Alexander Shevchenko Eyeing A Second Deep Run in Poznań

Alexander Shevchenko Poznan
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Poznan, Poland–

When Alexander Shevchenko came to Poznań last year, it was his first Challenger event. The Russian had to start from the qualifying draw, but pulled off five straight wins to make it to the semifinals, losing to Jiri Lehecka. Since then, the 21-year-old managed to make it to the top 250 of the ATP Rankings and make one more final four appearance in a Challenger at Helsinki.

“I’m actually really satisfied with my all year, I started I think it was around 500, now I’m 230. And it started with this tournament, making from qualies to semifinal gave me a little bit of confidence going to Challenger Tour, because I knew after that tournament that I belong to this level, and I can go even further maybe this year,” said Shevchenko after beating Henri Laaksonen in the second round of the 2022 edition, asked about whether he’s satisfied with the progress he’s made since the last time he was in Poznań.

Working with a world-class coach

The person responsible for shaping Shevchenko as a tennis player is the legendary coach Gunter Bresnik, most famous for working with Dominic Thiem and currently overseeing the career of Gael Monfils. Bresnik and Shevchenko have been working together since he was ten. “I’m calling him after every match, for me he’s like not even a coach, he’s my father, because I’ve stayed with him for such a long time. We always stay in contact and when I’m back in Austria, I’m practicing with him. It’s tough for him to travel, because he’s already traveled a lot with some players, so I’m traveling with Angelo, my second coach. We have the perfect combination, I think.”

ATP Cup substitute

In January, Shevchenko got a last-minute call-up to be on Russia’s ATP Cup team. He didn’t get to play, but has some great memories from the event. “The experience was absolutely great. I was entered in Challengers in Forli, and Daniil Medvedev, with whom we’re good friends, we play Playstation together, Daniil is texting me ‘You got in to the ATP Cup,’ and I said ‘Wow, I have no visa, nothing, I cannot travel, it’s two days left.’ He said ‘No problem, I will organize everything,’ and in one day, he organized me a visa. I took the last plane and it was unbelievable. The players, you practice there, and the level of tennis is absolutely insane, you know. It’s different I think from the Challenger Tour.”

Shevchenko managed to upset the second seed Laaksonen in Poznań this year, winning the forehand to forehand cross-court battles and frustrating him with good defense. He also fired a few backhand down-the-line stunners. On Friday, the 21-year-old will take on Genaro Alberto Olivieri in the quarterfinals at Poznań. Due to his nationality, he won’t be able to make his Grand Slam qualifying debut at Wimbledon, but he’s currently ranked high enough to potentially make the draw at the US Open.

Main Photo: Dawid Szafraniak/Poznań Open 2022