Major Talk #12: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina; “I need to understand tennis better”

In the latest episode of Major Talk, Alize Lim talks to Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina about his upbringing, goals and how he is still struggling to improve his mental strength

April 10, 2022
The figures

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, born in 1999, is the second youngest Spaniard in the world’s top 100, behind Carlos Alcaraz. The Malaga native exploded onto the world stage in 2021 when he reached his first Masters 1000 quarter-final in Monte Carlo, having beaten his first top 10 player, Matteo Berrettini

This year the Spaniard will square off with Novak Djokovic in a key second-round matchup at Monte-Carlo.

He followed that up with his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the French Open, where he lost to Alexander Zverev. Despite these good results, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has yet to reach a final on the ATP circuit. In 2022, he has struggled for consistency, though he made the last eight in Doha.

In the latest episode of Major Talk, interviewed by Alizé Lim, the 22-year-old Spaniard spoke emotionally about the sacrifices his parents made so that he could pursue his dream of becoming a professional tennis player. He also talks about the mental difficulties he faces that prevent him from advancing in his career, as well as his medium and long-term goals.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Australian Open 2022 – © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Key moments :

  • 1.00: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina explains that his mother is Russian and his father is Swedish. His father, a champion boxer, introduced him to tennis when he was two years old. Davidovich Fokina is not sure why he put him into tennis.
  • 1.20: He says he started to realise that he wanted to become a professional only two years ago, when he was already 20 years old. After some good results in Challenger and ATP tour, he knew he had to persevere. 
  • 2.55: His coach, Jorge Aguirre, is Spanish and means a lot to him. Aguirre has known him since he was 11 years old. “He is like a father to me”.
  • 5.30: Mentally, the Spaniard admits that he is behind the other players. He has not yet taken that step to reach his full potential.
  • 7.10: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was born in Spain and received a Spanish education at school. But at home, his parents raised him with a Russian mentality (his mother’s nationality). He explains that he was therefore a bit lost when he was a child. 
  • 7.30: The Spaniard’s favourite player is Roger Federer. He would like to talk to him one day because he feels that the Swiss had the same character as him when he was young. He would like to understand how he was able to calm down. 
  • 8.30: He hopes that in two or three years, when the ageing Spanish players retire, he and Carlos Alcaraz will be the highest-ranked. 
  • 9.15: Carlos Alcaraz “will win a Grand Slam”
  • 9.25: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina wants to become world No 1 and win Grand Slams. He especially wants to have fun on the court. 
  • 11.30: Since he started playing as a junior, his mind has been playing tricks on him and he is very irregular during certain periods. This was the case after Roland Garros 2021. 
  • 13.00: He loves playing on grass and especially being able to express his character. He says that he spent some time simply practising jumping and diving during his first Wimbledon.
  • 14.20: The Spaniard’s next goal is to break into the top 20 and to better “understand the game”. 
  • 15.20: He admits he cried when Roger Federer lost at the Australian Open in 2009 and shed tears at the trophy presentation. 
  • 16.00: The Spaniard explains how difficult tennis is, especially for a young player when he has expenses to pay and his family can’t help him. 
  • 16’30: A touched Alejandro Davidovich Fokina explains that his parents made a lot of sacrifices for him.
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