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14 2010


8 2010

- "Monterrey Open" .

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    2007-04-24 15:35:50

    Tennis player by obligation, nice guy by nature

    Last December, the 24 year old player, Dmitry Tursunov, visited Buenos Aires. In a one on one conversation with GRIP, he tells us how he started to play tennis, almost by obligation, and, at the same time, he shows us his natural and spontaneous side, full of amiability and mischievousness.

    How did you start to play tennis?
    My father - Igor- liked tennis a lot. He started to play it with his friends in college. I think he liked it so much he thought When my kids grow up, theyll be tennis players, doesnt matter if theyll born with two or three arms, theyll be tennis players. My older brother Denis- played too, but when I started, my dad saw I had more chances to progress and become professional. So, he ended up by focusing on me.

    By the age of twelve, you went to live to the US (to Sacramento). How was that change? Did you suffer much?
    By those days, my dad was sure my thing was tennis, but sometimes, I didnt thought like him. But when youre twelve, you cant say I dont want to play tennis, I dont want to do this or that. So I did some things I might not like or wasnt exactly what I wanted to do. But, going to live to the US to José Higueras and vitally Gorins Academy- was a good opportunity for me because my parents werent around to tell me what to do or what not to do. I lived with adults, who didnt tell me every day I had to become a tennis player. I enjoyed the idea of been on my own. And, by that time, my life was tennis; I traveled a lot, so I was used to not see my family.

    When did you find out tennis was going to be your career?
    I think my dad was the one who inculcate me that since I was a kid (laughs). I didnt have other plans to my life: since I was a kid, I knew I was going to be a tennis player. I think only when I was seventeen or eighteen; I realized tennis was a good opportunity for me. I knew I was a good player, but at the same time, I wasnt enjoying it a hundred percent. Was an intern battle for me: to do something I didnt quite like or to do something elseThe thing was I didnt know what else I could do. Ive already dedicated thirteen years to this game, so changing my mind wasnt the best idea. I began to realize most of the things I had and achieved were due to tennis. So I started to be more interested in it and I force myself to do that (laughs). I changed my attitude and today I enjoy this game. I think I wouldnt like to do something else than play tennis.

    Before you became a professional, did you have any hobby, besides tennis?
    I think all men have a hobby: women (laughs). No, really, before I went to the US I had nothing. Once I got there, I had TV, video games and nobody telling me what to do. Those were my hobbies. But I had very clear by the end of the day that if I didnt focus on tennis, all I hadwill disappear.

    Do you remember your first year as a professional?
    To be honest, its just a change of words. The main difference is that when you are a professional, youll get the tournaments prize, and when youre amateur, you only win what you have spent. Really, I didnt felt the change from amateur to pro. I do remember though, in my first years as a professional I played Futures and some ATP events. But what I remember the most are the previous years, when I was playing the qualys to those events. Now, looking back, I think Ill never play that kind of tournaments again. You dont have water on court, not ball boys either. Its too hard to go through that phase, but if you make it, you have great chances to achieve good results. It was a nice, fun time, even when I didnt thought that back then. It was a challenge and I dont think Ill ever have such challenging times like those.

    In 2002 you had a serious injury in your back and, again, in 2004 you had a similar pain, did you thought about leaving tennis?
    No, I didnt. Even that was a possibility; I never thought I was leaving tennis. Just that year -2002- I started to have good results and suddenly, the injury appear and no one knew what it was or how to heal it. So I played the whole season with pain, playing a few tournaments. Finally, I decided to stop for six months. It was a hard time for me: I passed from playing good to do nothing, but then I recovered and felt I could go back to my level. The second injury didnt affect me that much, because I knew I was coming back, Ive already been through that situation. I think those injuries made me value what I do and all my effort. Even not always I enjoy tennis; I know its better than not being able to play it.

    Whats the balance of your game last season?
    First of all, was an injury free year, that was positive and it reflected in my game. On the other side, I think you need three or four years of experience in the circuit to find your level and play good. Even this is my fifth season as a professional, in juries stopped me to find my best level and only last season I felt comfortable with my game.

    Precisely, last season you won your first ATP title, how did you live that moment?
    When I won it, I was so tired I really didnt give it much importance (laughs). Truth is I had a very good week; I came from playing Davis Cups semis and ext day I traveled to Mumbai. I didnt have many expectations. I won, but next day I had to travel to play in Tokyo, so I didnt had the time or the energy to enjoy the victory. Im realizing I won just these days.

    You won the Davis Cup, what did that mean to you?
    It was weird. I thought winning it will mean a lot of things, but it wasnt like that. It meant some things, but I dont feel the World Champion or invincible. I think for the Russians fans meant much more than it did to me. I prefer to be a recognized player and be loved by the fans, than won a lot of trophies. Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi are an example. While Pete won lots of trophies, Andre is admired and loved by all tennis fans. I choose the love of the people.

    The Russian player often transmits a cold image that doesnt match the one players like you and Marat Safin transmit. What do you think about that?
    Well, I think us Russians live and grow in a country that wasnt very open to other things, other cultures and people assumed that image of us. Safin and I lived many years in other countries. Even we are Russians, we have other influences. Every person who travels to other countries absorbs their cultures. You become multicultural, like Marat and I. I wouldnt say all Russians are cold or dont show their emotions. Even I realize Im not the same when Im on court than in my every day life.

    Last, how do you see Argentinean tennis level and players in the circuit?
    With Spain and France, Argentina has the biggest number of players in the top hundred. That, in my opinion makes it one of the three in the world. Although your players are recognized in clay, David (Nalbandian) and (Juan Martín) Del Potro are good in fast courts too. I think Argentinean tennis future is very promissory, just because with so many quality players, its hard not to dream with good results.

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