They may come from a city with a population of more than a million but Alexey Prokopchuk and his sister Xeniya from Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine’s fourth largest city, have been places in the past couple of months. Their tennis has taken them to Macedonia, Serbia, Bahrain, Sri Lanka and now India. It’s been no less than a fairy tale for the duo and with them participating in the Mumbai leg of the ITF Junior Tennis Championship, which began on Monday, this is surely a dream come true for Alexey and Xeniya.
Alexey and Xeniya are seeded first and eighth, respectively, in the singles category. They will also be seen participating in the boys and girls doubles. Having to spend so much time together on tour, the bond that the Prokopchuks share is different from a normal brother-sister relationship.
“There is so much to learn from the other,” says Alexey. “My brother is everything for me. We spend so much time together that we know each other’s game inside out. We’ve learnt that inputs and criticism that each has for the other will be nothing but honest,” says Xeniya, who is a year younger to her brother.
Like most others, the also learns from watching their heroes. “There’s so much to learn from Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Knowing Novak (Djokovic) has come from more or less the same background like us has much such a huge motivation to push ourselves to the next level,” says Alexey, who turns 17 on Wednesday.
Results (Rd 1): Boys singles:
C Wiriyajanyong (THA) bt S Kumar 6-2 7-5; A Solanki bt Y Bansal 7-5 5-7 6-3; S Jagtiani bt Y Yadav 3-6 7-6 (4) 6-3; A Gokhale bt S Mannerpalli 7-5 3-6 6-2; R Ballekere bt M Pondukule 6-1 6-0
Girls singles: S Sethi bt Isha Budwal 6-0 4-6 6-2; N Shawky (EGY) bt N Shama 6-7(6) 6-4 6-4, A Sagwal bt S Chillla 6-1 6-1; K Kaur bt R Rathod 6-4 6-1; M Yadav bt P Shivekar 6-4 6-2; T Vale bt K Chawla 6-1 7-5; Y Jittakoat (THA) bt M Ram 6-1 6-2