What version of Alexander Bublik will turn up to UTS Los Angeles in July?
Will it be the light-hearted joker that comes on court to entertain the fans with humor and audacious shot-making? Or the fiery, moody juggernaut that pursues victory at the expense of all else?
After being announced as one of the eight men who will be participating in UTS 5 across 21 to 23 July, Bublik himself has given fans a little insight into what to expect from his game play.
The Balancing Act of Winning vs. Entertainment
As much as UTS is focused on generating a fan-friendly product, the format is also a serious competition. While there may be some quirks, such as the strategy cards and mid-match player interviews, the reality is UTS has developed a format that balances competition and entertainment.
Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik is more familiar with this balancing act than most, as it’s a line he has to walk any time he steps onto the tennis court.
“There’s two options,” Bublik outlined. “If you want to win the point, is one option. If you want to entertain the crowd, is the other option.”
So, what will it be for Bublik at UTS Los Angeles?
“Well, I’m both a competitor and a showman,” explains Bublik. “For me, it’s all about the time in the match when you feel like you’re ready to lose the point in terms of giving some emotions to the crowd or not.
“It’s about trying to find the right balance. It’s not always there, but we’ve got to keep working on it.”
Could a Lack of Second Serves Set Off Bublik?
Another rule change unique to UTS is the elimination of second serves. This is done to maximize rally time in points, but comes at the cost of those who rely on a big first serve to win the majority of their points.
Bublik is one such player, and when asked about the service rules, he responded saying:
“I’m not happy about it, but that’s what the rules are. You know, you got to adapt. You got to adjust and bring the best out of yourself. But I’m not happy about the fact that we’re going to have one serve.”
Known to blow up on the court from time to time, there’s a very real chance that fans will be treated to the Kazakh having a mini-meltdown at UTS Los Angeles if he struggles to make first serves consistently. Bublik himself has been very open about his on-court emotions, explaining:
“I’m a human being and I’m an honest human being. So if I don’t feel well, I don’t feel well,” Bublik said. “And this is why maybe I had that extra connection with some people, because they are also normal people, you know, they have vulnerabilities and they can have a bad day too.”
With in excess of 20,000 spectators expected at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles, and three Americans in the draw, Bublik could well face some raucous crowds at UTS 5. How he handles this will likely be similar to the 25-year-old’s approach to serving:
“Let’s keep it a surprise.”