"Nadal thinks that we don't play enough games on clay. I agree to play half the year on clay courts, if the other half is played on courts as fast as ten years ago.” Sergiy Stakhovsky is never at a loss for words. But what lurks behind the ukrainian with four ATP titles, a member of the ATP Player Council and very involved in the debate over the prize money allocated to the lowest ranked of them? An interview with a man with tastes as eclectic as his game is varied…
What kind of music do you like?
I listen to all kind of music. I played piano for a long time when I was a kid. And I used to sing too... badly, but I sang! I had a good ear, but my voice didn’t really follow. I stopped playing piano, but I kept my curiosity for all styles of music. I listen to local bands from back home, rock, pop, R&B...
What are your favourite movies?
I'm really into action movies. I loved both "Brother" movies (Russian thrillers set right after the USSR explosion. The first movie was nominated at the Cannes international film festival in 1997, editor’s note). "The Green Mile", "Heat"... Otherwise, well, almost any movies with Robert De Niro. And those with Megan Fox, in a different way (smile
Do you enjoy reading?
A lot. I have a job that leaves me plenty of time to read in planes. I take everything that falls into my hands, as long as it can fit in my pocket. Other sizes are too large for my luggage. And I don't like digital books. I remain very attached to paper.
What kind of student were you?
I've always loved literature, and also learning foreign languages, something that’s very useful in my job. I speak Ukrainian, Russian, Czech, Slovak and English. Et un petit peu français
. Mathematics? It's not that I didn't like it, but I quickly found myself struggling in science subjects. I wasn’t very good either in natural sciences or chemistry.
Who are your best friends on the tour?
Mikhaïl Youzhny and Sergueï Bubka Jr. I'm quite friendly, so in general, I get along with everybody. I also spend a lot of time with the Czech and Slovak players.
Who are your favourite tennis players?
When he was still playing, I was a big fan of Fabrice Santoro, the “Magician”! I love unpredictable players. Alex Dolgopolov is also very strong in this way, as Andrei Medvedev was before him, by the way... Otherwise the great attacking players: Pete Sampras, Patrick Rafter…
What other sports do you like?
Well, I’m going to say football, basket and golf. Many tennis players play golf actually. Precision, concentration... There are many similarities between the two sports.
Who are the athletes that inspire you?
Sergueï Bubka, a legend in Ukraine, and also the boxer Wladimir Klitschko.
Finally a word on the cause you’re supporting…
It’s called “Ace the Cancer Fund”.
Since 2010, whenever I hit an ace in a tournament, I give $5 to the National Ukrainian Institute of Cancer. This is my way of contributing to something good.
By Guillaume Willecoq