FEBRUARY 13, 14:00 - Doubles, 16:30 - Singles
February 5-13 2022, SIBUR ARENA


Director of the WTA St.Petersburg Ladies Trophy tournament, CE of the organizing company Formula TX Natalia Kamelzon gave an interview to the press-service of the tournament.


Natalia Alexandrovna, we are not breathing out yet, we have two more final days in St. Petersburg. But let’s sum up the preliminary results, how do you like this tournament at this COVID time?

Your words sound special today. This tournament is unlike any other tournament we have held – despite the fact that we already have a lot of experience in COVID tournaments. But this tournament is simply outstanding.

Tell us a little more about this.

As you know, St. Petersburg has the most difficult COVID situation, the largest number of cases – and we have the most difficult restrictions for us: despite the fact that 50% of spectators are admitted, there is the biggest loss – we do not have children. In St. Petersburg, until February 13, there is a quarantine for children and adolescents under 18 years of age. Therefore, unfortunately, our stands, will not be as full as we would like, even with such a beautiful draw. And, of course, I want to say that Omicron is taking its toll. This year the tournament was strained in test mode as never before.

How many employees do you currently have who are involved in testing?

The number of employees is the same, but the load on them is up many-fold. I can say that now we have done 1100 tests. This is a fair amount – I will not now divide it into players, coaches, staff – not only Russian, but also international. I want to say that we also had positive tests. Relative to 1100 tests, this number is small, but for the tournament this load is huge – including the staff, that we changed in the first weeks of building up the stage, that doubled the load. But when we lose employees who occupy key positions, the tournament, of course, suffers a big loss in organizational terms. You also know that some players have withdrawn due to illness. Officially, Daria Kasatkina found herself out of the draw in the very first days of her stay with us (due to a positive test for COVID).

Yes, she was terribly upset.

Well, we tried to cheer her up as best we could. Nevertheless, our ship is sailing and today we had great semi-final matches, one finalist is already known, so we are waiting for the results of the second semi-final. 

Last year, many people said this – “What kind of international tournament is this if we have only Russians in the draw ?!”. Now the Russian girls did not perform very well for various reasons, and everyone says: “Well, how is it, we can’t cheer for our own players…” Please, evaluate this situation.

From the beginning, the line-up was just superb, there was only one Russian players missing out of those who took part in the Billie Jean King Cup – Samsonova. And the rest were all present – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova arrived in advance and was very determined to play well, and three days before the start of the tournament she began to train here, but, unfortunately, her old injury prevented from playing. She even stepped on court on the day of her match for a morning warm-up, but the doctor decided that it was better not to play so as not to aggravate the injury. Veronika Kudermetova played but didn’t deliver, Ekaterina Alexandrova had a good first match, but then she was knocked out. I can say that we have issued a wild card to young Russian girls. These are Rakhimova, Bartashevich, Andreeva and Schneider – those girls who won the U18 World Cup for Russia. And you know, we did not regret that we gave them this opportunity. They looked pretty good, played very confidently. The same Yaroslava Bartashevich didn’t lose with the score 6/0, 6/0, but stayed on the center court for quite a long time. Erika Andreeva almost managed to qualify – she won two matches against Top100 players Mladenovic and Kuzmova. That is, Russia has a good start, a strong supply of young players.

And it is very important that you know these girls, you see them in action. You can also remember Elena Rybakina – she showed her first results here, in St. Petersburg.

I can talk for a long time about the girls who are in the draw, returning to the meaning of your question. Jelena Ostapenko is the winner of the $50,000 event Neva Cup. And when I was holding St. Petersburg Open, she won this tournament. Anett Kontaveit in 2013 was the winner of the summer 25,000th Moscow Open. Girls grow up and mature at our tournaments. And here the audience is equally rooting for the Estonian Kontaveit and the Latvian Ostapenko, who has Russian roots. For seven years I have seen different behavior of the players, I like them both. The same Ostapenko – smiling, friendly, her matches show that she fights to the end. She has a peculiar tennis style, but her matches are very interesting.

At least she is a very emotional girl. I don’t want to say goodbye to you – calm us down, say that we will see you in less than a year.

We will see you soon. We don’t say goodbye to you. Our tennis continues. This year, for the first time, the Moscow Federation and the Moscow Department of Sports decided to raise the status of our winter tournament, which is known as the Moscow Open – for the first time in Moscow, the Challenger ATP 80 “Moscow Cup” will be held (from February 28 to March 6). The participants are already known, we will have such famous players as Evgeny Donskoy, Roman Safiullin, Andrei Kuznetsov. To say nothing of Alibek Kachmazov and other young Russian players. I pulled-off this tournament specifically to help those young people who back-up our main team. I hope that this will help our players and our Russian tournament calendar. Further, I also have plans – I don’t know if it will work or not – to raise the level of the tournament for our girls, who are playing today in qualifications of St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy. But I will reveal this secret later.

As for information about the men’s tournament, we won’t torment you anymore either…

It will also take place. Maybe not in September, but it will take place. The licensor is working on making this an ATP 500 event.

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