CNN has called him the 'Cinderella man' of tennis. And in fact, everyone is wondering where Aslan Karatsev, the formidable Cinderella of world tennis, n.292 in the world in January 2020, n.114 at the beginning of 2021 and tomorrow n.27 in the world after having conquered the first ATP 500 title in Dubai (and the semi-finals at the Australian Open).
He smacks of mystery about the Russian explosion from Ossetia. He impresses above all the level of play of him, beyond the climb in the ranking. This year he has beaten everyone playing to a monstrous level. The only two defeats came from Novak Djokovic, # 1 in the world, and Dominik Thiem, then # 3.
Certainly in the months to come there will be much discussion about how such phenomena can emerge from nowhere at the age of 27. In the meantime, what we can try to tidy up are the (few) things that are known about him, who showed himself for the first time on the international limelight at the 2021 ATP Cup in Melbourne as the fourth man of the formidable Russian team that won the event: Medvedev, Rublev, Khachanov and Karatsev.
A fourth man who is now number 5 in the Race to Turin, the ranking that takes into account only the results obtained from January 1st. Karatsev showered rich praise on Roger Federer in the aftermath of his Dubai win, calling the Swiss maestro's tennis 'unbelievable'
Karatsev showered rich praise on Federer
"I always liked to watch Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi," Aslan Karatsev said. "At that time when I was growing up, there were fantastic matches between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.
And Roger Federer, when I was seven he had already started winning [laughs]. It’s unbelievable to watch what he does on the court." Karatsev highlighted the long and difficult journey to his maiden title, adding that he is happy to see the end of the injury troubles that had hampered him earlier.
"It means a lot. It was a long journey from 18 years old, when I stopped playing the juniors and turned pro," Aslan Karatsev continued. "It’s almost 10 years, or even more. So it’s a long journey, and I put in a lot of hard work.
[There were] a lot of ups and downs. I also was injured during this time, so I’m really happy that I recovered and was ready to compete again on that level."