The Kremlin Cup tournament currently under way in Moscow has shown the tennis World an incredible show of faith by a tennis federation towards its players. The mens qualifying event produced no less than 21 budding Russian professionals all trying to make their mark on the big stage. All of these players compete on the Challenger Circuit.
There was even a seasoned veteran also playing in Dimitry Tursinov.
Out of all of those Russian hopefuls just one however made it through to the main draw, brutal fact of life in the World of tennis, there's not much room to squeeze through anywhere.
Tursinov lost second round to the number 1 seed Lajovic from Serbia and the only player to make it through from Russia was a guy by the name of Aslan Karatsev who currently has a ranking of 207. He also has made a grand total of $55,000 this year, about as much as the local postie makes but the postman doesn't have to travel too far to work, these guys do. That sum of 55 grand would not go too far after travel expenses for a tennis pro.
For his efforts in qualifying for the local tournament Karatsev has earned the right to take on another local hero in Mikhail Youzhny, former World number 8 who has now dropped to number 150. Youzhny has won a lazy 400 grand already this year and 12 million in his career who probably now just plays for fun as opposed to his first round opponent who is playing for his life.
That's another brutal fact of tennis, some are in it for the money and a career whereas some are already rich and just spend their last couple of years topping up their superannuation. These are just two mind sets of tennis that must be tough on the newcomer. One will probably play tight tennis, the other a free wheeling style afraid of nothing, least of all losing.
Jimmy Connors once said "I hate to lose more than I like to win" yet someone in their twilight years will simply take each win as another bonus day left in a tournament and a loss as a fact of life as a veteran sportsman. In this case Youzhny is the veteran at just 33 years of age, Karatsev 11 years younger at age 22.
Personally I would love to see the young fellow make it through the first round yet tennis is not a sentimental sport. I would suspect the 'old bloke' to win comfortably and add to his already bulging super account.
Tough sport tennis.........