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Getting to know” Andrey Golubev

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Originally published on: 17/02/12 11:11

Jet-setting to all corners of the globe is par for the course for a tennis pro but while most retain their national identity, Andrey Golubev’s roots are so cloudy he calls himself a ‘citizen of the world’. Born in Russia, the 24-year-old right-hander moved to Bra, Italy, at 15, but changed his nationality to Kazakhstan in 2008. We sat down for a chat with the world No.132, who will compete for his adopted country against Spain in the first round of the Davis Cup this weekend.

So you were born in Russia, moved to Italy, and play for Kazakhstan. Where do you consider yourself to be from?
(Laughs) Yeah, I always say that where you live is where you’re from. But we tennis players are travelling all year so we are citizens of the world! Russia and Kazakhstan is the same for me to go back to.

Is there much camaraderie between you and the Kazakhstan players?
[Mikhail] Kukushkin is from my city in Russia and we are the same age. We’ve known each other for 20 years. We have a great team.

You’ve been coached by Massimo Puci for a decade. That’s quite a spell. Stability is obviously important to you…
For sure. When I moved to Italy in 2002 I started to work with him. He feels like my big brother, and that’s important. He knows me very well on a personal level and that’s key.

You used to have a double-handed backhand. Why did you change?
Yeah, I had a two-handed backhand until I was 18 years old but I didn’t like it. I always enjoyed Sampras’ game when I was younger, so when I was bigger and had a bit more strength I changed from two to one.

Am I right in thinking you’re a playstation man?
Yeah, when I can I play but I don’t have a lot of time. I play soccer on it. I’m always Juventus.

In 2010, you won an ATP 500 event in Hamburg despite having won just eight matches that year ahead of the tournament. Can you do something like that again?
Maybe! It was like a magic week. I was playing good and I proved there that I can play well. I just have to find a way to play more consistently and win more consecutive games.

What’s your favourite…

Music: Pop music

Singer: Some Russian singers maybe? Lots, I don’t have just one.

Tv show: Quiz shows. Things like who wants to be a millionaire.

Movie: I like action movies.

Meal: From Italian cuisine I would say pasta and some sauce, but only in Italy because in the rest of the world it tastes completely different. From Russia it would be something special, like Russian salads.

Tournament: There’s a lot of nice tournaments. Maybe Bastaad in Sweden? It’s small, there’s not a lot of people. Everything you need is within 20 metres of the court. It’s perfect conditions to play tennis in. There’s the sea, the beach is only about 100 metres – perfect.

City: I like Melbourne and Rome.
Favourite player to play against: I’d like to play Federer but I’ve never had a chance to play him.

Player to watch: Federer

Player ever: Federer, Sampras, Safin.

Sport outside tennis: Soccer, NBA

Hero: In soccer – Roberto Baggio.

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