Karen Khachanov about Basta, Russian cuisine and preparation for the next season

- Karen, please tell us more about your yesterday’s match against Dusan Lajovic. It seemed that you were the only tennis player who understood the format of the tournament, that it was an exhibition tournament and behaved relaxed, unlike the girls who were fighting hard on the court. But at the end of the match the mood seemed to change and everything became serious?
- Of course, although this is an exhibition tournament, we play in two teams, and everyone who participated in the event wanted to win. We wanted to give the audience some good matches and a holiday weekend. Dusan did not finished the season yet, he came from the Davis Cup, did not rest yet, and was in a good shape. He started to play very well, and I, as I put it yesterday, “almost died,” because physically I was at the limit. But in the end of the match, I was even able to win.

- How do you like the captain’s advice from the bench? Maybe there were some interesting ones?
- The captains were saying the right things. We didn’t even really joke, we talked more about the match, about the game. What to do, what to pay attention to. More game tips. Of course, when Alexander Bublik arrives, the game tips end (laughter) and the fun begins. But it seems to me that this is why everyone loves him, for his “elegance” in tactics.

- You attended [Russian musician] Basta’s concert yesterday...
- I made it to the half of the concert. I was just on time to listen to the three main songs: “My Game”, “Sansara”, “Urban” and “Slow dance”.

- How did you recover from the injury?
- Thank God, I didn’t have an injury, I just had cramps. I started pre-season training and had three practices a day before the exhibition tournament. Moreover, I also practiced during the off-season. When I won the tournament in China, there were some days when I had the cramps, I felt not 100%. But overall, it was okay, I could handle this. After the end of the season, I did another therapy with my doctor, who helped me to recover.

- Tell us, what are your musical preferences? Maybe you would like to perform something like your own songs like Andrey Rublev did? Or maybe even a duet with him?
- It seems to me that no matter how much I want it, my level is only the karaoke. That’s my maximum potential. Basta is my favorite musician. I constantly couldn’t manage to attend his concert, and here in St. Petersburg it finally happened.

- You are very popular among the fans here in St. Petersburg. Are there any other cities or countries that you could highlight in terms of support from the fans? Where do you think there is a special atmosphere and a special welcome?
- In Russia, I would say Vladivostok, we once played the Davis Cup tie there. The support was good. Every tournament is different. They are different in terms of the audience, energy and support. But France - they know how to support, how to cheer. They have different fan chants. Everyone is really a fan. And in Spain, many people love tennis. Andrey [Rublev] and I constantly practice there, and they know us well there. In the USA it is also very atmospheric.

- You need to defend a lot of ranking points in Australia, has this somehow affected your preparations for the season?
- No, it didn’t have any effect. I look at every year as a new one. There is a race, there is a ranking. You can lose some points, you also can add some points so I just get ready for each year. I'm trying to be better, getting into better shape. I'll see what I can add. You want to play at your best at every tournament. I don’t get too attached to the points and it works as my motivation, but I just try to play and win.

- Thank you for taking time to come and talk to us! Have you already eaten Russian cuisine and did you miss it?
- I had borsch twice, yesterday I had Russian dumplings and Russian salad. In general, I collected the entire set. But in many countries, there are restaurants serving Russian dishes, and the guys [Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev] and I try to go there. My wife also often cooks Russian dishes.

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