Aslan Karatsev was holding himself back for years by 'behaving like a child,' says his coach as he explained the spectacular upturn in fortunes.
The Russian reached the Australian Open semi-finals last month and backed that up by winning Dubai on Saturday.
It has not looked like a fluke either, with Karatsev producing top ten tennis throughout his recent surge.
A year ago he was ranked outside the top 200, but he heads to Miami now as the world number 27.
When asked what has changed, coach Yahor Yatsyk explained it was all about maturity, likening Karatsev's previous behaviour to that of notorious Italian footballer Mario Balotelli.
“He was behaving for many years like a little child," Yatsyk recently said of Aslan Karatsev.
“He was unprofessional, late to training sometimes. Once he brought four racquets to training and three of them were broken.
“I didn’t expect this for a player aged 24 or 25. If you know soccer a little bit, this is kind of behaving like Mario Balotelli.”
“He needed a tough approach, to be very honest, I said if he doesn’t change he may as well finish with tennis.
“I used harsh words, I used tough words but in the end he had trust in me. He understood and listened.
"Many players wouldn’t listen, they’d just change coach, but he did. He improved and now we see the result.”
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