09-17-2010, 06:51 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Re: Ukraine - Sergiy Stakhovsky
Sergiy Stakhovsky: I’m proud to be a Ukrainian citizen
Sergiy Stakhovsky has been a permanent leader of the Ukrainian Davis Cup team and this year he made a real breakthrough in ATP tour. He has won two titles and got to No. 32 in ATP ranking. Except tennis Sergiy is a very interesting and versatile person, whose life is not limited with the court. In his exclusive interview to Ukrainian Tennis Portal Sergiy told about who had taken him to tennis, about piano lessons, golf and friendship with Mikhail Youzhny, about his childhood memories and about his love to homeland.
- Sergiy, during your visit to Kharkiv you played golf in Superior Golf Club. When did you get known with this sport?
- It happened in the US, about a year before my first visit to Superior. First I didn’t do well and honestly, I didn’t like golf at start. It is too calm, you walk a lot and there are too many rules and ethics, which I haven’t understood first. But then I started playing more often and started doing better. Then I came to Kharkiv and saw that this sport is starting to develop in our country. Now I’m trying to use every opportunity to play golf. But of course, this sport takes a lot of time.
- As we know, many tennis players like golf. Have you ever played with one of them on one field?
- Lots of tennis players like golf. About 60-70 percent. I know that Nadal and Petzschner are very good. I played with Czech Martin Damm, Slovakian doubles player Polasek. Tennis players like golf. Because on tennis tournaments there are opportunities to play on good fields, where it is very complicated to get. It is always interesting to play on fields, where professional golf players perform.
- People say that golf is a good mental relaxation…
- Yes, I would like to say that golf is a perfect mental rest with a good walk.
- Sergiy, tell us about the idea of “Ace The Cancer Fund”.
- I wanted to do something good. We’ve thought for a long time and finally got an idea: “Ace the Cancer”. I liked this idea very much. The National Institute of Cancer also liked this idea and they agreed to work together. I’m really happy to this cooperation. I’m also negotiating about exhibition matches is support of the Fund and of the idea itself. I want to involve some other players, but they are still hesitating. I’ve told them that it’s not necessary to support the Institute, that I’m supporting the Institute. Everything depends on their willing. But our negotiations are moving forward. I’m a newbie in such things, but everything goes well bit by bit.
- Do you know, how much money have you already sent to help in fight against cancer?
- No, I didn’t count (smiling). I know that I’ve served lots of aces in the US. On the press conference in Kyiv there will be a representative of the National Institute of Cancer. We’ll see, how much money I will send.
- Sergiy, how did you make a decision to start playing tennis? Your father is a doctor…
- Honestly, my grandfather took me to play tennis. When I was a child I have been singing, drawing, playing the piano…
- Did you play well on the piano?
- I played for a very long time. I didn’t want to do that, but I did well. However, it was very long time ago. I remember, when I was eight, I had a concert, played in four hands with one boy. I was dressed in a suite with a bow tie (laughs).
- And what about singing?
- I know exactly, that I’m not a good singer (laughs). I have a good rumor, but don’t have the voice. I memorize words fast, but can’t sing a song.
- When you were at school, you…
- I learned in School No. 92. Big thanks to the director (laughs).
- Which were your favorite subjects? What was more interesting for you, what was less?
- I liked literature, Ukrainian language. I liked maths, but when it came to algebra, I started having problems. Thanks God, my father knew a good teacher, who helped me with this subject. Then I liked algebra. I had problems with biology and chemistry. I didn’t like subjects, where I needed to learn something by heart, instead of thinking logically.
- What is your most vivid childhood memory, which you will remember for all your life?
- Unfortunately, my most vivid memories are bad. I remember, I wanted to perform in the tournament for first-year students, but I was in the second form. I came to school when I was six. I asked my mom to say that I have been in the first form, but she said that I was seven years old and it didn’t matter in which form I was studying. I wasn’t accepted to the tournament, because I was in the second form. I was really confused. I cried, walking behind my mother. I couldn’t believe she said I wasn’t in the first form (smiling).
- Your father is a doctor. Was it easier for you to choose your own way, not becoming a doctor? Your older brother decided to become a doctor.
- When my older brother decided to be a doctor, it was easier for me, because I didn’t feel pressure about it. My brother likes medicine. Honestly, I don’t like to see blood. I couldn’t see the films of surgeries of my dad, I couldn’t be a doctor at all.
- Your younger brother Leonard decided to become a tennis player. Was it because of you, were you an idol for him?
