JELENA Jankovic has been given an extra reason for wanting to win her matches quickly and convincingly - preserving her mother's health. The No 3 seed from Serbia explained yesterday that her last match, a tight three-setter against the Czech player Lucie Safarova, had been too much for her mum, who has a heart condition and left the players' box with play still going on.
"I asked afterwards whether there were lost tickets she was trying to sort out," Jankovic said of her mother, Snezana. "But she told me she left because she didn't feel well and didn't want me to see what was happening with her.
"She didn't want me to get worried so she went somewhere else. I think she eventually came back and watched the game from the press box."
Snezana has so far refused to go and see a doctor, and Jelena knows that staying away from her matches would be wiser. She said that she would not insist on that, however, as having her mother watching helped her.
"She was not feeling good for a while. I'm so sorry because I put a lot of stress on her with my matches, especially the one I almost lost.
"Watching me is not the best thing for her, although I just want to try and get through without giving her anything to worry about. She has problems with her heart and she hasn't been great for a while. She's not healthy and I want her to go and see a doctor as soon as possible.
"I think it would be better for her to stay away from my matches, because they are quite stressful for parents. But she is my No 1 supporter and I love having her in my box. It's great for me to have her there.
"I just want her to be happy and I want her to get checked out. That's the most important thing. Tennis is just a game and there are many other more important things in life than winning a match. My mum is more important and so is her health. That's why I hope I can do it in two sets and give her less stress."
Jankovic's fourth-round opponent on No 1 court today is the No 18 seed, Marion Bartoil from France. The pair have met four times, most recently at the French Open, where Jankovic won 6-1, 6-1 to take a 3-1 lead in the head-to-heads.
"I won quite easily, although I'm expecting a tougher match this time as she's beaten some good players on grass," she said. "But I feel I have the right game for her and hopefully I can go through to the quarters of Wimbledon for the first time."
If she wins today her quarter-final opponent will be either the unseeded Laura Granville, who knocked out Martina Hingis, or the No 31 Michaella Krajicek. After that, she should meet Serena Williams or Justine Henin in the semi-final. Whoever she plays, she appears in increasingly confident mood.
"I certainly have a chance and nothing is impossible," she said. "Being No3 seed I have the ability to win big matches.
"I've already won titles on three different surfaces and beaten everybody except Justine. If someone asked me which title I would like to win at the start of my career it would be Wimbledon. It's the most beautiful, prestigious tournament in the world and it would be a dream to become champion.
"I've won so many matches and played quite a lot. I'm really happy with my game and having a lot of fun which is the most important thing. I'm looking forward to the second week and going as far in the tournament as possible."
If she does not succeed in the singles, there is always the mixed doubles, where she is playing with Jamie Murray. The partnership was formed on the instigation of the Murray brothers' agent, Patricio Apey, but so far has been one of the casualties of the weather.
"It's unfortunate, we haven't even been able to practice yet," Jankovic said. Rain permitting, the pair will get their campaign under way today, with their first-round match against the wildcard British couple, Richard Bloomfield and Sarah Borwell.