Tennis player Karen Khachanov winning on and off the court

Karen Khachanov is making a name for himself on and off the tennis court. 

The Russian-Armenian tennis star advanced to the semifinals of the 2023 Australian Open on Tuesday by defeating No. 29-ranked Sebastian Korda in straight sets (7-6, 6-3, 3-0) after Korda was forced to retire from the match in the third set due to a wrist injury.

This is the second consecutive semi-final appearance in a Grand Slam event for Khachanov, who lost in the semifinals of the 2022 US Open last summer. The 18th-ranked tennis star is using his platform to spread awareness about the atrocities happening in Artsakh. 

Following consecutive victories in the Round of 32 and Round of 16, Khachanov used his post-match interviews as opportunities to send messages of hope to Armenians in Artsakh impacted by the blockade imposed by Azerbaijan in the Lachin Corridor – the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia and the rest of the world. 

After outlasting American Frances Tiafoe in four sets, Khachanov completed his post-match interview, grabbed a marker and signed a camera lens with the words, “Artsakh Stay Strong!” Two days later after defeating Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets, Khachanov grabbed the pen again and wrote, “Keep believing all the way until the end! Artsakh stay strong!”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Eric Esrailian (@esrailian)

Writing inspirational messages on camera lenses is customary by the winner in tennis, but the Azerbaijan Tennis Federation felt Khachanov went too far. Officials sent a letter to the International Tennis Federation, calling Khachanov’s notes “unacceptable provocation” against Azerbaijan, adding that Khachanov “attracted attention with his hateful act.”

“The Azerbaijan Tennis Federation letter presented facts and legal documents regarding the provocation against Azerbaijan. The ATF condemned this act and demanded the tennis player be punished and urged the International Tennis Federation to take harsh measures for prevention of such incidents in the future.”

Despite the complaint, Khachanov defended himself to the media on Tuesday following his quarterfinal victory. 

“I have Armenian roots,” Khachanov said. “From my father’s side, from my grandfather’s side, even from my mom’s side. I’m half Armenian. To be honest, I don’t want to go deeper than that, and I just wanted to show strength and support to my people. That’s it.”

Khachanov, whose father Abgar is from Yerevan, did not write any notes on the camera lens after his quarterfinal victory against Korda, but he said nobody from the International Tennis Federation had discouraged him from writing messages.

Khachanov will continue his quest for his first Grand Slam title on Friday when he takes on Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open semifinal.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Homenetmen Arax (@homenetmen_arax)

Andre Khatchaturian

Andre Khatchaturian

Andre Khatchaturian is a seasoned digital content producer and the sports correspondent for The Armenian Weekly. He is the founder of Camak Media, a multimedia company specializing in drone footage, video content and photography for small businesses. Prior to this, he produced video and written content at the New England Sports Network (NESN). He has also provided coverage at three Super Bowls and more than a dozen high-profile UFC fights. Andre is from Glendale, California. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He moved to Boston in 2013, where he attended Boston University and graduated with a master's degree in broadcast journalism.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.