General Director of St.Petersburg Ladies Trophy tournament, General Director of FC Zenit, Advisor to the General Director of Gazprom Export company Alexander Medvedev gave an interview to the tournament press- service.
You must have watched the thriller we all witnessed on Saturday: Begu’s semifinal match against Sakkari. What are your impressions?
I watched almost the entire match. Tennis at a very high level – the fight was uncompromising. We have already seen a lot of good matches here. But until now, usually the one who lost the first set dropped the second. Here we saw a close match during all three sets and high-level tennis.
Now there are no Russian players left in the draw. It is obvious that the trophy will go again to a foreign athlete. Usually they say that Russians fans flock to the stadium to watch their fellow players from Russia on court, but in this case the occupancy of the stadium showed the opposite. The trophy will now go to a foreign player – what do you think this means for the tournament?
Unfortunately, some of our girls for various reasons could not even step on court. For example, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova withdrew due to a knee injury. Daria Kasatkina stayed here for several days in isolation due to the coronavirus. And, of course, Kudermetova and Alexandrova performed below their capabilities. But we have the next semi-final, after the Begu-Sakkari match, that is also very interesting – two girls who both speak Russian well (Kontaveit-Ostapenko). Let me remind you that Jelena Ostapenko won Roland Garros, that you can’t do by chance – so, good tennis awaits us in the second semi-final. And that means that the final will be very, very strong.
Petra Kvitova won here in 2018, now she received a wild card, had a good first match, but it did not work out for her in the second. After the loss she said that it was not her day. Did you expect she wouldn’t do well here?
People like to quote Marat Safin, who after a loss always said: “Not my day”. Kvitova really lost the first set, and then gave up almost with no playing. It was impossible to recognize her. Well, it happens.
You yourself are an amateur tennis player, as we know. Are there days when you’re struggling with your game, or, on the contrary, when everything works out just fine?
Yes, there are days when you want to leave the court right away, but there are also opposite ones, when you don’t want to leave.
Let’s take a look at the history a little bit. The tournament is already taking place for the 7th time. It was held for the first time in 2016 in winter. Probably, it is already possible to reveal some secrets from, so to speak, the founding fathers. How was the idea of the tournament born and how did you come up with its name?
It all started with the St. Petersburg Open. When the tournament was under threat and could leave our city, the idea was born to hold a women’s tournament. The owner of the license met us halfway – especially since they had problems with the tournament in Rotterdam at that time. And now we are holding the seventh edition of our women’s tournament. At the same time, those six tournaments that we have already held have been named the best in their category three times – according to the players and organizers from the WTA.
And how was the name St.Petersburg Ladies Trophy born, who came up with it?
You know, good ideas always have many fathers, it is defeats that have no parents. So let’s leave the authorship anonymous.
Will some of the football players, your charges at the Zenit club – maybe not even from active players, but from veterans – come to the second semifinal match of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy tournament? After all, we know that tennis is popular in the football environment.
Zenit returned yesterday from the training camp, and today there are no training sessions, but tomorrow there is an early training session. Therefore, we did not force anyone, but those who want to will come. I know that there are people who want to attend the second semi-final.
There is also a doubles event, and the Russian Anna Kalinskaya plays in one duo, and even today two Russians in another pair (Dzalamidze-Panova) will play against her. Is there any hope that at least in the doubles tournament a Russian woman will lift the cup?
Yesterday was an amazing doubles match. I don’t remember not in one game, but in several games, in one set, doubles players made more than two dozen shots in one rally. Of course, both duos held match-points (Kalinskaya-McNally beat Zvonareva-Potapova). Probably, the influence of Alexander Kerzhakov through that player from Nizhny Novgorod, Kalinskaya’s brother, had an effect – and they made it to the finals (Kalinskaya with her American partner Catherine McNally).