02-23-2007, 01:18 PM
Can't find such kind of thread :confused: :wavey:
02-23-2007, 01:18 PM
Can't find such kind of thread :confused: :wavey:
02-23-2007, 01:20 PM
Mikhail Youzhny: “I don’t look at the rankings”
Robin Haase will need to dish up something pretty special this evening on Ahoy Rotterdam’s centre court if he wants to reach the third round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. He will be playing against none other than Mikhail Youzhny, currently ranked 22nd in the world. Haase’s Russian opponent is the man who sent number 4 seed Tomas Berdych home in the opening round. The 24-year old from Moscow has a lot going for him and he proved that by reaching the semi-finals in the US Open last year. But what will he achieve here in Rotterdam?
After your victory over Berdych, you used your racquet to salute the crowd. We hadn’t seen that before in the world of tennis. Do you always do that?
“Yes. I started doing that during the US Open in 2004 when I defeated Nalbandian in five sets. It was really late and I wanted to do something special to thank the fans. I thought about a military salute, but you’re only allowed to do that in Russia if your head is covered. I didn’t have a beret with me, but I did have my racquet.”
As a football lover, what do you think of your new national coach, Guus Hiddink?
“The problem with Russian football is not the coach, but the lack of strong players. I have no problem with the involvement of an outsider in our national team. Most Russian coaches all have their own interests in different clubs anyway.”
How are you doing here in Rotterdam?
“Fine, because this tournament is perfectly organised. I was a bit tired when I arrived from Marseille because I played three intense three-set matches there, but I’m healthy and I don’t have any injuries, so I think I can handle Rotterdam. I haven’t looked around the city this time, but I have done that in the past. This is my third time in Rotterdam, but the first time I’ve gotten past the first round.”
What do you know about Robin Haase?
“I know his name and his face, but little about his game. My coach watched him play during the first round, so I’ll know what I need to know when the time comes.”
You finished at number 16 in the ATP list in 2004, fell back to 44 and now you’re back in the top 20 again.
“The fall in my ATP rank was caused by a knee injury that I just couldn’t seem to shake off, but that’s under control now. I finally found the right doctor and I now know how to handle my knee.”
What are your goals for the next few years?
“I don’t know how high I’ll be able to climb, but I don’t look at the rankings anyway. I just work on improving my game with my coach. If my game improves, I’ll automatically move up in the rankings.”
What specific aspects of your game do you want to improve?
“That’s something I don’t talk about. I wouldn’t gain a thing by telling the world about my game and my strategy. I’ll start talking about that when I stop playing tennis.”
02-23-2007, 07:20 PM
Fantastic Youzhny first semi-finalist
Watch out for Mikhail Youzhny. If he keeps on playing the way he did against David Ferrer, the Russian stylist can easily be reckoned among the favourites for the title in Rotterdam. With an imposing performance and set results 6-2, 7-5, he is the first to reach the semi-finals.
There are few tennis players who can hit the ball as Youzhny does. He makes it appear effortless, sometimes even literally. It almost got him into trouble against the sixth seed Ferrer who, for the first time in this tournament, did not put on his usual sleeveless shirt. In the second set at 5-4 Youzhny lost his service game when serving for the match. It gave his Spanish contender a second chance, but the difference in class was just too great in the decisive phase.
Youzhny was unbeatable in this morning match, to the point of humiliating Ferrer on occasion. He repeatedly hit a drop shot to entice the Spaniard to the net and then finished it off with a beautiful lob. “If I always played like this, I wouldn’t mind having to play so early”, Youzhny commented. “Honestly though, it wasn’t easy. I was still feeling a bit tired.”
02-24-2007, 08:23 PM
Youzhny survives three match points in semi-finals
Once again Mikhail Youzhny saluted the crowd in all directions, tipping his head with his racket. He was rewarded for his efforts by a standing ovation after he beat Novak Djokovic in what already could be called the match of the tournament. In an edge-of-the-seat match that took as long as two hours and 46 minutes and kept the crowd fascinated from beginning to end, he survived three match points. With a final score of 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, the Russian stylist secured himself a place in the finals.
Does tennis get any better? You’re inclined to say no after seeing this performance. It was hard, harder, hardest and good, better, best. But then there’s always Roger Federer… Anyway, this match had everything that makes tennis so sublime. Spectacular rallies, subtle drop shots and passes, smashes, impossible volleys, changing odds, tension and emotion. Both Youzhny and Djokovic must have felt completely drained after this match.
There was scarcely any difference between the players, but when the youngest of the two got his first match point in the tiebreak of the second set, it really looked as if he was going to win… But Djokovic, only nineteen years of age, couldn’t score the winning point and lost the tiebreak, thanks to a fantastic backhand along the line of his five year older opponent who seems to have a patent on this shot.
Despite his youth, the Serbian number five seed is one of the most striking personalities of the tournament and came out on top in the tiebreak. In the final set he took a 3-0 lead. But it didn’t take long for Youzhny to come back and he finally managed to cash in a breakpoint, his sixth of the match. At 5-4, Djokovic gained another two match points on his opponent’s service. But, alas, to no avail.
Both players continued to play at a very high level. Djokovic: “I didn’t lose because of the mistakes I made, but because Youzhny scored some very good points. I sincerely congratulate him. He really deserved it.” This was somewhat beside the truth. Because at 5-5 he gave away his service game partly due to two double faults. Youzhny took professional advantage. And contrary to Ivan Ljubicic, he didn’t promise the crowd a drink in the event of his victory. “Ljubicic made that promise the last time too and then he lost the finals,” he said laughing.”
