Former world No. 39 Andrey Kuznetsov acknowledged that winning the Nur-Sultan Challenger in July was extremely important for him. Kuznetsov, 30, was sidelined for three years between 2017 and 2020 due to a lifelong hip issue.
"Incredibly important. My ranking situation was not very good. I was ranked about 320 in the world and the US Open was up next. But it did not only help me ranking-wise, it also helped me a lot to gain some confidence," Kuznetsov told Tennis TourTalk.
Kuznetsov, now ranked at No. 281 in the world, is hoping that it's not too late for him to win an ATP title or achieve a new career-high ranking. "For sure I am back on the circuit but there are still a lot of things to improve.
I need some time to feel completely comfortable on the tour. I have played for more than a year now, starting in last August. The most important thing that my body is okay. I just hope that it will continue like this and that my best results are still coming in the future," Kuznetsov said.
Kuznetsov thought his career could be over
"Not at all. It was changing a lot," Kuznetsov admitted, when asked did he feel certain about making a comeback. "The first month, I was sure that I will be back within the next two months.
Then, I thought that there was no chance and so it was changing all the time. I already started to work as a coach and as a commentator for Eurosport Russia. I was doing some things for the living, as two and a half years is a long period.
The first year I was only concentrated on my recovery but after that I started some kind of “normal life”. It was not easy to change back to the life on the tour, as I was used to stay at home for a lot of time.
I became a husband and a father (his son Max was born last December). Many things have changed and traveling is still a difficult part for me. But I enjoy playing tennis."