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Tipsarevic targets US Open for Grand Slam glory

Serbian world number nine feels Flushing Meadows best suits his game

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Janko Tipsarevic, the world number nine men’s player, feels his best chance of winning a Grand Slam event is the US Open.

The Serbian, who beat current Flushing Meadows champion Andy Murray at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, has only ever reached two major quarter-finals — both at New York in the last two years.

The 28-year-old has never been past the fourth round in any other Grand Slam and, speaking to Gulf News in an exclusive chat, Tipsarevic said: “I had a small opening last year, I know it is not impossible. I have beaten Novak [Djokovic] before, I have beaten [Andy] Murray before. The Grand Slam which is closest to my game and the way I play is the US Open.”

In 2011, Tipsarevic retired in the quarter-finals against eventual champion Djokovic and in 2012 he lost to Spaniard David Ferrer in five sets after being up 4-1 and 30-0 on Ferrer’s serve in the final set.

The former Australian Open junior champion said self-belief is a major factor in pursuing a Grand Slam win. “I am improving every year. I see my chance immediately in the next Grand Slam — the Australian Open — even though I may not be in the top five or ten favourites to win the tournament,” he said.

“Thinking about it and dreaming that you have the chance is the only way you are going to do it if the chance is given to you. If you feel surprised because you are in a situation to compete for a final spot or whatever, eventually you are going to choke and lose. So I see my chance immediately in the next Grand Slam.”

Commenting on the strong presence of Serbian players in the tennis circuit, Tipsarevic said their success was mainly due to the support of the players’ families.

“There is no special reason, just support of our families during our younger years, individual effort and will to succeed,” he said. “As you are aware, we have no infrastructure and no support from anybody — and I am not blaming anybody here, the Tennis Federation or the system. Serbia is a country with a lot of political difficulties so tennis is the last thing on anybody’s mind.

“The reason for success is not just Djokovic and myself. We had Nenad Zimonjic, who is only the second doubles player from Serbia to hold the number one spot after Slobodan Zivojinovic. In the women’s we have Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic at the top of the rankings. All this success has come from individual efforts.”

Tipsarevic picked out Milos Raonic as the player to watch from the young crop of players coming through. Currently ranked 26, the Canadian burst on to the scene in 2011, when he made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open as a qualifier before losing to David Ferrer in four sets.