Nineteen year-old Serbian national team player, Miki Janković, answered some question that are of interest to little tennis players and their parent, exclusively for our website.
Why should kids start playing tennis?
Tennis is an interesting game that always pushes you forward, making you try to find new solutions on your own.
Besides, tennis enables you to сonstantly meet new people. Once you start competing, that brings a lot of dynamics to your life, because travelling becomes an integral part of competing, and every week you are some place else.
What sort of parental support is best for little tennis players?
Little tennis players can not progress without support from their parents. In order to make progress, you constantly need to receive positive energy from your parents, but the type of energy that will not create any pressure. Praises are precious both when you win and when you lose. And, in tennis, financial support goes without saying.
When should kids start with individual training, and when should they start with conditioning training?
I started with individual training when I was nine years old, but some players started even earlier. In the first few years I did not have practices every day, I practiced three times a week. Regarding conditioning training, I started when I was ten or eleven years old, but I think that nowadays many kids start earlier than that.
Who was your tennis idol and why?
When I was starting, my tennis idol was Safin. It was very interesting for me to watch him play. Today, my main idol is Novak, but also all the other players from our national team – Zimonjić, Janko, Viktor.
At what age decision on whether to pursue tennis career seriously or to play it just for recreational purposes is usually made? What needs to be taken into consideration in order to make the right decision?
The biggest decision I had to make was when I was about to enter high school. I entered high school on a part-time basis. At that point, it was clear that, if I wanted to compete seriously, I could not attend school regularly. I finished high school, and today I am in the first year of college. And I think I made no mistake. The main factor in making this decision was my desire. And in order to make the right decision nowadays, I think one needs to secure financial support beforehand for all the things that tennis requires: trainings, travelling, nutrition, equipment…
Should one be setting specific or only general goals?
I was setting specific goals for myself. Such a goal can be beating a player that was better then me until that point, or winning a tournament, but also doing my best in practice.
What things did you have to give up because of tennins, and do you regret it?
I gave up going to school regularly, I did not have my prom or any school trips, but I do not regret it.
How important was support from your club (ТК Gemax), and what sort of support from club is most valuable for little tennis players?
Support from my club was very important to me. Well organized training process, with good progress plan is very important for little tennis players.
We wish you luck in the coming tournaments, and we hope to see you play in a Grand Slam tournament soon!
Thank you for your nice wishes. Playing in a Grand Slam tournament is my specific goal at this point, and I hope that in few years my specific goal will be winning one of them.
Miki Janković, Belgrade, age 19
He has been playing tennis for 12 years, and his greatest achievements are:
Current ATP rank: 458.
National U-18 champion of Serbia two years in a row (in 2010 and 2011), National champion of Serbia in all boys’ categories (U-10, U-12, U-14, U-16 and U-18), and member of all Serbian junior national teams since 2006. Serbian junior national team, whose member Miki was in 2012, played in the finals and won second place and silver medal in European U-18 team championship.
In three separate years, Tennis Association of Serbia proclaimed him the best player in his age group, and in 2011. he was proclaimed the best junior player in the country.
Beside winning numerous tournaments from European and world ranking, at the end of 2009, before turning 15, he won the U-16 European masters tournament in Italy and achieved No. 1 ranking on European Tennis Association U-16 list.
In 2010, Miki was the youngest player in main junior draws of Roland Garros, and in 2011, from qualifiers he reached singles quarterfinals and doubles semifinals in Roland Garros junior competition.
His greatest achievement is winning World Cup in Dusseldorf in 2012 as a member of Serbian national team along with Tipsarević, Troicki and Zimonjić.
For the last ten years, Miki’s equipment sponsor was Babolat.
Belgrade, June 2014
Video from Miki’s practice:
And from Schuttler Waske Tennis University: