PARIS, February 10 – Former world number one Jelena Jankovic says that losing her position at the top of the women's game has not diminished her belief that she can still win a Grand Slam.
The 23-year-old Serbian finished 2008 as world number one but has slipped to third after a crushing defeat to France’s Marion Bartoli in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
Speaking at the Paris Open on Tuesday, she said: "Everybody dreams of winning a Grand Slam."
Jankovic held the top spot for 17 weeks before being deposed by Australian Open champion Serena Williams, who had questioned whether it was fitting for a world number one never to have won a major.
Jankovic, though, insists that the number one berth is a reward for season-long consistency – rather than peaking at the big tournaments.
"You can play great for a few tournaments but then you don’t do well for the rest of the year and the other players get on top of you," she said adding, "What matters is making great results the whole year."
Jankovic begins her Paris Open campaign with a first-round match against Italy’s Francesca Schiavone on Wednesday.
Olympic gold medallist Elena Dementieva faces Japan’s Ai Sugiyama, and the Russian third seed vowed that she, too, will not rest until she has won a major.
"It’s always been a goal of mine. Either this season or next season, but it’s definitely in my mind."
The one major obstacle preventing Jankovic, Dementieva and beaten Australian Open finalist Dinara Safina from fulfilling their Grand Slam dreams is the dominance of Serena and her sister Venus, who have 17 Grand Slam singles titles between them.
Serena thrashed Safina 6-0, 6-3 in the Melbourne final after cruising through her semi-final against Dementieva, who conceded that the American poses a different challenge to the other contenders on tour.
"Serena is like all other great champions. She knows how to increase her level of play over the course of a tournament, especially when it comes to the Grand Slams," Dementieva said.
"You have to save your best play for the big moments, like the semi-final and the final. She really knows how to do it."
The year’s next Slam takes place at Roland Garros in May-June, and Jankovic revealed it was her treasured ambition to break her Grand Slam duck in front of the Parisian crowds.
"I can speak French but I’ve never really had to speak it before," she said adding, "My dream is to get to the final of the French Open and to give my speech in French."