at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
CHENNAI, India – World number nine Janko Tipsarevic hopes to build on an impressive campaign in 2012 with a dazzling start to the new season at the ATP Chennai Open from Monday.
The 28-year-old Serb, who finished in the top 10 for the second successive year, is seeded second behind world number six Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic at the $430,000 event.
Tipsarevic was confident of doing well in the coming season after ending the year with a 57-28 match record, including a quarter-final berth at the US Open.
“I have improved my game in all aspects, but the biggest change came in my mindset and how I was able to keep up with the constant pressure,” Tipsarevic said in a statement released by the tournament organisers.
The right-hander heads to Chennai boosted by a win over US Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week.
Tipsarevic opened 2012 by clinching the doubles title at the Chennai Open with Indian ace Leander Paes after losing the singles final to big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.
The Serb was desperate to win the singles title in Chennai to give himself a boost ahead of the season's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, in Melbourne in mid-January.
“I really want to win the whole thing this year,” he said.
Two-time Chennai winner Marin Cilic of Croatia, currently ranked 15th, and number 17 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland will be the main contenders for the singles crown alongside Berdych and Tipsarevic.
Berdych starts the new season after helping the Czech Republic record a memorable 3-2 win over Spain in the Davis Cup final in Prague in November, where he won the opening singles and the doubles tie with Radek Stepanek.
The big-built Berdych enhanced his reputation as one of the most feared opponents on the circuit when he overpowered Roger Federer in the US Open quarter-finals, before losing to Murray in the semis.
Cilic, who won in Chennai in 2009 and 2010, was also hungry for success after missing the last edition due to a knee injury that kept him out of the first eight weeks in 2012.
“I always feel pretty good in Chennai,” the third seed said. “The weather also helps me prepare for the hot days in Australia. My goal is to win at least 50 matches in the season, something I have not done”.
1. Tomas Berdych (CZE)
2. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)
3. Marin Cilic (CRO)
4. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
5. Benoit Paire (FRA)
6. Robin Haase (NED)
7. Lu Yen-hsun (TPE)
8. Go Soeda (JPN) – Sapa-AFP