Khachanov At St. Petersburg Open: “I Arrived In A Great Mood!”

Karen Khachanov (photo: St. Petersburg Open)


Seven Russians play on home soil at the 25th edition of the St. Petersburg Open this week, headlined by No. 1 seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev, No. 3 seed Andrey Rublev and No. 4 seed Karen Khachanov.

Typically, the St. Petersburg Open is held as an ATP 250 event in September. In 2020, the tournament has been upgraded to an ATP 500 event in October following an ATP Tour suspension of more than five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The St. Petersburg Open has occurred each year since 1995 with the exception of 2014.

Khachanov will open his home campaign on Tuesday taking on James Duckworth from Australia.

“I arrived in St. Petersburg in a great mood! St. Petersburg Open is one of my favorite tournaments,” the 24-year-old Moscow native told journalists on Monday. “I think, it is one of the best tournaments on the tour in terms of organization. It is a great pleasure to play in Russia. Every year I come here with a fighting spirit. My goal is to stay in the draw as long as possible. I don’t want to set for myself any limits, but every match is a serious issue. I will try to go in the tournament as far as possible.”

Khachnov is seeking his first singles semi-final of 2020 and first final and title since 2018 ATP Masters 1000 Paris. In his five previous appearances at St. Petersburg, the World No. 17 could only win one match against Romania’s Victor Hanescu in his debut back in 2013.

“In St. Petersburg, unfortunately, after my first performance when I earned the first points, I could not even go through to the next round,” he said. “All the time there were some difficult matches, so now I just want to play and try to go as far as possible. As for the goals for the rest of the season, I will just keep playing. We have a few tournaments left, we need to try to play as best as we can, we’ll see how I’ll end the year, and I’ll start to train and make plans for the off-season – depending on how much time we will have, and we will make plans for the beginning of next year. It also depends on what kind of tournaments we will have – this is also still unclear.”

Asked about his experiences during the the suspension of the tour due to the coronavirus outbreak, Khachanov said: “It was both easy and difficult at the same time. I don’t remember any other time when it was possible to spend so much time at home with the family in Moscow. This has not happened over the past seven or eight years. There was no need to rush anywhere, either. I had time to get ready for the restart of the season.

“Yes, I was not with the team at that moment, but we communicated with them online, I practiced and tried to be in a good shape. As for the restart of the season, I can say that I always want more, I always want to move on, I want to win tournaments. It’s not a secret. I think that I have played consistently in many tournaments. Now I want to continue in the same way.”