Year: 2021

Yuliya Putintseva became the second at the WTA Astana Open in Nur-Sultan

NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM – Kazakhstani tennis player Yuliya Putintseva met with Belgian Alison van Uytvanck in the finals of the WTA tournament in Nur-Sultan and defeated to her, informs “Kazinform” INA referring to website.

The athlete lost on the sum of three sets with a score of 6:1, 4:6, 3:6. The match took place on hard surface and lasted 2 hours and 23 minutes. The first set began for the Kazakhstani tennis player with a victory after three break points, giving a comfortable advantage. In the second and third sets, the fight was tougher, but Putintseva lost giving up six break points in the remaining time.

The tennis player won 13 games out of 26 in the match, having served one ace with four double faults, and converted six break points.

Earlier, Yuliya Putintseva defeated Swedish Rebecca Peterson in two sets in the singles of semifinals of the WTA 250 series tournament in Nur-Sultan and reached the final of the tournament.


New sensation at Astana Open 2021

Tennis player from South Korea won the second historical victory for his country at the ATP level tournament.

An Astana Open men’s tournament of the ATP series was held in Nur-Sultan from 19 to 26 September. It is quite new on the calendar of the men’s professional tour – it has been held since 2020, but has already established itself as one of the most hospitable and excellently organised events. All competition participants speak warmly of the level of refereeing, the state of hard courts and change rooms, and organisers and fans.

Like last year, the tournament was attended by four Kazakhstani players, but if in 2020 the best result among compatriot tennis players was them reaching the quarterfinal (Mikhail Kukushkin), then in this season our athletes moved one round further, making it through the semifinal. Anyway, first things first.

Kazakhstanis Timofey Skatov and Mikhail Kukushkin got wild cards from the organisers, and just one of them managed to make good of this. Timofey Skatov went into the second round having beaten honoured Italian Andreas Seppi in a three-hour match with a 7:6, 4:6, 6:1 score. Nevertheless, he did not manage to go into the quarterfinal – Timofey’s path was barred by Belarusian Ilya Ivashka who outplayed our compatriot 6:2, 6:3. Mikhail Kukushkin lost the very first match to Australian James Duckworth 6:7, 1:6.

The third participant from Kazakhstan was Dmitry Popko who broke into the main draw from the qualification, but he too couldn’t pass through the opening round – he gave way to last year’s winner John Millman from Australia 6:3, 1:6, 4:6.

Alexander Bublik / PHOTO: ©

Kazakhstan’s No 1 Alexander Bublik, having the best season in his career, was seeded second at the tournament and therefore missed the first round of the competition, having started playing from the 1/8 final. In his first match, he broke the resistance of Miomir Kecmanovic from Serbia in three sets – 1:6, 6:3, 7:5. In the quarterfinal, he beat Spaniard Carlos Taberner 6:3, 6:4. And only at the semi-final stage, he met with the future winner of the tournament – Soon Woo Kwon from South Korea, and here he could no longer outplay his opponent, who caught the rhythm – 6:3, 5:7, 6:3.

“He (Soon Woo Kwon – F) did not expect such performance from himself. That’s what he told me himself at the net. Let’s say, sort of humorously apologized, saying that he had never played like that, and there is really nothing to add here. The man played the whole match at some magnificent smooth level. The fact that I won the first set is rather a fortunate coincidence, because I was just lucky when I twice made it to the suspension cord. I dominated the game in past matches, but in this meeting, even though I filed for 30 aces, I was constantly forced to fight back to him. He is a nice fellow, he showed excellent tennis. If he continues playing like this, he will stand much higher than he is now,” said Alexander Bublik after the match.

President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation Bulat Utemuratov and Soon Woo Kwon / PHOTO: ©

And indeed, the tournament in Nur-Sultan became a glory hour for the South Korean tennis player – he was steadily moving to the final, having had just one three-set duel, and managed to defeat Australian James Duckworth just in an hour and a half in the finals – 7:6, 6:3.

