it’s not always easy.

What are your food indulgences?

I love ice cream and a chocolate soufflé. I love a burger. I much more like savory food than sweet food. So, burger or pizza.

When it’s all over how do you relax?

It’s nice to just chill and read and watch a movie. I used to watch a lot of TV shows but I sort of stopped that because I became addicted. I’m used to having my eight to nine hours of sleep at night but you end up watching shows until 12am and you can’t stop and I’m like, “That’s not good.”