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Karen Khachanov: “I didn’t name my son after David Ferrer!”

— Karen, could you comment on the performance at this tournament – what did you succeed at and what you didn’t manage to do?
— I didn’t manage to do anything here….
—Why do you think?
— It’s difficult to say. In fact, I had all the chances. There were some points… In general, I don’t have enough confidence right now to make this match turn in my favor, but if I had won it, then everything would turn out differently. Unfortunately, there always will be such matches, so I must try to overcome this feelings somehow in order to win this kind of matches. If I manage that, then I will have much better results.
— One could get a feeling that you are not focused on tennis due to the birth of a son. Is it true or are you trying to forget about it on the court?
— If my thoughts really were occupied with my son on the court, I simply wouldn’t come here. I have trained in Moscow for three weeks, that is, of course there was an expectation of a son during this time, but it was very positive emotions that gave me a lot of energy. Here on the tournament I’m focused on tennis: I’m thinking more about playing on the court, about my results and psychology than about my family.
— We have already asked Evgeny Donskoy and Andrey Rublev about the upcoming Davis Cup tournament. The Russian team has a very strong lineup —   how do you estimate chances of winning for our team, have you already discussed something with the guys? There is a good chance that our team can win the David Cup in our opinion.
— We discussed that with guys yesterday. The main thing for us is that everyone stays healthy, because at the end of the year Daniil [Medvedev] will definitely play at the ATP Finals, then Andrey and I will play our last tournament, but, of course, we want to play with the best lineup we have. And if everything goes as we plan, then yes, we will fight to win the Davis Cup.
— This season is worse for you than the previous one so far. Are you going to change it?
— Frankly speaking, if we take into consideration points and rating, then this season is exactly the same. And I think this is the problem — I am talking about psychology. The higher you rise in the rankings, the more you expect from yourself. In most cases, this expectation bothers you. You realize that you are world №  8, 9 or 10 now. You expect that you will win every match, and people are expecting the same thing. For now I don’t cope very well with the responsibility of being Top10 player.
— As you mentioned physiology, how do you personally work on it?
— I started to work with Nikolay Davydenko in July, and he had similar experience in his career. In my opinion, every player had situations like that, when you lose several tournaments in a row, all matches – you start to lose confidence, and you begin tо have some thoughts that bother you and which make you doubt when you go on the court. You doubt, you don’t know where to hit the ball – when you think about it, it turns against you. Therefore, now we are working with Nikolay on this problem together with my main coach. I hope this will help.
— In your opinion, which Russian tennis player has the highest chance of winning the tournament here in St. Petersburg? Do you plan to watch today’s match Daniil Medvedev vs. Evgeny Donskoy?
— In terms of his game, Daniil, probably is showing his best tennis now. If he is in a good health and he plays the same way as now, then he has all the chances to win the tournament. But, again, each match can turn out unexpectedly. Let’s see how this match ends. It’s not easy to play in your homeland, but when you come full of confidence after the US Open finals, then I think there is no reason to worry. I’ll watch the match if you let me go.
— You said that playing in homeland isn’t easy. Why?
– Due to responsibility and physiological pressure. I think that it’s all about one’s psychology, probably all people everyone reacts to different things in their own way. For example, last year in Moscow I really wanted to win. The same matches as I have had today were back then in the beginning, but I won them, and then I let it go, and in the end won the tournament. Here, probably, the same thing. When you are playing, for example, in your own country you don’t play so productively, then there is more doubt, insecurity that does not leave you. There are different situations: you can insanely want to win, and this may ultimately work against you. Of course, I want to play well and win in my country – this is the main factor.
— Karen, you have a busy schedule at the end of the year. You need to protect the ranking points you scored at the Kremlin Cup last year, then Paris and the Chinese series. Will you have enough stamina before the end of the season?
— Yes, I don’t think about protecting my ranking points, because every year you need to earn them again. Therefore, why do I need to worry about it? Thinking this way, I have to worry about my ranking points starting from January, as soon as my points for Paris burn. Why do I need to do this?! It really depends on how you play every week, on how you enter the tournament. When you enter a tournament, you want to win it, right? If you lose the points for the victory in Moscow, but then you will win the tournament in Vienna, you won’t be upset because of the points you lost, will you? That’s why there are many tournaments on the tour. Sometimes it turns against you, sometimes it plays in your favor. Talking about psychology, when you lose a lot of matches, you put too much pressure on yourself, but if you win – everything becomes much easier.
— Who do you think could be the first one out of the Russian troika Medvedev-Khachanov-Rublev to become world №1?
— I’m not the one to answer this question (laughter).
— You named your son David, why did you choose this name?
— Well, it’s international name – both Caucasian and Armenian name.
— Did you name your son after David Ferrer?
— No, absolutely not. When my son was born, I was not thinking about him at all (laughter). I really respect him as a tennis player, but I didn’t name my son after him.

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