Jelena Jankovic yesterday lost in straight sets to 277th-ranked qualifier Petra Krejsova, who was playing her first ever WTA main draw, in the first round of the the Ricoh Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and since the former world number one has lost 14 of her last 22 matches, we can’t help but think whether it’s time for her to retire at the age of 32.
At February’s Doha tournament, Jankovic had to go through qualifying for the first time since 2004 and then when she grabbed a spot in the main draw she lost in the first round already. Since then, JJ has not managed to score two consecutive victories and this week’s loss to Czech Krejsova is yet another blow.
Do you remember that in February, after her first-round Dubai exit, JJ said that tennis had exhausted her and that she would continue to compete only if she got back to the winning ways. The situation has not improved in these four months, but JJ, now ranked No.60, is still testing her possibilities and apparently hoping for an improvement.
Jankovic herself definitely knows best whether she should retire sooner or later. Cons are that the piled-up losses are not doing her any favor, as well as accumulated injuries, tiredness and the fact that she’s not getting any younger. Moreover, JJ’s playing style takes a big toll on her body, as she doesn’t have a powerful serve or forehand to shorten points, while she’s lost some of her stamina and speed, which need to be at their best if she wants to be a threat on the court.
On the other hand, there have never been more players reaching their peak later on in life and 32 is not such an old age in today’s WTA world — just think of Flavia Pennetta‘s maiden singles Grand Slam title at the US Open. Moreover, we’ve had stories where players had seriously considered retirement after a desperate string of losses, only to absolutely resurrect their careers later — think of Zhang Shuai, who made the quarterfinals of the 2016 Australian Open, never before winning a main-draw Grand Slam match in her long pro career. Can you think of any more examples? Please share them in the comments!
How do you predict Jankovic’s future? Will she manage to rebuild her career from the ashes, will she retire soon or will she continue to drag on whilst losing early at tournaments?
I believe that whatever JJ decides must be the best outcome for her, so I trust in her instincts and reasoning. Personally, I wouldn’t like to see her go, but I’m also not really hopeful that she’ll get her old glory back. I’d really like to hear your thoughts!