Anton Matusevich has been one of the stand-out performers in the UK Pro League this year and we sat down with the 2018 US Open junior doubles champion to get his thoughts on what lies ahead in his highly promising career.
- How important has the UK Pro League been to your year?
It’s been vital. The organisers have done an incredible job with this event and deserve a lot of credit. Playing in this event was a massive confidence boost for me at the start of the year to play in these Pro League matches and the standard of play here is very good.I struggled in my first week, but match practice is so important and by the second and third week, I was playing really good stuff. The more you play, it helps you game massively and I see that in my own game when I’ve had good match practice.You can take confidence from the matches you play in the Pro League and it can help you to get ATP points, so it is fantastic for us.
- How tough is it to earn a living when you are trying to make a break into the professional ranks of the game?
It’s tough at the start of your career. Tennis is a tough sport to get into and trying to do it financially on your own is not easy. The LTA helped me out big-time during Wimbledon by sending a coach to work with me and that’s so important. Working on your own is tough on a few levels and having a coach to give you some support is vital.Coaches don’t come for free and you need to invest in your career to have a chance, but funding it at the start is tough. That’s why this UK Pro League is so important for us.Covid didn’t help bevies a lot of tournaments were cancelled and I lost some sponsors because of it, but I have just signed a new deal with Migom Bank and help like that is vital at this stage of my career.
- Emma Raducanu won the UK Pro League last year and is now the US Open champion, so that has to be an inspiration for everyone playing in this year’s event?
I feel like I have a long way to go to think about anything like that. I need to add consistency to my game and that means playing competitive matches on a regular basis and improving. You will lose a lot of matches at the start of your career, but playing tournament is what it is all about. It’s a long and difficult journey to succeed at tennis. This sport requires a lot of dedication and money to and also, tennis is unforgiving as you cannot be injured in any part of your body. If your little finger hurts, you can’t hold a racket, so it is tough. Then you have so many great players down the other end of the court causing you nightmares and you are out there on your own. You have to be ready for it mentally and physically. If you fully commit to the sport, get everything right on and off the court, I believe you can crack the top 100. You also need to be very good and what Emma Raducanu has done this year shows what is possible if you get it all right. Radders is a ridiculous tennis player. I wasn’t expecting her to win the US Open so soon after she won the UK Pro League last year, but you could see how she was progressing as the tournament went on and by the end, she was getting better and better, so well done to Emma.
- You have hit with Andy Murray over the last year. What has that experience been like?
I always love to hit with Andy and always try to beat him when we practice! He is very good with the British players and brought a lot of energy to the Battle of the Brits event last year. He didn’t play too many matches, but he was fantastic on court and off court with everyone in the event. It’s very enjoyable to practice with him.
- What other sports do you enjoy?
I love snooker. Ronnie O’Sullivan is just a joke. Right handed, left handed… he can hit a 147. He’s just amazing. He must do so much work in the practice room to get to that level.