ATP Tour

Tennis legends Safin and Kafelnikov hail new Russian generation

Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev (PA)
Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev (PA)

Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov believe the future of Russian tennis looks bright as youngsters Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov continue to push each other.

Russia currently has three ATP top 15 players, with Medvedev ranked No 5 in the world, Rublev 14th and Khachanov one place below him.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Safin, who reached No 1 in the world in 2000, says the fact that the trio are friends away from the court has helped their rivalry.

"It's a healthy competition because they are still friends," he told Tennis United.

"They go out for dinner together and they are very nice guys, which is good. And they are ready to learn, which is also good."

Kafelnikov, who became the first Russian to top the ATP Rankings in 1999, explained why Russian tennis is in such a healthy state at the moment.

"When I became a top-10 player, Marat was six years younger than me and he wanted to catch up with me. So we had healthy competition between each other and one was driven by another," he said.

"We've got three guys who are in the top 20 and all three are competing with each other. That's the reason why tennis in Russia is very successful at the moment."

- TEAMtalk media

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