- I think, yes. When he was small, he travelled with me to the tournaments. My mother came with me and took Leonard with us. At the moment he is trying and learning to play tennis.
- As every tennis player, you don’t have lots of free time for sure. Of course, partly, you spend this time with your relatives and a girlfriend. But how do you spend the rest of time? Maybe, reading books, watching films…
- I like reading very much. Fortunately, there is plenty of free time in the plane. That’s why I have what to do during flights. However, I didn’t take books to the US in the last time. They weight too much and I don’t like digital books, because you don’t have the feeling of turning pages.
- Music? Do you visit concerts?
- Actually, I like all music genres. The last concert where I’ve been was the concert of Rihanna in Toronto. My older brother is having practice in Toronto and he asked me to go with him. It was my first day after arrival to Canada. The show was good, but I was really tired and couldn’t assess the concert completely. The only thing was that I didn’t go to bed early that day and it helped me to acclimatize faster.
- When Mikhail Youzhny was asked about friendship in ATP Tour, he named you. How did your friendship with Mikhail start?
- Really? It’s really nice (smiling). Honestly, we have always had good relationships. We met at the Kremlin Cup for the first time, when I was only starting my career. Then we met rarely, because we had been playing different tournaments. When I improved my ranking, we started meeting much more often and communicated a lot. We have mutual friends. Mikhail is a very interesting person. He is very friendly and doesn’t’ like too much attention to him. He doesn’t like large crowed around him. The circle of his friends is very limited and I’m very happy to stay in this circle.
- Do you think your friendship helps you to perform in doubles matches, when it is important to be a strong team?
- I like to play doubles with Mikhail very much. Friendship beyond the court helps me to play in doubles matches a lot. Of course, there is a little pressure, because I know that Mikhail plays doubles better than me, but I like to perform with him. He always supports me and wouldn’t say something bad, even if I make a big mistake.
- Do you have friends among tennis players, except Youzhny?
- Actually, I don’t have any problems in communicating with others. I’m a social person. I communicate a lot with Slovakian and Czech players on practices.
- Are you still speaking on five languages, including Czech and Slovakian?
- Yes. At the moment I’m trying to practice Ukrainian. I speak rarely on this language. When I speak to the press from Western Ukraine, I try to speak Ukrainian. It’s not so easy. Because I lack practice and I need several seconds to find appropriate words. But I’m trying. It is easier with Czech and Slovakian, because I have a lot of practice.
- Sergiy, this year you’ve made a big progress in ATP Tour. Did other players change their relation to you after it?
- I don’t think that something has changed. At least, I didn’t feel it. I have never been hurt by anybody, even when I was at the end of TOP-100. Maybe they changed their relation to me as a player, because I started playing better, but as a human, anything has changed.
- Which qualities are most important in people in your opinion? Is there something what you can’t forgive?
- Probably, I’m a resentful person. I can forgive, but the pain stays inside of me for a long time. I can’t accept deception, dishonesty and people, who don’t have any moral principles. I hate people who are interested only in money. I appreciate kindness and decency in people.
- Can you call yourself a religious person? Do you believe in God?
- It is a very serious question. It’s hard to say. Some people are very religious. But this question is very individual. I believe that there is something above us and I don’t know if it is God or not. But I believe that everything happens because of something. I’m orthodox, but I can’t name myself a religious person.
- Many sportsmen, still staying professionals, become interesting for various political structures. Did it happen to you?
- To say truth, I’m not interested in politics. I don’t understand anything in politics and I’m not going to get into it. The only thing I could say is that our country is young and someday the situation will change for better. At least I couldn’t do politics, being a professional player. After retirement I would like to be connected with sport. I would like to do something good for my country. And in order to do something I will need to be connected with politics. Even to work in the Ukrainian Tennis Federation is partly politics. I want to believe that the government will pay more attention to sport. At the moment I have no political preferences.
- You are being a permanent leader of the Ukrainian Davis Cup Team in the last years. Are you proud to be a Ukrainian citizen?
- Without a doubt, I’m proud to be a Ukrainian citizen. I’m really happy that in decisive moment the President of the Ukrainian Tennis Federation Mr. Vadim Shulman helped me to make the right decision. I’m very grateful to him. I’m happy to play for my country. From the first notes of the National Anthem of Ukraine I feel goose bumps on my skin. It’s a unique feeling.
- Thanks for the interview, Sergiy, good luck in upcoming tournaments.
by Olena Kaydalova, sapronov-tennis.org
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