Former world No. 20 Dmitry Tursunov insists rising Russian Aslan Karatsev was always talented.
Karatsev, 28, drew lots of attention to his name when he made the Australian Open as a qualifier earlier this year.
Shortly after his outstanding run at Melbourne Park, Karatsev captured his maiden ATP title in Dubai.
Karatsev, who also ended runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the Belgrade final, is now ranked at No. 24 in the world.
“He always had massive calves. I think that’s his trademark. I think each calf should have some logo (laughs). But yeah, he was always talented. Whether he did it consciously or subconsciously I don’t know — probably more subconscious at that point — but he moved very well. He’s not the tallest guy, but he’s pretty athletic. You could see it in his movement, the way he controlled his body. A lot of it wasn’t really taught, it just comes naturally and you can enhance it by training,” Tursunov told the ATP website.
Tursunov sees similarities between Karatsev and Marat Safin
Safin, a former world No. 1, captured two Grand Slam titles during his career.
Tursunov believes in some aspects Karatsev is very similar to Safin.
“But I think initially he just had a good build for the sport. He’s not too tall, he’s not too bulky. He’s just like a Da Vinci Man for tennis in a way. He felt the ball pretty well, he had the power, but it kind of comes in a very non-aggressive way. The acceleration is quite linear, so he doesn’t look like he’s hitting the ball hard. But when you hit it, it’s pretty heavy. He’s similar to a Marat Safin, but Marat was a little bit taller, so he had longer levers. But he was also athletic, moved like a cat on the court, so Aslan is sort of similar in that sense,” Tursunov explained.