After a debilitating injury post-Roland Garros left Karen Khachanov grappling with mobility, the tennis sensation has been meticulously plotting his return to the court. At 27, Khachanov was arguably at the pinnacle of his career, having reached the semi-finals in three consecutive Grand Slams.
He was on the cusp of clinching a major title when a sacrum bone fracture in his back, coupled with excruciating pelvic pain, halted his momentum. This setback occurred shortly after his defeat to the eventual winner, Novak Djokovic, in Paris.
Khachanov recalled, “The injury's origin traces back to Australia. Despite performing well, I pushed my limits. The aftermath of the Roland Garros match with Novak was the final straw; I couldn't even walk”. Recognizing the severity, he took the necessary hiatus from the game.
As he gears up for the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships, his second tournament since the injury, Khachanov remains optimistic. Climbing back to the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after Roland Garros, he took a break until the US Open.
Instead of dwelling on the setback, he cherished the silver lining - spending quality time with his family, especially after the birth of his second son in July.
Khachanov's Resilient Return to Tennis
Reflecting on his journey, Khachanov stated, “While the injury was a setback, it also offered a unique perspective.
I've always been family-oriented, and this period allowed me to relish precious moments with my loved ones”. His return at the US Open wasn't as triumphant as he'd hoped, facing a first-round defeat against Michael Mmoh.
However, with three weeks of rigorous training under his belt, Khachanov is brimming with confidence. As the top seed in Zhuhai, he eagerly awaits his match against the victor of the Diego Schwartzman and Alex Bolt face-off.
With fervor in his voice, Khachanov expressed, “I'm reinvigorated and eager to compete. My focus is on maintaining my physical health and ensuring I'm at peak performance. The recent progress is promising, and I'm determined to reclaim my pre-injury form”.
Having clinched his maiden ATP Tour title in Chengdu, China, in 2016, Khachanov feels a special connection to the Asian circuit. “Returning to this tour feels like a homecoming. Competing in Asia, especially China, has always been exhilarating. My only wish is for my body to cooperate, allowing me to recapture my former glory,” he concluded.