Shamil Tarpishchev: “Kafelnikov’s victories are part of the legacy of Russian tennis”

Yevgeny Kafelnikov has been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport. He became the second Russian tennis player after Marat Safin to be awarded this honour. Kafelnikov, who is the 2000 Olympic champion, has numerous high-profile wins in his career and he is the winner of six Grand Slam titles. And taking into account that new members are added to the Tennis Hall of Fame every year, it would only be a matter of time before Kafelnikov joined this elite group.

– We congratulate Yevgeny on this achievement! It is not only deserved, but also expected, – said IOC member and President of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) Shamil Tarpishchev in his interview to the ROC Information Service.

– What makes Kafelnikov a one-of-a-kind tennis player?

– The way he thinks in tennis is quite different. In Russia, he is the player of the century! He won six Grand Slam tournaments – two singles titles and four doubles titles, whereas leading tennis players, as a rule, do not play doubles. Yevgeny was successful both as a singles player and a doubles player. He has won 26 singles titles and 27 doubles titles.

– What tournament of his do you find the most memorable?

– It is of course, Kafelnikov’s win at Roland Garros 1996. This was our first outstanding success on clay. And also his win at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. We can say that in tennis Kafelnikov won everything he could. His achievements are remarkable and are part of the legacy of Russian tennis.

– Yevgeny caused quite a stir in men’s tennis, but left quietly without flamboyance…

– He has always been modest and humble. He never liked fancy ceremonies.

– As Vice President of RTF what is Kafelnikov responsible for?

– International undertakings. In particular, he is responsible for coordination with foreign players in regard to their participation in major tournaments, including the Kremlin Cup.

– Are you, as the President of the Federation, a bit embarrassed by Kafelnikov’s excessive activity on social networking sites?

– From the standpoint of social work, I cannot say that this is right. Yet it would be wrong to scold Yevgeny for this, but one cannot praise him either. He has quite a complex character. Even as a top tennis player, he could promise journalists that he would attend interviews but then he wouldn’t show up.

– Kafelnikov claimed his victories in the heyday of men’s tennis. What needs to be done to get those times back?

– We now have new talented tennis players – Karen Khachanov, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. They may well overshadow the golden times of Kafelnikov, Safin and Davydenko. A certain decline was seen in men’s tennis due to the challenging economic situation, but fortunately the difficult times are over. The Board of Trustees of RTF is working, and we are grateful to Andrey Bokarev who helped solve all the issues in the field of high achievement sports. The young generation is growing up, and I think that in a couple of years our tennis will have the best results in history.