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Janowicz Reaps The Benefit Of Change

Paris, France

Janowicz, Tiilikainen© Getty ImagesJerzy Janowicz celebrates his win over Andy Murray with coach Kim Tiilikainen.

At the start of the year, Jerzy Janowicz opened his 2012 season at a Futures event in Barnstaple, Great Britain. Ranked No. 221 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Janowicz fell in the quarter-finals to World No. 499 David Rice.

Flash forward to November and you’ll find a new and improved Janowicz. Having advanced to the third round of Wimbledon on his Grand Slam main draw debut and reaching his first ATP World Tour quarter-final at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, it was clear Janowicz was a different player entering the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.

After successfully qualifying into his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 main draw, the 21 year old racked up impressive straight-set wins against Philipp Kohlschreiber and Marin Cilic to set a third-round meeting with third-ranked Andy Murray. It would seem a tall order for the Pole, who lost to Murray in a Davis Cup tie three years ago and had little experience playing in venues as grand as Court Central.

“I remember I was really young. I was so happy I'm going to be able to play against Andy Murray,” recalls Janowicz. “I remember I didn't believe I can win this match. I was just thinking to play my best tennis and not to lose 6‑Love, 6‑Love, 6‑Love.”

This time around, Janowicz was composed, even when facing match point, and in turn, produced one of the upset victories of the season on Thursday by defeating Murray 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-2. In the space of 10 months, Janowicz had gone from losing against the British No. 19 Rice to beating the long-standing British No. 1, whose season credentials include titles at the US Open and London 2012 Olympics.

“In the beginning of this year, I had many changes in my life,” Janowicz says. “I changed the racquet. This racquet which I'm using right now is helping me a lot. Even if I have some weak days, this racquet is actually helping me. So this is one change.

“The second one is, I [have] a new fitness coach this year, and he's helping me a lot. I'm doing a lot of fitness. When I'm at home I'm actually doing more fitness than tennis. So there is this other change. My behavior on the court is also a little bit different. I decided [I'm] not to give up, whatever the situation is. I'm fighting right now for every single ball.”

The Lodz, Poland native is the son of two former professional volleyball players, but he was drawn to tennis at an early age. At two, he ran around the court with a racquet in his hands and by five, he was playing the sport he now calls his profession.

“My mother was the Polish champion, the Turkish champion, so she was a really good volleyball player,” says Janowicz. “I didn't start to play volleyball because they finished [their] careers [before] I was born. My father started to play tennis as an amateur, and I was watching him, how he's doing this, and this was basically my beginning.”

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