Feb 15, 2021
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“Worked hard.” How an Ossetian tennis player became Russia’s “secret weapon”

Until recently, the name 27-year-old tennis player Aslan Karatsev from North Ossetia was known only to experts and fans. But it was he who became the new star of the Australian Open, which everyone is talking about today, even those who do not fully understand how tennis differs from table tennis. On February 12, Karatsev defeated the ninth racket of the world in the third round match of the Australian Open, Argentine Diego Schwartzman… On February 14, I beat the twentieth racket in the fourth round – Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassim… As a result, Aslan became the first player in the last 10 years who made it to the main draw of the tournament through qualification and reached the quarterfinals. About the athlete’s path to this triumph – in the material “AiF-SK”.

With a racket from kindergarten

Aslan was born in Vladikavkaz. He began playing tennis at the age of three, and his father became his first coach – Kazbek Karatsev… In 2007, the young man moved from his hometown, where his parents still live, to Taganrog. In 2015, he moved again, now to Germany. In March of the same year I won my first challenge in Kazan, and in April in Batman (Turkey). In August, he reached his highest position, 238, in the world doubles rankings. He finished the year 195th in singles and 248th in doubles.

The next four years were not easy for the athlete. In an interview with Sport-Express, he said that there were no sponsors, no personal trainer, there were injuries.

“I trained in good places – in Germany and Barcelona, ​​but the people who worked with me did not fit me,” Aslan says about that period.

Since 2019, he has been living and training in Minsk under the guidance of Egor Yatsukawith whom, according to Karatsev, he has an excellent understanding. This is what, Aslan believes, positively affected the quality of training. The 2020th tennis player finished in 112th place in the singles ranking, and recently entered the top 100 of the world ranking.

Long way to the fourth circle

“In the past, I had many coaches who said that all the problems are in the head, you need to work on the mentality.” It’s easy to say. But how to do that? How to deal with this? Finally, I found a coach, we work on it together, and everything works out. My way to the fourth round of the Major was long. For the past three years I have worked very hard, we have been diligently adding day after day, ”Karatsev said in one of his interviews.

Aslan’s Vladikavkaz childhood friends believe that perseverance and determination are in his character.

“Tennis is his whole life,” they say.

These days, his friends, together with their relatives, “hold their fists” for the athlete and do not communicate with journalists. For them, what is happening is a great joy and surprise. After all, 27 years old is already a serious age in the sports world. Aslan is the oldest debutant to reach the quarterfinals of the tournament since 1968.

“It gave me a lot of confidence to win two Challenger titles in 2020, then I did a great job in the offseason, played well in Doha in qualifying. It’s just a matter of time. I play well and I am confident, ”says Karatsev.

Surprise after surprise

According to sports commentators, Karatsev played strongly and accurately with Shvartsman. He did not allow the 28-year-old Argentine to seize the initiative and eventually won in three sets – 6: 3, 6: 3, 6: 3. The next battle – with 20-year-old Felix Auger-Alyassim – turned out to be much more intense. On February 14, the opponents spent three and a half hours on the court, and Aslan started not very well, losing the first two sets to the opponent, but then he was able to change the game pattern, for the first time reached the fifth set and became a triumphant – 3: 6, 1: 6, 6: 3, 6: 3, 6: 4. This victory led the Ossetian athlete to the quarterfinals.

After defeating the ninth and 20th rackets, the native of Vladikavkaz will face an equally difficult fight: Aslan will meet with Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria. Experts predict a victory for Dimitrov. But Karatsev has already created several sensations and proved that not everything is so predictable. The first racket of Russia Daniil Medvedev, who also reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, after one of the recent tournaments called Aslan Karatsev the “secret weapon” of the Russian national team. Can fire again.

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