Alexei Popyrin is showing in Cincinnati he is much more than lucky. A last-minute lucky loser into the main draw of the Western & Southern Open, he has taken full advantage by reaching his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final.
Popyrin booked a house for his team ahead of the tournament. However, because of how deep he has advanced, the Australian needed to shift to a hotel.
“I booked it until the 16th and didn’t think I would be here. I’d be off to Winston-Salem,” Popyrin told ATPTour.com. “It was all going to plan until I got into the main draw as a lucky loser. I had to move the next day after my first-round match to move into a hotel. We moved in yesterday and here we are today.”
The 24-year-old is up to a career-high No. 40 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings after beginning the year No. 120. ATPTour.com caught up with Popyrin before he plays Hubert Hurkacz for a spot in the semi-finals.
Alexei Popyrin on Thursday in Cincinnati.” />
Popyrin meets Cincinnati Reds star Jonathan India Thursday afternoon after his win over Ruusuvuori. Photo: ATP Tour.
If you could have dinner with any three people, who would they be and why?
Damian Lillard, Tim Cahill and I would go Roger Federer. Damian Lillard is my favourite NBA player. He is one of my idols. I look up to him. I’m a big Portland Trailblazers fan, so he’s one of my favourite players.
I really look up to him. I love his game. I love how he is on the basketball court and how he is in the community, also. He’s been unbelievable in Portland.
If you could switch places with one person in the world for a day, who would it be?
Carlos Alcaraz. It’s everybody’s dream to be at the top of the world rankings. He’s at the top and I would love to see how it feels to be up there.
If tennis wasn’t your thing, what would you be doing right now?
I’d be in sports, that’s for sure. I played football, so tennis and soccer, when I was younger. I would try and make it as a professional footballer. I had some chances to go to Europe and play for European teams, but my parents kind of told me to stick with tennis.
Popyrin On The Prowl: The Luckiest Loser In Cincinnati
If there was one cool thing you’ve gotten to do from being a pro tennis player, what would you say it is?
I think it’s meeting unbelievable people. I was thinking the other day how tennis is amazing with people from so many different countries, so many different people. They come together to one venue and they kind of get along. So for me, that I think is the most important thing.
What was your pinch-me moment on the ATP Tour?
I think when I won my first title [two years ago] in Singapore, that was an unbelievable feeling for me. The work I had done to win that first title is great. And then also to win a second title means that the first title wasn’t a fluke. So for me, that was great.
If you could achieve one thing — you were talking about No. 1 — what would it be?
I think I’d want to win a Grand Slam. That’s I think is everybody’s goal in tennis — to win a Grand Slam. That would be my No. 1 goal. Then obviously I think if you win a Grand Slam you have potential to be No. 1 in the world so that can come with it.