02-28-2007, 02:06 PM
Youzhny defeats four seeded players en route to title
The fans in Ahoy Rotterdam once again missed out on a round of drinks from Ivan Ljubicic this afternoon. The Croatian, who promised to treat everyone present to a drink if he won the title, lost the match, as he did when he made the same promise two years ago before playing a tense three-set match against Roger Federer. This time he lost to Mikhail Youzhny in a match that lasted a mere 63 minutes. Ljubicic’s party ended before it had a real chance to get started: 6-2, 6-4.
After a week of matches, Youzhny’s name already adorned seven blocks on the boards around centre court that are traditionally used to display the names of the victors of ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament matches. It was almost as if this victory had to be for the man who had already booked so many triumphs in the 34th edition of the tournament. Youzhny’s name is by no means an anachronism in the tournament’s gallery of champions. The 24-year old Russian’s style is excellent and his game is almost as good as Roger Federer’s, reason enough for the Swiss player, number one in the world, to call his comrade from Moscow one of the most talented players he knew.
Youzhny earned the title with victories over four seeded players: Tomas Berdych (4), David Ferrer (6), Novak Djokovic (5) and Ljubicic (3). He only met one player who, like him, was not on the tournament’s placement list: Robin Haase. Youzhny triumphed over the Dutchman in their second-round match with exactly the same figures as he achieved against his opponent in the finale today, but took 33 more minutes to achieve his second-round victory.
Youzhny, number 22 in the world rankings, survived three match points against Djokovic, but that does not make him unique in the annals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. Jan Siemerink triumphed in 1998 after surviving a match point in his first-round match against the Croation Goran Ivanisevic.
02-28-2007, 02:07 PM
Youzhny, unbreakable spirit?
Mikhail Youzhny, the Russian who was the first player to make it into the finales yesterday in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, is able to keep his cool, as he proved when he won the decisive match in the Davis Cup back in 2002 and, again yesterday afternoon in Ahoy Rotterdam, when he managed to survive three match points in a heated contest against Novak Djokovic. The Russian conqueror thanked the stands with his unique salute after two and a half hours of that could almost be qualified celestial. Will Youzhny raise his racquet to the crowd again at the end of today’s match?
The indescribably beautiful semi-finals match between the 19-year old Serbian super talent and Muscovite Youzhny, five years his opponent’s senior, was an encounter that many thought neither player deserved to lose. In his post-match comments, even Youzhny showed a desire to share the honours: “I wasn’t any better than Novak today, I was just luckier.” However, number 22 on the ATP list short-changed himself with that comment. He demonstrated a certain mental superiority over his opponent in the afternoon match yesterday. Djokovic was working on the match point at 6-5 in the tiebreak of the second set when Youzhny produced a dangerously deep service to win the rally. When it appeared that the ‘child prodigy’ from Serbia was ready to eat his opponent up and spit him out at 3-0 in the third set, Youzhny again demonstrated his great mental resilience. “I was also one break behind in my match against Djokovic last week in Marseille”, said Youzhny after the match. “But I won that match and that’s what I was thinking as I played out this one. Giving up a service doesn’t necessarily mean you’re done with for good.”
How right the Russian was became apparent when the match reached its blood-chilling climax. Djokovic made two match points at 5-4, but the Russian recovered magnificently both times. Apparently, the shock was too much for Djokovic. He was forced to give up his service after hitting two double faults in the next game and that ultimately proved fatal for the Serbian. Youzhny is pitted against the Croatian Ivan Ljubicic in the finale today. Youzhny has met Ljubicic in the past, but has not come out of any of the six matches he has played against the Croatian the winner.
03-02-2007, 01:25 PM
Youzhny into Dubai final after beating Soderling
posted Friday Mar 02, 2007 01:03pm by Andre Jones
Mikhael Youzhny continued his impressive run here at the Dubai Duty Free Men's Open with a commanding 7-5 6-2 victory over Robin Soderling.
Following on from the highly charged win over Rafael Nadal the previous night, Youzhny gained the upper hand with a decisive break of the Soderling serve to go 6-5 ahaead in the opening set. Serving beautifully to go 40-0 up, Youzhny took the set on his first set point when Soderling went long on his forehand.
The second set saw the enigmatic Russian get an early break to go ahead 2-0, but despite missing chances for the double break in the next game, broke again in the seventh game with a vicious forehand crosscourt drive which the Swede at full stretch could not control.
Youzhny, with the full support of the Russian supporters surged ahead to double match point in the next game;
winning the contest with a cracking backhand crosscourt drive which he struck for a clean winner.
"I was tired after the match with Rafa, and today we played first match which for me was too early", Youzhny said. "Anyway, I enjoy to play here and a lot of Russians here give me power. Maybe I sleep a little bit at the beginning of the match, but after I wake up."
Youzhny felt that Soderling's form dropped off after the first set.
"First game of the second set, he miss a lot. He has three or four mistakes; I didn't do nothing, no unbelievable winners. After I serve very good and I don't have any problems which is why I can play very easy."
Youzhny believes that he will probably play Roger Federer in the final, although Tommy Haas should not be discounted because like him he is in a rich vein of form.
"Roger is favourite, but Haas is in good shape now, he won Memphis plus three matches here. Of course I'm thinking like everybody that Roger is going to win. But you never know in tennis and maybe today something will happen. I don't want to think about this, actually I don't care."
Would Youzhny embellish his military salutes wearing the full Russian military uniform and holding a Kalashnikov if he wins the tournament?
"If you bring a kalashnikov for me on court maybe I will use it instead of racquet and shoot into the sky when I do my salutes!", Youzhny joked.
A disappointed Soderling was at a loss to think of a way to have beaten Youzhny.
