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Dirk Hordorff, the German coach of Janko Tipsarevic (US Open quarter finalist 2012 and world number 9) sent this letter to us so we could show our pupils at Heron. It is a letter from a mother of a young boy who was inspired by Tipsarevic. It reads:

I´m writing to you from Mexico City. I would like to ask you if you could please show this letter to Janko Tipsarevic, I want to thank him because about 5 years ago he changed my son´s life.

My son Jamie was 9 years old and loved to play soccer but he is short-sighted and no longer could practice sports without goggles. But he was afraid other kids would make fun of him, so he wasn´t sure he wanted to be in the soccer team any more. The day the doctor gave him his eye-glasses and his goggles, he told me he wanted to quit the soccer team. I was really sad for I´ve been an athlete all my life, but I didn´t know what say to him.

One week after, I was watching tennis on T.V. Federer was playing a Grand Slam match against some player I didn´t know and was having a tough match. This was the first time I saw Janko Tipsarevic play. I called my brother and told him "please turn on the T.V. and watch this guy Federer is playing against, he has the most amazing backhand stroke". I didn´t notice my son was sitting there until he said: "Mom, he wears glasses". I told him that was true but what was important is that he played incredibly good.

We watched the whole match. Tipsarevic lost in 5 sets and the guy in the T.V. said that the only reason Federer could win that match was because he had more experience to handle the pressure of being in a big stadium with all the crowd yelling and cheering up.

The next morning, Jaime came to the kitchen before school wearing his goggles and told me he was going to stay in the soccer team. And so he did. About two months later, Jamie´s grandfather asked him how could he play soccer wearing goggles, and he answered: "Grandpa, a guy with goggles can beat Federer".

Jaime is 14 years old now, he is still in the soccer team. Yesterday we were watching Tipsarevic playing U.S. Open quarterfinals against David Ferrer. At the end of another amazing 5 sets match, Janko came to the net to shake hands, he gave Ferrer a hug and congratulated him. Jaime told me: "Tipsarevic is one of the best tennis players in the world, probably the most intelligent tennis player in the tour, but what I admire the most about him is that he is a gentleman. He is a good person."

So I want to thank Janko Tipsarevic for bringing hope to my kid, for letting him know an athlete can study hard to aquire knowledge, and for showing him to be both a fighter and a good person.

September 2012