Exclusive column by Janko Tipsarevic, the world number 8.
Recently, I’ve been reading about sociology. I like to learn when I read, and with sociology and psychology, I get to know how people are thinking in the 21th century. I generally do love books that talk about life. I’ve only been reading about this for the last two or three years. For me reading is not relaxation. If I want to relax I will either watch a movie or play video games.
Basically, I believe you have three kinds of books: books you read where you do not agree with the author – with those ones I try very hard to force myself to finish. The second ones are books where you agree with every word and these can be the most boring. But the third ones, when you find a book that makes you think and makes you want to talk about it – they are the best ones for me.
I talk about my readings mostly with my wife, mainly the ones I don’t agree with – I mean, I like to argue, if there is something important to argue about, but not for the sake of it. Let’s say it’s a discussion rather than an argument, that’s a better word. It’s good to discuss ideas. The books where I can learn something are the best.
Talking about books that make you think, I quite liked The Leader who Had No Title, A Modern Fable on Success in business and Life by Robin Sharma. I am currently reading The Rational Optimist (by Matt Ridley), which is quite a good title for a tennis player. I really didn’t like the first 100 pages, because I was agreeing with everything he was saying and it was all very basic. There was no conflict.
I don’t really read fiction. I did read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings but if I want fiction, then I prefer to watch movies or play video games. I especially like fiction in video games.
As some people may know – because of my tattoos – I like Dostoevsky. I read Crime and Punishment a long, long time ago now. But I’d like to start reading him again because for me he is the greatest writer. The way he describes things is incredible. Now you don’t have so much time to build things up or to think about things; it was a time when the behaviour towards people was so important and his characters were amazing.
Clay – it’s not my best surface but it’s not like I can’t play on it. I’ve won a couple of good matches on clay, I reached the semis in Madrid in singles and the finals in Rome in doubles along with Lukasz Kubot. For sure, I had a disappointing exit in Rome in singles but it’s not like I don’t know what to do. But clay is the surface that I feel least comfortable on. OK, so I lost early in Rome but on the other hand, it gives me more time to prepare for the most important event of the clay-court season: the French Open.
But even though clay is not my best surface, it’s very important for the rest of the season. On hard courts you can sometimes get away with free points on your serve but on clay you have to suffer for each and every point. You have to have a set of strong lungs if you want to beat the top players.