"Today I didn't feel like I could have done anything different", Soderling said. "Of course I could have done everything a little bit better. I didn't play well today, but he played really good. If I had played my best match who knows if it would have been enough anyway. But he was too good today; from the end of the first set and throughout the second set, he was too good."
03-06-2007, 09:31 AM
YOUZHNY ON THE RISE
Mikhail Youzhny proved in February that he can beat practically anyone.
Mickail Youzhny has gained 18 victories this year which is the best result among all tennis players.
Youzhny gained his third singles title at ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament and could get another one at Dubai Tennis Championships but world number one Roger Federer did not let him do it beating him 6-4, 6-3 in the title match.
Youzhny explained the reasons for his successful performance to Sport Express.
"The thing is I've been working hard lately and my success is just the result of this hard work," said youzhny to Sport Express.
"My tennis was good the previous year but there was no result."
"Success comes when you improve different aspects of your game step by step, step by step."
"To improve my game is a priority for me now."
"I don't care about the standings at the moment."
"I serve better now especially when at crucial moments but I have a long way to go anyway."
"That's what I missed in the final with Federer: I could not serve decently."
"I've lost 9 consecutives matches to Federer and though I know what aspects of my game lag behind I can't speak of beating Federe at the moment."
"I liked it to play in Dubai for the atmosphere was very form and there were a lot of my supporters."
"I had to play Soderling twelve hours after I defeated Nadal."
"I must admit it is really deplorable that our interests are not taken into account when ATP makes up the schedule."
03-06-2007, 10:36 AM
"I must admit it is really deplorable that our interests are not taken into account when ATP makes up the schedule."
Well said Misha
12-04-2008, 11:30 PM
I hope you don't mind that I post this one although it is already one year old ;)
Biofile: The Mikhail Youzhny Interview
By Scoop Malinowski
Friday, November 30, 2007
Mikhail Youzhny © Getty Images
Mikhail Youzhny has become adept at transforming his Head into a helmet and he's even more skilled with his Head in his hands. Placing his Head racquet atop his head like a helmet, Youzhny celebrates significant victories by issuing a series of sharp salutes to the crowd.
The 19th-ranked Russian will find few supporters among the 12,000-plus fans packed inside the Memorial Coliseum in Portland today when he plays James Blake in the second singles match of the Davis Cup final between defending champion Russia and the host United States. Andy Roddick opens the best-of-five match final when he faces Dmitry Tursunov in today's opening singles match.
Youzhny beat Blake in their lone meeting on red clay in Moscow in the 2006 Davis Cup semifinals and Russia went on to beat Argentina to reclaim the Cup it won in 2002 when Youzhny fought back with ferocity from a two-set deficit to defeat Paul-Henri Mathieu in the decisive fifth match of the 2002 final.
Youzhny's lone tournament title of the season came on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam in February when he defeated Tomas Berdych, Robin Haase, David Ferrer, Novak Djokovic and Ivan Ljubicic in succession. Blake believes the faster indoor hard court in Portland will enable him to impose his power-based baseline game on the versatile Youzhny.
"I lost to him last year in Moscow on clay," Blake said of Youzhny. "I remember he played an excellent match. I was a little streaky at that time on clay, which happens to me since it's not my favorite surface. He just played a little more solid than me throughout the match. This time I feel like I won't need to leave my comfort zone asmuch as I do on clay and I'll be able to hopefully go after my shots, be aggressive and still play the way I want to play on a surface that suits me much better. But that being said, I know he's an excellent player and he's not going to make that very easy for me. He's going to try to do everything he can to get me out of my comfort zone. He has unbelievable timing, great returns, is a great competitor, so I know it won't be easy. But I feel like I've prepared as well as I can and I feel good on this surface and ready to play my game."
The selection of shot combinations and willingness to step into the court while constructing points have been part of Youzhny's continued development. In the past, Youzhny sometimes tried to load up and end points prematurely with one big backhand, but over the past several months he's grown into his game, trusts his shots more and plays with the self-confidence of a man who is selective enough to set up his openings before striking the kill shot.
Tennis Week.com contributing writer Scoop Malinowski caught up with Youzhny for this Biofile interview.
Height/Weight: 6-feet, 160 pounds.
Born On: June 25, 1982 in Moscow, Russia.
Tennis Inspirations: "When I was six-years-old my hero was Stefan Edberg, I liked how he played. (Did you ever meet him?) Once I met him on the bus, we were sitting together on the same bus [smiles]."
Hobbies/Interests: "Reading books, soccer."
Childhood Dream: "I wanted to receive my driver's license!"
Favorite Movies: "I like Russian movies."
Musical Tastes: "Russian music, Lesopoval, Mikhail Tanich."
First Car: "A gray Lada."
Early Tennis Memory: "When I won my first tournament in Russia, at my club Spartak. For me, it was a strong tournament. I played two or three good players. 7-5, 6-4 in the final. I won a trophy and they take a Polaroid photo (age 13)."
Pre-Match Feeling: "A little bit excited. Feeling all I have to do on court. Before the match sometimes I try to remember how I play good in our matches, what I'm doing if I play before with this opponent. I try to remember how I play against him, what I'm doing on the court."
Favorite Meal: "Russian and Italian, sometimes sushi or a Chinese restaurant."
Favorite Breakfast Cereal: "I don't like breakfast at all [laughs]."
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: "Strawberry and chocolate I think."
Greatest Sports Moment: "It looks like Davis Cup (defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu from two sets down in decisive match of final vs. France in Paris in 2002). It was greatest moment for my name - Davis Cup - but I have a family situation in this time. So that's why, for me, maybe it was not good feelings like it was for all our persons. (Mikhail's dad Mikhail passed away two months, one week earlier.)"
