Roman Safiullin, born on August 7, 1997, in the bustling city of Podolsk near Moscow, is a rising star in tennis. Starting his journey with a tennis racket at just four years old, Roman was introduced to the sport by his father, Rishat, a tennis coach at an academy.
This early initiation led Roman to admire the styles of legendary players like Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. As his career developed, he also drew inspiration from successful compatriots like Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Karen Khachanov.
Safiullin’s junior career saw immense success, climbing to the second line in the world ranking.
Winning eleven tournaments, five in categories A and 1, his most remarkable achievement came with a victory at the 2015 Australian Open.
This was a groundbreaking moment, as it was the first time a Russian representative had won this major.
His debut in adult tournaments came at age sixteen, where he marked his arrival with a victory in his first Futures in Uzbekistan.
However, his journey was not without setbacks. After kickstarting the 2015 season with the Junior Australian Open victory, an injury in February led to a long break from the game.
Safiullin made his comeback in 2016, virtually having to start from scratch. He spent the whole season playing at the Futures level, winning four tournaments, and slowly returning to his previous ranking positions.
In the following years, Roman Safiullin continued to navigate his way through the competitive world of tennis.
2018 saw him winning five titles at the Futures level, while 2019 was marked by appearances at Challengers and M15/M25 tournaments, where he advanced closer to the top 200.
His progress was briefly halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Still, he returned with a bang by winning at Cherbourg in France and debuting in the second round of qualifying at Roland Garros.
He also reached the second round at the ATP 500 in St. Petersburg.
Despite a fluctuating performance on the Challenger Tour and in the Majors in 2021, Safiullin remains a noteworthy figure in tennis.
The journey from the small city of Podolsk to the world stage is a testament to his persistence, talent, and the guidance of his coaches. But who exactly has been guiding this promising athlete throughout his career? Let’s delve into the story of Roman Safiullin’s coaching journey.
Who Is Roman Safiullin’s Coach in 2023?
Andrey Alexandrovich Kuznetsov is a Russian professional tennis player born on 22 February 1991.
He achieved his career-high singles ranking of world No. 39 on 25 April 2016. Kuznetsov made a significant mark on tennis when he won the Boys’ Singles title at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships.
His career saw him debut at the Olympic Games, make it to the ATP singles semifinals, and compete against some of the top names in the sport.
Kuznetsov took a hiatus from playing around 2018 and started his coaching career in 2019, initially coaching Russian player Evgeny Donskoy.
He briefly returned to playing in 2020, even securing a challenger title, before returning to coaching in 2023. Currently, he’s the coach of fellow Russian player Roman Safiullin.
In his playing style, Kuznetsov is an aggressive baseliner known for his hard, cross-court hits. Despite a weaker second serve, his forehand has become a reliable weapon.
Outside of tennis, Kuznetsov married Darya Levchenko, a TV show presenter on Match TV, in June 2018.
In 2023, under the guidance of coach Andrey Kuznetsov, Roman Safiullin experienced significant strides in his tennis career. He achieved a career-high ranking of No. 82 in February after claiming his first ATP Challenger Tour title at the Koblenz Open.
Despite losing in the first rounds at the BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open, his performance improved on clay, reaching the third round at the Mutua Madrid Open and Italian Open.
His stellar performance at the 2023 Wimbledon Championships was the highlight of his year. He defeated several highly ranked players, including 20th seed Roberto Bautista Agut and 26th seed Denis Shapovalov, to reach his first major quarterfinal.
This success propelled him into the top 50 in the rankings, marking a significant milestone in his career.
In 2022, Russian tennis player Roman Safiullin paired with coach Yahor Yatsyuk, known for his work with fellow Russian player Aslan Karatsev.
This collaboration lasted from June to November of that year. Yatsyuk, a former player, brought a comprehensive approach to coaching, focusing on mental fortitude and technical prowess.
During this coaching stint, Safiullin expressed high regard for Yatsyuk, noting, “He works more as a whole: both with the head and the technical part – those things help me. As for the training process, he manages everything and helps recover.”
This partnership bore significant results, with Safiullin reaching the top 100 in the world tennis rankings and regularly appearing in ATP tournaments. This was a substantial step up for Safiullin, who had earlier struggled with maintaining a high ranking.
Their achievements in 2022 included a semifinal run at the 2022 ATP Cup and Safiullin’s maiden top-10 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Marseille tournament.
Later in the year, Safiullin earned his second Challenger title in Nur Sultan and a third in Chicago. These victories catapulted him 25 places up the rankings, marking his debut in the top 100 at world No. 97.
Despite these successes, the coaching partnership was short-lived, ending in November 2022, with Yatsyuk returning to Karatsev’s team. This unexpected break left Safiullin without a coach for some time.
Roman Safiullin’s Achievements With Different Coaches
In the table, we have collected data about the trophies won by Roman Safiullin under the guidance of various coaches.
|Coaches||Years of Cooperation||Titles|
|Andrey Kuznetsov||January 2023 – ongoing||–|
|Yahor Yatsuk||June 2022 – December 2022||none|