LIVESTRONG.COM traveled to Cannes, France to host a doubles tennis match and fireside chat with Serbian-born tennis legend Ana Ivanovic, grand slam champion ranked No. 1 in the world in 2008. Ivanovic retired from the world of professional tennis this past year at the age of 29.
We spoke with Ivanovic as part of LIVESTRONG's STRONGER Women interview series to get her thoughts on what it takes for a professional athlete to stay on top of her game physically and mentally, as well as what she has planned next in her career.
Here is our interview where Ivanovic reveals what work-life balance means to her and what it means to be a strong woman:
"Being strong is not only working out, but it's also being mentally strong and being confident in your own abilities and body and behavior, and I think we all have that inside," said Ivanovic.
To stay fit, she told us that she enjoys yoga and running.
When it comes to work-life balance, Ivanovic says that it's always a struggle. "I'm my experience it's very hard to get balance," she explained. "Someone said to me once: 'In life you can have everything, but not at the same time.' and that's really true." Ivanovic told us that when she was training and traveling year-round for tennis, she would only see her friends two times per year.
As an 11-year-old in her hometown of Belgrade in 1999 amid NATO's 78-day bombardment of the city during the Kosovo crisis, Ivanovic said she was waking up at 6a.m. to fit in her tennis practice between 7-9a.m. until the bombing danger started again in the mid-day.
She explained how she and (her childhood friend and) fellow Serbian Novak Djokovic played in tennis tournaments where the young players would compete in matches set between the bombing sirens. "I think that made us tougher," Ivanovic said. "Because you appreciate that much more what you have got."
See more of LIVESTRONG's STRONGER Women interviews.
JESS BARRON is VP & GM for LIVESTRONG.COM, a leading healthy lifestyle website with over 29 million unique monthly viewers. Jess's passion is inspiring people to live healthier and better. In addition to LIVESTRONG, her writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune and MyDomaine. She has appeared on MSNBC, ABC News and XM Satellite Radio. Jess has been a keynote speaker on health topics at Health Further and a panelist at Create & Cultivate and Digital Hollywood. Follow Jess on Instagram at @jessbeegood and Twitter too!