Ivashka, the tennis player with soccer dreams who won Winston-Salem

Ivashka, the tennis player with soccer dreams who won Winston-Salem

Illya Ivashka (63 °) lived his moment of glory in Winston-Salem. The 27-year-old Belarusian He lifted his first ATP trophy after beating Mikael Ymer (90th) 6-0, 6-2.

Born in Minsk, capital of Belarus, and Coached by Spaniard Jose Checa-Calvo, the 193cm European defeated Andrea Seppi, Marin Cilic, Jan-Lennard Struff, Pablo Carreño Busta and Emil Ruusuvuori on the way to the title.

Ivashka started playing tennis in 1998, when she was just five years old, when he was brought in by his father, Uladzimir Ivashka, a former amateur tennis player. But his future may not have been with the racket. “I like soccer. I think if I hadn’t been a tennis player, I would have been a soccer player”, He told the ATP.

His professional debut in a main draw of the ATP occurred in 2018, at the ATP 250 in Pune, India. There, with 24 years, He played against local Sumit Nagal after overcoming qualifying and beat it in two sets. His tour of the big circuit was beginning.

“My comfort zone is the court. There I feel safe, calm and comfortable”, He told the Belarusian site Pro Tennis in 2017. And what if it is so: in the last three years, in addition to the achievement obtained in Winston-Salem, he has been a very prominent tennis player for his country.

He beat players of the stature of Stan Wawrinka, Jurgen Melzer, Hubert Hurkacz or Alex Zverev, as the most relevant. Although his performance in the Grand Slam tournaments was not the best throughout his career, everything changed in 2021. Before Wimbledon, his best result had been the second round.

This video game fanatic, Arsenal fan and Roger Federer admirer (whom he faced in Halle 2021) admitted that his favorite tournaments are the US Open and Wimbledon. Precisely, at the All England, he lived his moment in a major by surprisingly reaching the round of 16 and losing to runner-up Matteo Berretini. Now, after winning his first trophy, he will debut as a champion at the New York Grand Slam tournament.

Despite not matching what was done by Max Mirnyi in 2002 (be the Belarusian who went the furthest in a Grand Slam), will have the possibility to do it at the US Open. There his compatriot arrived at this instance in the Big Apple and fell to the local André Agassi. In addition, the historic Mirnyi played the second week of the British Grand Slam three times (in 2003, 2005 and 2006), although he never exceeded the first barrier.

You also have to mark that Ivashka has already equaled the historic Belarusian player with one title each. If he wins another, he will become the player from that country with the most trophies at the ATP level.

In 2017, he also confessed to Pro Tennis that his favorite moments are playing the Davis cup. “I have not experienced such emotions, such support anywhere else,” he said at the time.. In that tournament, Ivashka only won two games out of nine played: in 2019 against Pedro Sousa (Portugal) and in 2018 against Daniil Medvedev (Russia).

Finally, Thanks to Winston-Salem’s ATP 250 triumph, Ivashka will be number 53 of the world thus achieving its best historical position. Can he surpass Mirnyi’s 18th place in 2003?

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