INTERVIEW OF THE DAY - Mikhail Kukushkin

28.10.2020    Views: 1251
Author: Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan Davis Cup star Mikhail Kukushkin is  recognized worldwide for his great success as a professional tennis player.  During his career he rose to a career-high ranking of number 39 in the ATP rankings .  Then  Kukushkin sustained  serious hip  injuries which required two surgeries   in  2012. He was out of action  for six months and  dropped to a world ranking of 430.  

With   help  from  Kazakhstan Tennis Federation,  who provided him with a personal physio, he  recovered and was able to compete on the tour again where he quickly broke into the top 100. The Kazakhstan star player has finished 9 of last 10 seasons in the top 100 (2010-11, 2013-19) and in 2019 he achieved a personal-best of 22 wins and also achieved that year a career-high No. 39 on 25 February after advancing to the singles final in Marseille. He won his 1st ATP Tour title in  2010  at St. Petersburg  and has been finalist in three events, Moscow (2013), Sydney (2015)  and Marseille (2019). 

Currently Ranked 91  , the   32  year old  Kukushkin   reached  in 2020 the  US Open 3rd Round  and the 2 round of the  Roland Garros. At the beginning of 2020,  he also reached his 1st Grand Slam doubles semi-final alongside fellow countryman Alexander Bublik at the Australian Open.

Kukushkin spoke to the Astana Open Media Team after his 6-7(5),6-3,6-2 comeback  win over Argentina's world ranked 76 player, Federico Delbonis, after being the lone Kazakhstan player to advance into the second round. 

Q.  About your match today?

"It was a struggle for me in the opening set. I  made some mistakes at crucial moments and paid by losing the first set. I feel I did really  well to recover in the next two sets to win the match.

Q  You have been used to playing  with large crowds during the Davis Cup and other events. How was the experience playing  without fans today?

"I've always  played in  this stadium when it was full of  fans and  today it really felt unusual to play without  fans. This pandemic has change so much for us on the tour and  we have to get used to these as norms now"   “It’s a challenge  but I'm getting used to it”.

Q.  How has the Pandemic and the long layoff affected you?

The Pandemic  has affected me like the other players and for me It has been  challenging to get back to my best form. I'm working hard to get back to the top of my fitness and overall I have had good performances and results since coming back but I feel the Astana Open is a great opportunity for me to do well and get back to a higher ranking.

Q. It surely must be  great  feeling  playing  an ATP event on your Home Courts?

"I'm truly happy playing on my  home courts in an ATP Tour event ". “I never thought we would have such a major event in our country and the federation have done a great job to organise it at short notice. Its indeed a great honor to play at home and on the courts that I have spent so much time practicing.

Q.  Your Thoughts on the  ATP Tour event coming to Kazakhstan?

“Tennis was not popular in Kazakhstan 10 years ago but  I would like to mention the efforts of  Kazakh Tennis Federation and  it's  President Mr  Bulat Utemuratov ’  "He developed the sport from zero and now  we have a  professional tennis event  in our country  its truly a very proud moment for me to be playing  an ATP event in my own  country.

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