“Super happy I can achieve something like this” – Basilashvili breaks new ground for Georgian tennis

Nikolz Basilashvili has already created history by becoming the first Georgian to reach an ATP Final and win an ATP singles title. Now, he is the first from his country to reach an ATP Masters 1000 final but does not want to stop just yet

Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) reacts after defeating Taylor Fritz (USA) in the semifinal match at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

ATP 2021 BNP Paribas Open | Draw Order of Play

Nikoloz Basilashvili says that he is super happy to become the first player from Georgia to reach an ATP Masters 1000 final. The 29-year-old achieved the milestone after beating American Taylor Fritz 7-6, 6-3 in the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Saturday.

Basilashvili is not new to breaking records when it comes to Georgian tennis. He is already the first player from his country to reach an ATP tour final and then win an ATP Tour title before Saturday’s achievement and could go one better when he meets Britain’s Cameron Norrie in Sunday’s final.

“Everything. It means a lot, obviously. I have been having good results previously, as well. Winning ATP titles, this never happened. I’m super happy I can achieve something like this, especially a country like Georgia, a very small country. Tennis is not that popular. I made my way. I passed really tough roads to get to here, so it means a lot.”

Hailing from a small country like Georgia, Basilashvili spoke about the challenges he had to overcome hailing from a country which not have a strong tennis tradition or foundation. But the Georgian, who also went through challenges on the personal front this year, is extremely pleased with the results that have come his way in recent years.

“I made my way, I passed very difficult times. I had to gain a lot of experience from playing futures, then playing challengers, move on from challengers and then to ATP tournaments. I knew I would never play really good tennis at a younger age because I needed to get this experience. I never had opportunity to get wild cards. I did not have any support from my country because obviously tennis is not popular there. As well as financial side, I never had kind of a sponsor. I knew I had to pass those roads to get to here match by match gaining experience as well as playing quarterfinals, semifinals. This is all experience. I mean, the stress levels go really high when you play at Masters finals or semifinals.

“I’m happy where I am right now. I am calculating how I’m playing. I calculated I could play good tennis in my late kind of career, late age. Hopefully I can play more calmly on the bigger matches in the future.”

“Not so nice to play with him from the baseline” Basilashvili looks ahead to Norrie clash in final

In Sunday’s final, Basilashvili faces off against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie, another player enjoying the best season of his career at the age of 26. The two players have met once on the ATP Tour – with Norrie winning their round of 32 clash in Rotterdam earlier this year in straight sets.

The Georgian knows it won’t be an easy match and is aware that he will have to impose his game in order to win on Sunday.

“(Norrie is a ) Really interesting player. He’s playing very good at this tournament. He had previous really good weeks. I will study him today, come up with a plan for tomorrow. But overall it’s not so nice to play with him from the baseline. He’s been playing really, really smart and very good tennis. I’m looking forward. If I can play my game and be relaxed, I think I can play well.”

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