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Karen Khachanov setting himself no limits as he aims to establish himself amongst the game's elite in 2019

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 18 Dec 2018
  • Khachanov is on the cusp of the top 10 heading into 2019
  • The 22-year-old finished 2018 with a maiden Masters 1000 title in Paris
  • The Russian isn't setting himself any specific targets for 2019
Karen Khachanov (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rising star Karen Khachanov has the belief he can match it with the very best players in the world after his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title triumph to close out his 2018 season - however, he isn’t setting himself any specific goals as he tries to keep improving in 2019.

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One of a handful of young talents rising through the ranks that has been touted for Grand Slam glory over the next decade, Khachanov took his game to another level this year, registering a 46-22 record that included ATP titles in Marseille, Moscow and the Paris Masters - improving his record in finals to a flawless 4-0 - along with reaching the semi-finals of the Canada Masters and the fourth rounds of Roland Garros and Wimbledon, culminating in the Russian climbing from No. 49 in the rankings in January to a year-end mark of No. 11.

Khachanov finished the season on the highest of highs, conquering four top 10 players en route to his first Masters 1000 crown in Paris, including John Isner, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the final - beating the last three players in straight sets.

Armed with the knowledge he has what it takes to take on and defeat the very best men’s tennis has to offer, Khachanov has set himself no limits for next season.

“I was really happy to play this kind of final against the best player in the world, and to know I can compete against guys like Roger [Federer], Rafa, Novak, Andy [Murray], Stan [Wawrinka], and [Juan] Del Potro,” Khachanov told Abu Dhabi’s The National publication.
“When I was young I was watching them play and now I am competing against them at the highest level."

Set to launch his 2019 campaign at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition in Abu Dhabi between December 27-29, Khachanov could test himself against the world’s elite immediately, with the likes of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal also beginning their respective seasons in the Middle East.

Karen Khachanov with the Paris Masters trophy (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Khachanov is looking forward to a potential rematch with World No. 2 Nadal after the Spaniard edged him in a high-quality four-setter in the U.S. Open Round of 16 this year.

“I honestly think [the US Open match] was one of my best of the year – lots of exciting rallies and great sportsmanship,” Khachanov said. 
“It was a great match and I was happy I could show this level during the whole match. If it’s possible that we meet in Abu Dhabi that would be great and for sure I will try to bring my best game.”

The 22-year-old set himself a target of reaching the top 25 in 2018 - a test he ultimately passed with flying colours. However, Khachanov isn’t setting himself any specific goals in 2019, saying if he performs well, his ranking and further big titles will take care of itself.

“The goals can change depending how the year goes,” he said. “At the moment I’m in pre-season working harder than ever before. If I continue to play at the same level or even better, there is the potential to always achieve better.

"That’s the main goal. If I keep playing the way I’m playing I hope it will give me even more results and I will be even higher.”

Khachanov will move on to the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha to officially start his 2019 season after the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, before flying down under for the first Grand Slam of the season at the Australian Open.


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Karen Khachanov setting himself no limits as he aims to establish himself amongst the game's elite in 2019

Rising star Karen Khachanov has the belief he can match it with the very best players in the world after his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title triumph to close out his 2018 season - however, he isn’t setting himself any specific goals as he tries to keep improving in 2019.

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