For the 23-year-old tennis player, this victory was the first in his career at an ATP-level tournament. The 250 points won allowed the athlete to step up in the ranking by 25 lines at once – from the 82nd to the 57th line.

“It’s my first ATP 250 that I won, and I am very much excited now. Great credit and my congratulations to James. He spent a tremendous week and I wish him luck in future. Many thanks to all organisers, linesmen, supervisors, ball boys, staff. Deep gratitude to the sponsors and to the President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation for your incredible hospitality. This was one of the best ATP 250 in which I took part. I shall definitely be back next year and will delight you with my new victory,” said the winner during the awards ceremony.

By the way, for the last year’s winner of Astana Open, John Millman from Australia, the triumph in this competition has also become the first one in his professional career, and one can say that the ATP level metropolitan tournament becomes for young players a real window on the big tennis.

Winners and finalists of the doubles in Astana Open 2021 / PHOTO: ©

The duo of Mexican Santiago Gonzalez and Argentinean Andres Molteni won in the final of the doubles defeating Jonathan Ehrlich (Israel) / Andrei Vasilevski (Belarus) with a score of 6:1, 6:2. The successes of Kazakhstanis in this tournament draw were very modest – only a pair of Aleksandr Nedovyesov / Andrey Golubev managed to get into the second round.

Note that on Sunday 26 September the WTA 250 Astana Open 2021 kicked off – the women’s professional tournament, in which the strongest Kazakhstani tennis players will take part: Yuliya Putintseva, Anna Danilina, Zarina Diyas and Zhibek Kulambayeva. The country’s No 1 player Elena Rybakina will not be able to participate in the home tournament due to disruptions in the tournament schedule.


When charities will close down in Kazakhstan

Will charities be able to stop their work, and when will they be no longer needed?

Charitable foundations, various “marathons of good deeds”, actions to support certain people or social campaigns have become a usual thing in everyday life. We react to this in different ways: some are monthly donating certain amounts from their salaries to charities, others leave money in special aid collection boxes – as a rule, for expensive surgeries for children, and still others prefer not to notice such campaigns and events.

In reality, the work of charities is much more serious and deeper than just fundraising for medical treatment or distribution of clothes to the needed people. As a rule, such organisations appear in those fields where the role of the state is minor or absent, while the problem becomes more and more massive. And the overall goal of charities, however strangely this, at first thought, sounds, – is their closure down. Closure down, indeed, as the problem has been resolved and aid rendered by the public, by philanthropists is not needed anymore.

Not in every instance establishers of charities do understand this. The founder of one of the first in Kazakhstan charitable foundations “Voluntary Society “Mercy” (DOM), Aruzhan Sain, admits: in 2006, when the Foundation was registered, no one had any plans for the long-term work. The very history of formation of the Foundation started from the people’s desire to help one sick child. The appeal for donations for medical treatment was published on the then popular fora, in mass media. Not only rank-and-file people but a range of companies responded. It is because of the companies, that it was necessary to engage in the legal formalization – an enterprise could not simply transfer a large amount of money to an account of a third physical person.

“The foundation was opened in some way out of necessity; we did not think we would continue. But then a request to help another child came, and another one… We have opened in April 2006, and we are 15 already. For these years, 2,016 children have got assistance, medical treatment, surgeries thanks exactly to the people who support our foundation,” told Sain.

The more requests for help they were receiving, the more the Foundation organisers were steeping in the problems and asked themselves – why our country has not got this. For example, Aruzhan recollects, from 2006 to 2012 the most frequent diagnosis, regarding which people turned for aid to philanthropists, was children’s congenital heart disorder.

