Twenty-one-time Grand Slam singles champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia talked about his attitude toward Kazakhstan and his friendship with Bulat Utemuratov, the president of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, QazMonitor reports citing the KTF press service.
Djokovic commented on the tournament: "[It] gathered a very strong lineup and when I saw the grid I was surprised because this kind of lineup is usually gathered at the Masters or Grand Slams. I spoke with other players and all have the same opinion - here everything is organized at the highest level. The last time I was in Kazakhstan was in 2019 when Rafa [Rafael Nadal] and I had an exhibition match in Astana. We didn't manage to see anything in one day, but now I'm playing a tournament and I have a week, I will definitely visit the local sights. I`ve been able to walk in the park this morning, the weather was great".
I`d like to mention that local people are very nice and kind, I can feel their support and energy.
The Grand Slam champion also expressed his appreciation for the president of the KTF.
"Bulat Utemuratov is one of the people I can call a friend. He is like a member of my family, he is a friend of my uncle. He is very interested in developing tennis in Kazakhstan. He has a big status in the International Tennis Federation. He respects all the players, he's one of those people you always hear warm words from wherever we meet. It's great that there are such people who support tennis with such success. I also visited one of his Foundation's centers that has children with autism. I saw a video presentation of everything his charitable foundation does in Kazakhstan. It's amazing that there is such a person! For me, it's wonderful. On behalf of all the players, I thank him for hosting such a tournament! We are just enjoying it," said Djokovic at the press conference.