Monday, October 9, 2006 09/12/2009
It is my duty this week to write the blog from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow and I will try to do my best to make it work and be published on atpworldtour.com. Since I am not an internet type of guy and if I wrote it myself it would take me a few days to finish one page, the person who will write it for me is Nicola Arzani of the ATP. In case you don’t like it you can blame him.
I now live in Monte Carlo but Moscow is my hometown and in my opinion it is the most incredible and most improved city in the entire world. I have not been to every city in the world, but from what I have seen, Moscow is the best. Of course I have a lot of friends here, I grew up here, so every time I come back here I try to enjoy as much as I can. It is sometimes difficult for me to combine work and pleasure but this is a week of work only for me…I am happy to be in Moscow and play the Kremlin Cup but I need to make a lot of sacrifices because I want to do well this week. So I will not be going out, no late dinners, everything will be around work this week. But I will make up for it once the season is finished after the Davis Cup final again here in Moscow in December…
I got to Moscow after a long and difficult trip. I was here for the Davis Cup semifinals against the United States in September, then I left to play ATP events in Bangkok and Metz. After losing in Metz, I flew back to Moscow but I missed the connection in Frankfurt and I arrived late. Nobody enjoyed that trip. When I got into town, I met with friends for dinner so that they could update me on life in Moscow without me. We went to a Japanese restaurant. I went back to my apartment pretty exhausted and slept for 12 hours.
When I got up I had corn flakes and coffee, I had no energy to cook anything. That’s the sad part of being single; nobody cooks for you, washes the dishes or does the laundry. So I never eat at home. My parents live not too far from me so they kindly do my laundry.
On Saturday I hit with (Nikolay) Davydenko, but after 45 minutes I had broken two racquets so I left the court as I had none left. It was a short day at the office…
I met again with friends for dinner and we went to a different Japanese restaurant and then we had coffee in the centre near Hermitage Park, where they have a club, a couple of restaurants and an old wooden house where they have a nice place where you can drink tea or coffee (but my friends preferred to smoke the water pipe…) I was pretty tempted to go to the nightclub for a drink but I stayed strong and went back home like a good boy. I was very proud of myself.
Sunday I had the same breakfast by myself and then had one more coffee at the Olympic Stadium and some blinis (Russian pancakes) with sour cream and jam. I ate about 10, as I was afraid that there would be none after my practice!
I hit for one hour with (Teimuraz) Gabashvili who is a very nice guy, pretty crazy and funny. He’s just great; you just don’t meet many people like him. I did not break any racquet this time
On my way back I wanted to stop at the Bania (Russian bath house) with Alexander Volkov who is helping me but then Gabashvili called because he was supposed to hit with (Dmitry) Tursunov but he had to cancel so he wanted Volkov to take his place. So I had to be the driver and drop Alexander back at the Olympic Stadium. Thanks to Gabashvili I did not get to go to the Bania, he took away Volkov and I was depressed until after the doubles today. I am actually more depressed now because we lost the doubles! All this because of Gabashvili.
Last night I still had to face the situation that I was left without Volkov so I went out to dinner. That was also to cheer up my friend (Yuri) Schukin who had lost in the qualifying. I have known Yuri since we were kids. We went with (former ATP player Denis) Golovanov and his wife, who is pregnant, and also another former player (Emin) Agaev who has moved to Moscow and another friend, Oleg. We went to an Uzbek restaurant. We sat next to two groups who were very loud. One was Dutch and Portuguese people. They were so loud! And they drank so much, I was not there when they got the bill and I am sure they had a bad surprise. Probably they did not know the conversion from the roubles to dollars. I had never seen so many corks and so many trays on a restaurant table. The more wine they drank the louder they became.
Then some Uzbek dancers came along and it just got even louder. Those guys were enjoying themselves so much, especially because their wives were not around. When the dancers finished and left, the Dutch-Portuguese group wanted to have them back and of course the restaurant in order to please the clients, brought the dancers back. I must say they were pretty hot (the dancers, not the clients!) They were happy and discussed more business after their 20th bottle of wine. Then they discussed which country was better, Portugal or Holland and one Dutch guy came to our table to offer us a Dutch cigar. I had never heard of a Dutch cigar before and I decided not to try it as I do not want to fail the doping test!
We left the happy group at the Uzbek restaurant. Their company must have a big budget, they were still drinking and eating when we left. I am pretty sure I know where they finished their evening but I will keep that secret and take it with me to the grave.
That’s it from me today.
Speak to you tomorrow,