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Kazakhstan He came back on Saturday at the Madrid Arena a series that had uphill against Sweden (2-1) and He will reach the Davis Cup quarterfinals if he wins this Sunday (10:00) against Canada. That way it could be Spain’s rival in the hypothetical case that the National Team loses against Russia and advances as one of the two best runners-up in the Group stage.

The curious thing about the set that represents this great and rich former Soviet republic is that none of its components were born there. The captain, Yuriy Schukin (Kislovodsk, 42 ​​years old), is Russian, like four of his five players, Bublik (Gatchina, 24 years old), Popko (Saint Petersburg, 25), Kukushkin (Volvograd, 33) and Goluvev (Volzhsky, 34 ). The other, Nedovyesov (Alushta, 34), is Ukrainian. But everyone takes their hands to their hearts when the Kazakh anthem plays on the track.

Andrey Goluvev shakes hands with the president of the Kazakh Federation, Utemuratov.

The fact is, they are grateful for the opportunity once provided by business magnate Bulat Utemuratov., president of the Federation of Kazakhstan since 2007, vice president of the International (ITF), member of the Olympic Committee of his country and advisor to the former president of the republic Nursultan Nazarbayev. At 64, he owns two banks and a capital investment group. With all that power and a checkbook (his fortune is around three billion euros), he facilitated the nationalization of players (Rybakina and Putintseva, among others) who saw no place to shine in powerful Russian tennis and took the Kazakh service. The businessman made an initial investment of 75 million and built 200 tracks. He created an academy and bid to bring ITF, Challenger, and an ATP and a WTA tournaments to his nation. He even organized an exhibition match between Nadal and Djokovic in Nur-Sultan in 2019.

The fans of Kazakhstan, at the Madrid Arena.

The shed of Utemuratov

Utemuratov, temperamental, fanatic of the sport of the racket and very demanding with the players, provides them with the support of a peculiar hobby always present, like him, in Davis and funds a court of uniformed journalists who document the glories of a team that has already been a quarter-finalist five times. Bublik, architect of the Kazakh comeback with his victory against Mikael Ymer 3-6, 6-4 and 6-0, finished off by Golubev and Nedovyesov’s doubles, was one of the last to be nationalized and is clear what to say when asked about his good performance in the tournament: “I not only play for myself, but for the country, for the fans, and that is a plus.”