The unusual irruption of Karatsev: the son of the woodcutter, the champion who emerged from nowhere


Sunday, March 21, 2021 –

After his title on Saturday in Dubai, the Russian is confirmed, at the age of 27, as one of the sensations of the season.

Karatsev, with his champion trophy in Dubai.

Aslan Karatsev beat on saturday Lloyd Harris in the final in Dubai (6-3, 6-2) to score his first ATP title, with which he is confirmed as the great revelation of 2021. The 27-year-old Russian imposed the aggressiveness of his 27 winning shots in 75 minutes of a game without much history, the culmination of a perfect week in the emirate, where he had already Andrey Rublev, Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Sonego Y Daniel Evans.

“It was a very tight match and I was very nervous,” admitted Karatsev after beating the South African, who also debuted in a final. “You never know when you will achieve these results. I have worked well with my team and my coach and now I have succeeded,” added the disciple of Yahor Yatsyk.

After taking forward the only two ‘break’ options he granted, one in each set, the winner settled the matter with an improper aplomb for someone who only two years ago wandered around the tournaments. challengers. “After the semifinal in Melbourne I kept training hard … I came here with more confidence than in Doha. I completed a fantastic week, with good tennis,” he analyzed.

End to Rublev’s streak

A break in the second game was enough for him to score the first set. In the second he started with another to solve the victory with another in the seventh game, which he later confirmed with his service. Nothing could replicate the 24-year-old Cape Town player, who had already surprised Dominic Thiem, first favorite in Dubai, Filip Krajinovic The Kei Nishikori.

In Friday’s semi-final, Karatsev had also surpassed his compatriot Rublev (6-2, 4-6, 6-4) and truncated his spectacular 23-game winning streak in ATP 500 tournaments, the second longest in history, only surpassed by the 28 triumphs of Roger Federer.

Now, all fans are wondering about the takeoff of this player, who in January 2020 was ranked 292 in the ranking. Born on September 4, 1993 in Vladikavkaz, the capital of the Autonomous Republic of North Ossetia, his story is full of chapters on fighting adversity. With only three years, the Karatsev family moved to Tel-Aviv, due to the Jewish origins of Aslan’s maternal grandfather, who today also works in Hebrew before the microphones.

The Tursunov umbrella

From Israel, always with the racket in hand, an indefatigable pilgrimage began through Rostov, Taganrog, Moscow … Under the umbrella of Dmitry Tursunov moved to the German city of Halle and from there to Barcelona, ​​where he exercised under the orders of Alberto Lpez, former technician of Garbie Muguruza.

Despite some prestigious victories in 2014 against Nikoloz Basilashvili, Daniil Medvedev Y Lucas Pouille, nothing foreshadowed that the young man would one day reach the technical and physical foundations to rub shoulders with the elite. In 2017, a knee injury thwarted his progression and problems finding sponsors further darkened the picture. The humble son of a logger seemed doomed to irrelevance.

Karatsev, during one of his matches in Dubai.
Karatsev, during one of his matches in Dubai.

However, at the beginning of 2018 he meets Yatsyuk, a former Belarusian tennis player, in Doha who convinces him to move to Minsk. At the end of 2019, after two ITF tournaments in Doha and Qatar, both sign Luis Lopes, who was then working for the qatar federation. Physical work with the Portuguese has become one of the keys to his amazing progression.

Today, Karatsev has 12 victories in his 14 games in 2021, where he only yielded to Novak Djokovic, in the semifinal of the Australian Open and Thiem, in the round of 16 in Doha. At the moment he is the fifth classified in the Race To Turin, the ranking that orders the best of the year in the ATP. His jump of 15 places in the ranking takes place on Monday, when he will occupy the 27th step.

The sudden success of Karatsev confirms the great moment of Russia, that last January already raised the ATP Cup in Melbourne and that shortly after has also been able to celebrate the titles of Rublev in Rotterdam and Medveded in Marseille.

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