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Biofile: Karen Khachanov

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By Scoop Malinowski

Status: ATP no. 38.

HT: 6-6 WT: 194

DOB: May 21, 1996 In: Moscow, Russia

First Tennis Memory: I remember how I first start to play tennis with my first coach in Moscow. When I was a kid I was doing a lot of exercises. Then we went to summer camp. Those are my young age memories.

Tennis Inspirations: As in favorite player? Yes my favorite players were Marat Safin and Juan Martin Del Potro while I was growing up.

Last Book Read: Erich Maria Remarque – German writer.

Current Car: Different cars. I don’t have my own car [smiles]. The one I rent is the one I drive. This week I rented a GNC to come from IMG Academy from Bradenton to Miami. And then I left it there and I’m using transportation from the tournament.

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: I would say it was Marat Safin. It’s tough to say actually. Another Russian tennis player… (Igor) Andreev, (Igor) Kunitsyn, (Nikolai) Davydenko, (Yevgeny) Kafelnikov, (Andrei) Chesnokov. I met all of them when I was young and watching Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Greatest Career Moment: I think when I won my first title in Chengdu in China (2016). And I would say also what stands out was Roland Garros when I reached round of sixteen last year. So those results are the best in my memory.

Most Painful Moment: I think it’s when I lost Davis Cup match against Serbia last year in January. I lost to (Viktor) Troicki first match, first round, 7-6 in the fifth and 9-7 in the tiebreak. Both had match points. The match was like 4:45 and it was really painful to lose that match.

Favorite Sport Outside Tennis: Basketball.

Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: LeBron James. Conor McGregor. Cristiano Ronaldo.

Favorite Tournaments: I would say my favorite Grand Slam is Roland Garros. And US Open I would say. From ATP Tour…each tournament is different. I would say…you always remember the tournaments where you played well or you won so that’s why so far the ones that I won, Chengdu, Marseille. From Masters 1000 – Madrid. Monte Carlo is nice. Barcelona. So a lot of tournaments. Tough to say just one.

Strangest Match: I could say last year in Irving Dallas Challenger. I play against (Mikhail) Kukushkin in the quarterfinals. It was kind of like hurricane and the court was really bad, bad bounces. So I had really bad memories about this match in general. The feeling. Really strong win – not only (from) one side to the other, like tornado kind of. The weather was terrible, sometimes it was sunny, it was plus ten, that day it was really cold, windy. Strange match.

Funniest Players Encountered: I would say (Gael) Monfils [smiles].

Closest Tennis Friends: I would say (Andrey) Rublev, (Daniil) Medvedev, (Evgeny) Donskoy.

Why Do You Love Playing Tennis: Because of everything. I start to play tennis when I was young. I like the game. I like the tournaments, to compete. Perform in tennis and try to be the best.

Best You Ever Felt On The Court: Let me remember…let me think…I would say last year in French Open. I play against Tomas Berdych, second round. I remember I had really good feelings. Played really good from the beginning to the end in that match. I beat him in three sets.

Favorite Artists: I would say…I’m not fond of art so much. So I used to go to different galleries, I cannot name one my favorite artist, no.

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: I would say last year at US Open. I lost first round and I had really bad feelings out there.

People Qualities Most Admired: Honesty…say to be brave…and smart people.

Wife: Veronika Shkliaeva (married in 2016).

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5 comments

  • Hartt · May 3, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Scoop, thanks for this Biofile. I have been following Karen since he did well in the Moscow tournament a few years ago. When he is playing well he is such an exciting player to watch. I wish he could be a bit more consistent, but he is still young. And of course he has charm to burn, especially with his lovely smile. Am so glad to hear he reads, and serious books at that!

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 3, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Hartt; You’re welcome. Almost missed this Biofile in Miami as I was doing an interview about Marcelo Rios for a Chilean newspaper and it went overtime but Greg Sharko managed to get me Khachanov after lunch after his doubles SF win. Thanks to Sharko for this interview. My first memory was seeing KK play Traver as a WC in Miami about four years ago, first match on court 10. I was there sitting right behind his chair as he came to court for the match, backward cap on, in all Nike gear. Curious to see why this unknown Russian got a WC, if he really could be aother Safin. Khachanov was good but too young and raw and Traver had too much experience. The word back then was Khachanov had no big weapons but that perception is long ago dismissed. Khachanov is in position to become a major force in the ATP and it could happen very soon. I found him to be very nice and thoughtful and as this Biofile shows, he did not hold back on any answers. And he said, “I’ll see you around” when we departed.

  • Thomas Tung · May 3, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    I still remember that Karen Khachanov – Noah Rubin match in the qualies 2.5 years ago, I think it was. Khachanov was (by far, IMO) the more talented player, with many more weapons, but Rubin did impress with his determination, hustle, and clever play. Still, despite the vociferous NY crowd trying to give their hometown hero a lift, Khachanov had a bit too much for Rubin to deal with.

    Even then, I felt that Karen could be a good Top 50 player, possibly even better. I didn’t get that at all from Rubin, unfortunately — too many elements have to go Rubin’s way for Noah to win: he can’t force the issue, as he doesn’t have any real weapons; he’s a classic grinder (and not quite a maestro of grinding like Chang, Chang 2.0 a la Hewitt, or grinding + spin like Nadal).

    Alas, if Noah just had one incredible weapon (like a similarly height-challenged Sebastian Grosjean, who had an absolute Gallic cannon of a forehand, along with Gallic flair), he’d be going places. As it is, I don’t see Rubin being anywhere better than Top 50, at best.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 4, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Thomas, I remember that US Open quali battle vividly, Rubin gave Khachanov all he could handle. We know the sky is the limit for Khachanov, but Rubin is a harder to read player, it’s harder to evaluate his potential. Already he’s been written off here by Dan’s famous fork as being a lightweight but he keeps suddenly emerging with big wins, like the Challenger win last week in Tallahassee. Even John McEnroe has shown a lack of interest or optimism for Rubin’s career as he shows little public support. But I think Rubin is an uncanny player, incredibly fast on the court and his skillset is sufficient. He just needs more experience and getting used to the way the top 50 guys play. I can see Rubin evolving into a Goffin type player, or a Schwartzman, or a Ferrer if he can get stronger. Rubin has shown he can win, he won junior Wimbledon, he’s won Challengers, he’s won ATP level matches. He had that several month stretch due to injury. Way too early to write off Rubin, the best is yet to come.

  • Edater · May 6, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Thanks! And thanks for sharing your great posts every week!

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