Tennis Prose



Dubai Champ Karatsev is the tennis “Rocky Balboa”

The miraculous story of Aslan Karatsev continued in Dubai today as the Russian won the ATP 500 title 63 62 vs. Lloyd Harris of South Africa.

Karatsev is now 11-2 in 2021, after his astounding semifinal run at the Australian Open. So far this year, Karatsev has only lost to world no. 1 Novak Djokovic (in Melbourne) and reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem in Doha (but he won the doubles title with Andrey Rublev, who he beat in the Dubai semis yesterday).

Before this year, the 27 year old Karatsev was barely a sub-journeyman, registering an unimpressive 3-10 career ATP record. The ATP web site does not even know which year Karatsev orignally turned pro. But logic would suggest Karatsev turned pro nine years ago, after his ordinary ITF junior career which included making no impact at any of the junior Grand Slams (he competed in three).

If any pro tennis player in history best personifies the boxing example of “Rocky Balboa”, the rags to riches sudden rise from total obscurity to the elite pantheon of a sport, it’s Aslan Karatsev, who totaled career earnings of $1,159,509 before this year. In 2021, Karatsev, ranked 42 now and headed into the top 30, has already earned approximately $700,000.

And one gets the sense, rookie Karatsev, as he continues to gain confidence and adjust to life on the ATP World Tour, has his very best results to look forward to.


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