Feb 07. Kazpravda
By Askar Beysenbayev
Kazakhstan tennis team has won in 1/8 finals of the Davis Cup World Group, held in Astana. Bulat Utemuratov – President of the RK Tennis Federation comments on the success.
– In the first round of the Davis Cup this year our athletes competed with the team from Austria. It was a real surprise that Kazakhstan team won 3:1, although their opponents took higher positions in the ranking.
– Yes, it’s right. And the first athlete who surprised us was Andrey Golubev (world No. 187 in tennis), who turned aside Andreas Haider-Maurer (current ATP ranking: 104).
It was a very important victory for us, especially because it added confidence to Evgeny Korolev (current ATP ranking: 210), who came next to the court to compete with Jurgen Melzer (current ATP ranking: 29), leader of the Austrian team. It is really unbelievable when the tennis player No. 29 in the world is turned aside by No. 210!
In the doubles Andrey Golubev and Yuri Schukin lost to the tandem of Peyia – Knowle.
In general, I would like to say that our guys were well coached for the Davis Cup. The RK Tennis Federation held trainings in Dubai in December 2012 for that. The difficulty for us was that the No. 1 of the team – Mikhail Kukushkin – had two surgeries on both hips and did not completely recover from them, so he could not participate in the David Cup.
– Our tennis players will play vs. Czech athletes in the upcoming 1/4. Are they ready to play with last year’s winners of the Davis Cup?
– I think the athletes and the fans remember that in 2011 our team played with the Czech team and won it. Of course, the Czechs want revenge.
In general, I would like to thank our fans. I can see how their support is growing from match to match. Another important aspect is how these competitions are covered in media and what our citizens know about the success of domestic sports stars.
– What was the victory over the Austrian team for you personally as the President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation?
– It has become a cause for pride and inspiration to achieve new goals. Each such victory helps us to go ahead to rank our country among the world’s tennis powers, and make the tennis popular among Kazakhstanis.
That was the victory of not athletes only, but everyone who works in our Federation – deputy head of the Tennis Federation Adil Burlibayev, all members of the coaching staff – Dias Doskarayev – captain of the team, ex-player Mieczyslaw Boguslavsky.
– What are the key directions for future development of Kazakhstan tennis?
– There is a program for tennis development, approved by the President. Due to the state support tennis in our country is one of the fastest growing sports, that is why the strategic goal for construction of the equipped tennis centers in every region is under fulfillment.
Development of child and youth tennis in Kazakhstan is prioritized. Interest in the sport is growing annually. Thus, in 2012, the number of junior players in professional Kazakhstan tournaments increased by 20%. We train our future champions here and send them to the top foreign tennis academies, and arrange master classes from the world stars for them.
For example, we invited international tennis stars Martina Hingis and Dinara Safina, and our compatriot Elena Likhovtseva and Irina Selyutina – the most talented Kazakhstan tennis players. I hope, making tennis more grassroots, paying attention to new fans and attracting players from abroad as an example, we will be able to bring up the winners of “Grand Slam”.