Chennai: Janko Tipsarevic is looking to build on the confidence of his big victory over world No. 1 and compatriot Novak Djokovic in the 2011 year-end World Tour finals tennis tournament in London, and the Serbian World No. 9 has set his sights on breaking into the top-5 in the new season.
“Even though I don’t like playing against close friends, it was a great way to finish the season,” Tiparevic said ahead of opening the new season for the fourth straight year at the 2012 Aircel Chennai Open starting at the SDAT-Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium on January 2.
“It was an intense match because we are both good friends and know each other’s games inside out. Regardless of that I played really well,” he said recollecting his round robin win over eventual champion Djokovic.
Tipsarevic, semifinalist in the previous two editions of the Aircel Chennai Open, is the highest ranked player in an exciting field for the 17th edition of India’s only and South Asia’s leading ATP World Tour event.
Other leading names in the January 2-8 event also include world No. 10 Nicolas Almagro, defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka and former champion Xavier Malisse.
“I like the tournament, but mainly I like the people. It’s a great event in my opinion,” he said of the Aircel Chennai Open.
“Even though I somehow don’t expect it, the crowd is amazing – even if I play against Indians, especially in night sessions. It’s the people that make the difference, really polite, easy going and with a lot of respect towards players,” he added.
Speaking about the field, he said: “A lot of good players, and it will be extremely hard to lift the trophy.”
In 2011, Tipsarevic rose from 49 and broke into the top-10 for the first time – a breakthrough season of sorts, as he won both the ATP titles of his career so far.
“(It was like) a dream-come-true,” said Tipsarevic who loves English literature and DJ-ing House and Progressive House music. “My goal at the beginning of the year was to be top-20 and win my first ATP title. I never thought I could reach this far so fast, only in one season. My determination made the difference.”
Tipsarevic will be partnering Indian star Leander Paes in doubles, and the pair is seeded No. 2. “I have known Lee (Paes) for a long time from the tour. He is one of the best doubles players in the history of the sport, and I am very happy to have a chance to partner up with him,” Tipsarevic said.