“All over the world children with this diagnosis were operated on, and operations were performed at an early age, before one year old too. However here at home – none. And we sent children to various countries. The cost of surgeries was not very high – from 5 to 12 thousand dollars. We started investigating why such surgeries are not performed in Kazakhstan. So we got acquainted with Yury Pya, who actually became a founder, creator of neonatal cardiac surgery in Kazakhstan. In our first meeting, we even had a row with him,” Aruzhan Sain shared her memories. “He appointed and then postponed an operation on a child several times. We began to talk with him, and it turned out that he simply had no high-quality consumables, there were no surgical instruments that are used in children’s operations. It turned out that even then every three months he submitted projects to the Ministry of Health specifically for the development of neonatal cardiac surgery, but they were not backed up.”

Some progress in resolving this issue was made only in 2010 when the charity representatives were received by the President of the country and briefed him on the problem. After the head of the state gave instructions, both support and projects were found. Yury Pya was appointed as director of the National Cardiac Surgery Research Centre, then being under construction, where they started operating on infants from 2012. Currently, little children who were born with the heart disorder are successfully operated on in Kazakhstan.

This is not the only diagnosis that the “Voluntary Society “Mercy” Foundation can take a slice of credit for dealing with. The country is developing children’s neurosurgery for the “infantile cerebral palsy” diagnosis: a technology for the operation called “selective dorsal rhizotomy” has been successfully introduced, which allows to remove limb spasticity in children. The medical sector of successful treatment and implementation of new technologies and operations for ENT diseases is gaining momentum. These diagnoses include papillomatosis of the larynx, cicatrical stenosis (including that after burns of the larynx with caustic liquids), laryngotracheal stenosis, non-cancerous laryngeal formations. The Foundation provides assistance in this field in another important aspect – sending doctors for training and organizing master classes of foreign specialists.

Another large-scale project also grew from a small private assistance to orphanages. In 2006, almost 20 thousand children lived in orphanages in Kazakhstan. Several foundations – “Voluntary Society “Mercy”, “Dara”, “Ayala” began work on the “Kazakhstan without orphans” project. The most essential thing in this work was modification of legislation as the laws in effect at that period created serious restrictions – in essence, they built a barrier between adoptive parents and children.

“We revealed moments which hinder adoption, developed proposals, brought them to the parliament. Obviously, no one wanted to listen to us. It took an instruction from the President, and the amendments were adopted only in 2012. However even then one very important amendment did not pass. We were striving for transparency of the system of registration of children left without parental care. Then records of such children were kept simply in a logbook. And we demanded to create a unified state data bank of children – a transparent information system. There have already been such banks all over the world. We achieved the adoption of these amendments on the databank only in 2016. Cannot say that it works the way we wanted it to work, and it’s not done the way we wanted it to. But the main result of our work is that now there are about 4 thousand children left without parental care in orphanages, baby homes and foster homes in the country,” says Aruzhan Sain.

However, this work has not been completed yet. Sain explains: now she, already using the mandate of the Ombudsman for the Rights of Children, is trying to influence the work of this databank to be rebuilt so that there are no loopholes in the system for corruption and child trafficking. So far, they do exist. It was the ombudsman for children who already received an appeal from the adoptive parents, from whom a bribe was demanded for them to be included in the “Search for a Child” system. Law enforcement agencies intervened in the situation and caught a guardianship officer and an intermediary red-handed, and a trial has already taken place.

The DOM Foundation is, of course, not the only one in Kazakhstan. Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation was established in 2014. The mission of this Foundation is designated as: “To help Kazakhstan become a better place for people’s life today and in the future by promoting health, education and culture development.” Today, the Foundation is implementing 11 different projects, and, as its head Marat Aitmagambetov admits, the founder set the task exactly like this: to help solve problems where the state cannot yet cover the sector with its attention.