Most Painful Moment: "The worst tennis moment I think was ... a lot of tough moments in every new years. Every new years were really tough, like, another problem, another problem. I think it was when I lost to Volchkov Belarus we play against first round and I lost final point to Volchkov in Davis Cup 2004."
Favorite Tournaments: "Tough question. I think it's home tournaments - St. Petersburg and Moscow."
Closest Tennis Friends: "Actually I have good contact with almost all players but I prefer good contact with Schuettler, Erlich, Ram from Israel."
Funniest Players Encountered: "It's tough question [smiles]. I saw Agassi-Baghdatis match was a funny match. I cannot say funny players but it was a really nice match. When it was cramps to Baghdatis it was really funny moment. I understand it was really tough for him but I really liked what he was doing. I understand if I was in his position I would do the same. It was really funny. I liked how Baghdatis made it."
Toughest Competitor: "I think Roger [smiles]. I lost to him ten times (0-10 career record vs. Federer) [smiles]."
Embarrassing Memory: "I loset 6-0 6-0 to Coria in Stuttgart in 2003 or 2004, I don't remember exactly the year. I was former champion of Stuttgart [laughs] in 2003 (actually 2004). And I have a lot of break points, I cannot win any games. After, my manager tell me, You are really smart. Because you lost 6-0 6-0 and now we play three sets for the same purse for the same money [smiles]."
Best Ever Felt On Court: "I think the best match was against Nadal (U.S. Open 2006). Now, in my career, I think it was the best match because it was very high level from first ball until the last."
Favorite Vacation Spot: "I like Cypress and Thailand I think was very nice."
People Qualities Most Admired: "I like to see kindness and honesty."
05-09-2010, 10:00 PM
Youzhny Beats Cilic To Capture Munich Crown
by ATP Staff
Mikhail Youzhny won his sixth ATP World Tour title, and second on clay.
On his third appearance in the Munich final, Mikhail Youzhny finally laid his hands on the BMW Open by FWU RETAKAFUL trophy with a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over top seed Marin Cilic Sunday.
By virtue of winning the ATP World Tour 250 clay-court tennis tournament, World No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny received 250 South African Airways 2010 ATP Ranking points, €68,450 and also a new BMW 325i convertible from the title sponsor; while runner-up Cilic collected 150 ranking points and €35,980 in prize money.
The Russian, who had finished runner-up in the Munich final in 2007 (l. to Kohlschreiber) and 2009 (l. to Berdych), won his first ATP World Tour clay-court title since capturing his maiden trophy at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart (d. Canas) eight years ago.
Reflecting on his success in Munich, Youzhny said: “It is a good tournament, there is a nice atmosphere. I have a lot of friends here. It is a well-organised tournament for the players, whenever you need something they try to help and that’s important for the players.”
Victory also halted a run of three successive final defeats for Youzhny. Since winning his fifth ATP World Tour title in Moscow (d. Tipsarevic) last October, the Muscovite had finished runner-up in Valencia (l. to Murray) in November and this season in Rotterdam (l. to Soderling) and Dubai (l. to Djokovic).
The 27-year-old Youzhny went into the final with the confidence of a 3-0 career lead over Cilic and made a dream start to the match as he raced to a 3-0 advantage before going on to close out the first set.
The No. 11-ranked Cilic was quick to respond, breaking serve at the first opportunity in the second set and, despite being pegged back by Youzhny, was able to break again in the 10th game to level the match at one set apiece.
In a close deciding set, Youzhny saved one break point in the fourth game before breaking Cilic’s serve to love in the seventh game. The Russian then held his nerve to serve out victory in two hours and 51 minutes.
“It was a really tough match," assessed Youzhny. "There were some tough moments for me. At the beginning of the third set I think two or three of my games were going from deuce to advantage and back to deuce, so it was really tough."
“The momentum swung in different ways in the first, second and third sets," said Cilic. "I think I missed my chances at the beginning of the third set when I had a break point and after that he was trying to get back into it. I think my fatigue made a slight difference in the end when I missed a couple of easy balls on my serve. He served pretty good all through the match and didn’t miss too many easy balls, so it was really tough. But I was fighting very well and I’m pleased with that."
05-11-2010, 12:24 AM
I found 2 sites of interest. I'm sorry if they are already known. I found them trying to find the Youzhny trophy presentation.
The Voice Of Russia
Lots of Misha info and a link to his media coverage
05-30-2010, 09:04 AM
a bit late... but never too late right?
Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny, world No.14, will come up against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in the third round. He’s been a frequent flyer since he was ten years old… and he likes it that way. Buckle your seatbelts for another exciting interview, this time with a travel theme.
What’s the most relaxing city?
I know it’s not the most relaxing city for everyone, but home in Moscow is where I feel the best.
The city where you’d like to own a house?
Moscow and no where else!
The best beaches ?
Are there any better beaches than in the Maldives?
The best restaurant?
Georges, in Miami. A fantastic Italian restaurant.
The most amazing place?
The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. I went there with Russia for a Davis Cup match. The place was amazing, so symbolic.
Your travelling partners?
My coach, my wife Yulia and sometimes my mother.
The thing you like least about travelling?
Well, nothing really. Travelling is one the best things about this profession. And anyway, I’ve been travelling since I was small, so I’m used to it.
The best crowd?
The French crowd! I’m not just saying that because I’m at the French Open, I really think that. The French know their tennis. They encourage their players without insulting the opponents. It was something I experienced during the Davis Cup at Bercy. They’re tennis connoisseurs.
The best-organised tournament?
Dubai and Moscow.
The country with the best looking girls?
Russia. Obviously [laughs].
Your best friend on the circuit?
Sergiy Stakhovsky, but also most of the other Russian and Ukrainian players.
