Tipsarevic confident ahead of Hewitt clash
Originally published on: 14/01/13 00:00
Tipsarevic will begin his Australian Open campaign with a tough opening round against home favourite Lleyton Hewitt on Monday evening. The Serb kicked off the 2013 season by winning the Chennai Open, which he says gave him great confidence ahead of the first major of the year.
“Winning Chennai was great, especially before a tough first round,” Tipsarevic told tennishead. “I feel that having confidence after winning an ATP event really helps a lot before a Grand Slam, especially if you have a week in between to kind of digest what just happened, come down and then be 110 per cent ready for the first Slam.”
Last season Tipsarevic reached the last eight of a Grand Slam just once, at the US Open, and after crashing out of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the end of the season without winning a match, the 28-year-old said his focus for 2013 would be on peaking at the Slams.
“I’m No.8 seed so obviously expectations are high but it’s a Grand Slam and there are no easy draws,” he said. “I don’t really want to start thinking about who my potential seed is in the fourth round or quarters, or whatever. I know I’m playing good and I don’t want to damage that by putting additional pressure on myself because I said I want to play semis or win the tournament that I have to. So honestly, I am just focused on Lleyton.”
Tipsarevic is on the wrong end of 1-3 record against his Australian counterpart but a lot has changed since the pair last met in 2009.
“I think it’s as tough as it gets playing a local hero on a full Rod Laver Arena and it’s honestly not the first round I was hoping for,” said the world No.9. “But I know what a first round of that importance brings because I faced Sam Querrey in the first round of the French Open when he wasn’t seeded, faced David Nalbandian, a former finalist, in the first round of Wimbledon and then again at the Olympics so I know how to play against a big unseeded name on a big centre court.
“It will be different this time because Lleyton is a crowd favourite here but the Aussie crowd, at least so far, have been very friendly to a guy who behaves good, plays good tennis and if I deserve a cheer or two then I know I’m going to get it. Even if I’m playing the local hero.”