UBITENNIS EXCLUSIVE Alexander Bublik: “I’m Still Getting Goosebumps About Wimbledon”
The #NextGen star of Kazakhstan Alexander Bublik talked about his Wimbledon match against Andy Murray, #NextGen Finals, nationality switch, and Instagram stardom.
In Doubles, you’re playing against Reilly Opelka and Taylor Fritz in the first round.
Yeah, my mates Reilly and Fritz! That will be my first time playing doubles in about a year and a half. I’m not into doubles so much, but in my preseason I played half the time with Siljestrom so we decided to try the doubles. You’re going to see me more in doubles this year. I think it’s pretty exciting to play against your friends, especially in doubles when it’s not that serious, so I think it’s going to be fun. We’re going to be last on Center Court too, so that should add to the fun.
You played a huge match against Andy Murray on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, how was the feeling, the atmosphere at such a match?
I’m getting goosebumps as you’re talking about it. Yeah, it was like the best day of my life! You know, when it came to the end, when I realized the match was finished, after 3-4 hours I realized that there isn’t that much difference between playing on this Center Court here and theirs. Before the match, it’s all running around your head, Wimbledon, Centre Court, Andy Murray, World No. 1, and you’re like: ‘Whoa, what’s that?’ I’ve never felt that before because that was my first year on tour. I have only ever seen someone play on the Centre Court on TV, but once you get there it’s not a big deal. That’s when I realized it’s all the same, I mean there are 50,000 people watching me live but it’s not a big difference.
Many players would feel pressure but you seemed very relaxed, hitting tweeners and all…
Yeah, before the match I wasn’t sure how it was going to be. It was my first time on the Centre Court, but when you get there, you need to play. I was walking through the corridor and met all the different celebrities, and it was a lot of attention from people. When I was on the court, I looked up at my box and there were my friends, my parents and I said to myself: ‘Okay, it’s all the same.’ Whenever I play on the center courts I feel confident. I feel more confident playing against Andy at Wimbledon than against the No. 364 on Court 19 in Newport Beach. I feel more confident there, and I don’t know why, I’ve always been like this. Even when I played Futures, I couldn’t win a match for half a year because I was playing sh*t tournaments. Then I played a Doha Futures at the same venue where they play the ATP and I won it easily, that’s kind of my personality. All of the big matches I win on the center court, I almost never win a tough match on an outer court. I need to get through it because I can’t always play on the center court and I still need to win matches, that’s my issue.
So your goal for this year would be the get to the main tour and to those big courts?
Yeah. I mean not just that, I have to develop my game and mostly my mindset, which can be kind of tricky. Sometimes I can tank a match when I don’t play well, but I need to get through it. I wasn’t ready to get here that early. Two years ago, I was ranked 1000, I was losing first rounds of Futures. This year, I’m Top 100. I broke Top 100 a few weeks ago. Now I dropped a little, but I’m still right there. I’m playing slams, I’m playing big guys, and I wasn’t ready for that. That’s why I am not playing consistently and I can lose to No. 1000 and then I beat Ramos-Vinolas. So I think I need more time to mature a bit and to get used to everything.
You’re 20 years old, so you’re still elligible for the #NextGen Finals, how do you feel about that tournament and that campaign?
Yeah, ATP asked us to do that, so of course I want to play the #NextGen Finals. It is the only tournament with an age restriction, and that’s the nicest thing. If you got there, it’s great! Even if you lose all your matches 0-4 0-4 0-4, you were there and you played it. You can play any tournament in the world at any age, this is the only tournament where you can play only when you’re young, which is the nice thing about Milan.
You switched nationalities from Russian to Kazakh, what was the reason behind that?
I feel no support in Russia from a young age. It’s just because I feel no support from them, so why should I play for this country? The Kazakhs give me everything I need so I said: ‘Okay, why not?’. I’m open to change. If Russia doesn’t want me, doesn’t need me, why should I play for that country?
You’re very big on Instagram with over 100,000 followers, why do you think that is?
I’m funny (laughs). Most of my followers are girls because I look good. That’s the thing, I’m tall, blonde, so I look good. The girls are following me, texting me like hell, mostly because of that. People love me, the crowds love me wherever I go, whether it’s the center court or court 19, people watch me. I think I’m interesting, I don’t know. There are a lot of people interested in me.