None of the Foundation’s projects can be called fully completed yet. For example, the “Aid Card” project was launched in 2018 – then, within a month, the Foundation, together with the Red Crescent of Kazakhstan, provided aid to residents whose houses were partially destroyed or suffered from floods in the East Kazakhstan Oblast. Victims received ForteBank aid cards, to which funds were transferred at the rate of 30,000 tenge per person. In 2019, under the same scheme, aid was provided to flood-affected families of the North Kazakhstan and Akmola Oblasts. In 2020, aid was received by flood-affected residents of the village of Karamyrza in the Kostanay Oblast and suburban districts of Petropavlovsk in the North Kazakhstan Oblast, and in 2021 aid was needed for residents of the Ridder town in the East Kazakhstan Oblast, whose houses burned down in a fire on 10 May. In total, within the framework of this project, assistance was rendered to 9,196 citizens for a total amount of about 360 million tenge.

One of the most famous throughout the country projects of the Foundation is the “Autism. One World for All” programme within the framework of which the Assyl Miras autism centres are being established. Currently the centres operate in several cities of the country, over 9 thousand children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are registered with these centres.

“When we carried out the analysis, we realized that the problem exists not only in Kazakhstan, but all over the world, and all countries are trying to solve it in their own way. In Kazakhstan, at that time, there was and still exists an old approach: specialists who worked with autism spectrum disorders considered them as a psychiatric problem. Accordingly, the methods of rehabilitation were used through the prism of psychiatric care. We proposed a different approach. Such people exist and they will be existing, and we need to learn to live with this, which means that alternative methods and approaches are needed.

“We turned to Western experience, to a greater extent to American institutions that have been dealing with this problem since the 50s of the last century. The main thing in their approach is special children, and they require a special approach, which we use. There is a Jasper program developed by specialists from the University of California, whom we actively cooperate with, they train our specialists. This approach is aimed at non-speaking children. The effectiveness of this technique is so high that after 3 months 80% of children who are involved in this programme begin to speak. This is a very high rate,” said the Foundation Director, Marat Aitmagambetov.

Now the programme starts, one might say, a new stage. The methods used have proved their effectiveness, and since the spring of 2021, the Assyl Miras centres have been singled out as a special type of organisations by the order of the Minister of Education and Science, and the state, represented by local executive bodies, is already accepting them into their ownership. And the Foundation will continue to supervise them in terms of the methods used.

“The state takes on all operating costs, pays salaries to specialists, rentals and utilities. But we shall retain all the informational, methodological, training part, and we will continue to train specialists. Moreover, specialists in our centres are already prepared to train specialists in other state institutions,” emphasized Aitmagambetov.

The issue of complete withdrawal of the Foundation from this project is not even discussed yet.

The Association of Parents of Disabled Children (ARDI) is not a charitable foundation, it is a non-governmental organisation created back in 1991 by the parents raising children with disabilities themselves. The desire to help children became the unifying one.

“The first issue, of course, was that at that time there was no talk about such children. We did not see, did not hear, did not know that there was a sufficiently large number of children with special needs. There were no rehabilitation centres, no one heard about inclusion. Therefore, the issue of high-quality rehabilitation was in the first place,” noted ARDI chair Assiya Akhtanova.

The Association worked “on all fronts” – with government agencies, parliament members. Charitable foundations also came to assist – DOM, Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation, “Positive Umit” and other organisations, charitable and commercial. With their support, over the years, the Centre of Creative and Physical Development for Disabled Children and Youth, the Centre of Intensive Rehabilitation and Early Intervention for Children with Cerebral Palsy were opened and continue to operate. Now ARDI takes care of 745 families raising children with disabilities, where 370 children move in wheelchairs.

Assiya Akhtanova notes that over the years the NGO has been able to resolve many issues. This is provision of auxiliary devices, and provision of wheelchairs, development of rehabilitation now at the state level, creation of a legislative framework, and much more. One of the major achievements is the emergence of the concept of “inclusion”, and not just in words, but in legislation.

