A two-time US Open quarter-finalist and multiple Masters 1000 semi-finalist Janko Tipsarevic had been ranked in the top-8 back in 2012 before starting to struggle with a right heel injury a year later, winning just 20 matches in 2013.
The worst was yet to come for a former junior Grand Slam champion, though, being forced to miss the entire 2014 with a benign soft tissue tumor and undergoing two surgeries in May and September to drop out from the rankings for the first time since 2000!
The start of 2017 could not have been better for the talented Serb, winning back-to-back Challenger titles in Bangkok and returning into the top-100 for the first time in almost three years in February. Janko won two more Challenger crowns in China in April although the US Open was once again the critical point for him, having to skip the rest of the year with surgery on both hamstring tendons that went on in Finland at the end of September.
Tipsarevic started to train again in December in Spain and he was back on the court in February at his Academy, working hard on another comeback. Nonetheless, it had to be postponed again as Janko decided to undergo another surgery in March in Munich, switched the focus to his Tennis Academy on two locations in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.
Tipsarevic planned to return in Banja Luka Challenger last September but opted to wait instead and skip the entire season before making a long-awaited return at the Australian Open where he played the first match since the US Open 2017!
Grigor Dimitrov defeated him in four sets in the opening round and Janko felt confident to try again this week at Bangkok Challenger that he won twice two years ago. The Serb needed an hour and 56 minutes to dismiss Tsung-Hua Yang 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 for the 21st straight wins in Challengers!
The Serb will make one more push in 2019 to reach the top-100 again and he is ready to end his career if he fails, not willing to play lower-ranked events or to ask for wild cards. Asked about his great friend Novak Djokovic, Janko is 100% sure that he is going to break every big record in tennis in the next five or six years, standing above all the rivals and taking great care of his body that will lead him towards more success in the next half a decade.
"I will have to start recording my own words. I was with Novak in Monte Carlo las spring, talking about everything, and I said to Vajda, Jelena, Artaldi and Novak himself that it is only a question of time when he will return to the top.
They were staring at me like at some lunatic. He was the world no. 17 at that point and I said to him he would be no. 1 in 12 months. Novak was completely healthy at that point, staying away from injuries and bad decisions that players often make when they are not at 100%.
Murray and I made some rushed decisions, so did Novak, so I asked him first does that elbow still hurts him. Novak said he is pain-free and I knew he would return to his best, although it did surprise me how quickly he managed to do that.
I think he will go and break all the records. Australian Open showed two things, how much Djokovic and Nadal are ahead in front of the rest of the field and how superior is Novak at the top. Also, Novak is going to play on a high level for five or six more years and be the dominant player on the Tour at the age of 37 or 38. He will play a fewer number of tournaments but will break all the records."