Rafael Nadal is an inspiration both for the millions of fans following him on every move he makes, but also for other tennis stars like former top 10 Serbian player Janko Tipsarevic, who completely changed his approach to tennis after he saw Nadal’s 2008 Australian Open semifinal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Now retired, the 35 years old Serbian player has confessed how Nadal’s fighting spirit on the court turned his career onto the right track. “I remember watching Nadal play this up-and-coming star, Tsonga, at the Australian Open.
Nadal was getting blown off the court and was down about two sets to love and 4-1 in the third. On an insignificant point Nadal hits a forehand winner and screams ‘Vamos’ as hard as he can. You could see he truly believed he could win.
He ended up losing that set, and the match, 6-1. That’s when I truly realized how big of a coward I was. Here I am acting cool when Rafael Nadal is not embarrassed to show, not only the 15,000 people in Rod Laver Arena, but the whole world, that he is giving maximum effort and still getting killed.
It showed me that he isn’t afraid of failure”. Tipsarevic told to Behind The Racquet. Just seeing Nadal’s 6/2, 6/3, 6/2 defeat against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made Tipsarevic advance from being a top 50 player in 2008, when the AO semi-final took place, to a top 10 one in 2011.
“Working on autopilot of doing the bare minimum of everything you need to do won’t help you live out your dreams. Looking back if I didn’t reach top 10, or the other career accomplishments I had, I don’t think I would’ve been happy because I would have known that I left some on the table.
If I realized all this earlier I am sure that I would have been in the top 10 longer”. Tipsarevic said. Now, Janko is coaching part-time and enjoys his family, but he is clearly grateful for the life-lesson learned from Rafael Nadal.
“I am in a really good place now, probably working more hours than ever before and not listening to my friends who are saying, ’Now that you are retired you can enjoy life and relax’. I am very excited for the next chapter in my life and becoming a father to a second child”. , Tipsarevic concluded.