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Last Updated: Friday, 30 June 2006, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
Tursunov entertains the troops

By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Dmitry Tursunov
Tursunov isn't just Henman's nemesis
They say there are no characters in tennis anymore, but it's probably fairer to say that they just hide it very well.

Tim Henman, for example, is not the cardboard cut-out he would have you believe, and his sharp sense of humour makes him one of the most popular players on the tour.

Jonas Bjorkman has earned a reputation as the Rory Bremner of the tennis circuit with his impressions of his fellow players.

Tennis fans in the UK know Dmitry Tursunov only as Henman's nemesis, the man who has felled the Brit in three of the last five Grand Slams.

But the Russian revealed his quirky side when he blogged for the ATP's official website at a tournament in Portugal recently.

A sample entry read: "8:30 Ride to the Players Party! Inside is a lounge filled with glamorous people all having glamorous conversations.

"Anyway, after we had some food and flirted with random people we had to leave. On our ride back we break the sound barrier banging our heads to Guns 'N' Roses - Knockin' on Heaven's Door. Luckily no-one answered!!!"

Speaking in a thick American accent, the result of being based in California since the age of 12, Tursunov tells BBC Sport he wanted to give the readers a different view of the tennis tour.

"Everyone knows what's going on," he said.

"I don't think people need to know how many times you practice, when you change your socks and how many times you shower.

"Most of the players liked it, even the ones I made fun of, although afterwards I thought maybe I should've changed the names and said all the characters were fictional!

"But I think they understood I wasn't directly making fun of them and that's better than going around pouting and getting upset."

But it's probably just as well the Russian is not blogging at Wimbledon.

"I haven't gone anywhere," he said.

"The only thing I've done is see a movie, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift. It's good - possibly some of the finest acting I've seen in my life.

"Also it's right-handed driving so we've been trying to teach the Wimbledon drivers a few things. I'm getting ready to shoot The Fast and The Furious London."

We'll have Shevchenko in Russia soon anyway when Chelsea move to Moscow

Dmitry Tursunov

Tursunov only has himself to blame for his sorry social life, because tennis has been rather getting in the way.

The Russian, seeded 27th, will match last year's fourth-round run at Wimbledon if he can overcome Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic on Saturday.

Ljubicic, seeded fifth, is in unchartered territory at SW19, while Tursunov is yet to drop serve in two matches but the 23-year-old remains wary.

"It makes me feel I'm on a par with Ivan in the serving department," he said, suddenly deadly serious.

"And I hope Ljubicic's bad record is the deciding factor but I don't think it will be. It's only in the last couple of years he has got his game together and got into the top 10."

The eyes of the world might just be elsewhere when Tursunov tackles Ljubicic on Saturday, with Andy Murray and Andre Agassi in action as well as the World Cup quarter-finals.

But Tursunov even has an opinion, if pretty leftfield, on the football.

"I want Ukraine to win. If they do well, we'll probably invade them again, then we can have Andriy Shevchenko," he said.

"Then again, we'll have Shevchenko in Russia soon anyway when Chelsea move to Moscow."


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