England, 10 Jun: Former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic is hoping playing in the grass-court tournament that she won five years ago will kick-start her injury-hit season ahead of Wimbledon and the London Olympics.
The 27-year-old Serb has accepted a wild card into the DFS Classic at Edgbaston, which starts Monday, and believes she is capable of rediscovering the form which enabled her to beat current No. 1 Maria Sharapova in the 2007 final.
Jankovic had been troubled by a back injury before she tore her thigh muscle while playing Fed Cup in February.
“If I could be the No. 1 player in the world, then that shows something. It shows that I can do it again,” said Jankovic, who is ranked No. 21. “It's just a matter of believing and working hard, and keeping your mind right.
“I am changing a little bit the way I am playing, and I am working on some things in my game. I want to go to another level and be a better player.”
Seeded fifth, Jankovic could face top-seeded Francesca Schiavone in the quarterfinals. Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, has never won a title on grass and has reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals only once in 11 attempts.
A greater threat for Jankovic may come from defending champion Sabine Lisicki, who is seeded second and reached the semifinals and then quarterfinals at Wimbledon in the past two years.
Lisicki's 120-plus mph serve and fierce flat-hitting groundstrokes has earned her the nickname “Boom Boom Bina” in her native Germany.
Lisicki has only played three matches for three losses since retiring with an ankle injury after five games when playing Serena Williams in April at Charleston, South Carolina.
Her victory last year in the DFS Classic final against Daniela Hantuchova came after she spent seven weeks on crutches due to another ankle injury.
Lisicki is drawn to meet eighth-seeded Christine McHale in the quarterfinals and the third-seeded Hantuchova in the semifinals.