The Astana Open that will occur over the next fortnight in Nur-Sultan presents an opportunity for Kazakhstan to further its growing status in world tennis

18.09.2021    Views: 167
Source: KTF press-service
Courtney Walsh

The Astana Open that will occur over the next fortnight in Nur-Sultan presents an opportunity for Kazakhstan to further its growing status in world tennis.

Kazakhstan Tennis Federation vice-president Yuriy Polskiy said hosting ATP Tour and WTA Tour 250 tournaments in successive weeks was another step forward for a nation passionate about tennis.

«It is a really big step forward for us to have two events, because last year we hosted a very nice ATP 250,» he said. «We want to show to the world that Kazakhstan is a new country on the tennis map and that we are progressing».

Local star Alexander Bublik headlines the second edition of the Astana Open in a field that includes defending champion John Millman of Australia, with main draw action beginning on Monday.

Another Kazakhstan favorite, Yulia Putintseva, will headline the inaugural WTA Tour tournament to be held in the country, with main draw matches to begin the following Monday, September 27.

When it became clear midway through the year that there was an opportunity to host a WTA Tour tournament, the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation moved quickly to secure the event.

«We are prepared and we are excited that we have the opportunity,» he said. «Even in the difficult circumstances (of the pandemic), we have tried to use all of our will and resources to do this. «For many years, even before getting an ATP 250, we made a big job of hosting Davis Cup ties, Billie Jean King Cup ties, and many other events like Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal's exhibition match in 2019».

It furthers an impressive investment the KTF has placed in tennis in 2021, with the nation’s passion for the sport providing several opportunities for professionals from around the world to compete.

The next fortnight, which Mr Polskiy described as a «festival of tennis», is in addition to nine International Tennis Federation tournaments offering between $15,000 to $25,000 in prize money the KTF has run for men and women this year.

The nation has also hosted six ATP Tour Challenger level tournaments and a $60,000 ITF event for women. Kazakhstan has enjoyed success with their national teams in the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cups, with both their male and female teams highly competitive in the global events.

Mr Polskiy said the KTF believed it was important for aspiring juniors to have the opportunity to watch and learn from both Kazakhstan and the world’s best players. 

«It drives the younger generation to train stronger, to push harder and to show good results,» he said. «It is good that they come here (to see) Mikhail Kukushkin and others so that they understand there is a human connection. They see that he is very successful, but that they can do that as well. «They can see they have a chance to talk with them, unofficially, (and ask) ‘What is the key to success?’ «We try to keep them as close as possible to these successful guys so that they could pick up (good habits) and be successful as well».

In November, Kazakhstan will feature several national junior tournaments, which demonstrates the nation’s determination to create a pathway for local players from the grass roots to the elite level.

«Our main focus (there) is the kids. We have several levels of tennis. We bring in young kids from all the regions, the best ones, starting from six through until 14-years-old,» My Polskiy said. «We are really glad that we have all a chain of events, from the juniors at the beginning of their career as players to the tour events. «It is not only for the players, but also for the staff and the officials as well. It has all come together and we are really glad to have it».

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