© Ella Ling

Miami 2012 - Tipsarevic tattoo

Tipsarevic: The Olympics could be like any other event

   

A lot of people ask me what I think of the Olympics tennis event and it’s a difficult question. It’s true that for us tennis players it is maybe not quite as important as it is for athletics or some of the other sportsmen and sportswomen. They have worked hard for four years to get ready for the Olympics because it is the biggest event in their sport. We are lucky that we have four grand slams every year, which are the biggest things for us, so it is hard to think of the Olympics as being bigger than the grand slams.

However, the Olympics are really important for me because I am not representing myself; I am representing my country. As you may know, I usually play very well when it’s a team competition so that makes it even more exciting for me and it would obviously be great to win a medal either in singles or doubles (I am playing with Nenad Zimonjic). I have to say that at this stage in my career and having made it into the top 10, for me, if I cannot win a medal, I really wouldn’t care much if I lose in the quarters or semis. If you don’t win a medal, then it becomes just like any other event and in terms of ranking points, it can be replaced with something else.

If I do win a medal, then it is going to be a very interesting time. The Serbian people really appreciate the success of sportsmen and sportswomen so any time that any of the country’s teams, like handball, waterpolo or volleyball, or when Novak wins a big event, there are a lot of people waiting in Belgrade to cheer them and celebrate their victories. Actually, it’s funny because we have Toronto the week after the Olympics but we had to sign a contract that says, in case any of us wins a medal, we have to fly home to Serbia to the town square to show the public the medals before we can then fly on to Toronto.

I’ll be watching what’s going on in other sports at the Olympics whenever I can. I follow our teams, especially in volleyball and water polo, but the first thing that pops into my head when anyone mentions the Olympics is the 100 metres sprint. That’s probably the most important event. It’s very different to tennis because it’s so much shorter and in a way it must be a little bit easier because you don’t have to think so much and you can just give your best for those 10 seconds. But it must be an incredible moment waiting to start that race, so many nerves flying around. Perhaps waiting to go on for the Wimbledon final is similar, I don’t know. I’ve had my share of stressful moments in my career but I don’t think they are anything compared to what the 100 metres must be like.

It would be nice to stay in the Olympic village with the other athletes but I think we will have to settle for Wimbledon Village instead. It’s just because Wimbledon is a long way from the main Olympics site and traffic in London is not great at the best of times – I can only imagine what it will be like when the Olympics begin. The nice thing, though, is that Viktor (Troicki), Novak (Djokovic), Nenad (Zimonjic) and myself are all going to stay together in a house near Wimbledon, along with our Davis Cup captain and two physios. The important thing is that again, like we do in Davis Cup, we will feel like a team. That’s the part that I really enjoy. We can relax there after each day – perhaps we can have a barbecue in the garden or something. I’m really happy we’re all going to be in the house together. But we will probably try to go to the Olympic Village a couple of times, especially for the opening ceremony, of course, which will be great.

 

   
  • Jared Pine

    I love how some players play so much better when they are representing their country. Every time Murray is stepping on a court he is representing his country, but for most players they are only truly representing their country during Davis Cup, Olympics, and when they play in their country. I respect those players a lot who thrive under those conditions, because they are proud of their country. Tipsarevic, Djokovic, and Isner are the three best examples. They never or rarely skip Davis Cup if they are healthy (Djokovic even played del Potro when he was hurt). They play their best tennis when they can feel the crowd getting behind them. They also love being part of a team, which is somewhat rare in an individual sport like tennis. I think that is why Isner would be a great basketball player, Tipsarevic would be a great volleyball player (probably the libero), and Djokovic would be a great soccer player. They are all great teammates.