MAX MIRNYI BELARUSIAN TENNIS STAR • DAVIS CUP LEGACY GROWS

Written by: on 16th September 2017
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Davis Cup World Group -  Belarus vs Austria
MAX MIRNYI BELARUSIAN TENNIS STAR • DAVIS CUP LEGACY GROWS

epa05896800 Belarus' Yaraslav Shyla (foreground) and Max Mirnyi (background) in action against Austria's Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer during the doubles match of the tennis Davis Cup World Group tie between Belarus and Austria, in Minsk, Belarus, 08 April 2017. EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH  |

Written by Francisco Resendiz

 

Davis Cup weekend has given us pulsating comebacks and the inspiring performance of a player who’s never left.

 

Contesting his 55th career Davis Cup tie, the ageless Max Mirnyi and partner Andrei Vasilevski defeated Adrian Bodmer and Luca Margaroli, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), staking Belarus to a 2-1 lead over host Switzerland in Biel.

 

Belarus needs one win in tomorrow’s reverse singles to return to the Davis Cup World Group for the first time in a decade.

 

The Belarusian record book reads like a Max Mirnyi activity chronicle, earning him the Davis Cup Commitment award.

 

Mirnyi holds Belarus records for most Davis Cup wins (61-34 record), most doubles wins (37-17), most ties played (55) and most years played.

 

Playing his 24th year of Davis Cup with the pure passion he exuded in his debut season, the 40-year-old Mirnyi is still going strong in the international team competition he holds close to his heart.

 

“I definitely didn’t think I’d play 55 Davis Cup ties back at the beginning, but I was always ready to be helpful to the team,” Mirnyi told DavisCup.com. “Davis Cup is a big part of my career and was always a priority for me, but I’ve always been focused on my individual career too—whether it’s singles, doubles or mixed doubles—and between the lines I was given hope to play for the team.

 

“It’s a great honor for me, a big number to achieve—I’m amused by this, but at the same time I’m more satisfied for being helpful to the team.”

 

The man affectionately nicknamed “The Beast of Belarus” for his fierce net-rushing style has been around so long, some of his former doubles partners are now captains—and legends.

Photo by Alejandro Gonzalez for 10sBalls

 

Former Wimbledon semifinalist Vladimir Voltchkov, who captains Team Belarus, was Mirnyi’s long-time Davis Cup doubles partner in a pairing that stretched back to the year of his 1994 debut.

 

Mirnyi partnered former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt to his first career Grand Slam doubles title at the 2000 US Open.

 

This weekend, captain Hewitt has led Australia to a 2-1 lead over host Belgium in the Davis Cup World Group semifinals putting the green-and-gold one win from its first trip to the Davis Cup final in 2003.

 

While Roger Federer is not playing for Switzerland this weekend, the 19-time Grand Slam king has fond memories of sharing the court with Mirnyi. Together, the pair won three doubles championships—including the 2003 Miami title—the most of any doubles pairing in the Swiss maestro’s career.

 

Though the veteran serve-and-volleyer is at his best moving forward, Mirnyi isn’t thinking too far ahead as Belarus remains one win from a return to the Davis Cup World Group.

 

“I haven’t spoken to the team about being in the World Group and I don’t think Vladimir [Voltchkov] has either,” Mirnyi said. “I don’t think you can feel what it’s like to be a parent until you have a baby. Hopefully we can continue to work hard through tomorrow and get one of the two points. After that I’m sure we can reflect on what it’s like to be in the World Group, if that happens, then you can ask the guys directly.”

 

Spoken like a true Davis Cup veteran.

 

Editors Notes: Max Mirnyi is a true Living Legend. He is an iron man at 40. We celebrated His birthday at Wimbledon. The players lunchroom and the chef and staff quietly sang Happy Birthday. We were too close to courts to really “belt it out”. We all had fun. Max weathered the storm called Irma then jumped in a plane for SWITZERLAND to join his teammates. Most of them young enough to be his sons.

Max is a blessed man. We are proud to say we are Family and “TommyBoy” would be most proud of the man you grew into.

He would admire your discipline and longevity.

Age is just a number on a piece of paper…

Just ask a former dubs partner that old goat of 36 whose back to winning Slams. You can win more Slams too Max. Don’t stop. Find a “puppy” to play with. Not a puppy, puppy, but a younger partner. [LJ]

 

Max Mirnyi (L) and Andrei Vasilevski (R) of Belarus in action during the third match of the Davis Cup World Group playoffs between Switzerland and Belarus at the Swiss Tennis Arena in Biel, Switzerland, 16 September 2017. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDRA WEY

 

 

Belarus’ Yaraslav Shyla (L) and Max Mirnyi (R) in action against Austria’s Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer during the doubles match of the tennis Davis Cup World Group tie between Belarus and Austria, in Minsk, Belarus, 08 April 2017. EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

 

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