09-13-2010, 08:59 PM
US Open 2010
An Interview With: Mikhail Youzhny
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Q. Rafa said in the interview on court after the match, he said that he thought perhaps you might have demonstrated that you were a bit tired, and maybe it was a result of the difficult match that you had to get to your quarterfinal match. Would you agree?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: I cannot say I'm really tired, but, yeah, was not fast enough today. I mean, my decision was not really fast. I mean, I moving well, but my head was one step back of my hand and my legs. So that's why I thinking too long, you know, where I have to play. That's why some mistakes and that's why made the score like this one.
Q. What were the conditions like out there?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: Conditions today, it's was okay. Little bit windy, but, you know, after windy it was previous matches, it was okay.
Q. You've played Nadal a few times. Do you think he's playing better than you've ever seen him play?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: I feel now he looks like serve better than to play before. But tough to say, because play last time against him I think one and a half year ago, long time ago.
Q. More specifically, how do you think his serve is better? I didn't hear the other thing that you said was better. Can you explain a little bit more, please?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: No, my opinion is it's not maybe little faster, but now he serve T wide, the same percentage, I think, and really high percentage first serve.
Q. In terms of defense to offense, is there any better player in tennis than Rafa?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: Well, tough to say, no? Now tough to say who is better than Rafa. I mean, he's No. 1 and he play really good tennis.
Q. You've come close twice now to getting to Grand Slam finals. What do you think you need to do different to sort of take that next step?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: No, it's two different semifinals. Four years ago it was another story. I playing more from emotions in all matches before. Maybe I have little bit tougher draw in this year. But this year I really glad because I didn't show really my best tennis, my opinion, because I actually serve not so well the whole tournament. But anyway, I was in the semifinal. So this year, I didn't show my really best tennis and I am in the semifinal. This is good. So maybe if I can show my really best tennis in semifinal or Grand Slams, maybe I can do something more. Maybe no? We'll see.
Q. Overall were you pretty happy with the last couple of weeks?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: Yeah, but right now, you lose the match you cannot be really happy. But actually it was good tournament for me.
Q. First of all, if you can elaborate on that a bit. I mean, you know, I guess it takes a little time to look back and reflect and say, Hey, I got to the semifinals of a Grand Slam. But is it almost that much more difficult? Because you were playing such good tennis coming in, and, you know, you start to think about maybe I can be a finalist here? Or can you look back and say, This was a great two weeks for me; I've played some great tennis?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: No, have to be realistic. Okay, how Rafa play today I don't have lot of chances to beat him, actually. So that's why if thinking like this one, I can start to think about, Oh, I can win Australia; but I pull out third round; I can win Wimbledon, but I lost second round. So anyway I try to be optimistic, and anyway it was a good two weeks for me.
Q. Do you feel in a way today you might have beaten yourself as opposed to Rafa beating you? Is there a bit of that?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: I feel I play really good one game at 4 3, first set, like was lot of emotions. But if I can play like this on every game against Rafa, maybe it's not for sure maybe I can get chance to win. But I don't have so much emotion like I have this game, so I can like sometimes wake up for some points or some games, but I cannot be consistent for all match.
Q. I think you said in your last press conference that you're hoping to be the bad guy.
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: What?
Q. You were hoping to be the bad guy or the bad person. That didn't happen.
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: Anyway you have to be nice.
Q. Do you think you have to play your absolute best tennis against Rafa? Is he in that kind of form, that that's the only way you can beat him? Generally, not just you.
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: I think some part of my games has to be best, like I have to -- if I serve like best what I can, maybe I have chances. But, no, now it's tough to say what I have to do. Match is done and I lost this match. Now I can say whatever about how I have to play to beat him or how he has to miss some points. But I doesn't want to dream about this.
Q. What do you think overall are the one or two things that make him so tough, that make him the No. 1 player? What are his greatest strengths?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: He's consistent. He play really high level for all year. Not everybody can play like this. Some players play really well maybe three tournaments, and four, five tournaments play not so well. Even top players. But Federer and Nadal I think is more consistent players. His level is a little bit higher than all other players.
Q. So if final against Federer and Nadal, which one you think?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: No comment. We will see tomorrow. (Smiling.)
Q. The atmosphere out there was quite electric today. I mean, you know, it's the final weekend of the US Open; it generally is. But particularly when you broke back at 4 4 in the third, you really seemed to be able to pump yourself up, and the crowd was clearly with you at that point.
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: Yeah.
Q. Did you feel that? Can you talk about your mindset at that particular moment and the atmosphere in general?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: No, atmosphere was well today, I mean. And, yeah, in 4 All crowd for Youzhny. I feel this one, but I going slowing down after this game actually. I play good one point, and finally I miss really easy volley and Rafa played good.
Q. Was there a moment when you thought you might be able to turn things around?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: No, I didn't try to think about now. I don't know, because it's I just try to continue to play little maybe a little bit more emotions, but it was not easy.
Q. I saw you had a black ribbon on your T shirt today. Was that to mark today's events, or was that the reason?
MIKHAIL YOUZHNY: Of course the reason because everybody remember the 9/11. Today, nine years, so that's why we still remember.
10-29-2010, 03:40 AM
Южный: «У сборной России есть будущее»
Михаил Южный, взявший верх во втором круге турнира в Санкт-Петербурге над соотечественником Евгением Донским, назвал своего соперника одним из самых перспективных молодых отечественных теннисистов.
Первый номер посева St. Petersburg Open, выиграл у 20-летнего москвича в трех партиях - 3:6, 6:3, 6:2. «Я думаю, сейчас слегка поутихнут разговоры о том, что у нас нет будущего в мужском теннисе, - заявил Южный на пресс-конференции после матча. - И Андрей Кузнецов, и Евгений Донской - очень перспективные игроки, а ведь надежды подают не только они».
