Alexander Volkov, one of the most important Russian tennis players of the last century, has died at age 52. The former ranking number 14, which led his country to two Davis Cup finals (1994 and 1995) was one of the mentors of Marat Safin, future champion of the US Open (2000) and the Australian Open (2005).
Volkov's three ATP titles (Milan 1991, Auckland 1993 and Moscow 1994) were completed with the remembered semifinal of the 1993 US Open, when he was unable to stop the then irresistible Pete Sampras (6-4, 6-3, 6-2 ).
Flushing Meadows always brought good memories for the left-hander, who in 1990 gave the big bell to beat Stefan Edberg in the first round (6-3, 7-6 , 6-2). The Swede, then 'number one' came from raising the title in Wimbledon, but nothing could do before the surprising deployment of Volkov.
The other two great moments of his career came in the Davis Cup of 1994. In the first round he closed 3-1 against Australia with a win against Patrick Rafter and in the semifinal he conquered the second point against Germany after a great victory against Michael Stich, that three years before came to win at Wimbledon.
"It helped me a lot"
Despite that overwhelming defeat against Sampras, Volkov was able to knock out the 14-majors champion in Indian Wells (1993) and Adelaide (1989). He could also boast positive balances against rivals such as Cedric Pioline (6-3), Karel Novacek (5-3) or Marc Rosset (4-4).
After hanging the racket in 1997 he began a long collaboration in the technical team of Safin, who managed to catapult to the top of the ranking in November 2000. "He did a lot for tennis and helped me a lot. Thanks to him I became the first 'number one' Russian in the ATP. He was a person I will always carry in my heart, "commented the Muscovite on the RBC network.
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