Aslan Karatsev has become a household name in the tennis world due to his spectacular start to the 2021 season. After being a regular on the Challenger tour for most of his career, Karatsev’s form has witnessed a stratospheric rise this year, catapulting him to the top 30 in the rankings.
The Russian's maiden Grand Slam semifinal appearance at the Australian Open was followed by his first-ever ATP title in Dubai, where he defeated Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner along the way.
One of the chief contributors to Aslan Karatsev’s remarkable ascent is his coach Yahor Yatsyk, who has been working with the World No. 27 since 2019. After Karatsev’s recent Dubai Open triumph, Yatsyk spoke extensively about his ward.
The 28-year-old first delved into Aslan Karatsev’s loss against Dominic Thiem in Doha, which was only his second loss of the season. Yatsyk suggested that the defeat came at the right time, given that Karatsev had lost a bit of his focus after the Australian Open.
"Perhaps this defeat was for the best," Yatsyk said. "Concentration began to be lost a little, the excitement disappeared, it was felt that after the Australian Open there were changes. It was not the same Aslan. I told him that if he wants to progress, then he only needs to add in his work, and not stop there. You need to forget about Melbourne, work day after day, disconnect from all extraneous affairs, and focus exclusively on tennis."
Aslan Karatsev’s calves have also been a source of great discussion in recent weeks, with many marveling at their muscularity.
On being asked to give his two cents on the matter, Yatsyk joked that Karatsev could 'choke' people with his calves. But he went on to add that the topic has already been discussed to the death between them.
"We have been joking all our lives that he should 'choke' everyone with his calves," Yatsyk said. "This is our old topic, probably already forgotten. They haven't laughed at the memes yet, but I've come across a couple of funny ones."
Speaking about the Dubai Open, Yahor Yatsyk admitted that Aslan Karatsev's most difficult match was against Andrey Rublev. However, Yatsyk added that his ward was physically or mentally hampered in all of his encounters.
"Each was heavy in its own way, somewhere psychologically, somewhere physically, he was not in the best condition," Yatsyk said. "But the most difficult fight was with Rublev."
Karatsev ended up dominating Rublev for most of the match. But he choked when the finish line was in sight, and needed some clutch shotmaking at the end to snap his compatriot’s 23-match winning streak in ATP 500 events.
Aslan Karatsev flies to Miami alone, I couldn't get a visa: Yahor Yatsyk
Aslan Karatsev is expected to take part in the upcoming Miami Masters, but will not have coach Yahor Yatsyk by his side at the event. Yatsyk revealed that he hasn’t been able to secure a visa to the USA, and also detailed Karatsev's plans for the clay season.
"Aslan flies to Miami alone, I couldn't get a visa," Yatsyk said. "After that, we will start preparing for the dirt season. We showed up for a tournament in Italy (ATP-250), but it's not a fact that we will play there. You need to smoothly roll into the game on a new surface. It is highly likely that the first tournament after Miami will be played in Monte Carlo."