Ivanovic and the swimming pool


French Open finalist Ana Ivanovic likes to play on all surfaces — clay, grass, hard court. She's even played in an empty swimming pool.

Growing up in war-torn Serbia, Ivanovic would hone her game in the wintertime at a club with an Olympic pool.

"It was very expensive to keep it warm during the winter, and there was not many people using it," she said. "So they emptied the swimming pool, and they put carpet inside, and they placed two tennis courts, and that's where I grew up practising."

The walls were only 18 inches from the sidelines, making crosscourt shots risky to pursue. But Ivanovic escaped serious injury and grooved her game, even though her native Belgrade was hardly a tennis hotbed in the 1990s.

"There is no facilities, and it's very hard for us to practice," said the 19-year-old Ivanovic, the first player to represent Serbia in a major final. "But tennis is becoming much more popular sport now."

Roger Federer was given the "Prix Orange" at the French Open, honoured for exhibiting fair play and being a good sport.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia, a 20-year-old, won the "Prix Bourgeon" as the "Revelation of the Year," while Paul-Henri Mathieu of France was given the "Prix Citron" as "the personality that stands out ... the player with the most zest.

Carlos Moya was glad to rediscover his game at the French Open. "Well," he said, "it disappeared for a couple of years."

Once ranked No. 1, and a past French Open champion, Moya hadn't been to the quarterfinals at a major since 2004 before making a run at Roland Garros this year.

Trying to become the oldest French Open men's semifinalist since Jimmy Connors in 1985, the 30-year-old Moya lost to Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.

"He played a very good tournament," Nadal said. "I'm very happy for him, because he's coming back ... to his best level, no?"

In addition to his 1998 French Open title, Moya reached the final at the 1997 Australian Open and the semifinals at the 1998 U.S. Open.

But his ranking slid from No. 5 at the end of 2004 to No. 43 at the end of last year.

"I always believed that I had a lot of tennis inside of me that didn't come out yet," Moya said. "And now it looks like finally this tennis is coming out."

France's Nathalie Dechy and Israel's Andy Ram made quite a debut as a team, upsetting defending champions Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjic 7-5, 6-3 to win the French Open mixed doubles final.

Ram approached Dechy about pairing up for the tournament because his regular partner, Vera Zvonareva, is hurt.

Dechy agreed on one condition: that they also play Wimbledon together. Ram said that would be OK — if they did well at Roland Garros.

So now? "We're going to play Wimbledon in two weeks' time," Dechy announced after their victory.

The partnership might not last long, however.

"Zvonareva has priority," Dechy said. "I think that she will take over from me once her injury has healed."