“Of course, real, full-fledged inclusion is still very far away,” the head of ARDI stated. “So far many limit their efforts to creating a separate correctional room, they hire a school psychologist, for example. This, of course, is not enough. But we have a serious problem with staff, there are very few specialists – rehabilitation therapists, psychologists… So, there is still a lot of work to be done. “

So far, all charities continue their work, develop the launched projects, reveal more and more new problems that remain out of the sight of the state. No one is thinking about winding up their work because of the final resolution of a problem. “This would be great,” laughs Assiya Akhtanova. “But, unfortunately, there is no such danger for us yet.”


Kazakhstan to host the WTA 250 tournament for the first time

Kazakhstan will for the first time host the Women’s Tennis Association WTA 250 tournament. It will take place in Nur-Sultan from 26 September to 2 October 2021, informs referring to the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation.

WTA 250 will be held in the National Tennis Centre of the capital city. World stars of women’s tennis will be competing for the coveted trophy and 250 ranking points. The sports event will be broadcast to over 70 countries around the world.

«This will be an event of a grand scale. For two weeks, Kazakhstan will be in the centre of world tennis attention, firstly with the men’s ATP 250 event to be followed by the women’s WTA 250. We will do our best to deliver an unforgettable experience for tennis players and fans around the world», promised the Astana Open WTA 250 Tournament Director, Peter Johnston.

All Kazakhstan National Team’s top women players will play in the main round of the women’s event.

On the eve of the ATP 250 and WTA 250 the capital city will host the Kazakhstan Championship. The winners will receive a Wild Card for the main draw, while the finalists – for the qualifying event. Source:

Astana Open ATP 250 entry list announced

NUR-SULTAN, KAZINFORM – A preliminary list of players in the main round of the prestigious international tournament Astana Open of ATP 250 category has been drawn up, reports Kazinform INA referring to the Press Service of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation.

The draw includes Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik, as well as: Christian Garin (Chile, world No 19), Aslan Karatsev (Russia, world No 24), Filip Krajinovic (Serbia, world No 38), Dusan Lajovic (Serbia, world No 40), last year’s Astana Open champion – John Milman (Australia, world No 43), Benoit Paire (France, world No 49), Lorenzo Musetti (Italy, world No 58), Mackenzie MacDonald (USA, world No 60) and others.

Along with Bublik, all members of the men’s national team will also participate in the main round of the competition: Mikhail Kukushkin, Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov. Our young players will try to make their way through qualification to join them: Dmitry Popko, Timofey Skatov, Denis Yevseyev, Beibit Zhukayev, Dostanbek Tashbulatov and Grigoriy Lomakin.

The tournament will be held in Nur-Sultan from 10 to 26 September 2021.


Eight Olympic licences and fight for the bronze: how Kazakhstani tennis players performed at the Olympics in Tokyo

It’s for the first time that Kazakhstani tennis players won a record-breaking number of licences, and Elena Rybakina made it through to the semi-final of the world games.

The Olympic Games in Tokyo were held from 23 July to 8 August. Kazakhstan won eight bronze medals. Some believe that the performance of our athletes was a failure, but is this true? Let’s look into this using the example of tennis players.

Let’s start with preparation. For the first time, our players have won eight Olympic licenses, previously – only four. The honour of Kazakhstan was defended by Zarina Diyas, Alexander Bublik, Andrey Golubev (paired with Bublik), Yuliya Putintseva, Elena Rybakina, Yaroslava Shvedova and Mikhail Kukushkin.

It is not enough to win just one championship to get through to the Olympic Games. Tennis players had to win tournament after tournament during a year and make it to the ATP and WTA ratings.

“Eight licences is an achievement,” explains the captain of the men’s team of Kazakhstan, Yury Shchukin. “This proves that the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, for the last 14 years headed by Bulat Utemuratov, is moving in the right direction, and our players have been improving their ratings for the last several years and therefore managed to take part in the Olympics.

Game with the world number two and deciding balls in the last minutes: how the men’s team performed

Alexander Bublik took part in the men’s singles tournament. Great hopes for reaching the final were pinned on the first racket of Kazakhstan, but in the very first round Bublik met with the strongest player of modern times.

