Karen Khachanov is a Russian tennis player who has used his big game to steadily climb up the ATP hierarchy.
Khachanov is among the tallest players in the top 100 right now, and he uses his height to the fullest as he hammers down aces and winners with ease. His intense battle against Rafael Nadal at the 2018 US Open showed everyone that he has what it takes to challenge the very best of players in men's tennis.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: 2nd Round (2017, 2018)
French Open: 4th Round (2017, 2018)
Wimbledon: 4th Round (2018)
US Open: 3rd Round (2018)
Highest Ranking: No. 19
Style of play
Khachanov always plays tennis at warp speed, looking to hit bigger and bigger with each shot in a rally. His game is based on the first strike, off both the serve and the return, but he can also hit big shots several times in succession if pitted against steady counterpunchers.
Khachanov's stock forehand has plenty of topspin, but his height enables him to hit down on the ball whenever he has an opportunity to go for a flat point-ender. His backhand is considerably flatter, and can penetrate through the court in all directions.
Khachanov doesn't use the backhand slice too often, and doesn't come to the net much either.
Strengths and weaknesses
Khachanov's serve is one of his strengths, as he can use its power and angle to take the racquet out of the opponent's hands. He has a big second serve in addition to having a lethal first serve, which gives him control of most rallies while serving.
Khachanov's forehand is a mammoth shot, and can zip past even the quickest of defenders. He can hit it with varying amounts of spin depending on the speed of the surface; on clay he goes for safer, more topspin-heavy forehands, while on grass he opts for flatter missiles. They are both equally effective, and help him gain court positioning advantage more often than not.
The Russian's backhand is not as reliable as his forehand, as he can sometimes hit it short due to the slight jerkiness of his swing motion. However, he can blast his fair share of down-the-line backhand winners when he gets a short ball.
Khachanov's net play is not his strong suit, and he doesn't have the softest of hands while volleying. He has also been guilty of failing to come up with an alternative plan when his power game is not working; he knows only one way to play, which can sometimes be a liability.
Khachanov was born in Moscow, and comes from a medical family. His father Abgar, who hails from Armenia, studied medicine, as did his mother Natalia.
He started playing tennis at the age of three, having been introduced to the sport by his parents. In April 2016, just shy of his 20th birthday, he got married to Veronika Shkliaeva.
Khachanov's idols growing up were Marat Safin and Juan Martin del Potro. He follows football and basketball extensively apart from tennis, with his favorite teams being Real Madrid and Miami Heat.
Although Khachanov's nickname is 'Djan', many have taken to calling him 'Baby Safin' due to the similarities his game seemed to have with that of Safin's. However, with the passing of time most observers have realized that Khachanov's game is unique, as it relies on all-out power more than any other top player in recent tennis history.
Social media presence:
Karen Khachanov Instagram: @karenkhachanov
Karen Khachanov Twitter: @karenkhachanov