At the Australian Open in January of 2008, Janko Tipsarevic extended Roger Federer, then the No. 1 player in the world, to the brink of defeat before losing, 10-8, in the fifth and last set.
In the process, he was able to reveal weaknesses in Federer’s game that other players, included Novak Djokovic, who defeated Federer in Melbourne, and others have since gone on to further expose and fully exploit.
Nonetheless, thus far, Tipsarevic has not yet mastered the skill of "mind over matter." He sustained an injury in the first round of the 2008 U.S. Open and had to retire.
“I would like to think that that match helped some of the players see this guy is vulnerable. Even though I lost, it helped me realize I can beat anybody. My first problem is myself. I’m not blaming anybody else.
“I’d love for my progress to go a little bit faster. I’m in my prime. There are no excuses that I’m young or something like that.
"You will have good results when you see these top players are not as good as you think they are in your head.”
--Janko Tipsarevic, who after finishing 2007 ranked #52, rose to a career-high #33 in May of 2008.
Excerpts from the New York Times, 8/28/2008.