“Alexander was unlucky with the tournament draw,” makes no doubt Yury Shchukin. “Still, playing with the world number two (Daniil Medvedev, Russia) right away in the first round, I think, would be difficult for anyone. Bublik lost in a strong fight.

In doubles, Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev also played against strong Frenchmen – Jeremy Chardy and Gael Monfils. The first set was retained by the Kazakhstanis – 7:6, the outcome of the second game was decided by a tie-break – 7:6 in favor of the French, and the decisive third set ended with the victory of Chardy and Monfils with a score of 10:7.

Mikhail Kukushkin defeated the 62nd racket of the planet – Argentinean Federico Coria at the start of the competition, but lost to Ilya Ivashka (Belarus) in the second round.

“Our players gave their best one hundred percent,” says the head of the men’s team. “It happens so in tennis: even if you are in shape, you cannot guarantee results and medals. Especially as the Games were attended by strong players – the leaders of the world ranking. It all depends not only on how you prepared, but also on the seeding – who you will play with in the first round.

Injury, hot weather and Rybakina’s game in the semifinals: how the women’s team performed

The women’s team was also out of luck. Zarina Diyas suffered a leg injury at the previous tournament, which is why she did not complete the game in the first round with Czech Barbora Krejcikova.

Yaroslava Shvedova and Yuliya Putintseva received sunstrokes in the hot capital of Japan, which is why they ended the matches early.

Elena Rybakina, the debutante of the Games, had to save the honor of the Kazakhstani women’s tennis. The young athlete, who is the 20th in the world ranking, reached the semifinals. In the first round, the Kazakhstani downed the ex-fourth racket of the world from Australia, Samantha Stosur, in two sets.

In the second round, the Kazakhstani also won easily in the match with the first racket of Sweden, Rebecca Peterson. In the 1/8 finals Elena Rybakina defeated Donna Vekic from Croatia in two games. To reach the semifinals of the Olympics, our athlete played against the ninth racket of the world, Spanish Garbine Muguruza, having won the match. So, Rybakina, for the first time in the history of Kazakhstani tennis, reached the semifinals of the Olympics in singles.

“I am insanely glad to go to the semifinals,” Elena Rybakina said on the eve of the game. “Thanks to the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation and the KTF President, Bulat Utemuratov, for their help and support. It’s nice when the whole Kazakhstan supports you.

However, in the semifinals, the Kazakhstani lost to the 12th racket of the world, Belinda Bencic from Switzerland.

“The problem was not in the third set, but in the first one, in which I was leading,” commented Elena Rybakina after the game. “I lacked just a little bit. As a result, it was physically difficult to tune in to a tie-break after leading the score. I play fast, and for me the longer a match lasts, the harder it is to get back into the game.

Competing for the bronze, Elena Rybakina lost the match to Ukrainian Elina Svitolina – number six in the world ranking.

“I tried to do everything in my power,” said Elena Rybakina, completing her performance at the Olympics. “Thanks to everyone who worried about me! I am grateful for your support! I hope I can take part in the Olympic Games in Paris, the situation with the pandemic in the world will improve then, and we will be able to feel support and hear the shouts of fans from the stands.

“The performance of Elena Rybakina, who reached the semifinals and fought for medals, is a historic event,” the Vice-President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, Yury Polskiy, commented on the performance of Kazakhstani players. “There was a difficult situation with the coronavirus, when players could not travel to tournaments, train normally. This is sports, this is the Olympics, where results are unpredictable. The main thing is that the guys are in good health. We will be preparing for the next Olympic Games”.

Training of trainers under the Jas Leader Akademiiasy programme started in Turkestan

Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation launched implementation of the Jas Leader Akademiiasy programme (Academy of Young Leaders) in the spiritual capital of the Turkic world – city of Turkestan. The programme’s objective is to support and develop leadership qualities in pupils of grades 5-11. Children will be taught in-demand skills that are not studied at school: these are skills of communication, public speaking, planning and time management, self-presentation and development of assertiveness.

