One Short Of 600 Wins, Mirnyi Shares His Future Plans
by ATP Staff|
Max Mirnyi was denied his 600th match win as he and Daniel Nestor were defeated by Carlos Berlocq and Denis Istomin 1-6, 6-3, 12-10 in the first round of the China Open on Thursday in Beijing. Afterward, the Belarusian revealed he is content in the direction his career is going and outlined his plans to move into the corporate world to facilitate tennis growth in Belarus.
Max, tough loss today, but could you please reflect on this year so far?
I am definitely disappointed after losing today, but over all happy where I am in my career. Any time you are able to win a Grand Slam in a year, it is considered a great season. Also this year I recaptured the No. 1 ranking which was great! But certainly, by winning the Olympic Mixed Doubles Gold this summer, I reached the pinnacle of my career. The whole experience of doing it will definitely be the most memorable for me among all of my other past career achievements.
You are the oldest gold medallist, at 35, since tennis joined the Olympics again in 1988. Will you play much longer? Do you have any plans for when you retire from the ATP World Tour?
It is evident that my active professional tennis career will soon come to an end and I will not dwell on the past. By nature I want to continue to grow and maximise my potential with my life off the tennis court as well. I have been gradually making this transition during the past couple of years already and I plan to get more involved in the public life for years to come.
Having said that, and being the person who devoted his whole life to professional sport, I see myself continuing to focus on issues of sport at every level in my home country of Belarus as well as worldwide.
Could you be a little bit more specific about that?
So far my father and I have opened a junior tennis school in Belarus and my main goal is not only to have a set of tennis courts for kids to play on, but also to develop a system where new generations of players be closely guided from their first steps onto the court into the professional sport. Create a mechanism to allow for constant and sufficient financial support throughout the whole developmental process of becoming a future star.
It sounds like you are undertaking a master plan. How confident are you to be able to achieve your goals?
I am used to working hard to achieve my goals in sport; I am sure it’s no difference in life. I’ll do my best and I believe I will get it done. To implement these ideas, my junior tennis school, ‘Mirnyi Sport’ has recently made a great investment and purchased the full equity stake of JSC Sport Pari, which was previously owned by the Presidential Sports Club of Belarus. I have become Chairman of the Board of Directors of the JSC Sport Pari.
You don’t feel like it is foreign territory for you entering the corporate world?
Well, sure. It is not as natural at the moment as hitting a first serve, and probably it never will be. That is why I have professionally trained people in my company that help me navigate the corporate world.
In this particular instance, before approving the deal, my lawyers have attentively studied reports of a reputable international audit company KPMG, the conclusion of a well known legal firm Varul and the legal opinion of Professor Rudolf Dolzer, the world known expert in human rights and international law regarding the activities of JSC Sport Pari, its second shareholder – PUE BT Telecommunications and its owner. The due diligence showed full compliance of the activities of the above companies and partners with the local Belarusian and international legislation.
This gives me a peace of mind to proceed with my intention to grow my sport and stay publicly active after my professional tennis career.
Let’s return to tennis and the end of the 2012 season. Where are you still planning to play and how much are you looking forward to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London?
My partner [Daniel Nestor] and I are very excited about this time of the year. We played very well in Shanghai last year and we look forward to returning there and trying to play well there again. After that we are going to be playing indoors in Paris and London. Indoors suits our games very well and we hope to have another strong showing those last couple of week of the year.