PROMISING tennis star Alexander Bublik has no love for the game and openly admitted: “I hate tennis with all my heart and only play for money.”
The Kazakh star, 22, appears to have a successful career ahead of him after breaking back into the world’s top 50.
But the world No47 revealed in an interview with L’Equip that he really has no desire to play the sport.
He took up tennis at the age of four and is coached by his father.
So far, he has already earned more than £1million in prize money.
But in the game where love means nothing, Bublik incredibly said: “I hate tennis with all my heart.
“To be honest, I don’t see something positive in being a tennis player.
“I only play for money. If there was no money, I would stop playing tennis instantly.
“I haven’t earned enough money, [otherwise] I would have already retired.
“I will probably die playing tennis.
“It is difficult being a professional, to play every day, always with new opponents, even if you have pain everywhere.
“Even if you divorce, if you separate from your girlfriend, you have to play and if you lose everyone asks you why you lost. This is the part of tennis that I hate.”
I think we played the worst ATP match of 2020. We both were playing pretty bad. But I managed to be the better worse player today.
Bublik has seven tattoos on his 6ft 6ins frame – but only one of them is dedicated to the sport so many would love to play professionally.
He added: “The one I have associated to tennis is a skeleton that has a tennis ball in its hand… it jogs my memory that I should endure this sport every single day.”
After beating Hubert Hurkacz on Tuesday, Bublik openly said both players were poor.
He said: “I think we played the worst ATP match of 2020. We both were playing pretty bad.
“But I managed to be the better worse player today, managed to win, I’m happy to get through. It’s as simple as that”
Bublik has lost both of his ATP Tour finals – in July and September 2019 – and his best performance at a Grand Slam so far was reaching the third round at the US Open last year.
However, he did reach the doubles semi-finals in Australia with compatriot Mikhail Kukushkin last month – losing to champions Rajeev Ram and Brit Joe Salisbury.
Russian-born Bublik has been compared with Nick Kyrgios already in his career – both for his attitude and style on and off the court.
Like the Australian, Bublik is always willing to throw in an underarm serve or trick shot and will speak his mind in press conferences.
Kyrgios stated in 2015 that he would have preferred a career in basketball rather than tennis, while Andre Agassi famously did not love tennis either despite his glittering success.
Aussie Kyrgios confessed: “I love basketball. I don’t really like the sport of tennis that much. I don’t love it.
“It was crazy when I was 14. I was all for basketball and I made the decision to play tennis. I got pushed by my parents and to this day I can still say I don’t love the sport. It is just crazy how things go.
“It’s good when you’re out there on a tennis court. There’s nowhere to hide. It’s all you, tactically, physically, mentally.
“But I just love basketball, I love the sport. I always have. I try when I’m on the road with tennis not to watch too many basketball videos and stuff like that, to keep me focused, but it’s tough.”
Similarly, former Tottenham left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto admitted he only played football for the money.
The Cameroon international spent nine years at White Hart Lane and said: “I’m lucky and appreciate what I have, but football is just a job, a means to an end.
“I’d rather be honest and say what I think. I play football to earn a living and make my life easier.
“Yes, I play for the money but then doesn’t everybody who gets up in the morning and goes to work? They do it to provide for their family.”