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.