Interview with Alexey Zakharov in the Academy of Alexander Ostrovsky

Editor’s note: Today, we welcome Russian well-known junior tennis player Alexey Zakharov in the Academy of Alexander Ostrovsky. Alexey is a very nice person and a great tennis player. He is a member of Russian National Team U12 and U14 and a repeated champion of Russian and European championships. At his 14th years old he won many times major TE tournaments and twice was a finalist of juniors!

Today, we welcome Russian well-known junior tennis player Alexey Zakharov in the Academy of Alexander Ostrovsky. Alexey is a very nice person and a great tennis player. He is a member of Russian National Team U12 and U14 and a repeated champion of Russian and European championships

We are confident, that this interview will be interesting and informative for you. Alexey shared with us his experience in National Team, transition from TE to ITF and other interesting news.

Which tournament do you now prepare for?

I will play in two ITF tournaments in Israel. As I have now a school break, I practice intensively twice per day to show good results.

Last time when we talked to you was in Liepaja, Latvia. It was 1,5 years ago and you played in final TE. Does the level of European players differ a lot from Russian?

Europeans prefer play mostly diverse tennis, they play drop shots, use powerful groundstokes, lobs and on contrary, Russian play power tennis.

And what do you prefer?

Power.

I know that you practiced for a long time in Jarko Nieminen Academy in Finland. How was it?

I come to the Jarko Nieminen Academy to practice for one-two weeks before big tournaments. I like good level of physical and psychological training. I always enhance my physical shape while training with coaches from the Academy. Moreover, they know how to prepare a player psychologically before tournaments.

Was it difficult to you to move from TE to ITF?

Frankly speaking, I expected that it would be more difficult than it turned to be.

My agent from IMG (Alexey Nikolaev) provided me with wild-card for my first ITF tournament in Justine Henin Academy. I won first round in doubles and got 2 points for my new ranking. I was as happy as I won the European championship. Thereafter, we went with Spartak to Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) for the 5th grade tournament, I reached final and got new points. Then, I played in final in Vsevologsk and semi-final in US and again got more points. So, now I think it will be more difficult as I will play 4th grade tournaments where the level of players is higher.

You have mentioned that you played in US. What do you think about the level of South Americans?

All the South Americans are physically stronger and higher. But for me it was more difficult to recover after acclimatization. In Bahamas I couldn’t get used to the strong wind and in Panama there was 90% of humidity. The courts were situated in jungles. The bats and parrots were flying over my head.

You played for a quite long time with Russian National Team. What do you think about participating in National Team? Did it help you to improve your performance?

It is always a great experience especially with such a good team: Artem Derepasko – our coach, Sergey Smirnov – our second coach, Alen and Nikolay. We are very friendly and successful team. Playing for the country is a big responsibility and you have to do your best to win. I was very motivated and after this experience I was able to perform better in my next personal championships.

Which tournament do you remember the most?

My favorite match U12 was in final of Russian championship against Alen Avidzba. That time Alen was already a good player (№1 in Russia) and I was confident that he would defeat me. However, in the middle of the match he lost his concentration and I took advantage from it. So I won Russian championship. As for matches U14, I think the most memorable was semi-final in Sweden (1st grade) against Czech Tomáš Macháč. I played my best game of all time.

What is your favorite cover?

Hard indoors

Who is your favorite player?

Roger Federer

What can you advise for younger generation?

It is very important to strive and endeavor during the trainings, and play as hard as you were in the match. You should control every single hit and don’t distract yourself no matter happens.

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