Bublik ready for tennis to do the talking

22.09.2021    Views: 141
Source: KTF press-service

Alex Sharp 
It’s rare for Alexander Bublik to be able to compete on home soil. Kazakhstan’s leading light hopes to put on a show at the ATP 250 Astana Open. 
The world No.34 was able to mix up his pre-tournament routines, taking in a local Kontinental Hockey League match between Barys Nur-Sultan and CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night. Now it’s show time for the No.2 seed, opening his title tilt against world No.60 Miomir Kecmanovic on Thursday.  
«No I’m bad, I can’t even stay on the ice,» Bublik said, not switching to hockey any time soon. «The experience was great. To be at home once in the year, to play a tournament here and to visit a local team. We almost won (2-1 OT loss) and I enjoyed every minute of it.» 
Rewind to November and Bublik exited the inaugural Astana Open in the first round, still sick and recovering from Covid-19. This time the 24-year-old arrives feeling fresh and forward thinking. 
«For me this is the first time I’ve played here, as complete, healthy player,» said the world No.34. «It’s great when you arrive as one of the top seeds, it gives you a little confidence. 
«You did a good job if you’re the second seed near the end of the year, it means you’ve done a decent job throughout the year. But I have to treat it like another tournament, to stay calm and try to perform, not putting too much pressure on me.» 
Belief has been building for Bublik, who has posted some impressive results in 2021, including a third round showing at Wimbledon, two Masters 1000 quarter-finals in Miami and then Madrid, alongside two ATP finals in Antalya and Singapore.  
«I’ve had an ok year, played some great matches, won some great matches. I’ve done some things I’ve never done, like the quarters of a Masters. To have that in the book is nice for my confidence,» continued the home charge. «I have a couple weeks to go and I’ll try my best especially because I’m at home.» 
Kecmanovic, Fernando Verdasco’s conqueror in the first round, and Bublik know each other very well, over the net in their first professional meeting on Thursday.  
«We’re quite close. We grew up together, played Challengers together and we elevated through the game together. We’ve got to these rankings at the same time,» added Bublik. «First match at home, this isn’t a very easy opener but that’s tennis, you have to work with what you’re given.» 
Kecmanovic praised his friend’s personality earlier this week at the Astana Open, indicating the 24-year-old’s shot-making, spontaneity and unpredictability is a positive factor for the sport. The Kazakh frequently has fans and more crucially his opponents guessing.  
«I’m just being myself. When you’re trying to prove to somebody, to be like ‘this’ I think that’s fake. I just do whatever I want to do,» insisted Bublik.  «It’s simple, that’s the way I am. It’s just me.» 

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