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Exclusive Interview with Janko Tipsarevic, top seed at the 2012 Chennai Open

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janko_tipsarevicJanko Tipsarevic finally broke into the top 10 of ATP Tour rankings for the first time in late 2011, virtually 10 years after turning Pro. While 2011 proved to be the most successful season and a year of the many firsts for the 27-year old Serb, it also turned out to be a rather frustrating year as the Serb battled many an injury. We bring you a quick recap of his accomplishments this year.

The Serb won his first ever ATP Tour title at Proton Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur in October 2011 by defeating Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets in the final. Tipsarevic didn't have to wait too long for his second title, as he captured the Kremlin Cup in Moscow in quick succession. Entering the tournament as the top seed, Tipsarevic took the title defeating the defending champion Viktor Troicki in straight sets in the first all-Serbian final in tennis history. In November 2011, Janko broke into the top 10 at the ATP World rankings for the first time, reaching a career high ranking of No.9.

Tipsarevic reached his first grand slam quarterfinals at the US Open this year too, defeating Augustin Gensse, Philipp Petzschner, Tomas Berdych, and Juan-Carlos Ferrero to reach the last eight. However, the Serb was forced to retire against world no.1 and another countryman Novak Djokovic owing to a thigh injury.

The Serb made his debut at the ATP World Tour finals as an alternate for Andy Murray. In the round robin, Tipsarevic lost to Tomas Berdych despite holding a matchpoint. But the Serb followed it up with an impressive win over compatriot Novak Djokovic to register his first ever win over a World No.1.

Tipsarević deserves a special mention for his impressive performances at the Davis Cup. He has played in the Davis Cup every year since 2000 and was instrumental in steering the Serbian team into their first Davis Cup final in 2010. However, he was defeated in the Davis Cup semifinal showdown between Serbia and Argentina this year.

The amicable Serb is considered as one of the most intellectual and well read players in the circuit. He is well-known for his reading of Dostoevsky, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, and counts Dali and Caravaggio as his favourite painters.

We catch up with Tipsarevic ahead of the Chennai Open 2012. The Serb is an old timer here at the Championships reaching the semifinals in each of the last two seasons.

Janko, when you look back at 2011, it must be a pretty satisfying feeling ending the year in the top 10 for the first time. How would you sum that up?

Best year of my life and I am so happy that one of my dreams (breaking the top 10) came true.

Winning against your good friend and world no: 1 Novak Djokovic in the ATP World Tour Finals must surely be a very promising way to end the season?

It's not great to beat friend, but it's a very nice way to end the season. It showed me that I can compete and win against the best in the world.

Despite the impressive performances in 2011, winning 2 ATP titles, you have had your share of injuries –  the hip injury earlier this year and the more recent hamstring injury. Where do you see yourself in 2012?

Improving more on the ranking ladder.

How is the Chennai Open important to you in terms of setting the pace for the new season, especially the Australian Open?

I love the people, very polite, easy going and with a lot of respect towards the players. A great way to start the season.

You've been here at the Chennai Open last year, reaching the semifinals and are most certainly one of the favorites for the title. What does it mean to you coming back here as the no.1 seed?

Same felling like the previous years. My aim here is to try and lift the trophy

You've had a good run in the doubles event before. Do you intend to play more of them in future?

Yes I do. And i feel my partnership with Lee will help me improve my game.