Golubev proud to be a Kazakh
Originally published on: 28/02/12 11:08
Andrey Golubev, one of a growing number of players who have switched allegiance to Kazakhstan, says there is no pressure on them to spend more time in their adopted country. Golubev was born in Volzhskij in Russia and used to represent the country of his birth, but changed his nationality four years ago and now has a Kazakhstan passport.
“We go there of course for the Davis Cup and also for some practice,” Golubev said today at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, where he reached the second round with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Marko Djokovic, brother of Novak. “We are free. If I want to go there tomorrow, I go there. It’s not a problem. Of course it’s very tough with the schedule.”
Golubev said he changed nationality because it felt as though nobody cared about him in Russia, whereas the Kazakhstan tennis authorities were very keen to support him. “I really like the tennis project in Kazakhstan,” Golubev said. “They are really interesting. Also the president of the federation called me sometimes, asking: ‘How are you? What do you feel? What do you want to do?’ He was asking if I needed any help or anything.”
All four of the highest ranked men representing Kazakhstan were born in Russia. The others are Mikhail Kukushkin (born in Volgograd), Yuri Schukin (born in Kislovodsk) and Evgeny Korolev (born in Moscow). It is a similar story in the women’s world rankings, in which three of the top four Kazakhstan-registered players are from Russia: Ksenia Pervak (born in Chelyabinsk), Galina Voskoboeva and Yaroslava Shvedova (both born in Moscow). The fourth, Sesil Karatantcheva, comes from the Bulgarian capital of Sofia.
Golubev said Kazakhstan was investing a lot of money in sport and wants to become a “tennis nation”. He added: “They are building tennis schools in every region with indoor and outdoor courts. They are investing in a lot of things for children.”