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Tipsarevic's Tips For Transition To Pro Game

Team On The Road

Tipsarevic© Getty ImagesJanko Tipsarevic says, “don’t count the days, make the days count.”

As part of Tecnifibre's ‘Team On The Road’ series, Janko Tipsarevic discusses his role with the project and the lessons he hopes to pass along to young professionals looking to make a successful transition to the ATP World Tour.

Talk to us about your involvement with Tecnifibre’s ‘On The Road’ project?
It’s a very cool project. I’m really happy Tecnifibre, who have partnered with me for a long time already, thought of it first. The idea is that during the course of an ATP World Tour season, four to five young players will travel with me to pre-determined events throughout the year. I will mentor them so they can realise what the experience is about and what it takes to be an ATP-level player. I enjoyed it very much in 2012. They are also good sparring partners during the week!

So these young guys keep you on your toes then?
Yes. They are eager to learn. I try to explain the next step in what it takes to come from junior tennis to the ATP level.  Most of these players are 18 to 20. It’s a very tough and tricky time, especially if you are a young and talented player. I know it sounds silly but it happened to me. As a junior, I was World No. 1 and I thought when I started playing pro, the whole world was mine and it would be easy. But it’s actually not. It’s really tough facing players who are different ages. The most important thing is to give these guys the right mental approach for the next part of their careers.

What are some difficulties a player goes through when beginning his professional career?
I think it’s a mixture. It really depends on the person. There were two difficult things for me. One was going away from home and travelling alone around the world. So there was homesickness. The other thing you have to know how to deal with, especially if you are a top junior, is disappointment. Once you start playing with men, you will lose week after week. You need to learn how to lose and take the good things out of it to set up clear goals. I was not good at that, coming from a successful junior career. In my case, if you manage to cope with those two things, you have a pretty good chance of making it.

Was there a moment after coming up from the juniors when you felt you were making a step to the next level?
It came in steps for me. I was pretty good at the Futures level. Once I made it to the ATP Challenger Tour, I was stuck there for two years. Then I broke through to the Top 100 and stayed there for two years. I did go from 49 to 9 the past two seasons, but I didn’t have a huge breakthrough, like going from the Top 1000 to the Top 50 in two seasons.

Did you have any tennis idols or mentors?
My idol was Andre Agassi, for obvious reasons. He wore earrings and had long hair. And I wanted to play like him. I wish there was a mentor available to me when I was a kid. I had help from my coach and father, but if I had an ATP player telling me what to do, I would have given everything to have that, because I think I would be a better player today. I hope these kids are using me in the right way, because I’m really trying to help them.

What advice would you give to junior players looking to make it on the ATP World Tour in the future?
From my experience, the one thing I would try and implement in their minds is to understand how short a tennis career is. You only have a short amount of time to use the maximum potential you have. I would tell them: 'Don’t count the days, make the days count!'

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