7/28/2010 5:00:00 PM
When you get an opportunity to hitch a ride in a player car, you take it. When it's with No. 46 Janko Tipsarevic, in town for the Farmers Classic, you force your way in with a crowbar. The Serb with the tats and the sunglasses - who had the nerve to scalp Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in '08 and push Roger Federer to an extended fifth set at the '08 Aussie - is, in a word, a livewire. Janko took time out of his busy twittering – his latest addiction, and ours - to answer some brainless questions. It is L.A. after all.
Janko, before I hopped in here I asked people on twitter where they think you might be taking me. Each and every one said Cheesecake Factory. You're obsessed. So am I. Let's go.
You know what, I really would go. I would probably go and destroy myself eating so much, because I really have no self control. Everything in life I do 100% or I don't do it at all. But since I'm having an important doubles match tonight, I can't. Mardy Fish [the original first night match] pulled out, so [tournament organizers] wanted the home favorites, Blake and Querrey, to be the prime match of the night.
So it's Mardy's fault we're not going to Cheesecake Factory. I'll have to have words with him.
You're new to twitter but you're already following the Tennis Player Twitter 10 Commandments like a pro. Were you born to tweet?
Before I did it, I got advice. 'Don't write stuff just to write it', you know? If you have something interesting to say, put it out there even if you don't tweet for a week. But I see a lot of tweets just like, "I'm having breakfast and the omelette is great." Who cares man? If something interesting happens, I'm gonna post it out there, but if it's not interesting I'm not going to say anything.
Like if you just happen to be lying around with a pirate's eye patch on your eye, then up it goes.
The latest tennis fad?
[Smiles.] You know what, I did this in practice. Sometimes I tend to move my head too much when I hit my groundstrokes. My coach was thinking, if I only have one eye, I cannot really move my head that much, I have to keep my opposite eye on the ball. I think it did help. I looked really silly, I was missing balls like for first 15, 20 minutes but then after that was okay.
Do you think this is going to be adopted by the entire ATP? Players are going to be practicing with eye patches?
No, I did this only a couple times. It was an interesting thing we tried. I definitely don't see pirate tennis players anytime soon.
So eye patches are tweet-worthy. Or if someone, say, passes gas on your airplane...
That was actually true. I was sitting in the back seat, I was completely trapped. I think my wife faded. It was a nightmare.
How is it you're a successful world traveling
tennis player and you're in the back seat of an airplane? Aren't you supposed to be, like, next to the pilot?
Since I lost my doubles match Friday late in the afternoon, the only option to fly [direct] was the next morning. We took whatever was available.
Suddenly making a few layovers wasn't looking so bad.
You know what, the same thing could happen in business class. I don't think people in business class fart less than in economy.
This seems like as good a time as any to ask you about a certain animated TV show that, word on the street is, you're a big fan of. Family Guy.
Yes! Huge. Huge.
Who's your favorite character?
Definitely Peter. At the beginning it was obviously Stewie. Everybody likes the Hitler baby who wants to destroy the world and everything. But Peter just gets dumber and dumber. I actually have a bunch of shirts [from the show]. My favorite is when Peter is lifting his shirt and it says No Fat Chicks. I have nothing against fat chicks, [but] that's my favorite shirt for sure.
You're also a bartender at heart. You tweeted that your favorite drink is something called Liquid Cocaine. Explain this to me and anyone at home reading this who might now be scared of you.
I'm not a huge fan of alcohol. I don't like to drink that much. But I like when I have this nice dizzy feeling where the music hits me and I'm just flying and feeling very well. I know [Liquid Cocaine] sounds really hard, but it's tequila, absinthe and vodka. Only white liquors.
[Note: Janko looks like a mad scientist as he proceeds to go into epic detail about how this cocktail is made, but let's just say it involves fire, inhaling through a straw but no actual illegal substances. Let's also say it's so brain-busting that I don't think I could make it at gunpoint.]
