PRESS CONFERENCE: Karen Khachanov (d. F. Auger-Aliassime) 3R

Friday, Aug 9

Thursday, August 8, 2019
K. KHACHANOV/F. Auger-Aliassime
6-7, 7-5, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The first set was really close, but you lost it in the tiebreak. The crowd was really involved, loud. The ref had to interfere. You even got booed at the end of the first set. What was going through your mind? How did you recover from that to win?

KAREN KHACHANOV: Yeah, you know, I cannot deny that I got a little bit crazy with the crowd. But I’m really a bit disappointed, I could say, with the crowd as well.

I don’t have anything against when they cheer for Felix. It’s normal. He’s home favorite, especially from Montreal. I wish they could cheer the same way in Russia for me (smiling).

But still, you know, not when I miss or not wishing me to miss, screaming during the points, Out. I think it’s unrespectful. I just got crazy.

On the other side, I provoke the crowd, and that gave me also some kind of energy, as well. I don’t know. I was doing some bullshit, honestly (smiling).

Q. At the end of the first set, Felix fought back to break you when you were serving for it. Same in the second set. Talk about his fight, what it was like playing him and the crowd.

KAREN KHACHANOV: I think it was similar from both ways. He was breaking me, I was breaking him also from break down in the second set. It was rollercoaster match. Sometimes it’s called winning ugly. I think of the conditions and everything, it was completely different comparing when I played against Stan yesterday.

I finished late. I played a night session. The conditions were completely different, more heavier. The center court is a little bit quicker. All this matters.

Also that it was slight wind. Still on the center court, sometimes it’s going around so it’s really tough to adjust your game when you want to hit super aggressive. You have always to control that. I think that was the toughest part for both of us handling the serve. We were returning better than serving at some points.

But in general, yeah, I think it was really a competitive match from both of us. Felix is a great player, as I said many times before.

It was a competitive match and I won today. That’s how I see.

Q. You’re still pretty young. Felix is turning 19 today. Do you think he’s going to be top 10 pretty soon? What can you predict for him?

KAREN KHACHANOV: I wish best of luck for him, that he gets to top 10 as quick as possible.

Still it’s a little bit maybe not too early, but I think step by step. His breakthrough is pretty fast, as you can see maybe Rafa was doing. It’s pretty impressive.

Let’s see how he keeps developing his game. But I’m pretty sure if something doesn’t go wrong, he would be sooner or later in top 10.

Q. You had not played him before. What did you feel like playing against him? Did anything surprise you?

KAREN KHACHANOV: Not really. We practiced just once I think this year in Barcelona on clay. Still nothing surprise me. I was preparing for that match. My coach also watched his matches. I knew what are his advantages and disadvantages.

As I said before, I think it was really tough to talk more about game. I think it was more emotional and mental game than really tennis-wise. I think we did a lot of unforced errors today due to conditions, windy conditions. That was the reason why maybe we couldn’t play our best tennis today.

Q. You mentioned the talk with the crowds. At the end of the match you talked with Felix and said you were sorry. Was that sorry for beating him or for your actions or a combination of both or neither?

KAREN KHACHANOV: I didn’t have anything against him, so I just said sorry like in terms if he felt that I was going against him, that I was not polite to him. I just said sorry so he doesn’t think it was against him. I just explain him that it was the crowd. Sometimes you cannot control it.

I did it, and that’s it. But sometimes I think people should understand how to cheer. From one side, it’s great for him. I wish to have the same support. But on the other side, sometimes it’s disturbing the players.

Q. What is it like when it’s you against the crowd? Did you use that as fire?

KAREN KHACHANOV: Yeah, again, I don’t have anything against when the crowd supporting after good rallies or good points, when the player makes. Of course, it just feels fired and great atmosphere.

But sometimes when they start whistle, it’s kind of reminding me soccer. Again, we are in tennis, we are not in soccer. You have to respect the game.

But some people didn’t know how to cheer. They didn’t know. They see it’s his birthday today, they wish him to win. I understand. Sometimes when you’re fighting against opponent, against the crowd, it becomes really difficult to manage to win the match.

That’s what I had today, those kind of feelings. Again, sometimes you can control yourself and say, Okay, I’m not going to say anything, I just continue. I couldn’t do it, but still I won the match, so it’s pretty positive (smiling).

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