Seven years ago, Karen Khachanov made his ATP Masters 1000 debut at the Miami Open presented by Itau when he was No. 453 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The Russian returns this year to make his fifth appearance at the Florida event, where he will aim to improve on his 8-4 start to the 2021 ATP Tour season.
Ahead of the tournament, the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters champion spoke to ATPTour.com about his favourite Masters 1000 events and experiences.
Which ATP Masters 1000 host city is your favourite and why?
I would say there are two of them. Paris is a place where I won my Masters 1000 and I have said many times I love to play in France. The atmosphere and energy I get there is amazing and tough to express with words. You feel really pumped there. I would say the other one that I like so much is Madrid. The tournament and the city is really nice.
What is your favourite off-court memory or activity at a Masters 1000?
It depends on the place and the city where I am. In Madrid, Monte Carlo and Rome, you can have a nice walk, you can visit some places, museums and theatres. In general, just to have a walk with your wife or with the team [and] to have a relaxed afternoon is great.
What is the toughest match you’ve played at a Masters 1000?
It was in Paris against John Isner [in 2018]. It was in the third round to play [for a place in the] quarter-finals. I won 6-4, 6-7, 7-6. Both of us saved match points… Emotionally, it was one of the toughest matches of my breakthrough in that tournament.
What is the toughest aspect of playing at a Masters 1000?
The higher [the category of] tournament you are playing, maybe you want to do better. Expectations are higher [and] there is more pressure. I would say my approach is that every match counts. It doesn’t matter if you are playing an ATP 250, ATP 500, Grand Slam or Masters 1000. For me, it is one of the biggest events and obviously I try to do my best in every match.
What is your dream Masters 1000 match?
I would have liked to have played Marat [Safin] in Paris. He won there three times. It was his favourite place and mine too. It would have been a good scenario to have played against him.