«Почему-то если человек не входит в 20-летнем возрасте в число 50 или 100 сильнейших теннисистов мира, то у нас все сразу думают, что он слабого уровня, - продолжил Михаил. - Так вот, Женя доказал, что он очень неплохой игрок, и в будущем он непременно прибавит».
«Я бы не стал говорить, что у нас в сборной непростая ситуация. Если сравнивать с другими странами, то еще очень ничего», - закончил свою мысль первая ракетка России. По словам Южного, матч с Донским сложился для него непросто. «Женя сыграл очень хорошо, и именно поэтому в первой партии я уступил, - отметил победитель недавнего турнира в Куала-Лумпуре. - Дело было вовсе не в моих ошибках. И переломить ход встречи было трудно. Потратил для этого много сил».
Полуфиналист US Open-2010 добавил, что рад планам ATP сократить сезон. «Действительно, в скором времени должно быть принято решение, что в 2012 году календарь будет короче на две недели, а в 2013 - на три. Все игроки смотрят на это положительно. Есть, правда, некоторые нюансы в плане турниров, но они решаемы», - заключил Южный.
Youzhny: "The Russian team has a future"
Mikhail Youzhny, who has taken the upper hand in the second round of the tournament in St. Petersburg over compatriot Evgeny Donskoy, called his rival's one of the most promising young domestic players.
The first number seeding St. Petersburg Open, won in 20-year-old Muscovite, in three batches - 3:6, 6:3, 6:2. "I think now slightly poutihnut talk about what we do not have a future in men's tennis - said the South at a press conference after the match. - And Andrey Kuznetsov and Evgeny Donskoy - very promising players, and in fact serves not only hopes they ".
"Somehow, if a person is not included in the 20 years of age among the 50 or 100 the strongest tennis players of the world, we all immediately think he's weak level - continued Michael. - Well, Jack has proven to be a very good player, and in the future, he'll add. "
"I would not say that we have a team of a difficult situation. If you compare with other countries, it is still a very personal "- finished his thought the first racket of Russia. According to the South, the match with Don was formed for him uneasy. "Jack has played very well, and that is why in the first game I lost, - has noted the recent winner of the tournament in Kuala Lumpur. - It was not at all my mistakes. And change the course of the meeting was difficult. Spent a lot of effort for this. "
Semifinalist US Open-2010 has added that he was glad the plans to reduce the ATP season. "Indeed, soon to be decided that the 2012 calendar will be shortened by two weeks, and in 2013 - three. All the players look at it positively. There are, however, some nuances in terms of tournaments, but they can be solved ", - concluded the South.
11-19-2010, 12:11 AM
by Robert Davis
Mikhail Youzhny will finish the season as the top Russian for the first time.
Known for his trademark military salute and fighting spirit, Russian hero Mikhail Youzhny continues to carry on his late father’s legacy with the guidance of his long-time coach.
Mikhail Youzhny strokes the ball smoothly and accurately across the net placing it within easy reach of his longtime coach Boris Sobkin’s forehand. Youzhny, the St. Petersburg Open defending champion, is preparing for his semi-final match. They warm up in silence. After 18 years together, words are not necessary between this player and his coach. Now as they hit, Sobkin is wondering if Youzhny has enough energy left in the tank today to compete with the talented Dmitry Tursunov.
He would soon find out.
Locked at four games all in the first set, Tursunov’s powerful ground strokes have Youzhny on the run. All the racing from side to side has left Youzhny’s leg weary and bone tired, for he has not fully recovered from a viral infection that forced him to pull out of the previous week’s Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Yet, despite it all, Youzhny has just broken Tursunov’s serve to take a 5-4 lead in the first set. Now his body is fast breaking down. Youzhny asks Chair Umpire Carlos Bernardes for a toilet break. Request granted and he quickly rushes to the locker room where he is soon doubled over and puking his guts out.
Back on the court, Youzhny manages to hold serve and take the first set.
Though the crowd is clearly favouring Youzhny, Tursunov is not backing down and after taking the second set, he has now broken Youzhny’s serve in the third. Serving at 4-2, Youzhny put up a defence that would have made Peter the Great proud. It would last for 13 minutes and 50 seconds. And when it was over, Youzhny had broken back and the crowd was shaking their heads in amazement and clapping wildly.
Throughout the match, Youzhny has been working the Tursunov backhand with off-speed slices and heavy spin forehands. Normally Youzhny does not grunt much at all, but when he does it comes from the forehand side and it means he is on the attack. It is not so much a grunt as a command, as if he is ordering the ball on a special mission. The next few games becomes a tug of war between the two men as Youzhny fights off the powerful Tursunov attack while he tries to sink his teeth into the meat of the point. For the man the Russians affectionately call ‘Mischa’, Mikhail Youzhny’s primary weapons are easy to detect: head, heart and legs.
At six feet tall and 160 pounds, Mikhail Youzhny does not tower over his opponents. His clean-cut face is accented by thick dark eyebrows and a hard set jaw. When determined, his features make for an imposing scowl. But when Youzhny is happy, a pair of dimples and a slight gap in the front teeth show a million-dollar smile.
Tursunov and Youzhny would continue to battle with each other until the final set tie-break. Immediately, Tursunov surges to a 6-3 lead. With his back pinned to the wall and facing three match points, Mikhail Youzhny is taking a beating like in a Rocky Balboa movie. Boris Sobkin is in the front row of the tribune, head in hands, rocking back and forth in his seat. There is just one problem for Tursunov. This is where Youzhny is most dangerous.
