Janko Tipsarevic believes his team are only "small favourites" heading into their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group semifinal after impressive performances from Canadian players over recent months.
“We are small favourites, I would say 60/40, especially because Novak [Djokovic] is playing, but everything is possible in Davis Cup,” said the world No. 21.
“Canada are playing very good tennis lately. Milos [Raonic] didn’t have a great spring in Europe but then played a very good Rogers Cup. [Vasek] Pospisil is out of nowhere coming from outside the Top 100 to being ranked around No. 40, and obviously they have [Daniel] Nestor, who is there forever.”
Tipsarevic was an integral member of the 2010 team that defeated France to lift the trophy in front of a packed crowd at the Belgrade Arena and is banking on a similar atmosphere at the same venue in September.
“We were lucky for the draw to be at home so we were able to pick the surface - slow clay - which suits our team more than theirs – and it means we will have a large crowd behind us,” he added.
“Tennis is bigger than ever in Serbia; players are performing well and we still have the No. 1 player in the world so we expect a full house.”
It was Tipsarevic who played a pivotal role in Serbia’s 2010 semifinal victory over Czech Republic at the Belgrade Arena, winning both his singles matches - including the decisive fifth rubber - to secure his nation’s place in the final. Despite his heroics last time - and the added pressure on his shoulders this year in the absence of Viktor Troicki - he doesn’t expect to be fazed by the occasion.
“Generally I like pressure. I love playing in big stadiums and on big courts and I love playing Davis Cup in Serbia. I have a very good and very solid record there. I rise up to occasion and do my best, obviously I lose some matches, but generally I always play good in Serbia,” admitted Tipsarevic.
And play good in Serbia he does, having amassed a 20-5 Davis Cup singles win-loss record at home since he first played Davis Cup there in a Europe/Africa Zone Group II tie in 2001, when it was part of Yugoslavia. His victories are not just limited to ties at home either, the 29-year-old has a 32-13 Davis Cup singles win-loss record overall which makes him Serbia’s most successful Davis Cup singles player.
For Davis Cup ties (33) and years played (13) Tipsarevic is second in Serbia behind Nenad Zimonjic and it is clear that Davis Cup is extremely important for the Belgrade-native.
“I consider winning Davis Cup in 2010 as the happiest moment of my professional career and this is one of the main reasons why I am committed to playing the semifinals and the potential final in 2013. Novak [Djokovic] has committed to playing the full season which gives us a huge chance to win the whole competition,” he concluded.
Serbia plays Canada on 13-15 September with a place in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final at stake. Play starts at 4pm local time (2pm GMT) on Friday 13 September.