KUZNETSOV'S FOCUS IS ON HELPING EXPLORERS REPEAT AS WTT CHAMPS
Alex Kuznetsov (pictured to the left) of the Kansas City Explorers enjoyed recent success by advancing through the qualifying rounds at Nottingham on grass this June, before falling in the round of 16 to Matthias Bachinger of Germany. In light of this recent result, Kuznetsov says he feels positive about his game as the 36th season of World TeamTennis kicks off on Independence Day.
“I feel good about going into the season,” he said. “I've been working really hard on my game and improving a lot this year so I hope that will help me have a successful year, and [I hope to] help my team as much as I can.”
Along with the wins at Nottingham, the no. 218 Kuznetsov also made a run to the finals in Honolulu to start the year. In the championship match, his run ended after losing to Ryan Harrison in three close sets 4-6, 6-3, 4-6. Just a month later, the Ukrainian native defeated the teenaged American 7-6(5), 6-3 en route to the semifinals at Houston.
Kuznetsov has won in doubles this year, including advancing to the finals at Honolulu with partner Robert Kendrick, who plays for the New York Sportimes. More recently, he teamed up with Alex Bogomolov Jr. to reach the final at Sarasota.
Playing for the defending champions in his first season with WTT, Kuznetsov decided to join the Explorers’ roster to “to try something new and fun.” He continued, “I've had a lot of friends on tour who have played and they've spoken nothing but good things about WTT. What Billie Jean has created is a fun and competitive event that I think will get me ready for the rest of my summer.”
His only previous experience with WTT before this year was serving as a substitute for the Newport Beach Breakers in 2006.
Additionally, Kuznetsov is looking forward to the excitement of playing WTT as well as the team element attached to the competition’s unique format. “Tennis is a sport where you mostly play for yourself unless you are strictly a doubles player,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to be on a team for a couple weeks and focus on helping your team win rather than only playing for yourself. I think it will be a lot of fun.”
About his teammates, Kuznetsov discussed his relationship with the Bryan brothers, who he’s practiced with on two occasions as a practice partner for the United States Davis Cup team. “The Bryans have been really nice to me and also have given me some good tips about my game. They will probably go down as the best doubles team of all time so I am really looking forward to being on the same team as them,” he said.