When it is over, and Mikhail Youzhny had somehow found a way to stave off defeat, Boris Sobkin was walking in the corridor with his hands clasped behind his back and shaking his head.
“This match is all you need to know to understand Mischa,” states Sobkin. “How you say? A picture is worth more than a thousand words.”
Ektarina Kempik, a waitress at the Gran Hotel Europa in Saint Petersburg, came to see Mikhail Youzhny play.
“I like him so much,” says Kempik. “I saw him in the restaurant of hotel many times and he is like star in Russia. For me he is what means Russian man: serious, hard worker and big fighter.”
Legendary Russian tennis player, Alex Metreveli, agrees.
“He is really a great fighter,” says Metreveli. “I cannot even remember how many matches he has won in tough situations. Russian people respect Mischa because he is a man who works hard. And his fighting spirit is just incredible. What he did in Paris for Davis Cup is just one of many such examples.”
Metreveli is referring to the 2002 Davis Cup Final in Paris. As typical of the French, it was a gala affair. French President Jacques Chirac was in attendance, and also Russian President Boris Yeltsin. With Grand Slam winners and ATP World Tour stars Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov on the team, few if any thought that the young 20-year-old Mikhail Youzhny would see live action. Even Youzhny himself did not believe it.
"Captain says to me on first day that maybe I play final rubber as Kafelnikov was not 100 per cent fit,” recalls Youzhny. “But I did not believe him. How I can play important match with star like Yevgeny on team? And then Sunday morning I see Yevgeny arrive in running shoes and no racquets. Then I understand that I must play for Russia.”
Tatiana Naumko, the longtime coach of Russian tennis star Andrei Chesnokov has known Youzhny since he was eight years old. She was in Paris for that Davis Cup.
“Before match, I spoke to him,” says Naumko. “I say, ‘Mikhail, you must be like robot. Don’t think so much about situation. Just be robot: backhand, forehand, forehand and backhand, crosscourt and down the line. Be robot, Mikhail.’”
Not bad advice from one of Russia’s most successful tennis coaches, but just like a character from a Tolstoy novel, Youzhny was dealing with multiple burdens. Yes, there was the pressure of playing the final and deciding match of a Davis Cup Final. But there was something else; only one month earlier, Mikhail’s father had died unexpectedly.
“Everything that we have is because of our father,” says older brother and former player Andrei Youzhny, who was with the Russian team in Paris. “We are in tennis because of father. We are with Boris (Sobkin) because of father. Papa made so many sacrifices for our tennis. You know, he was Colonel in Soviet Army. And he stops his career to support our tennis each day. And Papa and Mischa are both born on same day, June 25th. Tell me, what is chance of that?”
The stage was set and the Davis Cup trophy would be decided between France’s Paul-Henri Mathieu and Mikhail Youzhny. From the start, Mathieu was the better player, winning the first set and quickly going up a break in the second.
“I knew exactly what was problem with Mischa,” claims Andrei. “He had so many emotions inside of him and he could not play. I could see he had the wrong emotions. I knew what I must do.”
Andrei sent a message to the Captain Shamil Tarpischev for Mischa to take toilet break. That would be his opportunity to talk with his younger brother. When Youzhny returned to the court he was given a warning from the chair umpire for receiving coaching. Whatever Andrei said must have been very powerful, because Mikhail Youzhny instantly became a different beast. Youzhny clawed his way back to even the match and then seized the Davis Cup for Russia in the fifth set.
“So many people ask me and Mischa what I said to him,” says Andrei. “We never say. And I will not tell you what I said because it is between family only.”
“It was so tough feeling for me because father had just died,” Youzhny admitted. “On one moment I was very happy. And another I was wanting my father to see me play such an important match for Russia. For him to give us everything so we could play tennis and then not to see me play was really, really tough.”
“It was terrible,” recalls Sobkin. “Happiness, sadness. Happy to win, but sad his father could not see him. So many tears from everybody.”
It was his father, Mikhail Youzhny Sr., who decided that his sons should play tennis. And like many boys, little Mikhail followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Andrei.
“In summer we learn tennis,” says Andrei. “And in winter we learn figure-skating. Then one day when we get a little older, the coach speaks to father if we want to play tennis seriously. If we want to try professional, we must go to Spartak Club. Father said, ‘Yes, why not. Let us try.’”
It would be easier said than done. Every day they would make the long commute to the Spartak Club. It would take them over an hour each way, underground by metro and then two buses. And their mother, an economist, would take on two extra part-time jobs to help pay for it.
“At Spartak Club we have such a good tradition of players,” says Tatiana Naumko, “Little boys many times were standing behind fence watching Andrei (Chesnokov) practice. He was like hero to young boys. And little Mischa was there behind fence watching too.”
“Our parents had to find a way to get us a coach,” says Mikhail Youzhny. “It was not so easy. In the beginning me and Andrei would watch how coaches were working with students. Then we would make our own drills with a bag of old balls that we collected.”
“Mischa and Andrei were practising together all the time without coach,” remembers Sobkin. “In the beginning, Mischa is all the time breaking racquets and crying. Not so many coaches want to work with boy with strong character like this. So, they would practise on one court for 15 minutes and then comes a member so they must leave court immediately and move to another court. Ten minutes maybe 20 minutes later comes another member and like this all day. There was something in Mischa’s eyes, a sparkle, maybe, I don’t know. Sometimes the eyes tells more than parents. Of course, I did not see Mischa is Top 10 player then. But I could see he had something special.”
It was in 1995 that Mikhail Youzhny, a 13-year-old ball boy, got his first taste of what being a Russian hero was like. In the deciding match of the Davis Cup tie of Russia versus Germany in Moscow at the Olympic Stadium, Chesnokov saved 10 match points against Michael Stich for a 14-12 victory.
