- About the tournament
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— What plan for the game against Berrettini did you have taking into account that you both have similar game style; you both play aggressively, based on powerful service and shots?
— We came up with a plan with my coach. I can say it worked. We studied where the opponent served and how he played. The plan was to play aggressively coming to the net more to finish rallies, then to wait for luck and seize my chance.
— Now you are going to take on one of the Russians – Daniil Medvedev or Andrey Rublev.
— I played against Medvedev and Rublev several times. I know what to expect from them. I will try to show my best tennis.
— Thanks to reaching the semis at this tournament you are in the Top-100 right now. Could you say it was one of the most important victories in your life, wasn’t it?
— Yes, it is my biggest victory so far. I haven’t beaten Top-20 players yet. I am happy I cracked the Top100 but anyway I have points to protect at the end of the season. So I have to earn some more points to stay in the Top100.
— Can you play even better than today?
— In my opinion, yes, I can.
— Medvedev said that the last match you played at the Davis Cup tie Russia v Belarus was one of the most important in his career. What do you remember about it? How can you evaluate Daniil’s improvement last time?
— Dania is a cool guy! He shows great tennis. I approve of him. I think, he improved a lot. It tells – both in his rankings as well as on court. I don’t know what more can I say.
— Do you remember that tie?
— I do. It was a tough one: Daniil is like an octopus he gets his claws onto each ball and never let you breathe.
— If Daniil is an octopus on court, who are you?
— I am the man with a hammer.
— How did you manage to stay calm in the match with Berrettini after you missed three “hidden match points”?
— I was expecting that. He is a Top20 guy. He builds his game from his serve. I was waiting powerful service game. It was a pity to lead 40:0 and lose the game. But I understood I have to go on.
— Who is supporting you at the tournament?
— Me? My wife. My coach and his wife. Friends from St. Petersburg. Many people.
— Where are you practicing right now and who is your coach?
— My coach is from Latvia. I am practicing where I come. I have everything I need in Minsk, where I can come for practice, there are all the right conditions there– fitness, courts etc – but when you travel a lot, you practice where you are.
— What is your coach’s name?
— Arturs Kazijevs.
— It is not difficult to notice you are making progress last time: you’ve been doing well over last couple of weeks even maybe a bit earlier. How can you explain it? How do you evaluate your game yourself?
— I think, it is the result of our collaboration with the coach. We found the right way to practice and it is paid off.
— When you did you start to work with him?
— Not so long ago. We work together starting from the Challenger in Italy and actually won it, so since that moment on we work together.
— When you had your on-court interview you said you are very happy with a win with a neutral voice and having no emotions on your face. Is there anything that can put you out of temper or to make express some strong emotions: to shout, to cry or to laugh?
— I have even said «Come on!» after the match, it doesn’t happen that often to me.
— What has your coach already brought to your tennis?
— We are working on my aggressive game style. My coach and I we think the aggressive game style is my cup of tea, that’s how I will win my matches. We are improving it as it helps me to win and try to improve the quality.
— This tournament was named the best in ATP 250 category. In your opinion does it deserve it?
— For sure. There is a spectacular on-court presentation and the organization is at the highest level. So yes, I agree it is one of the best tournaments of the category maybe even the best.
— The crowd supported you very well today. Do you feel Russian tournaments are sort of home events for you as Belarus is rather close to Russia?
— Yeah, I have already said that I like to play closer to my home grounds where I am understood very well. People come to support me except for the matches against Russians.
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