Nice long write up on Dima. Some choice excerpts:
His father Igor, then an engineer at a nuclear technology institute, placed him in tennis lessons at the young age of 5, only not in the sense of how American families send children off to tennis lessons. Tursunov had a training schedule.
“I practiced a few hours a day. My dad realized fairly early that I had a lot of potential. A lot of people criticize him for basically choosing that career for me. He understood that I didn’t have many options to make money and since he really liked tennis, he decided that I was to be a tennis player. It just happened that I was naturally good at it.”
Though he admits that “there’s a myriad of other things I would’ve enjoyed doing,” he doesn’t remember whether he enjoyed the tennis regimen or had just grown accustomed to it. “Maybe I enjoyed it when I was little. It’s kind of hard to remember. It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t a doubt. The fact that I had practice and was to be a tennis pro was like the fact that you have two legs. You’re just born with two legs, and I was born to play tennis.”
A fan of reading classic novelists in their original Russian, he was such a good high school student that teachers questioned why he would ever want to play sports. His father worked out a plan with his school to make tennis training the first priority and school an afterthought on the schedule. “I think it’s a good thing that my dad had enough brains to realize that I was capable of achieving whatever I was set out to achieve,” Tursunov says.
He talks about turning professional in 2000, breaking the Top 100 three years later and his five career ATP titles.
“I’m definitely happy. I have a good life. I can’t complain. It’s hard for me to criticize my dad’s actions, and I’m definitely thankful, but again, being a bit of a cynic, I can see how it might’ve not worked out. There are a lot of people who helped me along the way: my dad, Vitaly Gorin, his father Michael Gorin, who is also my manager. But not everyone ends up in my situation, so I’m definitely lucky.”
Most recently, Tursunov was fined $3,000 at the Australian Open for racket abuse and some f-words. It wasn’t the first time, but like his good days, where he never hides his humor and infectious smile, he doesn’t like to hide his feelings.
“I’ve been fined before for cussing, breaking rackets and being obnoxious. I don’t think that that makes me a bad guy. When I’m on the court, I’m not really worried about what people are gonna think of me. If I’m really pissed off, I’m gonna come off as an ass because I’m pissed.”
Joking aside, his style has worked with women. After years of focusing on tennis, he has finally found time to date.
“I am…sort of…Well, yes. I am dating. I better say yes, otherwise I will get in trouble!” he explained. “I have no idea how I got into this. I definitely wasn’t looking for a relationship. I got suckered into it.”
Tursunov says of the girl he is seeing, who shall remain anonymous, “It’s a very interesting relationship. She’s sacrificing a lot more than I am for the relationship and so that’s why it’s working out because otherwise, it probably wouldn’t work.”
(Pics for Forty Deuce by C Note)