Sunday, February 17, 2013

Janko Tipsarević and his search for The Truth

From Anders Haahr Rasmussen Èn Bold ad Gangen, Wozniacki, US Open 2009 - Danish 2010. Any errors are mine.

(pages 156-157)

I recently spoke to a tennis player who reads books rather intensively. His name is Janko Tipsarević, a 25-year old Serb ... Tipsarević use to read many books by the great philosophers like Nietzsche,  Kant and Schopenhauer, and if he didn't understand them, he re-read them again and again. He was pre-occupied with, as he put it, "searching for the truth." Not to find it, that would be impossible, but because the quest is a goal in itself. Immersion in them was hard work, he said.

"It was a real challenge for me to understand these guys. As a tennis player you have a lot of free time, but it wasn't relaxing for me to read those books. Many of them are really pessimistic, and there was always this struggle between religion and philosophy, and this whole search for the truth was very depressing," related Tipsarević, world number 64, and the only player with a quote from Fyodor Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot" tattooed on the underside of his forearm. "Beauty will save the world," it says.

The existential anguish made Tipsarević lose motivation. Not that Tipsarević lost the desire to play tennis; he loved playing the game. But it was difficult mustering that last burning, intense desire to win matches. Questions of wins and losses paled when matched against the great questions life posed.

"I didn't care if I won, and I didn't enjoy it very much when I did. Everything sort of got flat in a way."

(pages 158-159)

Janko Tipsarević asks fewer questions now. At the moment. he's reading a book about Sigmund Freud's anthropological perspectives. It's not easy reading, but reading difficult books is easier for him now.

"I'm taking it easy. Before, when I started a book, I wanted to finish it in a week. Now I read more slowly, and now I also read ... I wouldn't call them dumb, but more relaxing books, detective novels, Agatha Christie, The Da Vinci Code, whatever."

"This career we have doesn't allow you to look at things from more than one perspective. It makes life more complicated," he says, and points to the water bottle he has in his hand.

"There's nothing more to this water bottle than the enjoyment of drinking it. There are no other angles, nothing deep. I don't ask those stupid "why" questions any more like I used to. And it's really made my life easier, I enjoy it more, and you can see the effect on my tennis career. Because no matter how complicated this sport is, it's also very easy. There are rules you have to stick to, and completely without God or Truth, you know if you've done a good piece of work." 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Wozniacki's Mother: Difficult and Confusing for Caroline

Translation of this article Feb.5, 2013

Changing coaches a couple of times didn't help Caroline Wozniacki last year. On the contrary, it confused her more than it helped.

That's the opinion of Anna Wozniacki, Caroline Wozniacki's mother, who has followed her daughter's career from the sidelines for many years, and noticed the difference last year.

"It was a difficult year, because even though Caroline trained and practiced really well, she didn't have the calm she needed. So she got confused a few times on the court. It was a waste of time, and a tennis career is too short for that kind of thing,"says Anna Wozniacki to Ekstra Bladet.

"Caroline is better technically than she was last year. We know what type of player Caroline is and what she has to improve, and we're working on it all the time. We did last year too. but it may take a while before she becomes a better player," is how Anna Wozniacki evaluates her daughter.

In 2012 both the Spaniard Ricardo Sanchez and the Swede Thojmas Johansson were let go as coaches for Wozniacki because the collaboration wasn't optimal.

"It was a learning experience for us.We got something out of it. We know now where we have to go and how to get there from now on," explains Anna Wozniacki.

The father Piotr Wozniacki is back as coach for his daughter, and that's the best solution, even if it has lead to some tough criticism, says the mother of the tennis family with the Polish roots.

"It wasn't fun for anyone in the family. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. The tough criticism especially affected Piotr. He took it very personally.

"He began to doubt his own values and beliefs: When everyone says I should step down, maybe it's right. But now we know they're the right fit.

"After all, they've been through so much together. They've grown up together, and, in a way, they've grown together.

"With the temperament Caroline has, it isn't easy for others. I mean, she has to listen, and a mutual respect is necessary in any collaboration," explains Anna Wozniacki.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Piotr Wozniacki/Victor Krason

This is a translation of this web article as it appeared in the print edition

"I took the name to honour my grand-parents," says Caroline Wozniacki's father, as he lifts the curtain on a traumatic childhood and a strange name change.

For several years, Piotr has refused to explain why, since 2003, his name has been Victor Krason on all official documents. He's refused partly because he felt it was his own private matter, and he wasn't going to let himself be dictated to by people who - he felt - wished him no good.

It's led to myths making him almost a Mafia-like figure, so now he's decided to relate the personally sensitive story for the sake of his family.

It was his father's wish

For him, the most important thing in life is family, and it's for his family that he has the same name as his maternal grandfather.

"My father asked me to change my name when he was very sick and lay on his deathbed," he says, as his thoughts wander back 50 years, to when his biological parents, Tadeusz and Bozena Wozniacki, from Przemkow in Poland, delivered the baby Piotr to Bozena's parents, Victor and Zofia Krason who lived in Sulejon, 500 km away.

"My parents had it bad economically and they were very young. My mother was a teacher and my father a factory worker. The lived in one room. My grandparents were better off and wanted to help, so I grew up with them and called them mum and dad, because that's who I thought they were.

"It was a big shock when I found out differently at eight years old. One day there were suddenly two people at the doorstep who said they were my parents and now were taking me home."

"I made a mistake"

At the same time Piotr med his two year younger sister Teresa, and his life changed radically.

"I was still emotionally very attached to my grandparents, and I was with them as often as I could during the holidays. They'd been responsible for a large part of my upbringing and had given me many important values. The first time I really looked at my biological parents as my real parents was when I was an adult and had children.

"It was a bit taboo in my new home to talk about what happened. It was first many years later that they realised they'd made a mistake in letting me live with my grandparents for so long."

Tadeusz Wozniacki's last wish then, was that he should honour his maternal grandparents by taking his maternal grandfather's name.

"I'd mentioned the possibility of changing my name when I was 15 and had moved from home to a sports college. Later I did it, but probably made a mistake in not keeping Wozniacki as part of the name for the sake of the family. Then I'd have had both names and would have spared my family from all the wild speculations. I realised that later. But my children and my wife know the story and accepted the decision."

Family is the most important thing

His own traumatic childhood has led him to dedicate himself so extensively to his family, to his role as father and to keeping the family together.

"Anna and I came alone to Denmark, had an adult life and a family. We've used all our energy to help our children. Today I have a beautiful family with two happy children who are doing what they want to do.

"I think Patrik and Caroline matured early because we spent so much time with them and talked with them about everything.

"They've had close contact with their grandparents. Family is the most important thing in the world, much more important than money and status," says Piotr Wozniacki, who lost his mother during Wimbledon 2009
and last year (2010) had to leave Roland Garros to say goodbye to his sister, who was ill with cancer.

"When you changed your name, you were still a businessman who did business in Poland and Russia. Didn't you realise that rumours would start when you suddenly changed your name and didn't want to explain why?"

"But that kind of thing happens according to very ordinary procedures. Denmark has very clear rules about things like that. Everything's official. You can't even have double Danish-Polish citizenship. Why would people speculate about it? Everything's on paper if they're so interested," he says, and shakes his head.

"But you must have wondered why those rumours started?"

"I know that envy is a part of the life we lead. And no, I don't think that's especially Danish. Those kinds of people are everywhere, and you can't dictate what people think of you. Everyone calls me Piotr Wozniacki, but all who know me know my name is Victor Krason. There's no problem. But maybe I'll add the Wozniacki name for the sake of my family"