The WTA’s resident drama queen turned 30 this year, an age when most tennis players seriously consider retirement in the near future. Jelena Jankovic plans on staying fit and pushing through until she accomplishes her ultimate goal, “My goal is to win a Grand Slam. I still feel I can achieve a lot in the next few years, depending on how my body will cope.” Unfortunately, the flamboyant Serb did not achieve much Grand Slam success in 2015, but was able to reach a milestone in her career - 600 tour wins.
Jankovic finished the year 44-20, a 69% winning record. The 2008 US Open finalist found most of her success on the hard court, with 31 wins. Always known for fighting spirit, the Serb achieved an impressive three-set match record, 15-6. While spending most of the year ranked in the 20s, she managed to pull out three top ten wins.
Jankovic best performances of the season were at the two American hard court tournaments she has won before - Indian Wells and Cincinnati. The 2010 champion played four dramatic three-set matches to reach the final in Indian Wells, where she served for the match against the third-ranked Simona Halep. Unfortunately, engulfed by nerves, the Serb failed to close out the match and lost in a heartbreaker.
The 2009 champion reached the semifinals in Cincinnati, defeating Madison Keys and Karolina Pliskova along the way. Again, she was knocked out by Halep. Her most surprising result came at Wimbledon, traditionally her weakest major due to the slick grass courts. The former world number one came back from two breaks down in the second set to shock Petra Kvitova, the defending champion and second seed in the third round. The Serb’s two titles in 2015 came at Guangzhou and Hong Kong, two smaller tournaments.
Jankovic is regarded as the best player to never have won a major, and 2015 did not help her get closer to losing that moniker. She lost in the first round at every major besides Wimbledon, twice to players ranked outside of the top 100, the only times during the season she lost to players of that standing. The Serb must find a way to shake off first round nerves if she wishes to achieve her dream of winning a Slam.
Jankovic proved she was still able to compete with the top players in the game when she defeated Kvitova at Wimbledon, however she was unable to jump over one major hurdle; Halep. The former world number one failed to win against the Romanian in three separate attempts this year, although nearly doing the job in the final of Indian Wells.
Although the endlessly entertaining Jankovic provided the theatrics with her many deciding set wins this year, she failed to get any closer in winning her first Grand Slam. Finishing the year ranked 21 is not high enough for her to secure a high enough seeding to a make a substantial run at a major.