Adam Scott Speaks about A.I.

Misery loves company, or at least it provides a platform for commiseration. That could partly explain the growing romantic bond between tennis player Ana Ivanovic and Adam Scott, two promising young stars suffering through major slumps.

Scott, 29, and Ivanovic, 21, met prior to January’s Australian Open and have been captured by paparazzi together at golf events, the beach, and canoodling in New York City. While their relationship has blossomed, their careers have withered.

The likable Ivanovic won her first major at the French Open in 2008 and became the first from Serbia to reach No. 1 before a string of injuries and self-doubt undid her steady progress. Her last significant title came at Indian Wells, Calif., 19 months ago (she has none in 2009) and she pulled the plug on her season for what amounts to a mental health break following first round losses at the U.S. Open and Tokyo (including this odd announcement on her website in which she said she had over trained in the early part of the season and suffered from a shoulder injury that demanded a change to her service motion). Ivanovic, 3-4 since Wimbledon, dropped out of the top-10 and is sure to fall further than her present No. 13.

Scott, a six-time winner on the PGA Tour and just the second player born in the 1980s (along with Sergio Garcia) to reach the top-5 in the world rankings, has been embroiled in his own tailspin. The Adelaide native hasn’t posted a top-10 finish since tying for second at the Sony Open in January, and he’s missed 10 of 17 cuts thereafter. His ranking has fallen from a high of No. 3 to No. 69 in 16 months.

Scott was in town for last weekend’s President Cup at Harding Park, so I pulled him aside to get his view on sweetheart Ivanovic’s state of mind (she did not accompany him). Scott told me that they were able to sympathize with each other’s career woes and that it offered a point of intersection. “Yeah, for sure,” he chuckled. “It’s not easy.”

Scott, a somewhat controversial captain’s pick by fellow Aussie Greg Normal who went 1-4 in the competition won by the USA, explained that it was probably wise for Ivanovic to take some time away from tennis and didn’t question her reasoning. “It’s been a rough year,” he said. “If she thinks that’s the right thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.”

Scott didn’t say if he was planning to join Ivanovic for a mini hiatus, but he said he is confident that she will be back. Few observers of the women’s game would want anything other than a strong return from one of the sport’s most pleasing stars, both on and off the court. “I think she’s so talented that she’ll be fine,” he insisted. “She just needs to get really healthy.”


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