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Russian tennis chief lauds Khachanov’s performance at 2023 Australian Open

"On the whole, this is Khachanov’s best tournament over the past four years. It is important now for him to recover and get ready for the next opponent," Shamil Tarpishchev said

MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. Russian tennis pro Karen Khachanov deserved to play in the semifinals of the 2023 Australian Open thanks to his best performance over the past four years, President of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) Shamil Tarpishchev told TASS on Tuesday.

The 18th seeded Khachanov faced off against 29th-seed Sebastian Korda of the United States at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne earlier in the day. With the score of 7-6 (7-6); 6-3; 3-0 in favor of the Russian, Korda retired from the quarterfinals match citing a wrist injury.

"Everything was decided in the opening two sets with Karen displaying the advantage there. His serve plus his tight play was the key to success and deprived Korda of his positional advantage, because he likes to play closer to the net," Tarpishchev said.

"Next came his opponent’s injury, but it's a common thing in tennis when players are under great physical strain for a period of two weeks and it's never clear how long a match would last," the RTF president noted.

"On the whole, this is Khachanov’s best tournament over the past four years. It is important now for him to recover and get ready for the next opponent," Tarpishchev added.

Khachanov, who is playing at the tournament in Melbourne under a neutral status, is set to meet in the semifinals the winner of the quarterfinals clash between 3rd-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and unseeded Czech player Jiri Lehecka.

Khachanov, 26, who is 20th in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Rankings List, is the winner of four ATP titles and his best performance in the Grand Slam series was when he reached the semi-final round at the 2022 US Open. Khachanov also clinched the silver at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in men’s singles.

The 2023 Australian Open tournament is played on hard courts at Melbourne Park between January 16 and 29 and it has $53.4 million in prize money up for grabs. The opening tournament of the annual Grand Slam series in Australia marks its 111th edition this year. Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Australia’s Ashleigh Barty are the reigning Australian Open champions in men’s and women’s singles respectively.

The Russian men's singles champions at the Australian Open tournaments were Yevgeny Kafelnikov (1999) and Marat Safin (2005). Russia’s Daniil Medvedev reached the final of the tournament in Melbourne last year, but eventually lost to Rafael Nadal of Spain.

Russian players’ neutral status at tennis tournaments

On February 28, 2022, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments, citing Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine as the reason.

Following the IOC’s recommendations in late February last year, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) ruled on March 1, 2022 to suspend the membership of the Russian and Belarusian national tennis federations and also canceled all previously scheduled tennis tournaments in these countries.

On March 14, 2022, the ITF also confirmed its ban on the Russian and Belarusian national tennis teams from taking part in the 2022 Davis Cup and 2022 Billie Jean King Cup.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) allowed tennis players from Russia and Belarus to continue participating in WTA and ATP tournaments, but under a neutral status.