After an extraordinary season in 2011 that triggered him to the top-ten bracket, the year saw Janko Tipsarevic toil without the sought reward of Grand Slam. Despite a string of impressive wins and clinging onto his number nine spot, he struggled to unlock the Grand Slam code, though given the depth of the circuit it’s a task fraught with frustration.
The deepest he reached in a Grand Slam was the quarterfinals of the US Open, wherein he lost to David Ferrer in an excruciating five-setter that was decided in tiebreaker. He didn’t last beyond the fourth round of the French Open and third in Wimbledon, losing to lesser-ranked Nicolas Almagro and Mikhail Youzhny.
Far from being dismayed, he is braced to strive the extra yard for improved returns in Grand Slams. “I have to play better tennis to make an impact in Grand Slams. I would love to go deeper in the grand slams. If I consistently make semifinals and final it would be a dream-come true. The top four is really tough, and all have different styles. It’s difficult to beat them. Beating them once in a year is not enough, but you have to keep beating them consistently.
At this level, changes and improvements are often not pronounced, but rather subtle. The Serb reckons he has to shore up his defence. “I have been in top 10 only for the last two seasons before that I spent majority of my career outside top 30. So I need to improve a lot, especially my defence. I know I am good when it comes to attacking. I have to take my defensive game to another level. I have working a lot on these aspects, hopefully it will help me in the new season,” he said.
Coach Dirk Hordorff insists he has to keep doing what he has been in the last year. “I happy with his progress and the way he is playing. He just needs to keep working the way he has been in 2012, which was a good year. Yeah, he might not have made a big impact in the Grand Slams, but he played some amazing matches and was unfortunate to lose the match against Ferrer in the fifth set tiebreaker (US Open).
He began the season on an auspicious note, eating Andy Murray in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi last week. “It was a great exhibition of tennis. Though we were playing for crowd, there was no doubting the intensity of the match,” he said. He would hope to replicate those on the grand stand of a Grand Slam, too.