Biofile: Mikhail Youzhny Interview

Mikhail Youzhny's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person, playing a sport and tennis


Status: The veteran Russian retired this week from the ATP World Tour after a 19 year professional career. Mischa turned pro in 1999 and won ten ATP singles titles and two Davis Cups for Russia.

DOB: June 25, 1982 In: Moscow, Russia

I did these two Biofiles with Youzhny at the US Open, the first segment is from 2001…

Hobbies/Interests: Reading books, soccer.

Childhood Heroes: I started when I was six. My hero was Stefan Edberg. I like how he played. Once I met him on the bus. We were sitting together on the same bus [laughs]. It was last year in Stockholm. We didn’t speak, just sitting there.

Favorite Movies: I like Russian movies.

Musical Tastes: Russian music, Lesopoval, Mikhail Tanich.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Strawberry and chocolate I think.

Favorite Breakfast Cereal: I don’t eat breakfast at all [laughs].

Greatest Sports Moment: I think when I played this year at Wimbledon (2001) against Patrick Rafter. The first set when I play very good (6-2 3-6 2-6 5-7). I won first set. Round of 16.

Most Painful Moment: Every time when I lost [laughs].

Early Tennis Memory: When I won my first tournament in Russia in my club. I won. For me it was strong tournament. I played two or three good players. 7-5 6-4 in final. I won a trophy and they take a Polaroid photo. I was sixteen.

Pre-Match Feeling: A little bit excited. I want to play my best tennis.

Childhood Dream: I wanted to receive my driver’s license [smiles]!

Favorite Vacation: I like Cypress and Thailand I think was very nice.

Favorite Athletes To Watch: I like to watch all good sportsmen. Now in tennis – Andre Agassi, Gustavo Kuerten. Hockey – Russian players, Pavel Bure, Sergei Fedorov, many. Soccer.

Closest Tennis Friends: I don’t have any. Andrei Stoliarov.

People Qualities Most Admired: I like to see kindness and honesty.


This Biofile interview segment was done in 2006 at US Open…

Favorite Tournaments: Tough question…I think it’s home tournaments St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Greatest Sports Moment: It looks like Davis Cup. It was greatest moment for my name, Davis Cup (defeated Mathieu in final fifth rubber vs. in France from two sets down to clinch the first Davis Cup for Russia in 2002). But I have a family situation in this time so that’s why, for me, maybe it was not good feelings like it was for all our persons (his dad passed away two months earlier).

Most Painful Moment: The worst tennis moment I think was…a lot of tough moments in every new years. Every new years were really tough, like another problem, another problem. I think it was when I lost to Volchkov. Belarus we play against first round and I lost final point to Volchkov in Davis Cup 2004.

Closest Tennis Friends: Actually I have good contact with almost all players but I prefer good contact with Rainer Schuettler, Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram from Israel.

Funniest Players Encountered: It’s tough question [smiles]…I saw Agassi-Bagdhatis (US Open) was a funny match. I cannot say funny players but it was really nice to watch. When it was cramps to Bagdhatis it was really funny moment. I understand it was really tough for him but I really liked what he was doing. If I was in his position I would do the same. It was really funny. I liked how Bagdhatis made it something different.

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: I lost 6-0 6-0 to Coria in Stuttgart in 2003 or 2004. I don’t remember exactly the year. I was former champion of Stuttgart (his first ATP title) [laughs] in 2002. And I have a lot of break points. I cannot win any games. After, my manager tell me you are really smart because you lost 6-0 6-0 and now we play three sets for the same money [smiles].

Pre-Match Feeling: Feeling all I have to do on the court. Before the match sometimes I try to remember how I play good in other matches, what I’m doing if I play before with this opponent. I try to remember how I play against him, what I’m doing on the court.

Toughest Competitor Encountered: I think Roger [smiles]. I lost to him seven times [smiles]. (Youzhny would love to Federer ten more times to finish 0-17 vs Federer.)

Which Match Did You Feel At Your Very Best: I think the best match was against Nadal (US Open 2006 QF). Now in my career, I think it was the best match because it was very high level from the first ball until the last.

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  • Hartt · September 21, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Scoop, thanks for this. I like Youzhny even more after learning that Edberg was his childhood hero.

    I was rooting like crazy for him to win match number 500, but RBA is a tough customer and it was not meant to be.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 21, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Hartt, you’re welcome. Not too many Youzhny interviews out there so this is rare. I speak a lot with his coach of 27 years Boris Sobkin at various tournaments and he said Mischa has not been the same this year, little back issue and just weaker results. What an incredible career they both had together from age 10 to now, two major semis, ten titles, Davis Cups and 499 match wins is a better career than some major title winners. Youzhny stuck into the top 50 range for well over a decade.

  • George · September 22, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    At the Laver Cup. Federer just crushed Kyrgios. Federer has such an effortless game. Doesn’t look like he is even trying.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 22, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Federer used to have a lot of trouble with Nick’s game, lost the first time in Madrid, then the next two or three were all 7-6 in the third, but now the last two meeting have been decisive wins for Roger. This would indicate Nick is regressing or stagnant as a player while Federer is still improving or maintaining the same high level.

  • George · September 22, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Watching Federer live made me realize how effective the slice is.

    I will try to use slice more, although I usually lose control of the point, especially when moving up to play against 4.5 players.

    Not sure what is different about Federer’s slice that the best players in world have trouble with it.

  • Hartt · September 22, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Fed played so well in that match. As even he acknowledged, from the first point on. As George said, it seemed effortless. For a Fed fan it is always fun to see Roger play at this level. It would have been tough for anyone to beat him when he is doing just about everything right. I imagine his teammates, along with enjoying his fine play, are thinking: “OMG, I’m glad it’s not me out there on the other side of the net.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 22, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    a good slice is such a point changer and rhythm disrupter. Graf was able to dominate the Tour with primarily her slice backhand, although she did play a few major matches where she hit the topspin BH like the 93 US Open F vs Sukova. Fed’s slice has always been a trouble maker for the majority of the Tour and it still is.

  • George · September 22, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Poor John Isner had sitter volley smash on match point and lost despite the whole stadium rooting for him.

    Being so tall, his movement breaks down late in matches. Also, the opponents get a feel for his serve as the match wears on.

    He is having a great season and has had a great career thus far, but I am not sure he will win a slam before he retires.

  • George · September 23, 2018 at 12:09 am

    Watched Sock & Kygios win doubles. Sock is an absolute magician with the volley. Maybe he should serve & volley to revive his singles career.

  • Hartt · September 23, 2018 at 7:55 am

    I watched Osaka vs Pliskova. Karolina was serving so well, with a first serve % of 85%, that it would be tough for anyone to beat her. She also had relatively few UFEs. Naomi was not at her best, and couldn’t find any solutions to Pliskova’s fine play. She was hitting the ball flatter than usual, and too many balls were going into the net. Understandably, she showed frustration during the match. During OCC she said to Sascha that she felt she was having a mid-life crisis. I think she did well to make the final, the pressure in Tokyo must have been immense.

    Naomi has withdrawn from Wuhan, which is already underway, citing a viral illness.

  • catherine · September 23, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    If this is a tournament thread (previous one a bit long) – then in Wuhan out goes Sloane Stephens first round to Kontaveit. Sloane is in a major slump. What can be wrong ?

  • catherine · September 24, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Actually Kontaveit is promising – she plays a little like a righthanded Kerber, gets good angles. Sloane didn’t lift her own game.



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