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About Kazan Kremlin Cup

 Tennis in Tatarstan: start

One can remember the times, when enjoying a boom in Russia, tennis had very few in common with the Republic of Tatarstan. We were very proud of the Russian tennis stars and their achievements under Shamil Tarpischev, Russian men and women team captain, Russian Tennis Federation President. Meanwhile tennis coach Rauza Islanova had been working on successfully, bringing up a daughter and a son, the future tennis stars Marat and Dinara Safins. We had to do nothing but question ourselves, why the neighbouring city of Ufa, which had always roused a sort of jealousy in our hearts, brought up Andrey Cherkasov, and we had had none, till a group of local enthusiasts brought forward the idea of staging serious all-Russian tournaments in Kazan.
As a matter of fact, the idea of organising tournaments with no chances for local athletes to rank high was not new at all. For instance, France had been staging top tennis competitions with no homemade players able to win for more than 50 years (since the mid 1920-ies until 1980-ies) until they got Yannick Noah, followed by a chain of strong athletes, able to compete on top. This held true for “Rolland Garros”, unofficial world championship for clay courts. So did the Englishmen, who invented tennis. They were forced to wait up for 10 years longer to see their compatriot Tim Henman and naturalised British – Canadian born Greg Rusedsky celebrated victories at ATP tournaments. However, they did not hesitate to conduct Wimbledon, the most famous and remarkable of all tennis tournaments, recognized unofficial world championship on grass.
Quite naturally, that Kazan was organizing the show for the guests for a while, since local champions knocked out in the first qualification rounds. However, spectators had much to see and to learn. Sport complex “UNICS”, the then host arena for the top Tatarstan tennis tournaments, saw presence of Andrey Cherkasov, who for almost all the fans served as the link chain with the star tennis world of Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Jim Courier.
It was pretty funny to have a number of Russian promoted surnames in the competitors lists: Krasnorutsky, Pavlyuchenkov and Bulykina among them. Of course, they were just relatives of the tennis prominent players Lina Krasnorutskaya and Anastasiya Pavlyuchenkova, and that of the Russian famous footballer Dmitry Bulykin. Occasionally, the tournaments saw presence of the star-echelon representatives: Alisa Kleibanova, Arina Rodionova and Kirill Ivanov-Smolensky.
Tennis in Tatarstan: development
There was a certain parallel between Kazan Kremlin Cup and Rolland Garros or Wimbledon, because the host athletes took part in the competitions and never won. Russian competitors came to Kazan, attracted by the raising status and funds of the Kazan tournaments, and practically left no chances for the locals. However, we never left the hope. We learned experience from the major Russian tournaments in Moscow and in St. Petersburg. At first, victories travelled abroad there, but some time passed to see the locals playing better and better to rest them at home. The first stars appeared gradually in Kazan. They were mainly women-players, which was quite natural for Russia, since we are practically used to the Russians dominating in the women world tennis. The first remarkable win came in 2009, when Kseniya Lykina celebrated her singles win at the Begrade Universiade. A number of Tatarstan-born players also could boast with the wins at various Russian and international tournaments, Augusta Tsybysheva, Sabina Shaydullina and Polina Novoselova are among them. Kazan started to attract strong players from another Russian regions, so that now we have Ekaterina Yashina and Anna Smolina training at our courts. Unfortunately, we don’t have much to say of the male-tennis: this gap to fill in is left.
Nowadays Tatarstan is a frequent floor for various tennis tournaments. Kazan Kremlin Cup has evolved a lot, starting as a regional tournament to proceed with the Russian and international status. The tournament served as the Russian Cup stage in 2010, later on earning the ATP Challenger rank. Almetievsk hosted Russian Cups for women and men at least twice in a row.
Kazan Kremlin Cup started its routs at the sport complex “UNICS”, occasionally travelled to “Basket-hall” to reside finally at the Kazan Tennis Academy, officially opened during the I All-Russian Forum “Russia – country of sports”.
In 2013, Kazan will host World Summer Universiade having lawn tennis in its compulsory program, and we will keep our fingers crossed to see not only Tatarstan referees and specialists at the Universiade tournaments, but also homemade stars competing for the top podium places in Kazan.


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