Russian tennis players have recently given many reasons for heated discussions. Among them are the brilliant advance of Lyudmila Samsonova to the final in Montreal and the tournament in Cincinnati, which was not a success for our men, and, of course, the amazing return to the court of Anna Chakvetadze.
In an exclusive interview with Soviet Sport, the Honorable Head Coach of Russia Viktor Yanchuk shared his thoughts on what will happen in our tennis in the near future.
– Daniil Medvedev lost for the first time in several years in a match with Alexander Zverev. Thanks to what did the German manage to reverse this failed series by himself?
– Rivals, in principle, equal. Of course, the game was expected to be tense, with an unpredictable outcome. Zverev is now in very good shape, he is a great player, he is often bet on. Alexander is technical, versatile, plays with the same confidence from behind, a good exchange of blows at a pace can deliver from both sides and from the front, a powerful serve with his growth. It was difficult to predict who would win. Maybe this time he was a little luckier.
– Can you name Medvedev’s main mistakes in the match?
– As for the style of play, I can say that if Zverev is universal, then Medvedev prefers to play on defense and on the opponent’s mistakes, he has a counterattacking style. He is reliable from the baseline, but this is not enough, in some cases you need to play more defined, have more active shots from both sides, of course, with good preparation. Somewhere this is a little, just a little, but Zverev’s style of play is more universal and winning. It’s hard to say, I think if they meet in another tournament in a week or two, Medvedev might as well win. Nothing bad can be said about him.
Photo Source: Getty Images
— Can it be said that Daniil faced the game with excess confidence?
– No, I wouldn’t say. He always has confidence in himself, he goes out to win. Until now, only one rival is not available to him – Alcaraz. He cannot deal with him in any way, the Spaniard plays faster than others, Daniil has a hard time. Medvedev wants to win, it cannot be said that he has confidence in himself or underestimates his opponents. He has already developed a certain character and attitude, always so aggressive. By the way, this helps him, he wins in most cases.
– In women’s tennis, the defeat of Lyudmila Samsonova in the final of the Montreal tournament is still being discussed. Is it possible to say that the organizers, to put it mildly, framed our tennis player by setting the final right after her match with Rybakina?
Well done Samsonov. He reached the final, this is already a great achievement. You can’t always judge by the best. He has a great game, he fights well, he proved his worth in the Fed Cup when he played for the team and he scored a lot of points. She’s just a good player. It can be difficult to demand consistent victories from them, especially when the Americans or Canadians are in the final, so of course this happens with good reason. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but it seems very suspicious.
He didn’t have a proper rest before the final, but nothing can be done, it happens. When there is a Grand Slam or 10-day tournaments, there is already an opportunity to maneuver with the schedule and rest. It’s hard to do here, it just happened. Well, for a win they give two unbeatables. I think that Samsonova will come to her senses, she will recover and act and move further, now she should be feared. She moves towards the group of main players, she approaches closely.
– How realistic is it to play the second game at this level with a breather of only a few hours?
– It depends on different circumstances. Form, stamina, attitude and your opponent, his form and playing style can all play a role. Many things can affect. Of course, it is better that everything is the same. So you can judge more objectively. And there are good reasons for it. On the other hand, the person is tired, but it is very difficult to reach the final, especially the day before, she also played well. We believe in the future star of it.
Photo source: Russian Tennis Federation
– After this final, Samsonova took the title of the first racket of Russia from Kasatkina. Daria was able to respond with a more successful performance in Cincinnati. Will either of them be able to hold this title for a long time or will it change hands in the near future?
– It’s hard to predict. Kasatkin is too early to cancel. She also continues to be a candidate for leadership positions. Recently, she has added, making progress. At one point she was in the shadows, she went back even twenty, now she’s more or less running fine.
Of course, Samsonova is younger, but we must not forget about Andreeva, who is very young and is on everyone’s heels. We have interesting women’s tennis ahead of us, it’s good that there are such interesting players on the way. It is difficult to say who will come out, now we are talking about some, but in the end it will turn out with a completely different young tennis player. We’ll see, we’ll live, we’ll see. Let there be more competition and takeoffs. True, unfortunately, it is impossible to do without falls and losses.
– Kasatkina flew at the tournament in Cincinnati from Sobolenko, to what can you attribute the defeat?
– Sobolenko is a player. He recently won a Grand Slam. First of all, Arina hits harder, if he hits the head, then you can fall, the speed of her blows is just incredible. He plays the most powerful tennis, but he lacks stamina and control, although his character is active. However, he can take down any tennis player when he is fit, more or less prepared and not on fire.
Sobolenko burns inside, he wants too much. When everything matches up, she can beat anyone. In this case, she has moved away from the previous loss and can start attacking and winning. The main competition at this stage is the US Open. Let’s see how she prepares for the main tournament. All these tournaments are cutting-edge, yes, they are important, but they are more preparatory in nature. The main thing is the Grand Slam and the US Open. That is where we will see the true craftsmanship.
– Recently, Anna Chakvetadze returned to big sport after a break of almost 10 years, does she have at least some chance to count on something serious or is it more like a small demonstration?
– I would like to ask you a question: “I wonder what inspired you to do this?” This is an amazing phenomenon. Yes, people are coming back, but not so that she is completely on the sidelines, commenting more, working with the tongue, and now she will work with a racket and legs. Time plays against her, against the veterans. But what to do? Athletes are athletes. Perhaps you remember past achievements or decided to play for a healthy lifestyle. This is her own business, I personally welcome such sporting events, but I don’t think there is any achievement, that she wins something significant. God forbid, let her act, I wish her good luck.
Photo source: Anna Chakvetadze’s social media
– Recently, young Russians, following the example of Mirra Andreeva, have been trying to try their hand at the adult level, but so far they have not been very successful. Is it worth taking rash steps at 16-18 or is it better to keep gaining experience in ITF tournaments?
– First of all, even if they want to get there, they can’t. Andreeva, in my opinion, is the only one who successfully plays at the adult level at that age. Adult tennis is very serious, strong, it is difficult to break through there. Let them try, it is always commendable and not prohibited. There is no need to force the results, you just need to select those tournaments in which she can play on equal terms, at least go through 2-3 rounds, then they are beneficial. And trying to climb in tournaments where you get knocked out in the first round is bad for the skill, the game, and the psyche. Nothing to grow on. Everything should be in moderation, justified and rational.
Photo Source: Getty Images
You have to try your luck, but reasonably, if possible. There should be some kind of transition here, you can’t just break into adult tennis from juniors. Practice shows that all this happens prematurely. To master you need to climb the stairs. For some it turns out earlier, for others later, the potential and results in a career are important in principle. The first results do not guarantee anything special in the long term, except for injuries and disorders.