From 26 July teachers – future trainers in Jas Leader Akademiiasy – started their training for trainers programme. Within a month 100 teachers from 50 pilot schools in Turkestan, the Turkestan Oblast and the city of Shymkent will undertake the training where they will be familiarized with the extra-curriculum programme and will learn the specifics of running the course. Resource books were developed in the Kazakh language especially for teachers of Kazakh schools. The training takes place not in the format of lectures, to which everyone is accustomed, but in an easily understood interactive form.

“One of the exercises on the first day helped me to see my profession in a new light, now I can be not just a teacher but also a mentor for my pupils,” shared her impressions one of the participants of the training for trainers from Turkestan.

Upon completion of the training teachers will be able to hold extra-curriculum classes under the Jas Leader Akademiiasy programme in their schools and will get a full information pack for their further work during the next academic year for pupils in grade 5-11.

“The role of teacher in Jas Leader Akademiiasy is given a special meaning. A trainer in our programme does not dominate over participants but is at one level with them. He helps them to get information, gain knowledge and experience acting not from a position of “superior to inferior”, but from the position of “equal to equal”, said Marat Aitmagambetov, director of Bulat Utemuratov’s Foundation.

Over 15 000 schoolchildren in Turkestan, the Turkestan Oblast and Shymkent will be the first to start their education in Jas Leader Akademiiasy. Within the next five years, the geography of the programme will gradually extend for Zhambyl, Kyzylorda, Atyrau, Mangistau, West Kazakhstan, Aktobe and Almaty Oblasts, and the total budget of the programme will comprise 5 million US dollars. 


International Beeline Challenger tournaments and the President’s Cup: how it was

The President’s Cup that included two men’s Challengers and one women’s tournament of the ITF W60 series finished in Nur-Sultan on 25 July.

This year, when other countries refuse from holding tennis tournaments due to the pandemic, Kazakhstan is hosting the whole series of international level competitions ensuring safety of players. From February to May only, the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation held several professional tournaments of the ATP Challenger and ITF World Tennis Tour series.

Summer is no less intense. The games started with the two-week Beeline Challenger 80 – two tournaments of the ATP series (the highest level world tennis tour organized by the Association of Tennis Professionals). Here, the minimum prize fund starts at $ 52,000. The winner gets 80 points. For participants, this is an opportunity to play with strong opponents, go up in the rankings and earn generous prize money.

“It is necessary to mention the games played by our athletes – Dmitry Popko, Denis Yevseyev, Grigoriy Lomakin, Dostanbek Tashbulatov, Timofey Skatov. Popko reached the semifinals of Beeline Open Challenger 80 Almaty, and Skatov reached the final. Unfortunately, he lost in the final, but this is still a very good result, because he moved up in the overall rating. After all, why are these tournaments held? So that our athletes gain experience, earn a rating that will allow them to participate in more prestigious tournaments,” explains director of the Kazakhstan Tennis Tour Dmitry Savchuk.

Timofey Skatov

In addition, tennis players can get a Wild Card (“free card”) at these tournaments, which gives a player with a not high enough rating an opportunity to take part in the tournament without going through the qualification.

“When we hold such tournaments at home, we can give our athletes wild cards. Thus, players get through to the main tournament and get a chance to beat opponents and win first points. In addition, we have a programme of exchange of wild cards with other countries, i.e. our athletes can take part in tournaments held in other countries as exchange. Currently, there are not many tournaments across the world due the pandemic, therefore we are trying to support our athletes, give them more experience, opportunities to develop their ratings and to take part in other tournaments through exchange,” says Dmitry Savchuk.

The level of such tournaments implies participation of players from the top-300 world rating. This year’s Beeline Challenger 80 was attended by sportsmen from various corners of the globe (France, Germany, Russia, America and Asian countries).

