Illya Marchenko: From Donetsk To Doha

This tennis journeyman had his moment in the spotlight last week, earning himself the honour to take on Rafael Nadal for the first time in what would be just his third ATP Tour level semifinal. That match may have ended in a straight sets defeat, but this brilliant start to the 2016 season will come as a great delight to the Ukrainian and his team in light of a tough last year for his home country.

Marchenko On The Move

The 28-year-old moved from Dniprodzerzhynsk to Donetsk to escape the fighting and war which clouds over Ukraine at this time and now resides in Bratislava, Slovakia. When asked about the events going on back home, Marchenko said that he tends “not to think about that anymore. I accept the situation and what I have”.

Marchenko Makes Noise In Doha

To have a week like his last one in Doha must relieve a lot of pressure and make his start to 2016 a very happy time. However, Marchenko was very honest in saying that it is difficult to cope with the pressures having just secured a first win over a top 10 player in his career. This career highlight came courtesy of a three set win over the then world number seven David Ferrer in the first round. Yet, the former world number 67 admitted that “it was a bad night for me. I could not sleep much and I was nervous in the second round. It’s difficult to handle the stress.”

The straight sets wins over Teymuraz Gabashvili and seventh seed Jeremy Chardy which followed marked an exceptional week, gaining $57,380 for his efforts to help pay the costs for his new coach and physiotherapist. He now can celebrate a move up to 78 in the ATP World Rankings and said that “I always invested as much as possible for my career because it’s my job. I can compare my team to the team top players have.”

Marchenko will hope to make this season the best and most memorable one yet, taking to Twitter to say that the “fairy tale is over. But I’m pretty optimistic about this season.”

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