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The Origins of Alexander’s “Bublik Enemy” Nickname

One of the fan favorite quirks of UTS is the nicknames that each player is given.

Almost boxing-esque in its approach, UTS has generated some excellent monikers so far, such as:

And then, there’s one nickname that stands out from all the others:

“The Bublik Enemy.”

Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik has an eye-catching pseudonym, an evident play on words with “Public Enemy.” But where did this tagline come from, and how does Bublik himself feel about the label?

The Emergence of a “Bublik Enemy”

Anyone who has watched Alexander Bublik play tennis for more than a minute or two will know that he is a curious character.

The 25-year-old has clear talent, with the ability to pull off jaw-dropping shots and blast opponents from the court when he’s engaged. At the same time, there’s a very real issue with motivation—Bublik often goes off the boil, or simply doesn’t show up in the mood to win.

It’s a wonder that Bublik’s nickname isn’t “The Kazakhstani Kyrgios,” because anyone familiar with the hot and cold Australian will notice some parallels here.

Alexander Bublik - Rome 2023
Alexander Bublik – Rome 2023 © Zuma / Panoramic

When queried about his moniker, Bublik gave some context for the pseudonym’s origin:

“My nickname is the Bublik Enemy. And I think it really reflects a lot of my matches because I think the biggest enemy is myself most of the matches,” Bublik explained. “Of course, sometimes I’m getting beaten up by better players, but it’s quite rare.”

In essence, the nickname is a jib at the fact that more often than not, it’s Bublik that beats himself and self-destructs, rather than the opposition defeating him.

Love Him or Hate Him, Bublik Doesn’t Mind

Another facet of “The Bublik Enemy” is the fact that his mercurial play style often attracts some detractors for Bublik. It’s no secret that when Bublik is out on court, he’ll commonly act in a way that polarizes fans.

When asked about this, the Kazakh quipped:

“I’m not really thinking about the people, to be honest with you. I don’t really care if somebody is against me or for me. I think about myself and what I should do.”

Understanding that this approach can rub people the wrong way, Bublik declared:

“I mean, what’s wrong with the enemy? So yeah, the nickname is quite me.”

Los Angeles Crowd a Potential Challenge for Bublik

This July will be the first time UTS makes its non-European debut. In a sense, it’s a big moment, as the UTS format is largely based on basketball, and heavily tailored to younger, American audiences.

When asked about playing in front of an American crowd, Bublik surmised that the task would be one he embraces.

“I have never had an American crowd for me, never had it in my life,” said the 25-year-old. “I hope to change this because I really like to play in the US, and if I had a great crowd behind me, it would be even better.”

The big challenge for Bublik and several others competing at UTS Los Angeles will be the presence of three Americans in the draw. The following groups have been announced for the event:

Group A

  • Taylor Fritz
  • Nick Kyrgios
  • Yibing Wu
  • Diego Schwartzman

Group B

  • Frances Tiafoe
  • Ben Shelton
  • Alexander Bublik
  • Gael Monfils

Tickets can be found online, with more than 21,000 spectators expected at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles from 21 to 23 July.