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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 June 2007, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
New Serb on the block

By Sophie Brown
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Janko Tipsarevic
Tipsarevic is in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time
Serbian tennis was the hot topic at last month's French Open so it is no shock to see a Belgrade-born player making headlines at Wimbledon.

But the surprise is that it is not Novak Djokovic, Ana Ivanovic or Jelena Jankovic, the three Serbs who made the last four in Paris.

Instead, it is 22-year-old Janko Tipsarevic who has made a name for himself, reaching the last 16 of a Grand Slam for the first time.

The world number 64 beat fifth seed Fernando Gonzalez on Friday, coming back from a break down in the final set on his Centre Court debut.

Tipsarevic is the last of the Serbian quartet to break through at senior level but was actually the torch-bearer, having been ranked number one in the world for under 14s, under 16s and under 18s.

His adventurous style of tennis against Gonzalez proved a hit with the Centre Court crowd but there are more obvious things that make the Serb stand out from the crowd, such as his facial piercings and tattoos.

I would like to be a DJ. One of my biggest hobbies is music

Janko Tipsarevic

Sportsmen are not exactly known for being voracious readers but Tipsarevic lists his favourite authors as Dostoevsky, Nietzsche and Goethe.

One of his tattoos, which reads "The beauty will save the world" is from The Idiot by Dostoevsky, whom his mother encouraged him to read as a boy.

"I started reading him when I was 13 and I didn't understand it then," Tipsarevic told BBC Sport.

"Being a tennis pro is a tough life but you have a lot of free time. Reading these kind of books doesn't help you as a tennis player but it helps you as a person."

Tipsarevic, who also used to have bleached blond hair, has other tattoos including one of his star sign Cancer on his left shoulder and one that translates as 'genius' on his right.

One arm features the names of his family, who he admits took time to adapt to his sense of fashion.

"The first tattoo I did when I was 17. And when I showed up with my mouth piercing, my mother was chasing me with a knife around the house," he jokes.

"Then after a while they got used to it and knew that my appearance isn't anything to do with the kind of person that I am inside.

Janko Tipsarevic
Tipsarevic has several tattoos and piercings

"Maybe it looks aggressive to other people but I really don't care."

Reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, where he will play 20th seed Juan Carlos Ferrero, is no mean feat for a player from a country that does not have a single grass court.

But the 22-year-old has had to deal with far more serious inconveniences during his life, notably living through the difficulties caused by the Balkans conflict.

"The situation in the country was really bad and the political situation was very difficult. It was a complete mess," said Tipsarevic, who was in Montenegro when Nato began air strikes on his country.

"The first thing in my life is my family. It was a real struggle for them but they stuck by me under unbelievable pressure and they believed in me."

Many players have little awareness of life outside of the tennis circuit but university graduate Tipsarevic already has post-tennis ambitions.

"I would like to be a DJ. One of my biggest hobbies is music," he said.

"I download, I buy music and I follow DJs around the clubs in Belgrade and I've actually played a couple of times in a small club.

"I'd like to feel what it's like to play music in front of 5,000 or 10,000 people."

For now, he'll have to settle for playing tennis in front of 15,000 people on Centre Court at Wimbledon.



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