Day of Mikhail Youzhny at St. Petersburg open 2018
Mikhail Youzhny Day was celebrated at St. Petersburg Open 2018 on Sunday, September 22. In the morning renowned tennis player Mikhail Youzhny held a tennis clinic in the track and field athletics arena on court No. 1, along with his coach Boris Sobkin, the coach of the Russian national team Igor Kunitsyn and Russia’s national player Evgeny Donskoy. At the end of the clinic, no one left without the much-coveted autograph and picture with tennis stars. But the organizers of St. Petersburg Open could not let go of Mikhail without a celebration ceremony. It was attended by Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of “Gazprom” Alexander Medvedev, the General Director of the tournament St. Petersburg Open, vice-governor of St. Petersburg Vladimir Kirillov, ATP Supervisor Tomas Karlberg and Natalia Kamelzon, CEO of the company “Formula Т&Х” and executive director of the tournament St. Petersburg Open. Karlberg and Medvedev addressed the legendary player with warm welcome speeches. Later Thomas Karlberg presented gifts to Youzhny – a framed illustration of Mikhail’s key achievements. Boris Sobkin, who had been Youzhny’s coach for 25 years also showed up on the court. He thanked the spectators who stayed for the solemn ceremony after the semifinal singles matches and confessed that when he was just starting to work with Mikhail back in 1993, “he could not have dreamed in his wildest dreams that one day he would witness such a magnificent solemn ceremony”.
Mikhail began his emotional acceptance speech with words of gratitude for his parents and brother, who brought him into tennis, choking back tears. A timely pause was provided by the drummers who entered the court along with the cheerleading team “Tennis Dolls”. After their performance, Mikhail pulled himself together, thanked his fans, the family, his wife Julia, the organizing committee of the tournament, his personal doctor Blum, psychologist Vadim Gushchin, Boris Sobkin and first coach Anatoly Abashkin. Youzhny concluded his speech with his traditional military salute and treated his fans to yet another poem to which they have already somehow got accustomed to.