- About the tournament
The participant of St. Petersburg Open 2021 Alexander Bublik gave an interview to the press-service of the competition.
This season is your career best – in September you were ranked 34th and this is the best ranking you ever had so far. What are your goals for this season?
This is the best season for me, indeed. I don’t like to set any specific goals and plan ahead, so my only objective is to have fun playing tennis, do good work, progress slowly and steadily, move in the right direction. For better or worse, I don’t have enough ambitions and not much of a dreamer to aspire becoming the top player of the world or win a lot of Slams. Putting my life and blind trust in it is not for me.
You reached the finals in Antalya, beating Matteo Berrettini among others, but didn’t show up for the finals against Alex de Minaur – what happened there?
It was at the beginning of the season and with 4/2 score in the second set I sprained my ankle in the semifinals, but managed to finish the match. Though the following day my leg hurt too badly and I tried to play but it was physically impossible.
In February you played in the finals in Singapore falling to Alexei Popyrin, what happened there?
I don’t know what happened. I couldn’t win (laughter). Half a year has passed, so I don’t really know. I can’t even remember the details of that tournament in Singapore.
In Moscow you played against Ilya Marchenko in the first round – can you elaborate on that?
Unfortunately, on our way to Moscow we got food poisoning together with my team. As a result I didn’t play my best match against Marchenko. But this is not to belittle what Marchenko did in that game, he was consistent and played a good match. I did everything I could but unfortunately was not able to show my best physically.
What is your record here in St. Petersburg? Can you remember your best score and best match on Sibur Arena?
I remember all of the tournaments throughout the years when the event was still held at St. Petersburg’s Sports and Concert Complex. I always dreamed of playing there. But unfortunately when I had the first opportunity to take part in the tournament at home, even before I got the wild card, the tournament was moved to Sibur Arena. At that time I was younger and it really disappointed me. And it is still pretty disappointing because I always wanted to play at St. Petersburg’s Sports and Concert Complex. Of course, I remember my first match here when I beat Mikhail Elgin in the first round. I even remember that I was two break down trailing 1/4. Now I understand how crazy it is – being two breaks down and still win something. But then I lost in the qualification finals. This was my first St. Petersburg Open and it is still the most memorable tournament for me.
What would you say about the atmosphere of St. Petersburg Open – maybe there is a special aura? What about the hotel for the players?
The hotel is good but I didn’t live there for many years, because I live at home when I am here in St Petersburg. But when I am not on tour I sometimes stay there. It is one of the best hotels that ATP provides in any category, even up to 1000. The atmosphere is always homelike; the relatives who are otherwise unable to travel come to root for you in the stands. It is very nice to play at home but also very emotional.
Does it put extra psychological pressure on you or on the contrary makes you feel more comfortable?
Undoubtedly, there is some pressure. Though it is not so much the pressure but a welcome distraction from the routine. There are normal tournaments ATP 250, 500, 1000 where you play as usual. But here you are coming to St. Petersburg Open closer to the end of the season, and I have quite a strained relationship with the end of the season. There are a lot of distractions here of course, but I hope one day I will make my native St. Petersburgers happy.
Last year when answering the question from an international journalist «whom would you like to spend time with on a desert island», you replied – just not with Andrey Rublev, because he is sure to find a court somewhere and will start practicing. So if it is not Rublev – then who?
It would have been tough with Andrey for sure (laughter). He is a very hard-working guy and that is probably what makes him a great player. With whom would I want to be? With Benoit Paire, we would have had a lot of fun together. Once we spent 6 hours waiting for a transit flight in Chicago, we were flying from Cincinnati to Toronto. I must say that those 6 hours just flew by only thanks to Paire and his special vibe. With him I would have had a good time even on a deserted island.
Maybe your next final will also be in St. Petersburg and it will be a happy one? And you will claim your maiden singles title? Why not here in your home city? Why not give it shot?
OK, I will give it a shot! We will see.
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