Jelena Dokic says she is in better form now than in 2009 when she cut through the field to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Dokic will line up in next week’s AO Wildcard Play-off for a spot in January’s Grand Slam event in Melbourne refreshed after a lengthy preparation.
She discarded her tournament schedule in July to work with new coach Glenn Schaap on her fitness in a bid to improve her ranking next season.
“I’m in good form and I’m in good shape physically and mentally also,” Dokic said on Friday.
“I think I’m in the best shape I’ve been in in the last four or five years.
“I took some chances this year, I cut my year short, played less tournaments in the second half just so I can prepare and get everything together.
“I think it will pay off and it will work out, not only for Australia and the Australian Open but also for next year.”
Dokic, 27, has her eye on 2011 rather than expecting instant results when she returns to tournament play over the Australian summer.
Her decision to cut short her schedule has not adversely affected her ranking dramatically – it has dropped to 137 – and she has few tournaments in which to defend points next season.
“I still only have points from about seven tournaments and it’s still 130 so that’s not bad if you look at it that way,” she said.
“But I feel really good about next year, I’ve made a lot of changes to my game and really worked on my fitness.
“It doesn’t guarantee I will play well in Australia but I think next year will be really good for me.
“I had an elbow injury at the beginning of the year but now everything’s great, there are no injuries, I’ve trained hard and haven’t had any problems.”
Dokic said she was still strongly motivated and enthusiastic despite reaching her peak of No.4 in the world eight years ago.
“I don’t know if it gets harder, I am a little bit older but I’m in good shape and you get more mature.
“I’ve made changes and worked really hard and I think that’s the biggest difference and that’s also why I don’t have as many injuries.
“That all takes time and it’s taken the last six months. That’s why I risked my ranking but I think in the long term it’s a much better decision.
“I think I will be more competitive next year than in the past few years because I am much more motivated now.”
Dokic said Schaap was “really tough and pushes me and he truly brought a new perspective into my game”.
Dokic said she did not expect “anything big” from the play-off next week.
“I would like to do well but it’s just practice,” she said.