Tennis on the up in Kazakhstan

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Paul Bartlett


ASTANA—Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev won the $75,000 [USD] President’s Cup tournament in Astana on Nov. 8 with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 defeat of France’s Laurent Recouderc.

Kazakhstan has invested heavily in tennis recently. Last July a national tennis centre with seating for 2,600 spectators opened in Astana as part of the capital’s 10th anniversary celebrations, and it hosted an Association of Professional Tennis Players (ATP) Challenger Series event that Golubev won.

Tennis in Kazakhstan received a significant boost with Golubev’s victory, which marked the first time a Kazakh player had won an ATP tour event final. As a qualifier earlier this year for the St. Petersburg Open, 21-year-old Golubev reached the final against Britain’s Andy Murray, but lost 6-1, 6-1.

Golubev played eight matches in nine days during the tournament in Astana which opened on Oct. 26. After his heroics in St. Petersburg he climbed 40 places in the ATP ranking and, following his victory in Astana, he now stands at No. 109. “I think he has done a good job and he will advance further,” said Aizhan Mamilyanova, a tennis fan from Almaty. "It’s great that he got there because this helps Kazakhstan to be known in the world. If his popularity grows, then more and more people will learn about Kazakhstan and that is good PR for Kazakhstan.”

Russian-born Golubev opted to represent Kazakhstan earlier this year. He was a member of Kazakhstan’s Davis Cup team, which crushed the Philippines 5-0 in September to retain its place in the top tier of the Asia-Oceania group.

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