Although the story yesterday should have been about Ana Ivanovic losing 3-6, 0-6 to Alisa Kleybanova and how the former French Open champion continues to struggle with her form, it seems like all anyone really wants to talk about is the ongoing feud between her and fellow Serbian tennis star Jelena Jankovic, especially over how Jankovic, after defeating Ivanovic in Madrid, appeared to mock Ivanovic’s now trademark fist pump.
I use the word trademark because the gesture appears as part of the logo for Ivanovic’s website. It’s not clear yet if this graphic will become a brand logo at some point, but Ivanovic may want to rethink that as her fist pump seems to be bringing her more attention, but of the unwanted kind.
In her post-match press conference when a reporter asked Ivanovic about Jankovic’s actions in Madrid, Ivanovic tried to deflect the question but then responded by saying, “You know how they say: Sport doesn’t build character. It shows it.”
Later in her own press conference, when asked about the fist pump, Jankovic added her own two cents by saying, “But for me, as a player, it’s ‑‑ every player has their way of, you know, motivating themselves and pumping themselves up, you know, if you win a point or you didn’t win a point. But I don’t think it’s nice to put it, you know, the fist in their face. That’s what can be a little irritating.” She went on to add, “We’re both professionals. We want to do our best on the court, and I think we should play fair. That’s just my opinion. I have nothing, you know, against her or fist pumps or whatever. I play my game. I have my personality. I’m myself, and it’s none of my business what Ana does or all these other girls on the court. But for me, I prefer to this kind of way (playing fair) like I already explained.”
Many have suggested that Ivanovic’s fist pumping on almost every point has become something of a nervous tick that she developed during her recent bout of low confidence. If she’s even aware that she does on almost every point is a big question, but only time and perhaps the guidance of her new coach Heinz Gunthardt will help her tone it down. But back to the logo. The standard rules for any good brand logo is that it should immediately convey the best attributes and/or emotions of the product or company, even to those who are not aware of the company/product first hand. Ivanovic’s logo, definitely suggests a confident women playing tennis, but what if Ivanovic never gets back to the top tier again? Does she really want her “symbol” to be a fist pump that has earned her more derision than support?
It’s probably overkill itself to continue the discussion of Ivanovic as a brand until her tennis career ends. She could still turn her game around and live up to the potential she fulfilled two years ago when she won Paris, but lately her modeling and other outside interests threaten to overshadow the biggest moment in her professional sports career. But let’s hope she will be remembered more for her victories on the tennis court than all the outside interests, though lucrative, she continues to pursue. After all, no one can trademark a fist pump, because it belongs to all of us who hit a great shot whether it be or Court Suzanne Lenglen or playing against a friend down at the local rec park.
Click here to visit Ana Ivanovic’s official website.