“After the match there were so many people wanting to be near Chesnokov,” remembers Youzhny. “I went to locker room and so many people surround Andrei and he could not see that he forgot his tennis shoes on floor. I was so small that I could see them on the floor, and I took the shoes and put them in our apartment. They are still there today.”
When asked if any other Russian players had an influence on young Mikhail Youzhny, Boris Sobkin replied tongue-in-cheek. “Let us say like this, ‘Fortunately, other Russian players did not disturb him too much.’”
”Maybe not other players, but there is no denying the influence of coach Boris Sobkin. It is true that Sobkin did not follow the ranks of the traditional tennis coach. Instead, he worked as a professor of mathematics at a very prestigious Soviet University. Still he was a good enough amateur player to be a sparring partner for Chesnokov.
“He is so smart,” says Andrei Youzhny. “Boris is always studying everything and how to make Mischa better. Even after all these years. Boris is like idol for me.”
“Boris’s mind does not have limit,” says Naumko. “He is constantly learning. And I believe that this is why Mischa is still improving at his age.”
And make no mistake, Mikhail Youzhny is still improving at 28 years old. He matched his best ever showing in a Grand Slam at this year’s US Open where he defeated John Isner, Tommy Robredo and Stanislas Wawrinka en route to the semi-finals, where he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal. He followed that performance by winning the Malaysian Open two weeks later for his seventh ATP World Tour title.
When asked about his good form this year, Youzhny was coy.
“What means good year?” Youzhny asks furrowing his dark eyebrows. “Sometimes you start the year good, and then you finish bad. Or sometimes opposite. I think better to wait until season is over and then evaluate.”
“Youzhny is extremely solid mentally,” states Peter Lundgren, coach of Stanislas Wawrinka. “He has the ability to adapt to all types of conditions. And he can change the speed and direction of the ball very quickly. But his backhand slice is one of the best in the world. His slice has a lot of variety and he can neutralise an opponent’s offence quickly with it.”
While the slice keeps Youzhny alive, it is the topspin backhand down the line that deals the deathblow. Though his racquet hand is strong and calloused, when he strikes the ball it is as if he is wearing a velvet glove. However, if there is a chink in his armour it is his serve, or the lack of it. Youzhny serves up less aces than a poor luck poker player.
“That is something that must improve,” admits his brother. “I am confident that Boris will find a solution.”
“Actually, we have a lot of things to improve,” states Sobkin. “We are planning now. But, of course, I will not discuss this publicly.”
“Boris sees tennis the way few people do,” says ATP World Tour player and close friend, Sergiy Stakhovsky. “He is extremely intelligent and his practices with Mischa are very unique, a lot of angles. But there is more. You know he and Mischa have very interesting relationship. They both read so much. I mean Mischa is reading so many books all the time. When I first started to be around them, I was surprised at how high level conversation they are having. And Mischa is always joking with Boris, but then Boris is joking back to Mischa but higher level joke. And they keep going and on like this and in the beginning I was like, ‘Wow, what planet is this?’”
Youzhny’s bid for a place in the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals came to an end when a back injury forced him to retire against Ernest Gulbis at the BNP Paribas Masters. The long year was now over and it was time for Mikhail Youzhny to go home to his wife, Julia, and young son, Maxim.
Outside the Pullman Hotel in Paris it is cold and raining when Sobkin and Youzhny load their tennis bags into the tournament courtesy car for the ride to Charles de Gaulle Airport and flight back to Moscow. These days, Boris walks with a slight stoop in his back and Mikhail takes a little longer to recover after matches than he used to do. But one thing that has not changed after nearly two decades of working together is the sparkle in Youzhny’s eyes and Boris’s steady hand on Mikhail’s shoulder.
02-20-2012, 12:45 AM
Hope it's ok to post here, just a brief piece I wrote about Youzhny, in particular a match he played against Cilic in 2010 :)
This weeks edition of ‘Video of the Week’ focuses on an encounter from 2010 between two players whose careers are headed in opposite directions.
Fresh from being awarded his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Moscow, and sporting a beard worthy of a rogue Spetsnaz soldier gone into exile having been disowned by his government following the end of a controversial and regrettable war, Mikhail Youzhny is entering the twilight of his career.
Born in 1988, Marin Cilic is pushing the limit of what can be considered a ‘young gun’, but for the sake of this article, we shall consider him thus. Cilic has delivered some impressive results in the past few years, knocking out Andy Murray to reach the Quarter Finals of the US Open in 2009 and reaching the Semi Finals of the 2010 Australian Open, defeating Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Roddick along the way. However he still suffers from disappointing off-days and is yet to become a permanent fixture in the Quarter Finals and beyond of the Grand Slams.
TennisNiche was fortunate enough to be see Youzhny play against Sicilian Gianluca Naso in the qualifying rounds of the Roma Master Series in 2009. Although past his best at this point, Youzhny was one of the most impressive players TennisNiche has seen in the flesh, sliding effortlessly from corner to corner, and boasting a fantastic array of slices, drop shots and flat drives. Competent in every area of the game, his greatest strength is his single handed backhand, a gorgeous, rhythmic motion which is a joy to watch.
By most standards, Cilic is not nearly as aesthetically pleasing to watch. Superficially, standing at 6’6, his gangly demeanour suggests he has yet to grow into his frame. His serve is an odd motion, featuring a crazy amount of back bend, enough to make anyone wince who history of back pain. Far from Youzhny’s subtle game, Cilic is very much a modern baseliner. His two handed backhand is powerful, consistent and deals with high balls well, and his forehand, when on’, is a riotous force, as Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal can attest to.