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August 31, 2011

Alex Bogomolov


4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Alex.

Q. 3 hours and 40 minutes. How do you feel?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: I feel good. Always better after a win. If I would have lost, I probably would have been devastated physically and mentally.
But feel good.

Q. How weird was it playing a doubles partner?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: It was weird. We developed a good relationship in Cincy. Beating the second doubles team in the world, we kind of bonded that week and kept in touch since then. And then when the draw came out, we just kind of, you know, kept our distance a little bit. So it was weird.
But I didn't expect such a high quality of tennis by Steve. You know, I was very lucky to get out of there. The first two sets I couldn't do anything. He took me out of rhythm. He played brilliant tennis.

Q. You're down 6-4, 6-4; what changes?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: I pressed a little bit more. I forced the issue a little bit. I started being more aggressive. The only way I could have won that match in my mind was it had to become more physical.
So I started, you know, sort of during the point not going for winners but trying to make him hit two, three extra shots.
And, yeah, then I got lucky in the fourth set. He started cramping. Then in the fifth he came out fine. He was serving well and playing well. It was a little bit tricky.
But, you know, my work off court pays off.

Q. What has been the main difference in your game this year having been out of the top 100 for five or six years?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: I mean, a lot of things came together. I love the game. I always thought that if you worked hard, eventually, you know, the tennis gods would repay you.
But, you know, obviously my family was a big factor. My son was born and that was huge. After my wrist surgery, you know, the game forced me how to hit a slice because I couldn't use my left hand.
Then we got a brilliant coach on the team. And my friends, you know, my friends who I grew up with ever since we were six years old, as a team, we've had plenty of feedback from them and what they think.
Everybody has a say in what's supposed to happen in the schedule, what's supposed to happen off the court, where the improvements need to come.
Just everything sort of came together.

Q. You said after your surgery you were teaching for a while. Is that where you thought you were going to end up full-time, or did you always have the dream of coming back?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: I was very close, not mentally, but physically. After the surgery, it was basically, You're never going to be able to hit a two-handed backhand. To learn a one-hander at 26, 27, come on, it was ridiculous. As far as my mentality, I always thought that there was something undone, you know.
I got into the top 100 when I was younger, but I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing at the time. I sort of got lucky a couple times. If everything was going well that day, I would win. If not, I would lose. I didn't have a Plan B. Never.
So when I was coaching, a lot of thoughts came in: how, when, if it was going to happen. Luckily, you know, my fiancée got pregnant at the time. I wanted him to see me play tennis or at least have a memory of me being a tennis player, because that's what I had with my dad.
You know, after that, after he was born, I had a second breath. I want to show him how hard work pays off.

Q. Where were you teaching? Where were you coaching?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: It was in Gotham Tennis, the Harlem Armory. But they recently moved over across from the Yankee Stadium. I came with a cast to the interview. I had an interview with Claude Okin from the Sport Times.
So it was tricky. You know, I didn't know what entitled me being in the company, but Gotham was really supportive. They didn't want me to be with a basket and just throwing balls to little kids. They wanted me to oversee their junior clinics.
So I had three courts, three coaches, and I would sort of run that academy for the elite juniors. I really enjoyed it because I saw the passion in the young kids.
So even though I was traveling from Jersey every day for six months, an hour and 20 minute train to Penn Station, then 20 minutes to the Armory, getting home at 10:30, then doing it all over again every single day, and the weekends hitting some with the high-end clients, basically I didn't have a day off.
Yeah, it kept me going. It kept me hungry to come back. They were the only ones who gave me a chance to make some money when I was injured.

Q. Where in Jersey?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: In West Long Branch, so like Little Silver.

Q. How was it you got to a point where you were in the top hundred when you were younger, and then you're working teaching tennis lessons. Was it the injury?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: I don't understand.

Q. You were worried if you were going to continue your career, you were teaching tennis lessons. What do you attribute that decline to? Was it just the injury?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: No. Before I got injured, I thought I was going on the right track. I played World TeamTennis. I met a coach, Craig Kardon, who has been around for a long time. We started working together.
I actually rose to 130 in the world with nothing to defend for eight months. I was in the finals of a challenger, a 100 challenger. That's when I fell in the semifinals. I fell on my wrist and broke all the ligaments.
If that didn't happen, I think I was playing really well. So I would think maybe -- I didn't have any points to defend for eight months, so I could only go up.
And that's another sort of motivational aspect. It really came into play because I was so close, again, to come back again, and then shattered.
After the wrist surgery, I gave it my all.

Q. What is your dad's impact on you?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: I mean, everything. Everything. Everything. Just as far as he was a great dad. He was very famous in the Soviet Union, Russia now. He's over there. Once you're in tennis, they invite you for every year anniversary. Putin comes out. It's like a big thing to be in the tennis community. That started with Yeltsin. Yeltsin loved tennis, so sort of all the politicians came together.
When he was working in Florida, all the kids were not giving the respect. He was sort of pushing them and they didn't want to go pro; they didn't even want to go to college. They were just coming because of their parents, hitting like that. He would rather work for free with someone that enjoys and loves tennis, and that's why he moved back.
But as far as our relationship, we still have a good relationship, even though he got remarried, has his own life now. But we stay connected through tennis. We always talk about tennis.

Q. You said your son was another motivator for you to keep going.
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: Yeah, of course. Yeah, I want him to have memory of me playing. He's almost two. Hopefully I have five, six more years. By that time hopefully he has a memory.

Q. What is your favorite memory of your father through tennis that you want to pass on to your child?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: I just remember always when he was traveling, he always came back with new racquets, clothing, toys, when nobody else was traveling at the time. All the kids would come over. We were playing Nintendo when nobody else had it. He made me sort of cool like in a way in front of the other kids.
Yeah, he was like a local hero, but for me he was my hero, so that made it even more special.
As far as him working in tennis, I just always listened to what everybody else had to say. Everybody was like afraid of my dad because he was such a hard worker. If you were on his court, you actually achieved something. I always sort of felt the vibe of people, how they were foreseeing my dad.

Q. Sometimes when you step away from the game and teach the game, you learn the game.
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: Yeah, I think so.

Q. Did that work that way for you?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: It totally did. A lot of days we would watch the Tennis Channel. We would watch somebody that was doing incredible. It was tough.
But at the same time watching tennis is what really -- I think that's how young kids can really learn the game as well. Not only you get to learn how a particular player is playing, but you can learn the angles that work nowadays in terms of five years ago they didn't work. And the return of serve, how momentum switches, how to catch the momentum when it's the right time.
So, yeah, I watched a lot of tennis. I still do.

Q. When you're sitting there in a match down two sets to your buddy and your partner, what goes through your mind today? Were you thinking about big picture? How do you get yourself to commit being out there for another couple hours?
ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR.: It wasn't so much that I was playing my buddy. I was down two sets to love at the Open. I've had a great summer; I've had a great year. To go down first round would have been devastating because we have higher goals. We worked for those goals.
It was just tough, tough to get a positive thought in there somehow. But I think the only reason why I won was because I started thinking positive and believing that a comeback is possible.
But, yeah, if I would have had to lose, maybe Stevie would have been the one. I mean, he really played well, regardless of the outcome.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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