Tipsarevic Makes Winning Return In Ostrava
The former World No. 8 showed his knee is fully healthy by prevailing in a long three-set match
Janko Tipsarevic made a triumphant return to professional tennis on Tuesday at the $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event in Ostrava, winning his first match after a seven-month injury layoff.
In front of a packed crowd on Centre Court, the former World No. 8 needed over two-and-a-half hours to dispatch No. 6 seed Hans Podlipnik-Castillo, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4. Rallying from a break down in the final set, the win marked his first ATP Challenger Tour victory since Belgrade in 2010, and his first professional win since last year’s ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Madrid.
“The conditions were tough for everyone today because there was a tremendous amount of wind, but I’m happy that I won my first match in seven months,” said Tipsarevic. “It wasn’t a pretty match, but it’s important that I won.”
Tipsarevic has been out this year with right knee patella tendonitis, with his last match coming at the US Open. He returned to the tour last April after sitting out for 18 months with persistent foot issues, specifically in his left heel, which included two surgeries to remove a benign tumor. Simply happy to be healthy now, the 31-year-old said returning to Ostrava, where he won the third ATP Challenger Tour title of his career in 2004, is an ideal way to ease his body back into the rigors of competitive tennis.
“I wanted to be here. There was a chance I could have gotten a wild card into [the ATP World Tour event in] Munich, but this tournament is smaller and I can get some matches in,” said Tipsarevic. “I wanted to test things out and I also have good memories of this tournament from the past.”
The two-time US Open quarter-finalist is keeping his expectations low in Ostrava, but is aiming to play a full schedule for the remainder of the year and get back into the upper echelon of the game in 2017.
“I’m just seeing how my body feels at this tournament because I haven’t played in seven months,” said Tipsarevic. “The goal for this year is to finish in the Top 100 so I don't have to go through qualifying for the big events.”