- About the tournament
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Vladimir, we would like to hear you opinion on the most bright participants of St. Petersburg Open 2018. Let’s start with the main star of the tournament Denis Shapovalov…
Yesterday for the first time I had a chance to speak with Denis one on one. I’ve only seen him on TV before, although I’ve spoken about him many times in my interviews. In my opinion, he is one of the most talented representatives of the new generation in men’s tennis along with Khachanov, Rublev, Medvedev and Tsitsipas. Speaking as a coach, I can give you my professional point of view – Denis is one of those players who have a potential to be Top1, Top2 or Top3. First of all, Shapovalov has a perfect technique. Secondly, he’s got the right instincts. Moreover, today in the match against Berrittini he also demonstrated that he can either serve with 220 km/h or if it is necessary he can play it soft or aggressive. And, of course, he has an unusual one-handed-backhand. I really liked that he is very modest and well-educated. And I think his education and modesty help him to show good results. Denis has a native Russian upbringing. His mother was a Master of sports of USSR in tennis, and, of course, she managed to pass on to him all our methods. In general, in Denis Shapovalov I see the traits of our talented people. Too bad that he plays for Canada. But it is what it is. Such are today’s realities and got face them. I think, he has every chance of winning this tournament…
We talked about a player with Russian roots. Let’s now talk about those who defend Russia’s national colors – Medvedev, Khachanov, Rublev. How are they doing – not only at this tournament, but also throughout the whole season?
This season, two of our players are doing great – Rublev and Khachanov. It does not matter that Rublev lost at our tournament. I can explain why – Andrey had a very serious injury. I thought that the treatment would take longer. Nevertheless, he quickly recovered, began to work, and then got invited to the Davis Cup tie. At last, Russia beat the Belorussians after fighting hard. And it was Daniil Medvedev who brought us the decisive point, he had a dramatic match. And here in St. Petersburg he won two matches showing good tennis. And Khachanov is amazing – he won two points for the national team. He is on the rise now. Yes, he lost at our tournament to Wawrinka, but it was a tough and interesting match. Khachanov has an excellent ranking. Karen is a worthy leader of the current national tennis team. This trio Rublev-Khachanov-Medvedev is our future.
And what about the top-seed Dominic Thiem?
I watched his quarterfinal match at the US Open against Rafael Nadal. It was a “finale in the quarterfinals”. We have not seen such a match for a long time. Tim proved he can play, and it was clear that he has the potential of becoming one of the leaders of world rankings one day. At the same time, having shown such result, he did not break off the contract with us. We had struck a deal even before US Open. After all he played at the US Open he still joined our tournament as top-seed. He drew the attention of not only St. Petersburg’s and all Russian fans – he was also a focus of attention of the entire world tennis community. Thiem today is a bright star on the tennis horizon. He played an excellent first match against Struff here. And, mind you, he hasn’t got into the rhythm of the tournament yet. So tomorrow, most likely, he will raise his game, so our Daniil Medvedev will face a daunting task.
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