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Paris: Roland Garros, Janko Tipsarevic, May 30, 2007
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2007 Roland Garros Tennis
Paris, France

Interview with Janko Tipsarevic
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Q. Can could you sum up how was the game for you? Was it a big surprise or did you feel quite soon that Marat was not in a good day?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: I was not thinking before I started the match that Marat is like a big, huge favorite of the match, first of all, because I played him one time before and was really, really close to beat him in most quarterfinal end of last year.

And second of all, I know that this year, he hasn't been playing really great on clay courts. I think he won three or four matches or so. So I was thinking that this might be my chance to progress to the third round.

Q. If I look at your biography here, it says that your grandmother keeps a journal on you. What kind of a mark or what can she write about you after today's match beating Safin? What do you think?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, she's actually not writing a journal, but she is collecting pictures and stuff like that from newspapers that go out in Serbia and sometimes abroad, in foreign countries.

But, for sure, this is one of my biggest wins in my professional career, and I'm just really happy that I stayed focus since the beginning until the end of the match and winning the match in three sets.

Q. Do you think that with the victories for Ivanovic, for you, for Djokovic, are the Serbian players, do you think reacting, to each other's success and that is driving them forward?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: I am really grateful for every Serbian player that is better ranked or is a better player than me, because that thing is awaking in me this positive jealousy that if he can do it, why can't I do it?

And of course if he's from the same country, I'm taking Novak as an example now, of course his wins are really, really big influence on me, in thinking that I can be much better than whatever, 80, or whatever my ranking is at the moment.

Q. And how many good young players do you have in the country? How many good teenage players are there perhaps who can maintain this new tradition of Serbian tennis success?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: We have a few good juniors, I would say two or three boys and one or two girls. I'm not sure of their ITF junior rankings.

But the thing is, people have to understand that all that we have in tennis here became from mud, from nothing. No one invested one dollar or one Euro into any one of our players, including Ana, Jelena, Novak, and Boris, and all the guys who are here today except their parents. There was no big tennis academy. There was no big tennis federation behind their success. Nobody was investing anything.

So the only people who are ‑‑ who we can say thanks today are our families.

Q. The Serbians have more of a tradition in team sports. Why did you go into an individual sport?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: My father was a soccer coach. So when I was little, I was actually playing soccer for a year. I was pretty good, but I had, if I can call it, an injury or something like that. And, you know, when you're small and someone hits you, you don't want to do it anymore. So I decided at six and a half, almost seven years to start playing tennis. It was so I don't break stuff in the house, so I have somewhere else to run. And I mean, my family was ‑‑ of course, it was nothing to support at that time. The started thinking seriously when I started making results abroad, so in foreign countries.

When I was winning tournaments in Serbia was still, Well, he's playing good, talented, whatever, but when I started being No. 1 in Europe and 12 and 14, then things got a little more serious.

Q. A lot of your compatriots have chosen to leave or spend time in other countries. Has that been the case for you or you have pretty much stayed and trained in Serbia?


Q. Since you were young?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: I was training in Serbia. I was trained by a Russian coach, Roman Savochkin, who was my coach since childhood for like 13 years. So most of my practices was in Serbia. I don't know would I be maybe a better player now if I was practicing in Florida or Barcelona, Valencia, or some other big camps around the world, but the thing is I can ‑‑ I have this problem also where I cannot go on tour too long, for a few weeks, maybe a month, then I have to go home for a few days to recharge my batteries and then go again.

Q. Do you ever practice with Novak back in Serbia or when you're on the road?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: Every time when we have a chance, we practice together. We are good friends apart from the tennis court. But it's hard because he's not staying in Serbia for too long. I was also traveling to Italy because my ex‑coach for a year and a half was Italian. So I would rather practice with a Serbian guy than with a guy that comes from another country. It's much easier. You speak the same language and know each other since juniors and it's better, actually.

Q. I read that you like to read some books about psychiatry. Do you want to be one to Marat, for example?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, Marat is, in my opinion, maybe the most talented player in the world. I think for him ‑‑ this might sound a little bit harsh, but for him tennis is like a toy, because when it's interesting for him, no one in the world can beat him. But then when it's not interesting for him, he just doesn't, you know, show his talent or his tennis the way he can play, you know.

So I mean, I know that Marat was not at his best today, and I'm really happy that I used that to the fullest, winning three sets to Love.

Q. Do you think that with all you guys are doing for Serbian tennis you could, in a few years, compete with football or basketball that I think right now are more popular?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: I think at the moment tennis is mainly because of Novak, Ana, and Jelena, tennis is the No. 1 sport in Serbia right now. Actually, a few days ago I just found out that we are going to play our Davis Cup tie against Australia in September in 20,000‑seat arena. So that's really, really huge. Thinking that six, seven years ago, I was the No. 1 ranked player with 700 or something when I was a junior, I mean, I really think nobody in Serbia will dream that today we will have three top 10 players, one top 10 doubles guys ‑‑ doubles player and a few guys, like, in the top 100.

Q. Do you think with all you're doing, maybe federation or the state will put some money on tennis academies?

JANKO TIPSAREVIC: The thing is, I'm not blaming the federation. We had really bad political issues. We had Milosevic in power, who not only destroyed the country but completely destroyed our sport. There was nothing happening in Serbia.

But our federation now is building a tennis center, and tennis is starting to be so popular you can really not imagine. For example, from a personal experience, I have a friend who is trying to start to work as a coach. He cannot find a free court until September. Everything is completely booked. Kids, younger, older people, it's completely booked. So tennis is growing really, really fast.

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