Tournaments with a 30-year history were named after the Kazakh khans and the Saka queen

International games within the President’s Cup started in Nur-Sultan on 10 July. This year the tournaments were given names: the women’s tournament – Tomiris W60, two men’s tournaments – Kerey80 and Zhanibek80. 

“The President’s Cup is an event with a 30-year history, there is no single other tournament that has been held in the years of Kazakhstan’s independence longer than that. The names of the President’s Cup tournaments are a direct reference to the past as a link between generations, to the history when the Kazakh Khanate was established by Kerey and Zhanibek. That is why their names were chosen as the names of men’s tournaments, and the women’s one is called Tomiris in honor of the Saka queen,” – explains Pavel Tsybulin, head of the PR, marketing and information section of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, to explain the names of the tournaments.

The next novelty of the President’s Cup is the addition of another men’s tournament initiated by the ATP. If previously there were two tournaments – men’s, category 80, with a prize fund of 52 thousand dollars, and women’s, with a prize fund of 60 thousand dollars, now there are two men’s Challengers and a women’s tournament with a total prize fund of 164 thousand dollars. This year the tournaments are attended by athletes from 15-20 countries.

But more than 10 years ago, our players could not have dreamed of holding international tournaments in Kazakhstan. At that time, the country had no courts that met world standards. When the lead of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation has been taken by philanthropist Bulat Utemuratov, the situation changed dramatically. Tennis bases that meet high requirements started to open in the regions.

“Until 2007-2008, there were neither so many tennis bases in Kazakhstan, nor players, and the development of tennis itself was, let’s say, not in the priority. Now, if we compare the CIS countries, then Kazakhstan is in the first place, because cool tennis bases with outdoor and indoor courts, with all the infrastructure have been built in each region. The Kazakhstan Tennis Federation is doing everything so that our young generation grows up, develops and turns into professionals,” emphasises Dmitry Savchuk.

The athletes’ achievements speak for themselves. It’s useful enough to recall the last performance of Kazakhstanis at one of the prestigious Grand Slam tournaments in France – Roland Garros, which took place in Paris in June. Our players Andrey Golubev and Alexander Bublik in a pair made a historical sensation: for the first time in the history of Kazakhstani tennis they reached the final of the French Open in men’s doubles.

Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev reached the final of Roland Garros in doubles

Also, good results are shown most recently by the pair of Andrey Golubev and Alexandr Nedovyesov. Our female tennis players – Elena Rybakina, Zarina Diyas, Yuliya Putintseva, Yaroslava Shvedova conquer new heights. The junior players are not far behind too.

By the way, as soon as in August Kazakhstan will host two tournaments: the Tennis Europe Junior Tour for 12-year-olds in Nur-Sultan and the Asian ATF Junior tournament for 14-year-olds in Shymkent. Tennis fans will also see another women’s ITF-25 tournament in the last month of summer. The plans are to hold the largest and most titled international tournament in Kazakhstan in September, but we will tell about it later.

Mikhail Kukushkin: “Until recently we could not even dream of eight licences for the Olympics”

Tennis player Mikhail Kukushkin commented on the record number of Olympic passes won by Kazakhstani seeds.

– This is a unique event for the Kazakhstan tennis. In the first turn, this emphasises that all the work of the country’s Tennis Federation done by the Federation’s President, Bulat Zhamitovich Utemuratov, over the past 14 years, is being carried out in the right way and is bearing fruit.

Until recently, we could not even dream of eight licences for the Olympics. It’s just great! In 2012, when I first participated in the Olympic Games, I was the only one on the part of men from Kazakhstan. Now our tennis is on the great rise.

Women have quite open draw at any big tournament, and almost any female tennis player of a good level can win. For example, I believe that our Lena Rybakina has very good chances; she has been playing really well in recent years, she is in the leading roles. I think she has a chance for a medal.


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