I don't know if this kind of drinks is served around the world, but I'm drinking it in a place called Mr. Stefan Braun, the best nightclub in Belgrade and the only place I can party the way I want to party.
Okay, tell me about your lovely wife Biljana Šešević. You got married July 4th. How did you meet?
She was working for a TV station. There was a Davis Cup 5 or 6 years ago against Zimbabwe in Serbia. She interviewed me and I remember it was just horrible. I was talking about myself and whatever and at one point she asked me, we hear you read a lot of books. Can you tell me what was the last book you read? I said 'Yeah, the last book I read was…' And I just looked at the camera, I swear to you, for like 20 seconds. Like we say in Serbia, like a sheep looking at a door.
Looking at a door?
Yeah, we say that. I don't know why we say it but it's an old…
Sheep look at doors in Serbia.
Yeah. (laughs) Up until that point, I thought I had control over the interview, being funny and everything, and then I was just completely blocked. And she was really mean, I remember. She was just letting me suffer. She could've said 'Ah, it's not important,' and just continued the interview, but she was wanting to make me feel stupid. [Afterward] I came up with a very lame [pick-up] line, something like 'Can I get your number so I can call and ask when the interview's going to be on?' She said, 'you know what, why don't you give me your number and I'll text you.' And she did. I chased her, and five years later I got her.
What made you chase her, was it love at first sight and that made you freeze up on live television or was it that she was mean to you and you thought, I could like that?
I know that there are guys in this world who like to be, again in Serbia we say 'pulled by the nose…'
That kind of translates, I get that one. Sheep at doors I'm not sure but that one I get.
I swear to you, "like sheeps look at colored doors," I don't know why. It's the most stupidest saying ever, but people say it, at least in Serbia. But you know what, I don't believe in love at first sight. Obviously I fell for the looks at the beginning but I never thought anything serious could happen in these ten minutes that we spoke. I don't believe in these couples who like break up all the time and then get back together. I don't like this drama relationships, and I'm not the kind of guy that if a girl is mean to me that turns me on.
I saw the pictures of your wedding on the ATP site. It looked amazing. The entire Serbian Davis Cup team was there. Now, the question everyone wants to know: your buddy Novak Djokovic is rolling in millions. What did he get you as a wedding present? Was it like millionaire good?
He gave me an unbelievable nice picture.
Oh that's better. I could give you a picture, but a painting is different.
My apartment is completely minimalistic. Black and white everything with a little bit of red details, like red vase or red carpet or red [clock] on the wall. So it had to be specific. [The painting] is huge.
Did you get a chance to go on a honeymoon?
No. The next day I had to wake up at 9. Go the airport at 10, catch a flight at 11 to Split for Davis Cup.
Your Davis Cup teammates are your best friends on tour, but your other good friends are on the Croatian Davis Cup team, who you played that week. It's obviously a very political situation when you two get together and play. How did that go down? How did you feel there?
To be honest, I was expecting the crowd to be much worse. This is the first time that we play as an independent country in tennis against them and you expect that something bad is going to happen and you come prepared. But apart from few whistles from the crowd or whatever, which is more or less a normal Davis Cup behavior, nothing really bad happened. I think we were over-guarded. We had the police, the bodyguards, the military, everything. It was like Obama came to speak, not the Serbian Davis Cup team. Even when the people started whistling, I remember I think Ivan took the microphone and said come on, stop it, don't do it, they're our friends.
We arrive at Janko's hotel, where he has to prep for his doubles match. As the player car whisks me back to the tournament site, I'm left with two impressions: one, that Janko's not your polished player with bland canned answers to questions or an unwillingness to be bothered to think. He's happy to joke, but just as happy to go deeper. Actually engage. The other impression comes from our kindly fortysomething driver, who, with Janko safely out of the car, confides in me that she "could get with that."
My interview with Janko continues…over twitter. Follow him at twitter.com/TipsarevicJanko.