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ALEXANDER BUBLIK: «ST. PETERSBURG OPEN IS LIKE A HOME TOURNAMENT FOR ME!»

12.10.2020, 22:05 #News #Best

Could you, please, comment on today’s match: what didn’t work for you in the first set and how did you manage to turn the tide? 

— At the beginning of the match Mackenzie was dictating the point as he played brilliant tennis. I wasn’t serving well enough while he was returning perfectly, he put pressure on me without giving me a chance to play my game that is why he dictated the game.  But then my serve started to work better, I slightly modified the direction of my service and started to feel my rhythm better.  I was a little bit luckier on the tie-break, he became a bit nervous and gave me a couple of points.  In the third set the game was even and he made couple of mistakes on key points and I was a little bit luckier today and I won.

How did you spend the pandemic self-isolation pause? Did you work on improving something in your game? Are you satisfied with the practice sessions you had? 

— They were the best 5 months in my life. I ate and slept.  And I had my practice once a month. Conditions? What conditions could there be possible in St. Petersburg?! There is a shortage of courts, they are all different and far away from the city center.  Either rain or wind and there are no hitting partners. That is why it was difficult to practice and this is the reason why I didn’t like to do it here. I didn’t practice much and I liked it.

You were practicing in Tosno in St. Petersburg, where did you practice and play in St. Petersburg? 

— I played on different court of St. Petersburg. In Tosno I was playing some practice matches. I spend a lot of time on the Elagin Island, the courts are good and I know the director of those courts, sometimes I play on Dinamo tennis center court on the Krestovskiy Island but not that often. I was growing up in St. Petersburg, so I know all the courts.

Today you won your first match ever in St. Petersburg in front of the home crowd. It is a historical moment.  What does it mean to you? 

— Yeah, it’s my home tournament. Soon I can say the same about the upcoming tournament in Astana.  I will be playing it in two weeks. But I definitely feel unbelievable emotions playing here.  Unfortunately, we are not playing in the SKK (sport complex where St. Petersburg Open was held before) but I’d like to do it as I spent all my childhood watching the tournament and I was dreaming to play there once. Maybe someday we will be move back there. But in any case, St. Petersburg Open is like a home tournament for me.  It is never easy to play when all the family is watching you. Everyone is tapping me on the shoulder and calling me as they’d like to come to see me. I am like a shadow when I come to St. Petersburg. Everyone knows I am a sportsman but no one has ever seen me that is why it is more difficult for me to play their as I have the ambitions to win and the victory is sweeter here, I should say.

Recently you beat Gael Monfils. It was your first victory over a Top10 player. How important was it for you? Do you have any more memorable victories in your career?  

— It was a new achievement I haven’t had before.  If I am not mistaken, prior to that I lost 5 times to Top10 players. And finally, I managed to seal a victory over Gael Monfils on his home courts at Roland Garros. This is a huge achievement. But the most memorable match was the one I won against Roberto Bautista Agut at the Kremlin Cup in 2016. It heralded the very beginning of my professional career on the ATP Tour, so the victory over Gael is important but the one over Agut means more to me.

Do you have any special goal at St. Petersburg Open 2020? How do you evaluate the level of you shape?

— Not bad. And speaking about the tournament we will see how it goes, I don’t want to make any forecasts.

You have told us you were eating and sleeping for 5 months. Did you pay attention to the discussion in the social media about Milos Raonic’s putting on weight? There were a lot of jokes about him. How did you manage stay slim? 

— I gained weight!  When the pandemic started, I weighted 77 kilos and on August I weighted 82 kilos. I don’t know where these kilos are but it’s a fact of life, I did put on 10 kilos. And it was exceptionally beautiful time.

Milos Raonic is your potential opponent in R2.  Will you follow his match?

— I don’t watch tennis myself with some rare exceptions. Sometimes I can watch finals or the matches where the tennis players of my age like Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov play. My coach usually watches.  But I am not sure I need to watch Raonic match as he is serving at 400 km per hour, there is nothing to watch at you’d better try to guess the direction of the service on court and try to return it somehow. So, I’d better prepare myself for the match and he will take on J. J. Wolf first. We will see.

You decided to team-up with such type of player here in the double’s tournament Reilly Opelka, a tall guy with a powerful serve. 

— It is very convenient! For example, now I’ve learned that if you are that tall you don’t need to move when you are playing on the net. The court is too small for him, it seems like Reilly can kill you with the ball.

You have said your family was supporting you from the tribunes. Who was there? 

— My mum and my granny.

Once you have tried yourself as a correspondent of ATP TV, how did you like this experience?  Did you think of any questions which you’d prefer to be asked by journalists? 

— I was younger. Everything was new to me and to stay next to Roger Federer was at the top of my dreams.  It was my debut year on ATP Tour. It was fun.  I am remembering those days with pleasure as I didn’t think care much about tennis. I could travel around the tournament and have fun. People ask me lots of questions and some of them are quite stupid but I got used to them. I have nothing I’d like to be asked about.

How has Alexander Bublik changed his attitude to tennis? Can you compare yourself since that time? 

— First of all, I matured. As people grew up, they meet and communicate with new people. And then you feel the responsibility.  And when you are 19, what can you be responsible for?  And now I’ve been having a relationship for 2,5 years, I have my family and friends.  I am growing up as a person and as a human. Luckily, it helps me in my game. So, I am gaining experience which is coming with age and self-improvement.

What should Alexander Bublik do to improve this progress? 

— You should do whatever you can. I don’t think a lot of things depend on me. I must do what I need to do, other than that, I believe in fate. I don’t believe I must practice a lot, get up at 5 AM and run marathons and eat gluten-free pasta to be in the Top10. If those who believe in this theory – power to them.

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